Friday, 19 September 2014

The Writing Lifestyle - The Process

Ah, The Process. It takes time to develop it, but once you have what works for you, you have your process. And remember this: your way of writing is totally fine. Never ever feel like because someone writes another way, your way is wrong.

There is no such thing as a "Right" way to write.

I do get rather upset when other writers put down the choices of others. Writing in a coffee shop does not make me a bad writer. Pantsing rather than plotting does not mean my books are awful. Not sticking to a rigid timetable doesn't mean I lack dedication.  My way is my way, and it works for me. It probably doesn't work for the majority of others, and that's fine! Share your process - I love learning how other people work, it's fascinating - but never shame someone else for theirs. Support each other. We're all different, but we're all writers, and we create our books in our own ways.

*ahem*

*steps off soapbox*

Opinions: I Have Many

My process has changed over the past few years, especially since I began this blog, but the basics have always been there. I've never been a plotter. I cannot follow an outline. I might have a vague idea where I'm going in my mind, but getting there is part of the adventure.

I used to write my first drafts completely out of order. Don't do that anymore. I used to handwrite first drafts. Don't do that either. I never used to keep notes, but I certainly do now.

Oh, and I never used to edit. "That's it, written! How can it not already be perfect?" Well, thank goodness that was me as a teenager. Writing two huge dissertations for my final year at university cured me of that ;)

Basically, my process boils down to this:

Laptop
Music (sooooo much music)
Notebook (for editing notes and for writing scenes when I'm out and about)
Making it up as I go along (PANTSER FOREVER!!!!!!!)
LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF EDITING OMG SO MUCH EDITING
Tea. Oooooh, so much tea.
Sticker chart! (That's new)
Rewards for goals (cupcakes ^_^)

So, how does your process work?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Editing Prep

Oh yes, the time to edit another book is very nearly upon me. Magical Girl!Story (I will come up with an actual title soon, heheheheheheeee ^^;;;;) is the second draft of the year for me, but it's the first I've wanted to do anything with, as the first book I finished this year, Violin!Story, is really and truly just for me.

First and foremost, I had to print off the actual MS:

I've quite literally boxed my MS up while I take a short break. I'm going to another writer's retreat at the end of the month, and that's when I want to get started.


And I've gathered various tools to join the MS in the box. The good thing about editing is the more you do it, the easier it'll be to develop your method of doing it.

So excited to bust out my Work in Process folder again! :D

I need to rearrange my desk, too. Not entirely sure if my current set up will work, but we'll see. It's definitely a tighter squeeze now I have an external monitor and a keyboard... I'll have to discover what works best :)

So, how do you prepare for editing? Do you take time off or do you dive right in? Have you go specific tools or is it different every time? Any tips on how to squeeze editing space onto an already overloaded desk?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hi everyone! It's time for What's Up Wednesday, Erin and Jaime's fantastic bloghop! :D

Still can't change the header on mine yet. Autumn has not arrived here in my part of the world. Summer is clinging on!

What I'm Reading

Busy week for reading! Let's see. I finished Fever Crumb and really enjoyed it. I will be picking up the rest of the series once my TBR pile has shrunk some more. After that I read another long serving member of said pile, The Railway Viaduct, a fun historical crime novel. Then I read, yes, another book I've owned for years, The Paladin Prophecy. Sadly, I subsequently had my first DNF since July. Take Back The Skies started well, but the second I realised the MC was a total, complete and utter Mary Sue, I couldn't carry on with it. Now I'm reading The Infinite Sea, the follow up to the astonishing The 5th Wave. Here's hoping it lives up to expectations.

What I'm Writing

The rewrite is compete!!!!! :D :D :D

Obligatory

82k in 44 days, which is pretty much exactly the same as Colony. Although I have no idea why I'm calling it a rewrite. Of those 82,000 words, maybe 10,000 are from the previous version of Resistance. Really I should call it "New book with a few old bits chucked in" complete!!!!

I'm taking some time off to prepare for editing. I will probably Tweet a picture of the print out soon though :P

What Else I'm Up To

Back to my violin at last. I met my new violin teacher on Monday and I'm really looking forward to working with her.

What Works For Me

Music. Muuuuuuusic! Fellow Kingdom Hearts fans, you have to check out Project Destati. They've put together an EP and an album of some of the series' best music. I can't wait for more from them.


The great thing is, not only am I inspired as a writer, I'm inspired as a violinist. MUST GET BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Bluebird Co's ChariTEA

Bluebird Tea Company's ChariTEA is another of those that makes you go "aaaaaaah" from the very first sip. It's such a soothing morning brew, I just love it. That'll be thanks to the nice dash of Ceylon you've got mixed in here. I heartily recommend Bluebird to all tea drinkers, especially those of you who enjoy more adventurous blends. If you ever find yourselves in Brighton, be sure to visit their shop in the North Laines. If not, you can buy online. Woo hoo!

