Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 16

Not sure what to put in this check in. Well after putting Shroud down, I've done no reading and spent the latter part of the week trying to put my poetry hat on straight.

I wrote one poem for my course on Thursday night.

Typed up the evaluation of above poem on Saturday.

Wrote and evaluated another poem on Saturday as well as a few twitter poems (which can be found under my favourites if you're curious.)

Also somewhere over the last few days, I can't actually remember when, I added another poem to my submission package and got another 5 to write for that before I can submit.

I also flipped through my course materials and after the current assignment that's due today there's a lot more work involved so the future for Shroud is looking shaky at the moment. And I'm still not reading enough poetry.

Recent posts you may have missed:
My poem Sand Man
My Friday 56 entry
Check in 15

How are the rest of the ROW80ers doing?

How's the crew doing?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Horror Poetry - Sand Man by Katy Bennett

Sand Man
I watch you lying on the beach,
We are alone together with the endless sea.
I stroke your damp hair beneath a moonlit sky.
Your tattoo of a serpent points out to sea,
As if yearning to escape beneath the black waves.
You are perfection. My obsession.
My strength and my weakness.
I sprinkle a handful of sand over your torso.
They sit like crumbs in your navel,
Your gentle rise and fall of breath
Sheds the grains back onto the beach.
I sprinkle more sand over you.
They fall in your hair and cling to the wet strands.
You are mine. I won’t let anyone else have you.
I bury you up to your knees.
I made you, shaped you, gave you a reason to live
But you tried to leave me while the stars watched.
I work tirelessly. Afraid
The sleeping pills will lose their effect.
I kiss your serpent one last time
And then smother it in yellow grains.
I caress your stomach and pecks
Before saying goodbye.
There will be no pain for you,
I hold enough for both of us.
Only your head is visible now,
I remember how your lips moved over my body.
How I drowned in your blue eyes.
Angry, I throw sand at your sleeping lids.
Soon my work is done,
I have said my final goodbye.
I love you, my sand man.

Friday, 25 February 2011

The Friday 56 - The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

Apologies to the Friday 56 participants I'm not getting much time to get round to everyones selections lately
My teaser line this week is from The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Lanyon, my life, my honour, my reason, are all at your mercy; if you fail me tonight, I am lost.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 15

Me been bad this week. Shroud is on hold until my assignments out of the way, I would've tried to at least do a few sentences around studying if it weren't for the fact I realised I was going in the complete wrong direction with two of the characters.

I've decided to write a new prologue to establish the new historical background info and just tweak a line of dialogue and make changes to the latest chapter to bring Shroud back on course. I decided against revising from page one because that would be the kiss of death, I've tried it in the past and it has killed my project. I shall muddle through to the end of the first draft and then start major revisions.

I wish I could be more of a fore planner but until I start writing I really don't know how my ideas will look or where I need to go. It's too much empty space buried in the depths of my unconscious mind to be tangible and the way my brain works it kinda sorts things out for itself way after I've chosen one direction by which point I'm in a rut.

I'm also a write in short bursts writer, few sentences here, few sentences there go off and have a cuppa come back to the computer. I'm still expecting to finish draft 1 by the end of March and then begin the real work of making Shroud all coherent and sparkley.

As for studying, I'm all caught up on the exercises and have written one of the poems needed for the assignment. For the foreseeable future this blog will be acting as my fiction writing learning log. Having this space to let off about ups and downs is helping put things in perspective and my writing would not have got this far without row80.

Once the assignments done, I'm going to pencil in an hour on either Saturday or Sunday to continue the planning of my second novella TCI, this one's a much simpler storyline and more linear so I've got a better grasp on its course but will need much more research before I can begin.

No word count to report since last check in

completed  to do's since last check in:

Read a section of the book I'm currently reading 19/2/11

Do exercise 6 20/2/11
Do exercise 7 20/2/11
Do exercise 8 20/2/11

Visit those who have taken up this writing challenge

Monday, 21 February 2011

Writing Reflections - Where I Lose The Plot

So there I was sitting there thinking about nothing at all when bang I realised where I'm going wrong with Shroud and in a big way. I've had a supporting character playing the wrong relationship with the protagonist. I'm half way through the story, part of me is thinking I'm going to have to start over right from the beginning, part of me is hoping I can just go back change a few paragraphs and bits of dialogue to establish the new pathway and part of me is banging its head against the wall.

