Monday, November 25, 2013

Bon Voyage, oldest daughter

Am feeling rather down: I just got back from the airport to see my daughter fly out of the country to start a 2 year travel adventure in England and Europe and I am going to miss her greatly despite the conveniences of modern technology!

I am simultaneously proud that I have raised an independent, adventurous young woman who has the confidence to take such a huge step.

Bon voyage, my darling child.  May you remain happy and safe; and remember to come home eventually!   

Friday, November 22, 2013

I've said it before, and it is worth repeating here again: the best thing about having the Internet while being a writer is that you don't have to stop the writing flow for very long to research a quickly needed fact.

It's been MANY years since I last went to school, and although my children could probably have rattled of the answer if they had been home, I needed to quickly research the parts of a circle because I wanted to know what the line going from circumference to circumference via the centre was called (the diametre, for those that would need to look up the answer like I did).

Time taken: approximately ten seconds to open browser, type in 'parts of a circle', hit enter and click on the second result that looked like it might be what I was after (it was).  Priceless!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nanowrimo: Day 19 update

I have made NO progress with my manuscript word count over the last three or four days.

I have, however, still been 'working' on my storyline.  I mentioned in a previous post that I don't have drawing skills (and I still don't) but I am a visual person, so in order to cement my storyline in my mind, I made a collage of my storyline from pictures I found on the internet - some photographs, some artists drawings or paintings, clip art. Anything that was suitable to help me create a sort of 'storyboard' that I can reference when I need to.

I went through two glue sticks and a quarter of a ream of paper printing out various size images and pasting them into some sort of order; yet I don't think anyone would be able to flip through the visual art diary and work out my storyline because some of the images I included were things like just eyes (because that is the shape I imagine my heroine has), or something that is just meaningful to me about a character or setting, or moment.

And today, I drew a map of my world - something a lot of fantasy writers do.  I didn't create a map of the whole world, only the part relevant to the beginning of the story which I am still currently writing - if I know whereabouts roughly on the map my heroine lives, and I already know how long it takes her to travel to the 'heart of the city', then I'll be able to visualise and accurately describe length of travel later on within the story.

Another thing I did is, because I started writing the story a few years ago and it has undergone quite a few changes since as I've 'tightened up' my ideas or changed my mind about its progress, was to print out a copy of old story notes so I can go through and work out what is still 'rescueable' and what isn't in regards to manuscript, rules, plot points, characters etc.

I'm feeling really pleased with my progress even though I haven't succeeded in writing every single day... my novel IS making progress even though the last few days the word count has remained stable.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaNo Progress: Day 14

I am feeling very excited about the progress of my novel - I'm a day off being halfway through NaNo, and as of this evening my word count has reached 15,200, which is Chapters One, Two and Three completed to my liking!

And that, is after I just brutally chopped 1216 words out of Chapter Two.

I know for some authors NaNo is about getting the words down, turning off the inner editor and coming back to do the rewriting and editing later - but I just don't work that way. I need to keep rereading my own story and like what I am reading, tweaking the words and sentences as I read through so I get into the zone so I can add more.

I often hear my characters conversations, so I try to capture it as quickly as I can, and then try to add their actions and other details later, when it seems like a good spot to insert it. I seem to work in lots of two or three chapters and need to get that right before I can progress with the rest of the story - even when I know where the story is heading.

I'm a long way from finished telling this tale - but at the moment I have the ideas, enthusiasm and momentum to get pressing forward.  But boy is my housework suffering!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Oh dear,  I've let myself become distracted from my novel writing today.

I started off re-reading my manuscript so far, and wasn't quite sure I had all the elements needed for the scene included, so grabbed one of my writing tips resource folders for Self-Editing and Proofreading, and flipped to a checklist that I created for myself when I wrote the first manuscript I finished a few years ago.

That got me to thinking that other writer's would probably find the checklist quite useful, and being NaNoWriMo month, it would be a great time for me to create an 'infographic' so that NaNo'ers could use it. This of course then lead me to research programs with which to create an infographic (which I've never made before), which lead me to downloading an awesome vector graphic program called Inkspace, which lead me to freak out and think that the program is just as difficult to use as Photoshop which I never understood, which in turn lead me to discover the program's tutorials - which I have now watched all that are included with the program and then head back to the website to view the ones that weren't included.