Yum!

I brewed this in a pot, which was instrumental in getting the most out of the leaves. Sometimes, when you've got a big writing day ahead of you, a single cup brewer just ain't enough. I gave it three minutes to brew, although the recommended time is four minutes. Just remember that brew time always depends on how strong you like your tea.


Prepare yourself a cup of tea, have a snack (Mmmm, Bear fruit yo yo's!), and get to work :D

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Writing Lifestyle - Community

Writers might be stuck in their rooms on their own, hammering at keyboards and hanging out with imaginary people but, thanks to the Internet, we have an amazing community. All you have to do is check out a few blogs or join Twitter to find people who write and want to share their experiences with others. The writing community is so supportive, and it's a great way to motivate yourself, too. It's also a great place to turn to when your rejections mount up, and when you get the good news! People will cheer you on, and you can cheer back and help out during events like Pitch Madness and WriteOnCon by retweeting their pitches and critiquing their work. The online community is also a wonderful place to find, and become, a beta reader and critique partner.


The Internet is where you can find local events to attend in person. I'm so excited to be off to another writing retreat in Brighton at the end of the month (although whether I'll be writing or editing remains to be seen). Google your local area and see what you can find. Maybe you can even be the person who sets a writing group up.

I'm really hopeful we'll have another YALC in London next year, too :D

And don't forget your real world, non-writing friends. Sometimes the writing has to wait while you dust off your social skills.

Where's your favourite section of the writing community? 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cole's First Draft Rules

Here are COLE'S MOST IMPORTANT RULES for writing a first draft, especially if you're a pantser*

1) GET. IT. DOWN. Nobody ever has to read that very first draft. It's yours, and yours alone.


It's probably awful and embarrassing**, but it's not meant to be great literature. It's all about freeing the words from your skull and splurging them on the page. Sort that mess out later!

2) DO. NOT. EDIT. Some sections may not work and will need changing (I'll get to that in a minute), but don't sit there tweaking the first draft before you finish it. SORT IT OUT LATER! GET IT DOWN! RAAAAAAAAH!

3) Listen to your instincts. Pantsing means you'll probably take missteps here and there in the rush of getting the story down as it comes to you (or as you unearth it from your brain). If you've written something and it's really not working, here's your permission to go back, cut it/change it/edit it so you can get on with moving in the only direction any first draft should go: ONWARDS TO VICTORY!!!

4) Don't worry if you've started a subplot and it doesn't work. Take it out when you're editing.

5) Too many characters? No worries! Get rid of them! Kill your darlings or edit them out later.

6) Keep a notebook with notes on what might need changing in the editing phase, what scenes and background detail needs developing, and what the rules of your fictional world are. If there's one thing I've learned over the course of my pantsing drafts, it's much easier to edit them if you keep detailed notes during the first draft stage.

Yes, my first drafts tend to be disasters, but at least I get the story out of my head and onto a computer where I can do so much more with it :D

What are your first draft rules? 

*Okay, fine, especially if you're me
** You're your own worst critic, you know that, right? 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday!

Hi again, Wednesday :D It's time for Jaime and Erin's What's Up Wednesday, in which I share a neat summary of the past week ^_^ How have you all been?

What I'm Reading

Finished One Shot and then watched Jack Reacher, the film based on it. Both were good! The book was another great thriller, and the film was a solid adaptation. And even though he's way shorter than the novel's version, Tom Cruise did a good job as Reacher. Probably didn't quite capture the character's sheer physical presence though. 

Then I was very excited to read Charlie Higson's newest book, The Hunted. Better than the last one for sure.

Now I'm reading one of my TBR pile's longest serving books, Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve. A prequel to the amazing Mortal Engines series (which you all need to read right now!), it's been in my TBR pile since 2009. In fact, I found one of my ticket stubs for Star Trek in it. Whoops! So far, so good ^_^

What I'm Writing

It's funny how a few years away from a story can completely change your perspective. This week, I rewrote the original opening to Resistance to fit into the rewrite. So, said opening is now 60k into the story. I'm hoping it'll survive edits, but time will tell :P

Current word count = 68 70k as of this morning ^_^ Earning my stickers this month!


What Else I'm Up To

Took part in #PitMad yesterday! I love going through all the tweets and retweeting the amazing books other people have written. So much talent on offer. Agents must be spoilt for choice!

What Inspires Me

Good music. I love end the day in bed, with the lights of and my headphones on, letting whatever I'm listening to carry my imagination away. It's got me thinking about a potential NaNoWriMo project...