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

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!

Novel Writing

Outlining your Novel

A few days ago I read a blog post by amandagrey1 about Novel writing software, and it got me thinking. To have a look at the post, please follow this link

At the start of my novel, about two months ago, I took up an offer of a free trial with Novlr and I have to say I loved it. In particular, I loved the statistics it gave me. As I work with statistics as a day job I really enjoyed seeing my hobby displayed as numbers too. I did face a big problem, however, and that was issues with the server. I didn’t decide to pay the monthly fee after my trial ran out as so often I would try to log on, the system would be down, and I wouldn’t be able to work on my novel. Because of this, I decided to use OneDrive and Word to write the rest of my book.

However now I am getting myself into a muddle and my writing goals in terms of my outline went out of the window as I no longer had a clear idea of each chapter’s goal and structure. Amandagrey1 on her blog mentioned both Novlr and Litlift and so I decided to try Litlift for a while. I am 30 minutes in and very inspired so far.

There is a fantastic Outline Feature that has helped me to get back on the right track. I initially outlined my whole novel, and then I began itching to write, so I scrapped my detailed planning and started writing straight out of my imagination. Many thousands of words in, I now know my characters so much better. However, when I looked into the outline system on Litlift I found so many weak points.

Firstly my opening chapters had become bogged down with backstory and my main “hook” was left until Chapter 10. Rooky error! Now I have shuffled things around and feel much more confident that my book will grip it’s reader (fingers crossed!) from the start. I also hadn’t introduced my bad guy until later on in the novel, and so moving them into the start of the book has made things much more interesting.

On that day I went from 11,000 words to only keeping 2,000 of them, which was, in all honesty, a little gutting. However, I would much rather find out my weak points now, rather than get further into my story and realise that my plotline was fundamentally flawed. 

I would love to hear about anyone else’s experience with outlining and whether or not you find it helps you. As a new writer I’m looking to get as much advice as I can get!

Novel Writing

The Highs and Lows of Novel Writing

My word count is now 9,455 words, and part of me is elated! What an achievement, well done me. There’s another part of me; however, that is aware most of those words are not up to scratch.

My recent experiment with novel writing is the first time I have written since my A-levels, and now, ten years on my writing is, as you would expect, rubbish. No author has ever woken up perfect without having to hone and develop their skills.  

At the moment my biggest hurdle isn’t a lack of inspiration, it’s not having too little time (close second), and it’s not confusion regarding my characters. No, my biggest hurdle is my brain throwing self-doubt at me like missiles.

I do have a sinking feeling that this won’t improve as time passes, and I write more of my novel but that I’m just going to have to ignore the voice in my head and keep on keeping on.

How do you deal with the self-doubts? Any experienced novelists who can help me? I would love to hear from you.

Novel Writing

Deciding to Write

Like many other book lovers, I would often consider writing a book of my own. Flashes of inspiration would hit me and then flitter off almost as soon as they arrived.

This time, however, the thought did not come in the form of inspiration for a story but in the desire to write. Sat at my desk at work I realised how much I missed moulding and shaping sentences, letting my imagination run wild and the satisfaction of capturing feelings within pages.

This feeling built within me until I returned home and I started to plan the story I would delight to tell. My fingers flying over the keyboard I found a part of myself that I’d long buried beneath the guise of adulthood.

I’m not so proud to think that my writing is currently sufficient enough to publish, far from it, but I do feel satisfaction in knowing that I am moving forward and learning the craft I love so well.

I wonder the reasons that others write? What sets your pulse racing? What causes you to pour out your mind onto a page?