Monday, 29 September 2014

This Blog is On A Break!

I'm taking a blogging break until October 13th. I'm off to gather ideas (and tea), ready to bring you an autumn and winter full of great posts!

Friday, 26 September 2014

The Writing Lifestyle: What Does That Abbreviation/Word Mean?

Don't know about you, but when I first started blogging and saw lots of unfamiliar terms, I felt a bit lost and way too nervous to ask anyone what they meant.

After a while, it all became clear, so I thought I'd put together a handy guide of the things you'll see on writer's blogs and what they mean. If I've missed any, please share them in the comments below.

MS: Manuscript
WiP: Work in Progress
MC: Main Character
MSWL: Manuscript Wishlist - and here's the AMAZING website where agents will post a list of exactly the things they want to read!
SNI: Shiny New Idea
ARC: Advanced Reader Copy
Pantsing/Pantser/Pantsed: Those of us who write without much idea of where we're going
Plotters/Planners: Those of you who plot out your story before you write it.
TBR Pile - To Be Read Pile. You know, all those books you've bought but haven't read yet. You know you have one.

I love how the writing community has its own language. It makes so much sense once you understand it all, and I'm here to make sure no one feels excluded for not knowing what everyone's going on about. "So, my MS is a WiP, but I just had this amazing SNI that totally fits in with an agent's MSWL post!" Makes sense now, right? ;)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Draft Done? Break time!

I mentioned during yesterday's What's Up Wednesday that I'm taking a break from my manuscript before diving into the first edit. Why? Well, sometimes it's great to take a step back from what you've just written so you can get some perspective. Two weeks away means I've had a chance to ponder a few of the issues I know the book has and make a few notes.

Time away doesn't mean I can't still make notes. Notes are important. Always make notes! You never want to forget that important little details you want to add in or change. 

You don't have to take time away, and I haven't always in the past, but for this book, I needed to let the draft stew while I came up with some solutions to its problems; which I now have, woo! I have spent the past two weeks enjoying a variety of distractions, many of which have given my brain the time to think about the problems without focusing solely on that problem. Sort of like letting the solution come to my while I beat up various creatures with a giant, blunt key.

Kingdom Hearts in a single gif


So, if you want to take a break, DO IT! Read loads, play loads, watch loads, walk loads... Don't feel bad about wanting time away. It can be essential to rediscovering your love for the story. Distance does make the heart grow fonder, after all.

But if you love that book too much and want to dive right in, don't feel like you can't. Everyone does things their own way, and I needed a break.

All I know is these past two(ish) weeks of not writing have left me full of enthusiasm to get back to it and make that book AMAZING. My draft is printed, my pens, post-its and notebook are ready, and I'm so excited! This is going to be the best thing I've written to date.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hello again, Wednesday! It's time to join in Jaime and Erin's bloghop :D

What I'm Reading

I pretty much read The Infinite Sea in a day. WOW WOW WOW. Easily my favourite YA of 2014... at the moment. I have two more preorders I'm equally excited about...

Then I read a really creepy book called The Lighthouse Keeper by Alan K. Baker. Definitely recommend this if you want a good horror book. Can't really talk about it without spoiling it, but I really liked it.

Then I read Emma Adams' excellent MS :D SINCERELY HOPING THE NEXT BOOK ONLY TAKES 24 DAYS!!!! I hereby DEMAND to have it on my desk by the end of October!!!!

Now I'm hanging out with my ol' buddy Jack Reacher again, in The Hard Way. It was a bit meh at first, but then there was an excellent twist and, as always, I'm hooked.

What I'm Writing

Nothing yet! Aaaargh, I really wanna get started with this edit...Just got to wait for the retreat on Sunday and then I dig in ^_^

What Else I'm Up To

Booked a trip to Scotland to see my middle brother and sister-in-law :D I'm really excited to be heading up there next month. I'll be going to Glasgow, Edinburgh, then renting a car to take myself off to the Highlands.

I'm also replaying Kingdom Hearts 3D as a way of forcing myself to not edit :P I adore Sora. He's just so adorably nice. Every time I turn the game on, it reminds me it's been TWELVE YEARS since the first game came out. O_O Nomura-san, I'm ready for Kingdom Hearts 3 anytime now ^_^

What Works For Me

Taking a break. Between beta reading, regular reading, violin-playing, and gaming, I am SO ready to get back to my WiP. I think about it every day, and it feels good to know I'm gathering all the necessary creative energy I'll need to get this book into shape. I'm going to make this into the best book I've ever written.Yes, it will be better than Colony!!!

*strikes dramatic pose*

I will tear my MS to shreds and create AWESOMNESS

I'll be on a blogging break for the next two weeks, so I'll catch up with you all in October. Bye! :D

Monday, 22 September 2014

Miss Cole's Tea Time - The Tea Guide

Rather than sharing a new tea today, I've created a handy, one-paged guide of all the teas I've reviewed over the summer so you can find the perfect blend.

Here it is!

There's also a link in the bar below my blog's title. Hope you find yourself a perfect brew!

I'll be back on October 13th with more tea for you all :D

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.


*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:

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!!!!!!!)
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?