Changing the relationship does have benefits:
It better establishes back story and ties 5 characters to the same history.
Motives of protagonists mother will be understandable instead of her appearing as a bitch that no-one is going to care about.
It helps fill in the gaps I've had with the antagonist
And overall will make the story more plausible and can get of some story points I've never really been happy with.

With all that in mind do I do the bare minimum of tweaking to get Shroud on track and cobble through to the end of the first draft or do I roll right back to page one?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 14

13 was indeed my lucky number. I took off with Shroud, so much easier only having the novella to write in the evenings and I'm not burning out.

I meant to study yesterday but couldn't put Shroud down. I stared at my outline and filled in a rough guide for the next 6 chapters and began writing, within two paragraphs I'd rendered my outline useless after putting a character out of action for awhile. I achieved what I needed for that particular chapter but in an unexpected way and one that has caused complications.

More notes have also been added to the edits file. I was pretty much certain that I'd started Shroud too early in the story but a later start will strip out all the stuff I needed to set up before another character was introduced. Other notes included missing location details and areas for more research plus a few inconsistencies I picked up on along the way.

Daily target word count: 100-500
Wed: 371
Thu: 1014
Fri: 758
Sat: 539
Sun: Am studying till about 6pm then switching over to Shroud and from tomorrow I need to concentrate on my assignment but I know Shroud won't let me abandon it.

Completed To Do's

Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 17/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 18/2/11
Read a section of the book I'm currently reading 18/2/11
read a section of the book I'm currently reading 19/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 19/2/11
I'm going to be deleting the character arc to do's from the list, I'm half way through the story and will do those in preparation for the second draft as I'm likely to be restructuring the whole thing anyway. 

Missed my last check in?
And cheer on the team below

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Friday 56 - Houses Without Doors by Peter Straub

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

I'm back to see if I can tantalise you with my current read Houses Without Doors by Peter Straub. It's a short story collection and page 56 is blank so I'm using page 57:

The screams would stop as soon as he touched the bathroom doorknob.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 13

It's check in 13. My lucky number. After burning out on Sunday night, I figured that between writing, studying and the day job I'm working a 7 day week. So I've eased off my schedule temporarily. I gave myself Tuesday night off and did absolutely nothing.

The current plan is to work on Shroud weekday evenings until Saturday, switch over to studying during the weekend and hopefully finish the section 2 exercises so I've got next week to tackle the poetry I need for the assignment. I've still got some rewrites to do from the previous assignment but I'll tackle the remainder of those once assignment 2 is out of the way. I'm not expecting to be working on Shroud next week.

Once the 1st draft of Shroud is complete, I may change to studying full time and get through the planning stages of my other novella ideas until I finish my course and then rewrite Shroud when my schedule's not so intensive.

Shroud itself currently stands at 7500 words and I'm nearing the middle. I expect that I'll be climaxing and wrapping up at 15000. My target was 30k but I'm not too concerned about the short fall as it's severely underwritten, lots of fleshing out and developing to be done. Thanks to everyone at row80 for getting me this far.

Daily word count goal : 100 -500
Sunday: 885
Mon: 406
Tues: 0 I took time out

Completed to do items since last check in:

• Do exercise 5 13/2/11
Study The Art Of Poetry every day done for 13/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 13/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 14/2/11
Read a section of the book I'm currently reading 14/2/11
Read a section of the book I'm currently reading 15/2/11

Read a section of the book I'm currently reading 16/2/11

Visit the gang

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 12

Keep rolling towards the check in everyone. My progress is baby steps at the moment. Last week went from bad to worse after my commute time hit the 2 hour mark (should be around 50mins) one way. I wasn't happy. TCI is complaining that Shrouds getting all the attention, I can't remember the last time I looked at that wip.

Studying is still fits and starts, reading poetry aloud with a power saw for background music isn't happening although I'm finally tackling the rewrites from assignment 1. Got about 4 left to go and wasn't as painful as I thought.

Completed items since last check in:

Read a section of the book I'm currently reading done for 10/2/11
Read a section of the book I'm currently reading done for 11/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 11/2/11
Study The Art Of Poetry every day done for 12/2/11

• Rewrite Sight incorporating feedback and title 12/2/11
• Evaluate rewritten version of Sight 12/2/11

Daily word count on Shroud since last check in:
Wed: 0
Thu: 0
Fri: 131
Sat: 140

Linky's down at the moment, will update this post when it's available again.

Also I need to read some more novella's  and travelogues/diaries so feel free to leave recommendations in the comments. Thanks all.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Book Review - Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Synopsis: A sailor travels up river to collect a mysterious man named Mr Kurtz

Review: I had a hard time getting into this one, it was very slow and the story telling was extremely vague, I kept losing track of which character was on stage, I think partly down to the 1st person narration and I’m bewildered as to way this man Kurtz was so important. I really didn’t enjoy it.

