NaNoWriMo 2017 Pep Talk To Myself

NaNoWriMo 2017

So, NaNoWriMo 2017 is literally 13 days away, and it’s safe to say, the panic has set in.

Well, not¬†panic¬†as such, I know what stories I’m focusing on, I’ve made starts on both of them, I know what direction I’m heading in.

My problem is finding the time to get this done.

For the last five years, I’ve¬†smashed¬†NaNoWriMo to bits, even from my first try. I’ve finished early and written past 50,000 words, I’ve barely broken a sweat most years doing it because I’ve always been so used to writing at least 700 words a day. For me, NaNoWriMo in previous years has just been a case of writing a bit more than usual.

This year, things are different.

This year, my entire life has changed, to the point where it’s nearly unrecognisable. I’m now a full-time carer, I’m more stressed than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve never felt as low as I do currently. I’ve been taking at least one day a week off writing, I’ve been running into roadblocks with my stories, nearly lost passion for them at times.

Never in my¬†life¬†have I been like this. I’ve always been so passionate about writing, and I still am, it’s all I want to do with my life. But, life itself is getting in the way.

For a while, I considered not doing NaNoWriMo this year, because I didn’t feel like I had the energy for it.

But, I decided that I’m not going to let life beat me in this. Life is kicking my ass in every single way possible, and I really should just focus on the more traditionally important things in my life.

I’m not going to, though. I’m going to¬†do¬†this. I’m going to¬†smash¬†NaNoWriMo 2017 again, I’m not going to let life beat me in this. NaNoWriMo is¬†my¬†month, and it’s going to be stressful, I’m going to be losing sleep as I hastily write at midnight to catch up with myself. But I’m going to do it.

NaNoWriMo is the month where I’m going to write like never before, I’m going to make up for all my missed days, and get myself back on track.

I’m going to write every day.

I’m going to stop taking breaks.

I’m going to focus on getting on top of my stories.

I’m going to write 50,000 words in a month.

Screw what life throws at me. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo during my A Levels¬†and¬†all three of my university years. This year, I’m at the beginning stages at creating a freelance writing business, while caring full time.

I can do this. I can write 50,000 words in a month. I have done it before, and I will not let myself down this year.

Interruptions, lack of ideas, dwindling passion for stories, I’m going to ignore it all. I’m going to fall in love with my ideas again, not let the pauses stop me, get the ideas flowing again.

NaNoWriMo 2017, I’m coming for you.

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Thoughts On Editing

Thoughts On Editing

Currently, I’m in the process of editing a novel for a friend, before she self-publishes it, and it’s got me thinking about a lot of things people miss in their own writing.

It’s easy to glaze over while editing your own work, and just read what you expect to be on the page, instead of what’s actually on there. God knows I do it enough, and I have a 2:1 degree in Creative and Professional Writing.

So, in the run-up to NaNoWriMo 2017, I thought I’d make a small list of easily missed mistakes, as a bit of a checklist, for those in need of one, including myself.

  1. Commas – the bane of my existence, but a very important grammatical thing. Commas should be placed between two clauses of a sentence, as well as before names.
  2. Full stops Рat the end of every sentence, which is obvious. But should also be inside the quotation marks. The same goes for exclamation and question marks.
  3.  Italics Рwhen quoting something, or naming a book, film, etc, always put it in italics. As for using it for emphasising words in a sentence, do what feels right.
  4. Paragraphs – first of all – USE THEM – don’t write your entire story in one massive clump of text, as that is incredibly intimidating and confusing to read.

Secondly, every time you change topic, have someone speak or move time forward, you need to change paragraph. Click to tweet. 

4. (cont) Especially when someone speaks, don’t hold one whole conversation in a paragraph, it makes for very confusing reading.

5. Capitalisation – start of sentences, names, places and anything else like that needs capitalisation.

6. Said – there are thousands of ways to describe how someone has spoken, and while ‘said’ is the easiest to use, it’s not always best. Click to tweet¬†

Try mixing it up a bit – put a ‘shouted’ in, or a ‘whispered,’ or ‘screamed.’ Or if you have to use ‘said’ use words to describe¬†how¬†they said it, or add detail to what the character is doing¬†while¬†saying it.

