Category: nanowrimo

#13 – J. Elizabeth Vincent – Write Through The Roof

Welcome to Write Through The Roof, the podcast for writers who want to improve their craft.

Episode 13 with J. Elizabeth Vincent – fantasy writer & freelance editor

Writing is like any other job; some days you do it well, other days not so well.

Episode 13 – J. Elizabeth Vincent – Show Notes
  • The Hero’s Journey
  • Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) turned into Raven Thrall
  • Making writing a priority in life
  • Editing other people’s work helps you learn
  • Writing short stories for prologues or back stories
  • Inspired by Stephen Donaldson, Jim Butcher, Seanen McGuire, Patricia Briggs
  • Raven Thrall is ‘Jessica Jones with wings’
  • Madeleine’s tip – The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Fantasy is the highest form of escapism.”

Read More

Birching, medieval peasant life & Norse names: random writing research

I’m in the midst of Nanowrimo and closing in on 50k. Hoorah! I dip into research as I write and so I thought I’d share a few random links for interesting things I’ve researched during the past few days. My Nanowrimo manuscript is fantasy, so I’m going all medieval on your arse.

Birching

The use of birch rods for punishment and birches were always my favourite tree. I now look at them in a different way.

birch-245533_640

Read More

How I “finished” my novel – 8 tips in 8 days

My manuscript “Return to the Monolith” is now in line editing. Hoorah! Eek. This means I’m done.

Disclaimer – I am “finished” for now. I don’t have an agent or publisher and I’d be naive to think there’ll be no more changes until the book appears in print.

Being “finished” is a peculiar feeling. I sat for ten minutes with my finger hovering over the send button, debating with myself. Am I really done? Is this it? Strange.

Anyway, it’s time to look back on two years of work and think about what I’ve learned.

This is the first in a series outlining what helped me to “finish”. I’ve come up with eight little helpers.

Over the next eight days, I’ll share eight tips.

1

There’ll be a lot of you Nanowrimo-ans out there, with a big lump of words, wondering how to take your draft to the next stage. I hope this might help.

Tomorrow – Tip#1 : Discipline is not a dirty word..

Nanowrimo 2015 – tick

Print

Hoorah! Another Nanowrimo win! Little happy dance and then back to the word mines.

Nanowrimo is fun but I prefer the less pressure of the Monthly Writing Challenge (500 words per day target). It’s less stressful and creates more quality words. Meh, but that’s me.

So if you are not on board with the Monthly Writing Challenge, check it out and we’ll be keeping up the momentum into December.

Hope your Nanowrimo is going well!

My Nanowrimo Tip #5

4

My Nanowrimo Tip #4

3

Nanowrimo tip #3

2

Nanowrimo tip#2

5

Nanowrimo tip#1

1

Siblinghood of the World Blogger Award – my responses

I’ve been nominated by Beverley Lee to answer the following questions as part of the Siblinghood of the World Blogger awards. I answer 10 questions, then I pose 10 more questions to 10 more bloggers. Here we go…

Your favourite author is going to call you for a once in a lifetime chance to talk. You can only ask them one question. Who is the author and what is the question? Why?

I can’t narrow it down to one writer.

The more I grow as a writer, I realise we all share the same self-doubt and struggles with wrangling our stories. So the one question I’d like to ask all writers I admire is…

When did you feel like a “real” writer?

Which fictional character would you want as a friend, and why?

Which fictional character would you want as a friend, and why?

Nightingale from the Rivers Of London series. I want my own immortal magical mentor with impeccable pre-war dress sense. I imagine him being like Bill Nighy.

List three books you’ve read more than three times.

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.

How’s that for a weird combo.

Who would you say is your greatest writing influence in terms of your own style?

I think my influences are from the opposite side. I know what I dislike, so I avoid that type of writing. I have a background in the corporate world and business writing, so my style is simple. I don’t like overly flowery writing because I’m a lazy reader. The style is important to my reading pleasure. Some styles (and writers) do my head in and so I quickly switch to something cleaner.

What are you working on at the minute?

Starting today, I’m writing the next novella in my Evangeline steampunk series. This novella is about seances and spiritualists.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

She is in serious trouble of being typecast, but from the recent Dr Who episodes playing Ashildr/Me, I can absolutely see Maisie Williams as my character Alga from the Monolith series.

