A BIT OF THIS, A BIT OF THAT.

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted and after a really productive, and longer, weekend, I thought I’d post a little something.

Since the last update, I’ve finished the final draft of my novel and am pleased to say that I’m happy with it. Of course, I’m sure there are things that could be improved or changed, yet this is the first time I’ve been able to look at my work, once complete, and feel content with what I’ve written.

I’ll be honest, I did have a little blip of wallowing in the typical ‘I’m never going to be a published author, my content is awful and let’s just burn the whole thing and forget it’, but that’s normal right?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve sent the final draft back out to my lovely beta readers who wanted to see the changes that had been made. A HUGE thank you to Camilla and Bec who are not only reading it, but have sent me wonderful messages to say how they’re enjoying it even more this time around. It’s truly made me feel as though the long nights and the constant questioning worth it, so thank you.

That brings us to this week. I made a list of tasks for this weekend to complete, all items that I honestly didn’t think I would be able to tick off, yet I have and smashed them. Yay!

Myself and my other half have a gaming podcast called The Vault (the link to which you can find below, if you’re interested), a place where we chat about the games and video game movies we have and haven’t liked so much.

My goal this week was to record at least two episodes with him, get them edited and queued – we’ve actually smashed four, I’ve edited all of them and they’re all ready to go on their upload dates. I’m absolutely thrilled that I’ve managed to get a lot of podcast work done, especially as we’re going away for a couple of weeks and were worrying about uploads etc.

I don’t really know what the point of this post was; I think I was simply feeling quite cheery with the progress with the novel, a few Bubblegum Stitches xo business moves (my cross stitching venture, link to that also below!) and the podcast side of things.

I think it’s easy to be negative and easy to also give ourselves a hard time at any given moment. Perhaps the purpose of this was to document something that I’ve felt proud of achieving this weekend. I know these bursts of productivity aren’t always apparent (see previous blogs to back this up!), yet it’s nice to know that it can happen occasionally.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend, until next time, whenever that may be.

 

The Vault Gaming Podcast – Apple Podcasts

The Vault Gaming Podcast – Anchor.fm

The Vault Gaming Podcast – Spotify

Bubblegum Stitches xo – Instagram

@BGstitchesxo on Twitter

Bubblegum Stitches xo on Facebook

THE FINAL (I HOPE) DRAFT.

Yeah, I know, I’ve said this a lot of times. Yet as I sit and type this, whilst listening to the same Tom Misch track for the past three hours (yes, this is also something I do), I can say that I have FINISHED.

With the constructive comments I’ve taken on board from my lovely beta readers and myself, I honestly feel that this story has evolved so much and to the point where I feel I cannot take it any further. Even though it has taken me four attempts and eleven years to get this story to said point, I can finally say I feel happy with how it has turned out.

I know I will have another read through and a grammar and spell check ahead of me, yet as far as content goes – I’m DONE.

As I continue to write, I know I will never be one hundred percent satisfied with any project I complete, yet comparing this work to my previous, my writing style has changed and I couldn’t be happier about it.

This journey has been a tough one and by no means is it over yet, it’s quite realistically the beginning in terms of where to go next. However, I’m pleased with the fact that I can say that as of today, this story is complete.

I’m positive that there will be more posts regarding the next phase of this novel, but this evening I wanted to document this feeling of elation. This process hasn’t been easy, yet it has been so worth it.

Thank you to everyone who has devoted their precious time and spent theirs with my characters and their world, I’m forever grateful – especially as some of you want to walk the streets with them once again. To everyone I have bored with my woes of writing this, thank you for lending me your ears.

Anyway, I shall stop this Academy Award speech and tidy up my reams of paper and smattering of pens. To anyone who reads this, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend and may the week ahead bring you lots of smiles, laughs and donuts. And maybe a Pizza. Or a Curry. ‘Cause they’re all bloody delicious.

V.

BLAH.

Oh blimey, have I hit a brick wall with my final edit! I made the mistake of giving myself a weekend off, and now even the thought of getting back into the swing of things is giving me the proverbial ‘willies’.

Last night I got my folder and my notebook out, ready to go. As soon as I opened it, I felt the black cloud descend. So I gave up before beginning and slipped away as I heard the PS4 shout my name.

I hate feeling almost fearful of getting started again; writing brings me such joy, but also brings me such frustration.

There’s a huge part of me that honestly feels as though it will all be worth it in the end. I really hope it is.

Tonight I’m going to do some diary planning and not overwhelm myself with work.

We’ll see. Today’s a new day and all that jazz. Hope it’s a good one, wherever you are.

V.

Slight Progress.

Well I didn’t think I’d be ringing in the New Year with yet another post, but here we are! As I said in my previous tangent, I wanted to blog a little bit more and by-heck I’m doing just that.

