Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo – Week 1

So far I have written 7,956 words in my NaNoWriMo challenge and my total novel word count is now 15,386 words. I am incredibly proud of myself, I really thought I would have given up on NaNoWriMo by now!

I am actually behind on the targets NaNoWriMo set as I should be at about 10,000 words in by now, but I won’t be too hard on myself. Any words written are an achievement and if I manage to write 50,000 words in November that will be awesome. If not, that’s ok too.

Anyone else giving it a go? If you can tear yourselves away from the novel writing keyboard long enough I would love to hear how it’s going.

Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo – Free Novlr Trial

As I am sure many of you know, National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow! I will be taking part in the challenge of writing 50,000 words in the month of November and I wanted to let you all know about some great online software that is free to use in the month of November in honor of NaNoWriMo.

Novlr is a web-based application where you can store and write your novel. You can write both online and offline, on multiple computers without the need to download software. The statistics provided by Novlr are excellent; it shows your current word count while also tracking how many words you physically wrote in that session (i.e., how many words you wrote and then edited or deleted). It is a lovely, seamless platform to write on and during my first two-week trial I really enjoyed the look and feel of the system. untitledHowever, when it came to actually paying for the software, I decided to give it a miss as I found that server issues regularly prevented me from logging on and writing. As annoying as those server issues were I couldn’t resist giving Novlr another go because in my opinion as a writing and statistics geek extraordinaire it is the best the web has to offer!

If you fancy having a go at NaNoWriMo and have been looking for some novel writing software don’t miss your chance to try out Novlr. P.s. it is worth mentioning I have not been asked to write this by Novlr and this purely my own opinion.

Novel Writing

POV and Head-Hopping

Yesterday I received feedback from Stacey Wilk who kindly looked over my first five pages of my novel with the eyes of a developmental editor. I found her feedback invaluable and if any of you who may be searching for an editor make sure you get in touch with her as she is fantastic! To find out more information about her editorial services, please click here. One of the points she mentioned is that I occasionally “head-hopped” and my “POV” was quite vague. I had not heard these terms before, so I’ve done a little research, and this is what I have found.

Connie J. Jasperson on her Blog Life in the Realm of Fantasy gives this definition of head-hopping –

Headhopping occurs when an author switches point-of-view characters within a single scene, and happens most frequently when using a Third-Person Omniscient narrative, in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader.

New writers are generally advised not to head-hop, i.e., switch viewpoints midway between scenes as unless they can expertly implement this they will most likely confuse their readers. Eric Lathi states on his blog –

No matter what anyone tells you, there’s only one rule worth following and that’s don’t confuse your reader…If you’re deep into a character’s head and suddenly you’re in some other character’s head, the result is going to feel like hitting a fire road in Ferrari. And there you go, you just violated the cardinal rule and confused your reader. Your hard work was flung across the room or reduced to random bits on someone’s tablet.

For this reason, I am going to steer clear of head-hopping. I like to keep my life simple, and I’d rather not use a technique in my writing that is going to make things more confusing and require much more work to get right. I’m going to stick to one point of view per chapter and only write about what that character would humanly know.

Now back to the outlining drawing board….

Novel Writing

Staying Motivated

This week has been a ridiculously busy one. I made a sale at work which is fantastic, but it has been a complete rush job, with print proofs and problems coming out of our eyeballs.

I haven’t been able to take a lunch break or leave on time most days. When I get home, all I want to do is relax, which I know is important but just isn’t very productive.

My writing has suffered. I’ve barely written 2000 words this week (and they are not very good ones at that)!

So my question this morning is how on earth writers with other jobs keep progressing at a reasonable pace? How do you make the time? How do you balance grown up responsibilities with your love of writing? All comments so very, very welcome! 

Novel Writing

5 Tips for New Writers

I have now been writing my Novel for about six weeks and here are a few lessons that I have learnt along the way. If you are an established writer please do feel free to comment your own lessons learned below – I would love to hear them!

1. You are your Greatest Asset and your Biggest Enemy 

Develop your inner cheerleader, because if you let self-doubt gain a foothold in your mind, then writing will feel like you are walking through treacle. Be kind to yourself and celebrate even the smallest achievements.  If you think you can and you think you can’t, you are right!

2. Keep the Drama Flowing

You love your characters immensely, so the temptation to tell all of their backstory and thoughts with the first quarter of your book is overwhelming. However, your readers don’t love your characters or even know them yet. Keep drama and action as the primary focus in the first few chapters. Give your readers the chance to love your characters, and then later you can show off all the fascinating backstories and inner lives of your beloved characters.

3. Learn all you can about Grammar (no matter how good you think you are)

Unless you have studied the English Language to a high-level, grammar will trip you up when you start writing. I have always been very confident in my skills, but when I started using Grammarly to double check I was appalled with myself. It was a humbling moment. I have since bought a book on English Grammar, and I am amazed at everything I have forgotten! One particular hint I have for you if you are new to writing is to learn to identify and avoid Passive Voice early on – your writing will improve dramatically!

4. Support from other Authors is vital  

I cannot underestimate the impact reading the blogs of other new and established writers has made on me. It has been the best source of motivation I have found throughout this process so far. Get yourself embedded in the online community and get all the advice you can!