Writing a Novel: Almost There!

Okay. Some of you may know that this summer I decided to embark on the huge task of writing a novel. I’ve always wanted to do it but never thought I would actually make it. Not unless I kicked my silly ass into gear anyway.

So this summer I did just that. I super kicked my ass into gear and I got through it.

I wrote almost an entire fricken novel.

I’m still writing it so I’m not even finished yet but to say that I’ve written 51,200 words over the space of this year is stupid crazy. Like I don’t even wanna mention how crazy. I seriously never thought I’d get this far.

Before, I only ever did things like this:

  1. Start a new novel idea
  2. Completely fall in love with it
  3. Never finish it
  4. Or worse, throw it away.

Talk about killing your darlings.

But I’m on the way to the end now and – Oh my God – I am loving it.

In July, I wrote over 20,000 words through signing up with Camp NaNoWriMo. I don’t think I would’ve made it without fellow campers cheering me on – virtually – until I got to the finish line. They were so helpful!

Now, it’s officially NaNoWriMo 2015 and although I haven’t been writing everyday like most talented people, I’m getting back to it after a bunch of uni deadlines and the flow is finally kicking back in. Get the kettle boiling and the teacups ready because this girl is on it!

As a writer and a reader, my heart lies in teen fiction so this is mainly what I write about. The characters I’ve created have stayed with me this long that I feel like I’m totally discrediting them if I don’t finish this story. Their voices need to be heard. So by Christmas I will have finished it.

This is both a promise to myself and to them. I think I definitely owe them that (not to mention myself!)

(On a side note, God knows how many cups of tea I’ve had while doing this project. My guess is in the hundreds.)

So, basically, my message to you is this. If you want to write a novel – even if the tiniest part of you thinks that you might – then go for it. Because your dreams are tangible.

You can create something out of nothing and, more importantly, only you can tell this story that’s in your head. I guess that’s what makes it so fun. Plus the feeling you get afterwards is amazing.

I’m so excited to finish this writing project.

So go write.

This summer I’ve almost written an entire novel

Ever had so many ideas for stories in your head that you feel like you might just explode?

I have but it was mostly when I was teen. Lately, I’ve been picking up the pace a bit more and it feels amazing for my creative head space.

So far, I’ve had three novel ideas. That is, for young adult fiction – the market I desperately want be in. I’ve had a couple of ideas for a sci-fi novel or two as well. But these require a lot of research and I’m not sure my brain’s cut out for all that right now. I’m thinking perhaps in my late twenties is when I’ll hit my sci-fi writing stride. A lot of my ideas involve space travel, time travel and if I’m really indulgent then a little bit of dinosaurs too. But I’ll save that for another time.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic.

So, like any writer does, I scribble these ideas down. I have an abundance of notebooks. And these tiny put-away-like-they’re-nothing ideas that might someday turn into something I keep hold of. You never know. One day these put away thoughts might well hold the key to my success.

I’m writing a novel right now – a Y/A one which I actually and genuinely love. I think, for a little while, I forgot what it could be like to let yourself get lost in fiction and how it feels for a project or a story to completely engulf your own world, for it to be all you think about.

I’m ashamed to admit it but as I got older I lost that creative bubble I used to never peep out of. I thought this was normal. I slowly became focused on the editorial side of writing that my fiction world consequently never even got past page 20 because I would slam it so hard it couldn’t fight hard enough to breathe. I was, to use a cliche, my own very worst critic.

I was beyond brutal with my own writing.

But this summer I’ve conquered that bad habit. I’ve been writing. (Ergo, sorry for the lack of posts). I’ve been getting lost in my own fiction world and I’ve almost successfully written an entire novel over the course of this long, hot and notoriously beautiful summer. (I live in Cornwall, so almost every day is beautiful here, yay!)

(A view from just over the road where I live)

I even signed up as a camper at Camp NaNoWriMo and even though I always seem to do this and it never usually gets me very far, this time I stuck at it and I completed my goal of writing over 10,000 words in a month. I can’t tell you the joy I got over achieving that goal.

For me, it was pretty phenomenal. So I’m carrying on with it.

You ever read a book and think, ‘I could’ve done better than that’? Well, it turns out that I’m doing it, even if only just to say that I’ve written a complete novel.

I don’t want to be someone who waits until their retirement to get everything out onto the page. I want it now.