Rating: 2/5

Website Updates

I'm back with another round up of my weekly website updates:

Book reviews updated
Book teasers updated
Writing Reflections updated
and don't forget to read the first issue of Dark Metre before it disappears for good.

Also coming in the next few hours to the blog will be a review of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness.

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Friday 56 - Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

My selection this week is from Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

"Will they attack?" whispered an awed voice.

Come back tomorrow for my review.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 11

The days seem to be going faster than I can keep up with at the moment and despite my out of office plans I still didn't put a dent in my studies, was informed too late to rearrange anything that I had to be out of the house on Monday even though they knew I had plans at home. So generally feeling like I'm starting to fight a losing battle again and wishing I could just pack up and take off somewhere far away from this city.

So I did nothing on Monday, had to force myself to work on Shroud last night although I'm up to chapter 6 now and did sort out the missing surnames for my characters. I have no idea what I'll achieve tonight, just call me little miss demotivated. Going to have to start pulling some late nighters if I'm going to get my assignment done by the end of the month.

Completed tasks from the to do list:

Study The Art Of Poetry every day Done for 6/2/11
Read and critique one poem from The Staying Alive poetry anthologyDone for 6/2/11
• Finish section 1 exercises 6/2/11
• Give Protagonist and her mother a surname 6/2/11
• Give protagonists supporting character a surname 6/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death Done for 6/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death 
Done for 8/2/11

Read a section of the book I'm currently reading done for 9/2/11

Hope everyone's having a better week

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Website Updates

The website has gone through a series of extensive updates.

Issue 1 of Dark Metre is now up at the current issue page. Head over and read some horror poetry.
Writing Reflections updated
Book Teasers updated
Writing Prompts updated
Horror Poets updated

Also made changes to header text, page titles and some general tidying up around the place.

Next scheduled updates planned for the weekend of 12th February.

A Round Of Words - Check-in 10

I seem to have finally found my stride. I'm aiming for 100-500 words a day on Shroud Of Death and I'm finally at the point in the story where things start to get really exciting. Bring on the horror.

I've also finally caved in and started a to do list, knowing how much would be on there I was reluctant to set it all down on paper. The full to do list can be viewed by viewing the links at the top of the blog. I will just report completed tasks in my check in posts otherwise my posts will get too long and scrolly-downy.

Being off work on Friday meant I had a mega productive day even though I had to make a lot of behind the scenes changes to the website. It's turning into a constant work in progress.

I spent most of Saturday preparing the email and online version of Dark Metre. I had teething problems particularly as I had to set the whole online version up by scratch. Now the templates done it should be easier to keep updated in the future. After only getting about two hours sleep due to the wind that's been howling about for the last few days I only managed a token effort on my studying but did manage to get some words down on Shroud.

Daily word count for Shroud between 100-500
Wednesday: 102
Thursday: 0
Friday: 505
Saturday: 324

I also managed to fill in one of the worksheets from The Nighttime Novelist for TCI

Completed tasks:
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death - Done for 4/2/11
• Finish addressing assignment 1 feedback Completed 4/2/11
First worksheet from The Nighttime Novelist filled in for TCI 4/2/11
Read a section of the book I'm currently reading 4/2/11
• TItle Touch 5/2/11
Study The Art Of Poetry every day Done for 5/2/11
Write between 100 - 500 words a day on Shroud Of Death Done for 5/2/11

Hope everyone is having a great ROW80
Other posts you may be interested in
A Round Up Of January 2011 - The Journey So Far
Check In 9

The rest of the gang

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Friday 56 - Momento Mori by Angeline Hawkes-Craig

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

Its the first Friday 56 of February, this weeks selection is from the short story collection Momento Mori by Angelina Hawkes-Craig. The teaser line comes from the short story "Death."

Richard slumped forward against the stone sill of the open window, one hand resting on the shutter, one hand supporting himself against the sill.

Click here to find out more on the publishers website

A round up of January 2011 - The Journey So Far

Throughout January:

4315 words written on my Novella Shroud Of Death
3120 words written on Combined projects which include Blog Posts, poetry, and freewriting.
Total word count for January stands at 7435 and averages 239 words a day. overall January has been my most productive month for writing in the last 3 years.