7. Tense – make sure you’ve constantly used the same tense. Don’t change halfway through from past into present, etc. If you started in present tense,¬†stick¬†to it.

8. Person – if you start writing in first person, stick to it. Don’t start veering off into second or third person, it will get very confusing, very quickly.

9. Spelling – this should go without saying, but spellcheck your work. Make sure every letter is in the right order, that you’ve used the right ‘there’ and ‘your.’ If you’re stuck, Google it. Google is your friend, and it won’t judge you for asking how to spell ‘guarantee.’

10. Consistency – like with Tense and Person, consistency is key. Your character started out blonde, and hasn’t dyed their hair at all? They should still be blonde by the end. Another has a lisp, and it suddenly goes? May want to look into that.

I know it’s boring to go through and check these things, but it makes life a whole lot easier for yourself and editors alike. Having the basics down is hugely important, it means that your story is readable to others, and means editors and commenters can focus more on your story, not on figuring out just what you’re trying to say.

Got any other tips for me to add to this list? Or things you constantly miss? Leave a comment down below telling me about them, I may make another list like this in the future, or a whole video on the subject.

Until then, happy writing and editing!

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett Review

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What’s better than Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett teaming up to write a book about angels, demons, the Antichrist, and the Apocalypse?

Absolutely nothing!

Recently, I’ve not exactly been in a reading slump – more I’ve read a lot of books in a row that I haven’t cared for or out and out hated. I was severely hoping that this one would change that, and give me something interesting to read.

I was not left disappointed, instead, I was overjoyed.

Good Omens is exactly what you would think a book written by the legends that are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – it’s witty and cleverly written, filled with tiny little details that other authors wouldn’t bother with.

The book itself follows the story of:

Crowley.

‚ÄúAn Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards.‚ÄĚ

Aziraphale.

‚ÄúMany people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a treeful of monkeys on nitrous oxide.‚ÄĚ

The Four Horseman Of The Apocolypse.

‚ÄúYou’re Hell’s Angels, then? What chapter are you from?’

‘REVELATIONS. CHAPTER SIX.‚ÄĚ

And the Antichrist himself.

‚ÄúPotentially evil. Potentially good, too, I suppose. Just this huge powerful potentiality waiting to be shaped.‚ÄĚ

All trying to either stop or start the apocalypse itself, depending what side they’re on.

Crowley, like his Supernatural counterpart, is a demon, on the more morally grey part of the scale. He’s actually friends with Aziraphale, a book-loving angel, and both of them like the world as it is. They like humanity’s degrees of good and bad, eating sushi, and listening to classic music in Crowley’s pristine¬†Bentley (though all cassettes turn into Queen’s Greatest Hits after spending two weeks in a car, without fail).

So, they’re trying to stop the Apocolypse, while the Four Horseman ride to start it, and the actual Antichrist has no idea who he is, or what he is doing. Combining them, and various other characters, including a witch, and witchfinder general, and a little boy called Wensleydale, it’s safe to say that the Apocolypse is going to turn out¬†very¬†interesting!

I loved every second of this book, actually kicked myself for not reading it sooner. It’s a brilliant¬†laugh for anybody who loves apocalyptic fiction. Especially those who like their classic stories with a twist.

 

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Illustrated chapter starting letters!

 

Intelligent, funny, and altogether fantastic. Good Omens is a must read for any fan of the Discworld, Neil Gaiman, or, well,¬†life.¬†This book will make you question ethics, the intelligence of children, whether there’s a point to an all-out war between Heaven and Hell, and just how good a demon can be. All while making you laugh, and whisking you away to Lower Tadfell, (no, seriously) on an adventure that’s hard to forget.

Hell may have all the best composers, and Heaven may have all the best choreographers, but Earth, when this was written, had the best writers, and this book is the culmination of the best writers creating pure magic.