I know that when I’ve finished, that’s when the hard part really begins which is the editing process. Apparently, this is where a lot of the real writing gets done, to quote the theory books and all the other famous writers out there.

But I’m moving forward. I’m at just over 46,000 words so far and I’m probably not going to stop until I hit 80,000 which is the average length of a complete novel. As well as that, I’ve also found the time to submit to other writing competitions. I’ve hit a productive writing/creative streak and it’s not stopping.

My thoughts in general are that this summer has been a blessing. But in the end, I know, it all comes down to yourself.
Your motivation.
And whether you believe in yourself to do it.
And maybe if you can’t, then find someone else who does. Ride their motivational current to get yourself where you need to be.

You never know, it might be worth it in the end.

So, be right back. I’m novel writing.

To Motivation

I keep telling myself something over and over lately. It’s something that seems to stick in my head and yell at me, especially when I’m lying awake at night, trying to get to sleep. So now I’m telling it to all of you in an effort to get us all to do it and, more importantly, for myself to do it too.

So:

You’re only ever going to be a writer if you actually write something.So get to it. And make sure it’s something good.

Prose Before Hoes

I’ve come to realise that I’m actually really, really lucky. To be in university – and such a unique, inspiring, close-knit and FRIENDLY university too – has been a Godsend to me. Studying my course has led me to writing pathways that little young teenage me would only ever dream about. It sounds cliche but cliche’s exist for a reason. I am incredibly lucky, to have the opportunities to work with amazing lecturers who are so attentive, to have so many resources available at the university where I’m studying, and to basically have this kind of an education!

So I came across a phrase today – ‘prose before hoes’. I took it lightly, but it kind of has significance. Sometimes, you just have to put your writing first if you want to get anywhere in this industry.

I discovered today through a writing correspondent that students can actually attend the London Book Fair for FREE.
How incredible! To actually be able to be at an event with published authors and writers, book agents and people who work for real life publishing houses! It’s a dream, and I hope to go there next year – one year in the future at least! I’m so grateful to have a lot of things right now. I also have so much to look forward to recently it’s unbelievable!

  • I have recently been fortunate enough to work with award winning author Lionel Shriver, who is a pleasure to work with and have her read my work and give positive (and negative) feedback is something I still can’t quite believe I’m doing …
  • I am an official weekly features writer for an online magazine, Her Campus. I know I’ve mentioned this before but knowing I’m a part of it still a few weeks on after being asked to do it is still exciting to me! I love writing features and coming up with ideas every week, and some of the posts on there are actually really funny!
  • Lionel Shriver signed my book/writing ideas notepad at a book signing and actually recognised me! It was awesome.
  • I got to spend some time with another published author C.J Flood. I spoke to her about her books, how she finds writing and my own novel I’ve been writing for some time now. It was an experience I hope I am never, ever going to forget. She offered to sign her book for me and even wrote an inspirational message inside the front cover!
  • I’ve also spent some time with a really lovely second year student, who writes for Booked Magazine which is aimed towards 11-18 year olds on general pop culture topics, like films, music, book reviews etc. She opened up windows for me and made me realise I can actually do this. Hearing her speak about all the amazing things she has done was uplifting and so inspirational for me. It gives me hope!
  • On a non-writing note, I am going to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London at the end of May, leaving at 2am and spending the WHOLE DAY THERE!!! I am going to spend so much money in the gift shop. I just know it.
  • Also, I AM SEEING MCBUSTED AT THE END OF MAY as well!!!! I am perfectly accepting of the fact that if I spontaneously combust through lack of air or just pure excitement then that’s a good way to go. I kind of embrace that. Seeing them has been my dream for oh so many years, I was just always too scared to do it. But now, finally, at aged nineteen, I AM DOING IT.
  • Hopefully, I will go to the Fowey Festival of Words & Music this coming May as well. I am in the process of writing an article on the festival for Her Campus so will be sure to post it up here as a link once it’s up and running on the site!

I can’t believe how lucky I am. I am looking to get some writing or editorial work experience/internship this summer as my first year finishes late May so will have a lot of free time to keep busy in! If you know anyone or ARE anyone who would like to have me work for them this summer, let me know!

Lionel Shriver

Her Campus

C. J Flood

Booked Magazine

Harry Potter Studio Tour

McBusted!!!