How important is a book cover to you? Would it influence you over the back blurb?

A good cover is so bloody important. There are some serious ugly covers out there, especially in the self-publishing world, but I’ll admit, often I don’t read the back blurb. There have been many times when I’ve been wowed by an early plot twist, then later on read the back blurb.

Before I buy or borrow (library love), I have to read a page at random. There are certain flowery styles of writing which I can’t handle (see above answer).

If you could live in one fictional world, where would you live?

China Mieville’s Bas-Lag world from Perdido Street Station. What’s not to like …aliens, steampunk and magic. Mieville’s world building is crazy detailed and luscious. I feel I could step right into the pages and live there.

Do you let other people borrow your books?

Absolutely. Words and books are to be shared. Share the love.

Books have some of the most wonderful quotes among them. Which is one of your favourite quotes, and why does it resonate with you?

Let’s go back to my favourite kooky melodramatic Canadian redhead.

It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

Thank you Anne Shirley and L.M. Montgomery.

crop380w_istock_000003401233xsmall-question-marks

My Ten Questions

  1. When did you feel like a “real” writer?
  2. How do you overcome resistance?
  3. What advice would you give yourself as a wannabe writer?
  4. Do you prefer writing or editing?
  5. What part of the writing process do you struggle with the most?
  6. Do you Nanowrimo?
  7. What authors do you follow on social media?
  8. What’s more important to you; a good plot or beautiful writing?
  9. Do you take yourself on artist’s dates? What do you do?
  10. When friends and family ask “can I read your book?” What do you say?

My 10 nominated bloggers

Nanowrimo – I’m in again

I’m not quite sure how many nanowrimos I’ve done. I first heard of the fun crazy challenge in 2002 or 2003 from a friend in London. I’ve done at least four, I can remember.

My profile is from my days as a closet writer and apparently you can’t change your profile name. So find me under madolescent.

Nanowrimo taught me how to vomit draft.

Now I don’t get writer’s block, I keep on writing and writing. Filling the page with words even though it’s rubbish and sometimes it feels like I’m only typing.

But this way, the words get down and somehow in amongst the rabid typing, the magic happens.

Are you in?

Write on – why I love writing challenges

Tips on writing and quotes from famous writers are everywhere. I think most advice boils down to “sit there and write. Every day.”

But that’s easier than it sounds, it’s like “eat less, move more.” Easy in theory, but a different story when it’s chocolate o’clock. Writing challenges help me with discipline and build my daily writing habit.

I started with Nanowrimo – write a 50,000 word novel in November. This initially helped me to get into the habit of “vomit drafting”, just blurting it all out, writing without the inner critic and getting those words and thoughts down on the page. But a target of 1,667 per day is not sustainable in the long term for me. Nowadays Nanowrimo is not just for November, there are regular challenges throughout the year and for other forms. I’ve written four novels in Nanowrimos.

My current favourite is Monthly Writing Twitter Challenge with a target of 500 words per day or 1 hour editing. This is an achievable target without feeling overwhelming. And over the month, even with the minimum 500 words, I can amass at least 15,000 words. It’s a simple challenge with a great supportive community on Twitter and it was originally inspired by Dr Who! Join us and sign up for March!

The challenges keep me accountable, motivated and give me a sense of achievement.

What are your tips for building writing discipline?

www.iamerinbrown.com

What I learned about writing in 2014

Time for some self indulgent navel gazing about 2014.

2014 was a big year for me. I got serious about this writing malarkey. Writing and publishing a novel has been my life’s goal as long as I can remember, so it was time to stop tinkering around the edges and make a real go of it.

So what did I learn in 2014 and what inspired me.

There are loads of options in the publishing world

I love my podcasts and stumbled across So you want to be a writer. “Writer” comes from the Australian Writer’s Centre and is a valuable resource of information and inspiration. It alerted me to the booming world of self-publishing. Having read Hugh Howey’s Wool in paperback, I had no idea about his back story in super successful self publishing and the different options available to writers these days. Valerie and Allison are knowledgeable and entertaining, their advice on the importance of establishing an author platform inspired me to start this blog, join Twitter and come out as a writer. I look forward to each episode.