I've always wished I had the talent to draw pictures... and maybe, after having viewed a number of the tutorials to have learned how most images are just extensions of basic shapes, I might be able to create electronic images! Although a distraction to my writing progress, I'm pleased I found Inkspace and am keen to explore other parts to my creative side.


Recommended Writer's Resource

Need help with writing your novel? I am more than happy to recommend writing mentor Jim Parsons of 'My Novel' Writing course Facebook page and Novel Writing Course website.

I found Jim on Facebook eighteen months to 2 years back, and never miss reading his frequently posted tips as a writer and editor that help clarify similar words and their meaning and how to use punctuation correctly. I later subscribed to his monthly newsletter.

Jim has read the opening scene of one of my novel manuscripts and provided feedback that I cannot thank him enough for giving; and, has responded to questions I have posed on his page that have resolved the issue I was having within my story, including another one today which has been most helpful.

I fully intend utilising Mr Parson's Mentoring service once my novel manuscript is done (and self-edited) to aid me in my goal of aspiring to get the story traditionally published.

You can check out his Facebook page by clicking here,  and can find his website here.

And once again, thank you Mr Parsons!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NaNo progress: Day 10

I wish my creative abilities included being able to draw more than just stick figure drawings.

I like creating visuals to help me 'see' the world I am writing about in clearer details.  I just managed though to draw a rough image of the apartment my main character is living in, so the details can be accurately and consistently described within my story as she moves about inside (when she is home), but it would be so much nicer (for me anyway) if I had the ability to draw because then I would be drawing scenes and characters as much as I write about them, and if ever published one day I could do what J.K. Rowling did, and release some of the images that I generated about my story. But regrettably, I don't possess that skill so I have to make do with inept stick drawings which is the best I can manage.

NaNo progress: Day 10.  Have so far stuck to my goal of working on my novel every single day. Manuscript currently stands at 10,038 (following me last night ruthless chopping about 500 verbose wording to tighten the story pace), and my Story Notes file has increased slightly to 6,579 words (this doesn't include notes scribbled into my spiral notebook); so clearly I am averaging around 1,000 words per day, and if I continue to achieve this, the "Beginning" of my novel will be completed by the time NoNo winds up. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Using the Internet to do research for my WIP

I love the internet.

Here I am, working on my novel, reaching my NaNo goal to work on my novel every single day during November, when I get stuck about something I need to do research on, so I can use the correct terminology in my story.

I fire up my browser, type into the search box (because I smartly have Google search engine set as my default homepage) and a few seconds later, within the first ten results I have the answer to my search criteria, "parts of a key."

Before the era and delights of using the Internet, I would have had to visit my local library, and probably get one of the staff members assistance to try and find the answer to question plaguing me. I could easily get distracted and caught up in other bits of trivia - whether relevant or irrelevant to the current storyline as I scourge the many books and resources seeking an answer.

With the exception that I stopped by to acknowledge how quick and easily I found the answer to my question by firing up a program on my computer, I am able to return to my work in progress and get straight back into it.

New word count (and not yet finished for the night): 7705 - manuscript, story notes still the same at 6302.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

NoNoWriMo Progress: Day 5 and making progress

I'm feeling rather proud of myself for how I am sticking to my NaNoWriMo goal to write each day. My novel manuscript is currently at 7256 words, and my Story Notes file that I have sitting open next to the manuscript, which I use to record ideas and reminders to help me progress the story in the direction where I want to head it, has increased to 6302 words.

And yesterday's significantly doubled word counts came despite my having broken my glasses for which I am totally reliant upon.  I had my daughter drive me to the optometrist so I could initiate emergency repairs, and while I was there, had another eye test.  Being thorough and needing to check that my diabetes hasn't caused damage to the blood vessels at the back of my eyes, the optometrist put drops in to dilate my pupils, which left me sensitive to light for the next few hours. Do you know how hard it is to see through watery eyes? 

I couldn't read, I couldn't do much housework because I kept bumping into things, and for a while there I worried I wasn't going to be able to add even a single word to my word count, thus ruining me reaching the simplest of goals to write each day on Day 5!

But, as hard work would have it; I am a touch typist. And, seeing as my task did not involve transcribing, I happily let those pupil dilating drops wear off by closing my eyes and just letting the words running around my head be typed into my manuscript and story note documents.  It helps that Microsoft Word allows you to Zoom the text, so I enlarged the text so when i really had to I could open my eyes again and make sure that I had typed coherently because I had correctly positioned my fingers over the keyboard.