If you know  anyone who would like to have me work for them this summer, let me know! I don’t even care if it’s unpaid!

Writerly Reflections

Why did I want to be come a writer? It’s a fairly simple question to ask but rather a difficult one to answer.

I suppose first of all I wanted to write because I loved reading. My story isn’t one of reading J.K Rowling and desperately wanting to be the way she is as a writer, which is odd because I love the world of Harry Potter a lot more than anything else. The world of Harry Potter comes up fairly frequently in my blogposts. My story came from being twelve years old and desperately wanting to be the girlfriend of famous boyband members. In particular, members of McFly. I could gush on about them for hours in my little notepad I kept hidden in my wardrobe.

What they looked like when I thought I could be their girlfriend. That’s right. All of them.

In order for that to come true, I started writing fanfiction in little diaries I bought from Clintons. I wrote so many stories, and they were all filled with bad writing, bad romance, and probably some really bad dialogue. I still have them, but they’re far too embarrassing to read. But without them I wouldn’t have gotten this far! I would stay in my room for hours every single day of the summer, endlessly spilling my pen into the pages that I kept private. Because nobody was allowed to read it.

Bad writing = good writing!
(Eventually!)

 

Gradually, I moved onto writing from paper to Microsoft Word but still in secret. I would wait until my whole family had gone to bed before I could start tapping erratically on the keys of our shared computer keyboard. I don’t know why it all had to be kept in such secrecy. It just felt so private. I’d never done it before.

When I started to grow older, I realised that – yes – I wanted to become a writer, an author, unconditionally. And all I did in my spare time was fantasise about how incredibly amazing that would be. I have drawings in my old collected notepads of book covers with my name on them, that one day I could actually be a published author. I still have that dream today and am not going to stop writing, ever. Now, I am pursuing a writing course at university. People say it’s a waste of time, choosing Creative Writing as a degree, but I would never have come across the writing opportunities I’ve been given without enrolling onto this course.

Since September, I’ve started a new novel in my own time, written short stories almost every single week during term to submit, become a weekly feature writer for a worldwide online magazine, submitted to a number of different writing competitions, gotten the chance to meet famous writers and poets, and next week I get to be in a workshop with an award winning author!

Really, I don’t think I decided at any point – yes I want to be a writer. I kind of fell into it, and as I got better at it, I then just grew into it.

Writing is awesome.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/writing-challenge-reflections/

Lionel Shriver Workshop

Writers In Residence is a thing. A University thing, I think. And, to me, it’s a very important thing. It means that aspiring writers (like me) get the opportunity to submit their pieces of writing and if they win they get to participate in scheduled workshops with that author.

A real author!

This year, it is Lionel Shriver, who wrote the award winning book We Need To Talk About Kevin and she is coming to the university where I study. HOW EXCITING!

Naturally, I got so excited when the emails came around saying that students could apply to be in the workshop for Writers In Residence. With Lionel Shriver. A very successful author and journalist from America. I applied as soon as I was ready, as soon as I’d written something I thought was the absolute best I could aim for.

Choosing to come to university was a big task for me, but when I realised students got the opportunity to work with actual authors and published writers, go to poetry readings and indulge themselves in a special writing world that they may not have had the chance to do otherwise, my mind was pretty much made up. I decided to go, almost based on that. That it was a world I would be opening myself up to that I may not ever get the chance to do in the real world.

Establish contacts, hone my writing skills, just overall be with people who shared my love for the world of writing and adored literature.

really wanted to go. And it’s totally worth it. All of it. Even the ‘sit-by-myself lunchtimes’ and the ‘almost-talking-to-nobody-Fridays’. It is all worth it.

Because – dare I even say it – my application got through to the Writers In Residence workshop and soon from the beginning of April and all through to May I am getting the chance to do some fiction writing with Lionel Shriver.

It’s with 11 other applicants, and we will be spending two hours every week with her to develop our writing skills and get one to one sessions with her also if we so desire. I can’t wait. Following a disappointing email from a publisher for a short story competition saying my submission hadn’t got through, to then read this email was full blown amazing and I still can’t even believe I managed it.

It seems that since university, my life has had its doors open and opportunities flood their way in through. They may not all be successful ones on my part but I love being given the chance to throw my arrow in the bucket along with all the other applicants too. I feel this is what being a writer is all about.