I’ve decided that this edit that I’ve been planning out today will be my final revision. After this, I’ll read through and only change typos. If I want to make any major changes, I’ll have to convince myself not to.

At twenty-seven, I know myself well enough to know that I’ll procrastinate the hell out of this manuscript and find any minute details to change to prolong getting out of my comfort zone. Enough is enough.

A tweet from my favourite author, B.A Paris, gave me a boost I needed. It read:-

For all writers sitting on a manuscript – 5 years ago today, at the start of a new year, I took courage in my hands and sent the ms of Behind Closed Doors to the top five literary agencies. And it’s been an unbelievable, amazing journey ever since. So get yours out there!

Paris writes such incredible thrillers, all three of hers have been such wonderful reads; she’s made me want to take a peek over the fence into writing suspense. But come on, Pheasey – let’s finish this one first, hey?!

Even though I’ve always written romance, that little tweet gave me a little glimmer of hope on the horizon that the work I’m doing may not, hopefully, be all for nothing one day. I’ve just purchased the Writers’ & Artists Handbook 2019 edition, which I cannot wait to flick through.

With re-reading some beta reader feedback and writing down some key points I’d like to cover myself, I’d say the progress I’ve made with planning today hasn’t been too bad. Obviously, it would help if I pulled myself away from the socials far more, yet that’s a telling-off for another post.

Even with that being said, I’m glad to feel that buzz for my novel back again; that thrill of weaving another thread into the story in hope to enrich the reader’s experience, is one I do thoroughly enjoy. Knowing that I had another edit in front of me had filled me with fear and reluctance, yet it’s something I’ve managed to embrace over the past few days.

I know that, once again, it’s not going to be a quick process, especially with the additions I’m making. I’m sure most writers do, yet I wish I could read my novel through another’s eyes as if I hadn’t written it myself. To not be able to anticipate what was ahead within those future pages would be a thrill.

As usual, I’ve been very lucky to have been able to lean on my friends again. Thank you to Bec, Camilla, Daryl and Gabriella for letting me ramble about all things writing, my indecisiveness and my characters for the past couple of days. You’ve kept me level-headed! And, um, sorry for the long texts.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

2019 – Let’s ‘av ya.

                Hello again, you lovely lot. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful festive period! It’s the second day into January 2019 and I’ve got a cold; I’ve managed to dodge it like a scene from The Matrix thus far, but it has arrived. Yet this post isn’t just about the sniffles, it’s another one about my writing process.

                As we’re kicking off the New Year and everyone has their 2019 goals at the forefront of their minds, I’m certainly adding to the majority. I’ve decided, mood permitting, that I’m going to dedicate a few more posts to writing about writing, specifically the journey I’m taking myself on this year all in the hope of starting the publishing process.

                I’m aware of just how out of my depth I truly am; I’ve just started reading a ‘Teach Yourself’ book, A Guide To Getting Yourself Published. Hopefully, it’ll work.

                As stated in another post from a few months ago, I know it’s by no means going to be plain sailing, I simply hope I can keep my chin up and push through whatever stands in my way – which will mostly be my own negative thoughts.

                I’ve just finished another draft, my third one to be precise, and I’m thinking of yet another thing to add and certain words to revise. I already know I’ve overused the words ‘was, feelings and thoughts’, so a cull on those would be a good start.

                The question I googled this morning was ‘how do I know when to stop editing my novel?’. Yes, I googled it. It’s got the answer for everything else on there, so I thought I’d give it a shot. The answered were varied; a common theme I’d found was like a line from a Rom-Com:-

                “When you know, you know.”

                Parts of me do feel that I am finished with my manuscript; of course, I honestly think you’d struggle to find a writer, accomplished or budding, who is one hundred percent happy with every single word they’ve written. However, I can’t help but feel as though if I added the idea I’m toying with now, it would elevate the story that much more.

                I’m simply kicking myself yet again as I wish I’d thought of that whilst doing this latest edit, rather than finishing it and then having an epiphany of a better revision.

                When I’m honest with myself, I know I’m scared of the next part of the process. The thought of sending my manuscript off to a potential agent fills me with fear. It’s not necessarily the rejection that scares me, it’s the thought of the complete unknown – hence why I’m reading this book.

                My new ideas I’d like to incorporate are ones that I feel would add value to my novel, yet I can’t help but think that it may be another way to procrastinate a little more. If I’m working on it that means that I still have full control of it all. If it hasn’t left my sent folder or my palms, its contents aren’t up for discussion.

                Recently, a good pal, Daryl Baxter, invited me onto his latest Podcast, where we had a wonderful chat about games and the topic of writing came up. I honestly felt it did me the world of good in terms of talking about my novel and my thoughts on my process. Thanks for that, DB.