And today, bright and early I am back working on my novel - the one I have been 'brewing' in my mind and on paper and electronic file for about five years now - re-enthused because the project is going the best i ever has.  Maybe I have found the key to overcoming writer's block - committing to working on it every single day even if I only add one word, or maybe I finally have the story starting point right.  All I know is that I am back loving working on the story that I would love to read and want to get out of my head and finish - and floods of refreshed ideas are coming to me. To the point I can't keep up!

Anyway, I'm outta here - I want to try and finish this chapter off, on its natural cliffhanging moment!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

NaNoWriMo: so far so good!

I often read some of the strangest things on the internet, perhaps useful for my novel writing some time in the future, so I hand write out some notes and file it in a folder for the story line I think it would best suit.

Well, because it is NaNoWriMo (meaning National Novel Writing Month), I decided to commit to working on my novel manuscript every single day during NaNo rather than strive to reach the 50,000 word count NaNo promotes.

Up to day three and tracking well, I needed to refer to a minor character (who may or may not have a bit part later on in the story) so I wanted to use that character's first name in passing reference, so pulled out my WIP file looking for the list of names I've built up over time for this particular storyline (some of which will never be used, but are there on stand-by in case I need them), when I came across some old handwritten notes about love and intimacy.

So now I've just found myself a handy checklist, so I can incorporate the exact opposite of 'what makes a good relationship' so readers can work out long before my main character that the person she is dating is 'completely wrong for her' and no she shouldn't trust him, and yes, she should most definitely break up with him!

After so many false starts with this particular manuscript, with my character undergoing so many changes, like her age, and her name, and her background situation, this Chapter One is starting to feel the best its ever felt - yes, I know I said that last time, but still... we writers can be a fickle bunch when we put on our editor's cap.

Here's hoping that every day in November allows me to add to my manuscript word count, even if it is only one word some days.

Day 3 Word Count (progressive) total: 4609.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

I've had a great week

Last weekend I played around on the computer designing the business cards for my new business.  I used the avatar I created and the Char Mesan logo and then placed an order online at Officeworks for pick up at my local store.

Well I was able to pick them up on Thursday, and all-in-all, I'm pretty happy with the result - okay, I'm not completely happy that the Char Mesan Enterprises is a bit fuzzy compared to the text for the rest of the business card, but that is because it was added as an image rather than text, and the image must have been low-resolution.  Live and learn, they say.  Oh well, when I need to reorder them I will fix that up.

And, a former colleague referred a client my way, and because her budget was limited and she had some computer skills, I negotiated with the client that I would Lookover (or critique)  her resume, making notes on her existing copy, and then she could go back and fix it herself so she could afford to get the professional help she desperately needed.

And, I'm really glad that she told me she needed it back ASAP too... because she had just learned about a job opportunity with an employer she would be happy to work for - because someone had just resigned - and wanted to submit her improved resume to the employer before they advertised for a replacement... because it worked!  She phoned me today, and rather loudly and excitedly, told me that she got the job and starts on Monday.  This lady has been looking for the same type of work for at least seven months, and the help I had just given her 'is the start of positive changes in my life'.

I don't know about you, but I always feel good when something I have said or done makes someone else's day.

The only 'downside' to my week was having a competitor steal away three referrals on a jobsearch forum that the admin person had directed the person needing assistance to me. I was talking to the person, and this pushy '**tch' hijacked the conversation, shamelessly promoted her own services and invited the three to private message her - which they then did.  I was really upset about this at first, I mean how rude and pushy are some people?  But then I realised that that business mustn't be very good because why else isn't her diary filled with work and why aren't her clients referring other people they know to her services.  When I have other Employment Consultants asking ME to help them fix up their resume, and referring people who aren't eligible for free help to me when I have only been operating for less than a month, was enough for me to lose my anger and feel sorry for her.  Pity the people she poached didn't see her actions as ethically poor - but in order to secure their business, she publicly declared she would do parts of the work for free, and that is the poorest business sense.  I've operated a business previously, enough to know that undercutting the competition isn't good for your reputation or bottom line.

But enough about the downside.  I'm planning on getting out and about now so I can hand out my business cards, oh, and because my updated Training and Assessment certificate finally arrived in the mail, I can now approach some of the training organisations and start trying to gain more work as a trainer and assessor - my dreams feel like they are becoming a reality!

I've had such a great week, that I've even worked on my novel WIP!