Monday, November 30, 2009


I thought I would leave you in suspense before telling you how I got on last week. Did I meet my target? As you must have gathered from the title of this post - almost.

I treated Thursday as if writing was my full time profession. I got up at 8:00 (the beauty of a few more hours in bed), got myself sorted and began writing at 9:00. By 10:00 I had knocked out 1,000 words. It felt good, really good in fact. I paused for a cup of tea and walked the dog and by 10:30 I was back at my desk. The progress in this section was a little slower. I found my mind wondering a little bit more and myself day-dreaming a bit. Still by 12:30 I had produced another 1,600 words. Gave myself another half hour break before knocking out another 300 words. I then met my wife for lunch.

I was full of optimism, the mornings session had produced 2,900 words. I was going to meet the 4,000 word target without a problem. Then the strangest thing happened. I came back from lunch and sat at my desk and tried to write. I just couldn't do it. I didn't have writer's block as I knew what I wanted to write but my brain just wouldn't let me proceed. I found myself writing a sentence, deleting it and then wording it differently, then doing the same thing for almost an hour. I realised then, that my brain was saturated. It had enough and just simply didn't want to write anymore.

I decided to call it a day. Slightly disappointed that I didn't reach my 100,000 target I vowed to complete it before 1st December - the weekend is family time so this left Friday and Monday. On Friday I did manage to sneek in another 400 words.

So here I am Monday morning, I aim to get the 700 words written today just to meet that landmark.

My new target is to get the first draft finished before Christmas. I am not kidding myself, I know how hectic life is going to be in the coming weeks but still, this is my aim. I have six chapters left. On average I have written a chapter a week, so already I am severely up against it. It is going to be a challenge but I am determined. One of those chapters is basically written in note form and half of another one is as well, so I think with a bit of luck it is very doable. 25 days until Christmas, will update you soon.

Word count 99,400 Arrrrggh!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Breaking the rules

I am cheating, this post is not about my book in any way (Don't worry I will still be posting about my progress later tonight).

I just wanted to post about the things we do to buy Christmas presents. Is there anything as embarassing as visiting the "build a bear workshop?" If there is, I am yet to experience it. For those of you that don't know, you have to go through the whole procress of building a bear from scratch - well you have the outer shell already built for you.

You then choose a personal message to put in the bear so that when your loved one squeezes the bear it plays. Naturally, in order to do this, I take myself off to a quiet corner in the shop and record a nice little tune that my niece will like. So far so good.

However, you then have to take the bear to a saleswoman to be stuffed. I am no fuddy-duddy but what follows is how I spent my time in the building a bear shop. You can decide yourself if it is embarassing or not.

Saleswoman: Have you recorded your message.
Me: Yes thanks.
SW: Can I listen?
Me: I'd rather you didn't.
SW: We have to.
ME: Really?
SW: Just to make sure you have done it right.
ME: It is quite simple and I checked it.
SW: Let's just make sure (She presses the button and my far from angelic voice reverberates around the shop. Other shoppers snigger). Awesome (said in a distinctive American drawl). Now let's stuff your bear. (We walk over to the stuffing machine). Put your foot on the pedal.
Me: Sorry?
SW: The pedal, you want to bring your bear to life don't you?
ME: O.k. (I step on the pedal and the machine begins stuffing my bear or "bringing it to life")
SW: Awesome. Now select a heart (she points to a collection of stuffed hearts).
ME: It's ok. If it is going inside the bear she won't see it.
SW: Your bear needs a heart to survive.
Me: Really? (Said very unconvincing).
SW: Of course (I select a heart). Awesome. Now kiss the heart and make a wish.
Me: Done (I say just handing her a heart).
SW: You didn't kiss it. (I kiss it quickly as the queue forms behind me). What did you wish for.
Me: For the world to swallow me up.
SW: Awesome.
Me: Are you American?
SW: No I am from Addiscombe. Why?
Me: Just wondering.
SW: What is your bear called?
Me: He hasn't got a name yet. (She hesitates and waits patiently for me to answer). Wolfie?
SWW: Awesome.

I could continue but I will let you decide....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sick, ill, poorly.

The past week has been a complete and utter write off for me (pun intended - although I only just recognised it as a pun, it is not as if I have been waiting to use it all week or anything). My high hopes of reaching 100,000 words have taken a severe pummeling.

Instead, up until Monday, I managed a pitiful 800 words. Yep, you heard correctly, 800 measely words. I was either too ill to write, or just not in the mood because I was felling sorry for myself. Yes, I had a man-cold, so sue me.

Each time I sat down to write, my head was pounding and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. On Monday, I finally sorted myself out, I was feeling rough but forced myself to read through the last couple of chapters relating to a character I was about to write about. This is a technique I use to ensure I have as much consistency as possible. What I read was a pleasant surprise. The chapters I had written were very good, the story flew along, the prose elegant and the dialogue rang true. Encouraged, I sat down and rattled off 1,200 words.