                I’ve always felt that writing has been extremely personal. With the want to become a full-time writer, I need to learn to be open and confident in talking about my work and not shy away from conversations of my characters and the tales I have managed to weave.

                So, I guess that’s a new part of what I want to do on here. Whether one person or one hundred read this post or not, I write these in hope that they will help another budding author who may be facing the same things as I am right now.

                Reflecting on last year ever so slightly, I have accomplished what I’d wanted to for many years and gotten the story written; now it’s about the real fine-tuning and hoping to pop into Asda and see my name and title smiling at me whilst doing a big-shop.

                It’s been wonderful to reach out to friends such as Daryl and Bec, whom I’ve been lucky to interact with and we’ve managed to share our thoughts of when things with a pen and paper are going great and no so great. You’ve both been ace, as per – thanks again.

                We’re only on page two of three-sixty-five; whatever you all may have planned for this year, I truly hope you accomplish whatever you set out to do. It’s early, we’ve got this!

                Anyway, I’m off to blow me nose.

                Ta-ra.

Daryl Baxter is a freelance writer, click the links below to check out his portfolio, listen to The Outpost Show or view his website for contact information and updates.

Podcast:- https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-outpost-show/id1133056888?mt=2

Site:- http://darylbaxter.com/

Found.

There were no words; my apartment was wrapped with silence. Nothing needed to be said. I stared at him as we lay covered only with sheets, taking in his exquisite features as candlelight bounced around us.

I ran my finger along his jawline, always surprised that I never drew blood with the sharpness that it exhibited. He caught my palm and kissed my finger tip, smiling at my repeated motion. I had a habit of doing that; I enjoyed his response. Especially as his tremendous eyes shimmered at me every single time I did it.

We were a couple of misfits. I guess we’d just got lucky in finding each other.

I worked at the city library; it was vast, both filled with truths and weaved with fictional tales. It was the only place I’d somewhat felt comfortable in, a place I could work and not feel so claustrophobic with bodies. The rare occasion that there were a few too many people, I could slip down aisle after aisle and when asked, I could easily lie and say that I was re-alphabetising.

There was an instance where I’d felt stifled and escaped, only to find him standing there, softly thumbing through a Tolstoy. I’d been far too taken aback to recall which of his works it was.

It felt instantaneous between us; I found him mesmerising to look at, I still had. We stood in silence, drinking one another in. He didn’t shift from my gaze, nor was he perturbed about my intrigue towards him.

The introductions took us a moment to get out. I felt uncomfortable in the simplest walks of life, let alone when I’d so openly studied a stranger for what felt as if hours had passed. Taking in his rich, sapphire eyes had dumbfounded me; I’d never seen such beauty in a man before.

He held out his hand once he’d introduced himself awkwardly, I felt a pull of reluctance, but grabbed it. An alien feat for myself as I rarely felt okay with being within two feet of someone, let alone even the gentlest of touches. That day, something was different.

For the next few weeks he came in every day as I worked, willingly helping me carry heavy encyclopaedias and towers of books, all to simply go back to their rightful homes. We talked about our favourite books and meandered through the aisles with comfortable silences.

A lot of ground was still to cover, yet I looked at him knowing that I could tell him my truths, my hang ups and anxieties.

We’d plucked up the courage to exchange numbers; I guess we’d grown tired of idly conversing over hardbacks. The same evening, my cell rang.

‘Uh hi,’ he paused. ‘It’s me.’ I knew from caller ID, but I would have known that deceptively deep voice from that sweet face, anywhere.

‘Hi,’ I smiled, waiting for more to follow.

‘I know it’s late, but do you want to grab a coffee or something?’

                I knew it had taken him a lot to ask me that. Of course, I said yes; even past one in the morning. I remembered being up thinking about him anyway.

We slovenly walked around my neighbourhood, Styrofoam cups in hand, thumping at one another’s walls with lump hammers, hearing the bricks and mortar crumble with each step and utterance made. We kissed that same night, not regretting a typically ‘stupid’ decision thereafter as we fumbled to my apartment.

I smiled back in the present, revisiting those still-fresh memories whilst looking at the main content, a work of art. He captivated me.

‘What?’ He smiled, his voice breaking through an intended whisper.

‘Nothing.’

He combatted my loneliness, my sadness and my vulnerability. Of course, I wasn’t fixed, yet he’d corked the things that affected me the most. The solitude most welcomed, I loathed. The buzz of silence was deafening to me, the thrum of a brain with constant whirrs of negativity now evaporated as I looked at him.

We were misfits to society. We were the people that made others feel uncomfortable for not slotting into their idea of acceptable.

We fit, however. We’d found the pieces that fit.