Last April, I came back to writing after a long hiatus and I had pretty much turned my back on fiction deciding to concentrate on poetry. I enrolled on a degree level home study course with the OCA during the summer of last year and for various reasons I was late starting the course and finally handed my first assignment in in December.

In November, I took part in the November poem a day chapbook challenge hosted at Poetic Asides to get into the habit of writing poetry on a daily basis which also helped to delay my course. But no problem I could concentrate fully on my course in December. But somewhere towards the end of November when the creative gears had been reawakened I began to be pulled back to the idea for my first failed attempt at Nanowrimo which was Shroud Of Death.

Still trying to get into a regular study pattern my brain was proving tricky to coax into any form of habit and generally rebells against anything it believes to be a routine, I heard about the A Round Of Words In 80 Days challenge. It was Nanowrimo without the madness and in theory I could juggle studying with writing Shroud. It's taken me a month to learn to juggle the two and I'm behind on my course again. But I think February will be the month I find a happy balance between the two.

I'm getting older and have two years in which to indulge in courses before I seriously start planning my relocation out of London. It's time to leave the city and my life's finally heading down a path I'm happy with.

Index Of Januarys Blog posts

A Round Of Words In 80 Days

1/1/11 - Starting 2011 with A Round Of Words In 80 Days In which I set my initial goals.

3/1/11 Day 1 In which the challenge begins, and I resurrect Shroud Of Death and discuss how I undertake my initial planning.

4/1/11 - Day 2 In which I'm still on target.

5/1/11 - Check In 1 - In which I'm still on target

9/1/11 - Check In 2 - In which I fall behind perhaps the routine issue rears its ugly head and I start to realise how out of touch I've become from writing.

12/1/11 - Check in 3 - in which I change my goals for the first time and problems start occurring with my characters.

16/1/11 - Check In 4 - my first big stall but I get moving again. More problems with the characters this time.

19/1/11 - Check In 5 - in which I battle the internal editor and overthinking rules. Second halt in progress.

23/1/11 - Check In 6 - In which I beat myself up and revise my goals again and a second novella idea is born.

26/1/11 - Check In 7 - In which Shroud of Death daunts me and gets abandoned in favour of TCI and I realise I'm so far behind on my studies that I arrange time out of the office (which I'm wasting part of by writing this blog post) and I review my original goals for 2011 and get back on the horse.

30/1/11 - Check In 8 - Shroud Of Death rises like a phoenix from the ashes. I change my approach and my goals.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A Round Of Words - Check-in 9

Wow, February already. One month down and congratulations to everyone for still going.

In recent days I've come to the conclusion that 100 words a day isn't enough productivity and I'd be a lot happier and gelling more with the story if I could hit 500 a day. After realising I needed to change gears after my last check in with regards to my studies they went out the window. I also remembered I have a ton of course work stuff to do before I can get to the stage of writing the poems and Shroud is proving stubborn and won't be put down.

The days are getting brighter and I seem to have more time on my hands so I am now going to be studying daily and working on Shroud daily (well, nightly actually.) One day I might get to a happy point where I'm not switching and changing my mind so much but that's just me.

After tomorrow I will have 4 whole days to play some serious catch up on my course and Shroud. I also sat down and wrote out the following To Do list and seeing all those tasks means no more slacking for at least a month.

Daily To Do’s
In order of importance
  1. Analyse/address feedback on 1st Assignment (Update - Half done 2 sections to address.)
  2. Continue writing Shroud of Death min 100 words a day
  3. Read more from Staying Alive and analyse poems read
  4. Finish reading Heart of Darkness and review
General To Do’s 
To be done as and when
1)Write 10 poems for a publication
2) rewrite 10 poems for a publication
3) Submit 10 poems to a publication when ready
4)Finish planning of TCI in conjunction with The Nighttime novelist
5) Begin research for TCI
6) Begin Character sheets for TCI
Study To Do’s
To replace daily to do’s as they are completed
  1. Finish section 1 exercises
  2. Rewrite 1st assignment in response to tutor feedback and evaluate
  3. Finish section 2 exercises
  4. Write 10 poems for Assignment 2 and evaluate
  5. Rewrite a selection from the 10 poems and evaluate
  6. Submit assignment 2 by 27th Feb
I feel slightly relieved that 365and me's list is/was longer than mine and I don't have kids to worry about. I may delete the general to do's or I may keep them for reference in case I do find a moment where I can work on them. I may do a round up of January type post tomorrow.

I've also noticed that if I keep reading I keep writing so lunch breaks are designated my reading period.
I've added 591 words to Shroud since my last check in.

Anyway, onwards and onwards.