Tuesday I sat down and did the same thing. Again my head felt like it was inside a cement mixer, but I forced myself to read the last two chapters conerning the character I wished to write about. This time my reaction couldn't have been more opposite. I hated the chapters! There were some saving graces but overall, I couldn't get my mind around what I was thinking when I wrote them. I wanted to delete them instantly. For one horrible I scene I tried to be twee by giving a nod to another author. What was I thinking? This was my first book, why was I even attempting to do something as clever as that? Horrible, horrible, horrible. I was so disheartened, I could not bring myself to write. I shut down the computer and distracted myself.

Later, I walked the dog and found a way to begin the chapter I wanted to write. Today (Wednesday), I began that chapter. I've only done 300 words but the seed is there. If you are wondering why I am not continuing with that and writing my blog instead, it is because, I ran out of lunch break. Tonight, it is just me and the little guy, (get your mind out of the gutter folks), and the rate he is crawling around at the moment, there is virtually zero chance of me writing anymore.

So that brings me on to tomorrow. The day I had set aside to ensure I achieved my target. 4,000 words in a day is an enormous ask for me, I don't even pretend I will achieve it (and sustain a semblance of quality), but what I do intend to do is to just indulge myself. I will pretend that I am a best selling author and behave as such. I will conduct my day as if writing was my full time job.

I will report back on Friday and tell you how I did.

Word count: 96,000

Monday, November 16, 2009

Deadline Looms!

Okay, maybe the title is a bit too dramatic, since it is a self-imposed deadline. However, I want to stick to it, and I am getting worried that I might not.

Last week, was much like the week before. Hardly any time to write and when I did I really had to force myself. Looking back, I still managed to complete 4,000 words, which isn't too bad. It was the quality of the material that I am concerned about, which is strange considering all the positive reports I have been receiving for my flash fiction piece.

I think I am just experiencing an overwhelming feeling that my momentum is flagging and the story is slipping away from me. Again, this is strange as my desire to finish the story has never been stronger, and the fact that I now have an outline through to the end is great.

Next week I have actually put one whole day aside to get the whole project back on track. Until then I have set myself the target of reaching the fabled 100,000 words. I am on 94,000 at the moment, so it should be achievable.....should be!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Failed already!!

Alright, alright, I know I failed to stick to my self imposed deadline already. I didn't post on Friday and I don't have a real good reason for it either. I just didn't o.k.

To be honest, last week (as shrewdly predicted by yours truly), was one to forget. I hardly had any time to myself and trying to make time just didn't happen. However, on the positive side of things I did manage to rattle off 3,000 words. During these 3,000 words I made a bold decision. I completely changed one of the main characters. It was a hard decision because I loved the character I originally created. In terms of the consistency and all round motives of the character though I had to change him.

So much of last week, I spent procrastinating about the new character and I would go so far as to say, I love him. It makes so much more sense for the story and frees me up to do so much more with the character.

The new character has also given me some much needed impetutus to finish the novel. I have to confess, following last week and the fact that the story needs concluding and bringing together, I am starting to despair a bit as to when I am going to find the time to complete the story. Where as before, I could just sit and write a scene, now I need to make sure timeline wise and geographically all the characters are where they should be. I could really do with just taking myself away some where for a week and getting the bulk of the ending done, but that is not going to happen.

Another thing that is spurring me on is the critiques I am getting for the flash fiction piece I wrote. I have had about 10 reviews come back so far, and 9 of them have been positive. Of those 9 most have stated how much they really liked the story. It has not only encouraged me to carry on, but I have also decided to submit this piece to a magazine once I have finished Ritual.

Target words for this week: No target this week, my aim is to get my head right for the final push.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A torrid week

Well this is the first of my regular Monday posts, where I discuss what I hope and intend to produce by the end of the week. Unfortunately, I couldn't be less optimistic if I tried. Normally, I will try and write 5,000 words a week but this week I will be happy with 3,000.

The reasons for this are threefold:

1) There are a couple of really meaty HR issues at work which I have to tackle this week, appeal hearings etc. As a Manager it is horrible work and consumes so much time as you have to do battle with the regulations etc so that you don't find yourself in a tribunal. Not only does this mean long hours, but it is also mentally exhausting.

2) My lovely wife returns to work this week after a year off (more if you include her illness (she has Addision's by the way - thanks for asking)). This means that she will be working most evenings, leaving me with baby Jo and, thanks to the fireworks, a scared out of his wits dog. Again this = not much time for writing.

3) I submitted a flash piece of fiction to It was sometihng that just popped into my head and I wrote it all in one session. I didn't think about it and tomorrow it goes under review. Great, I hear you say, well yes it is, but it means that I have to get my critique ratio up tonight. I am three behind so better stop typing this.

On second thoughts, maybe 2,000 is more realistic!!