 

#ThursdayThoughts

I’m currently sat in the ‘beta reader’ phase of the editing process. I’m sat, admittedly, impatiently waiting for a few lovely people to hand me back a hefty questionnaire regarding said novel. I must say a massive thank you to those who have already read this next project and the ones who are in the process, I couldn’t fully put into words how grateful I am to you for trusting me with your precious time.

As the years have ticked by, I can honestly say that I have been able to handle criticism, albeit constructively, far better than in the past. I put that down to ‘City Streets’ being my first literary babies that I didn’t want to grow up, I wanted my litter to remain held only by my hands and unscathed as a Mother would want.

Maturing, I have released the parental grip and I’m letting my third flourish in with the other ‘children’, I’m throwing it out there, letting it get a little rough around the edges and waiting for the letter to come back and tell me that with a bit of polishing, my now toddler could be a fine figure of a novel as it continues to grow.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is how self-critical I can be at times; and yes, I know this happens in all walks of life and not just with writers. This evening, I have scolded myself through poor formatting more than anything else. However, that is through the delights of skim reading and kicking one’s self at the realisation that your beta readers have noticed this and been nice enough to simply focus on the content rather than silly placement errors.

Before I let myself get ravaged by my own telling’s-off, I allowed myself to bathe in celebration alone for a little while. I let a stupid, wide smile wash across my tired face in the elation that the work I’d been battling with for eleven years was finally completed, back in June.

I knew in that moment that it wasn’t perfect; it’s not at this moment and time, nor will it ever be, nothing ever is. But I let myself have that. I sat and realised that I’d managed to create another body of work that I couldn’t believe had surfaced from the depths of my mind. I smiled again as I truly felt proud of what I’d managed to accomplish, knowing I’d fought with myself a lot over the past year or so.

I honestly believe that it is more than acceptable for you to give yourself a congratulatory moment. To some, it may appear conceited, yet to anyone who has held a goal for years, I do think you should allow yourself a little time to revel in what you have created or achieved. If you can’t, my question to you is ‘why are you doing it in the first place?’.

As reward, I gave myself a couple of months off, using a holiday to edit my first draft. In those eight weeks prior, I left my characters engraved in those pages and weaved with errors. I didn’t want to even think about anything to do with it for a while. I wanted to come back to that draft with fresh eyes and a sharp mind of what to correct and change.

I wish I could view it from a reader’s perspective, however. I wish I could open that manuscript and not have a clue about what lay inside, I wish I didn’t know my characters inside out and tell myself ‘No, Samantha would never do that.’

It’s a physical impossibility. I just hope that someone someday gets the same joy as I do from reading a really good novel, as they read mine. I hope a reader gasps in shock as they read a twist, I hope they smile as they believe their predictions are about to come true, only to turn the page with a frown as their assumptions were wrong.

In order to do that, I need to follow the next steps.  Another edit and a print out – unconventional for most writers, but I find I connect more to the work if it’s physically on paper in front of me. That’s the main reason as to why I scrawl every word down first and type it all out when I’m done. A pain-staking process, but my process all the same.

After I’ve done that again, I really feel clueless as to where to go from here. I would like to go for a professional edit, which would be the next logical step. But there’s the small voice in my mind that tells me that every single letter will be wrong and it will read like a shaken dictionary once it reaches their palms.

Then after that – another edit? Send it straight out to anyone in the industry with a pulse? I have no idea. I have tonnes of books on this kind of thing, yet even opening the page to find out the answer genuinely terrifies me, and that is the honest truth.

This is the part when I start to feel overwhelmed and try to sieve the bad ideas through my brain, all in hope that a good one will remain so I can build on it and weave a new tale. All in the while of me shaking it violently until all the grains are dropping through, I know in my marrow that this current story is one I would love to see smiling at back at me as I walk into a bookshop, and also one I know I should see through until the bitter end.

Surprisingly enough, I don’t think this novel is utter shit; however I do go through the motions with this, call it another ‘process’ of mine. I hold ‘City Streets’ close to my heart, yet I know I still have one more novel to finish for that trilogy to be completed. Thank you to everyone who has read that little labour of love, I really appreciate your support and kind comments.

For the time being, I need to eat, sleep and breathe this latest work. It’s usually a topic that crosses my mind for the majority of every day, yet sitting down and being alone with it can cause vulnerability, especially when it is complete.

I couldn’t honestly tell you what the purpose of this post was; I think I wanted to write something, pulled out my folder containing the latest edit, made some notes and was filled with some of the strains I’ve written about above.

A week off alone with this book would do me a lot of favours, somewhere quiet and away from distractions – yet I’m rather a good procrastinator, I know I’d find a way.

I stare at the folder with a mixture of emotions.

I stare at it knowing it’s the one thing I want most in the world and the one thing I’m the most terrified of; and again, that’s the honest truth.