I can write hundreds of thousands of words a year and keep a day job

Having participated in Nanowrimo multiple times and won, this year I got serious about sitting down almost every day to write or edit. In 2014, I managed 4 drafts of a 75,000 novel #1, a Nanowrimo 50,000 word vomit draft of Novel#2 and 15,000 words of Novel #3. And I kept my day job! And still managed 8 hours sleep a night (well, many of those 8 hours tossing and turning but my sleep battles are a discussion for another day).

Although on the downside, I have fallen way behind in pop culture, if it’s not Dr Who or Games of Thrones, I haven’t seen it. Hey, I’m old now – it doesn’t matter if I don’t keep up with the cool kids anymore. Oh and the best thing, whilst some days writing is like cracking walnuts with my bare hands, I still enjoy the process.

My writing doesn’t suck

I put my work out there for the first time, seeking professional and beta reader feedback on my drafts. No one told me I sucked. In fact, people even said some complimentary stuff and more importantly, gave me pointers on what to improve. Onwards and upwards, friends!

My goal –  to have a completed (ready to publish) manuscript by 31/12/15. And I can’t wait to share it with the world!

And in other news…..I win

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

4 things learnt from Nanowrimo 2014

It’s almost the half way point of Nanowrimo. Can you hear the constant clatter of fingers on keys and foreheads banging against desks?

Time for a bit of reflection. What have I learnt from Nanowrimo this time round?

  • Writing takes priority. I don’t have time for the community stuff.

I’d like to get to know my fellow Nano-ers, visit the message boards and attend the local events, but I’ve got a full-time job and only a limited time to squeeze in my 1667 words per day. There’s no room left for the community stuff. Sorry.

  • Some days are hardwww.zazzle.com.au

And in other breaking news, the sky is blue and the sea is made of water. Everyone knows it’s hard. Some days, it’s all picnics, unicorns and rainbows. Other days, as I tweeted, it’s like extracting an oddly shaped nobbly object from my arse. The lesson is persistence.

  • Knowing your characters saves time

My Nanowrimo project is book 2 of my Monolith series. So, I already know my main characters and my world inside out. This saves time, I don’t need to stop to think how they react or their motivations. I’m visiting old friends. This feels a bit like cheating, but in a good smug way.

  • If I can write in the midst of a house renovation, I can write anywhere anytime

There’s drilling, sawing and tradesmen all around me. I’m writing from a space at the end of the kitchen counter next to the fridge. If I can write in this mess, I can write anywhere. Headphones are a wonderful device. I don’t need a perfectly decorated writing room with the inspirational view to get my project out.

What have you learnt from your Nanowrimo so far?

8 uncool tips for winning Nanowrimo

It’s the last few days of October. This means it’s almost Nanowrimo time!

I can’t even remember when I first started Nanowrimo (at least 10 years ago) and I have won at least twice. But done nothing with it (see previous post).

For me, a successful Nanowrimo is all about the discipline. Not the fun kind with riding crops, but the boring kind.

www.musictomes.com

www.musictomes.com

Here are my 7 uncool tips for a successful Nanowrimo vomit draft.

  • Consistency – yes, discipline is boring and unsexy but you can’t get around it. Commit to your 1667 words per day. Do it every day for a month.
  • Be a hermit/shut-in – what’s more important, giving birth to your awesome novel or going out for drinks with people you don’t really like to places you hate? Tell your friends you’ll see them in December.
  • Unplug – the TV, the internet… out out damned distraction. Do you really need to see another video of a quirky cat or a teenage boy cracking his knackers on a stair rail?
  • Go with the flow – if you are having a good writing day, just let it keep going. Weekends (if you are M-F 9-5 like me) are great to get bulk words down. This gets you ahead for the days when life gets in the way
  • Preparation – I’m a plotter. I do love a spreadsheet or a Gantt chart. My tip is plot as much as you can now. Then if you get stuck or have exhausted a storyline, you’ve got somewhere to go.
  • Just keep writing – you get a mental blank spot, just keep writing. Even if it’s garbage, a story will appear as you keep typing. Sometimes it’s your best idea ever.
  • Don’t reread your previous work – don’t look down, just keep going. You can reread and edit in December. November is about quantity not quality.
  • Be kind to yourself – there’s always December. Or 2015.

Hope this helps you and Happy Nano-ing!

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén