Picture This

Picture This: Episode 4

I saw this stock picture and just had to use it. It jumped out at me for being equally amusing and creepy.

Feel free to join in with your own interpretation.

Picture Prompt:

My Interpretation:

The thought of going into work again makes me feel physically sick. I can’t look at that building and not regret the live I should have… still could have if I had the balls and the devil may care attitude of someone ten years younger and no mortgage.

I don’t even like my colleagues. Pretending to be happy advising the rich what to spend their money on when our salary barely affords us a weekend break away every two years.

I tell myself the same thing every morning. ‘Go in, do my job, get paid.’ I am saving for early retirement, every extra pound goes toward getting out of the rat race. And that means not spending my lunchbreaks down the pub with the team.

Suki invites me every day, and every day I tell her the same excuse. ‘Thanks, but I have got to pop home and let the human out.’

As if I own a human. Those things are way to high maintenance. My mum’s human still hasn’t learnt to shit on the garden yet.


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September Update

So, September has shot by in the blink of an eye. My husband and I are another year older, my dad got remarried, and my daughter started another year in school.

Writing

I have been going at a snail’s pace in regards to my writing. Other stuff took priority this month. I’m not in a rush, so it’s no biggie. It’ll be written when it’s written, right?

Reading

I had the pleasure of beta reading Sarina Langer’s Blood of the Dragon. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for a review, but just know it is a fantastic 3rd book in the trilogy.

I am still reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, and my hope is to finish it in a week or so, and then get another novel under my belt before October is out.

Blogging

My Picture This series has officially started. It is bizarre to think that this is the last blog series of the year on Writerly Bookish Stuff. It ends on November 27th, and then I have some Christmas related posts to get us through December.

The final instalment of my First Draft series coincided with #authortoolboxbloghop, and I am pleased with how the series panned out. I hope you found some of my experiences useful.

What’s Next?

October is the final month of #authortoolboxbloghop this year. (Returns in January). I shall be posting October’s post on Monday 14th October.

I have some more posts planned for the Picture This series. Remember, you can join in and create your own interpretations of the prompts if you wish.

Finally, I do plan to write at least another 2k of Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. It might not sound a lot, but it’s progress in a busy month of adulting.


Thanks for journeying through September with me.


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First Draft: The Ending

This post has been on the back burner a long while. I actually wrote tips for a satisfying ending when I did the vote to ask my readers what series they’d like to see on Writerly Bookish Stuff. When the First Draft idea came out on top, I put it on the aside to include in the series… finally, here it is.

Tie Up Loose Ends

There needs to be some sort of conclusion to the conflicts that presented themselves during the narrative. Unresolved conflicts is highly unsatisfying for the reader.

Believability

The ending has to arrive naturally as a result of the story arc. You must not force the ending you want on your narrative or you will have unsatisfied readers.

Cliffhanger After Conclusion

A cliffhanger is not a conclusion. A cliffhanger is another story spur that carries the reader further on with the narrative i.e. into the next book. It cannot take the place of concluding certain conflicts to the story so far, even if the main arc is still ongoing.

Know When to Stop

This can be tough. Knowing when to start the beginning of the end is ultimately a gut instinct. Be aware if starting new conflicts that you have time to resolve them or if they can be part of the longer arc into subsequent books.


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First Draft: Beating Procrastination

Midway through the first draft is when I start to procrastinate. It doesn’t mean my story bores me, it means I’ve been at the same slog, pouring over the same story for a long time, and other stories start screaming at me to be written. Pinterest calls me, Youtube calls me, and I fall into the black hole that is social media.

Thankfully, I can recognise the signs now and try to nip them in the bud. Here are my tips to beat Procrastination.

Time schedule

The best way to beat procrastination is to have a writing schedule. If you only have thirty minutes to write, you are more likely to sit and write as much as you can in that time slot. If you don’t set a time limit, you may feel like you have all the time in the world to procrastinate a little, and then voila… your time is gone.

Disconnect the Internet

Social media, music sites, and Pinterest can be huge distractions. Try disconnecting the wifi, so you can do nothing but write your story.

Take a Break

Sometimes, procrastination is due to lack of inspiration or tiredness. Take a walk, go meet friends for a coffee, watch that episode on Netflix. A step away from your work may be just what you need to go back at it afresh.

Change Up Your Drafting Process

Are you procrastinating because your scene is particularly tough to write, or because you have you been focussing on one scene all week? Shake up your drafting process for a few hours and write out of sequence. The change of pace and scene may be just the ticket.


I hope these tips help you cut down on procrastination and get the words written.


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August Update

This month has been a bizarre one, what with the kids being off school, me taking a writing hiatus, yet at the same time, joining the #authortoolboxbloghop.

Let me break down my month for you:

Writing

As you may know, I was struggling to get anything written with my daughter off school and my 1 year old son to entertain. I was feeling guilty for not having written, and I decided a hiatus was what I needed for the holidays. It seems that knowing I don’t have to write takes away the guilt of not doing it. I’m still on my hiatus until Sept 5th.

Blogging

My hiatus didn’t extend to Writerly Bookish Stuff. I still posted my First Draft series each week, but with the hiatus, I had no new teasers for my Teaser Tuesday posts.

However, I was approached by Raimey Gallant to join the Author Toolbox Blog Hop every 3rd Wednesday of the month, and I jumped at the chance. Keep your eyes peeled for those posts.

Reading

I read a lot of short stories this month, and I reviewed them in 2 posts.

3 in 1 Book Review Part 1

3 in 1 Book Review Part 2

What’s Next?

First things first, I shall be setting back to writing Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. I am being kinder on myself and not setting a deadline. It will be done when it is done.

I shall continue on with #authortoolboxbloghop . This month’s post will be joined with my First Draft series post as the concept is the same: writing tips and advice.

I am currently reading Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. I need to give myself more reading time as I let it fall to the bottom of my to do list.


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First Draft: Crafting Protagonists

A protagonist is the main character of your story. No, your protagonist doesn’t have to be a hero, an anti-hero works just as well, but I do have pointers on how to successfully craft your protagonist to drive your narrative.

Likability

But you just said they don’t need to be a hero, KJ?

Yes, I did. Likability doesn’t necessary mean the reader thinks they’d be best friends with the protagonist, just that they can understand where the protagonist is coming from, can root for them in some way, and will want to stick with them on their journey.

Believability

In my reading and writing experience this can make or break a book. A believable character is one who is a real reflection of a flawed human being. We all have good and bad traits, we all can make a bad decision or listen to the wrong advice.

Your protagonist has to be relatable to the reader. A bad decision here and there doesn’t have to hinder your narrative, but a perfect character just isn’t believable. Try to steer clear of black and white personalities, a little of the grey areas work best.

Persuasive Backstory

This point links into the above point. If you thrust your protagonist into your world without rhyme or reason, the reader will not invest in them. Why are you telling their story? What in their background led them to this point? Are they totally out of their comfort zone and why?

Motivation

Every protagonist needs motivation, otherwise the story falls flat. The character needs a reason for their actions. Why do they do what they do? Motivation can range from survival to love to revenge.


Who are your favourite characters and why? I’m sure you can benefit from studying them and see if you can ring your protagonist to life in similar ways?


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First Draft: Forming the Idea

So, you have an idea that you think you can turn into a full story? Firstly, congratulations. Secondly, I hope you’re ready for hardwork.

Writing a book isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be if you strive for perfection. However, having an idea that you feel you can see through to completion is the first step.

I’m a pantser, and that means I do not have a detailed plot before I sit down to write. I write by the seat of my pants. I let my ideas come organically as the words flow and I get to know my characters. However, when I first get an idea, I do let it roll around in my head for a good few months, gathering more possible narrative ideas, character voices etc. I think of it as a snowball getting bigger and bigger as it rolls around and more snow sticks to it.

Whether you are a pantser or a plotter, I highly recommend you do this with your idea – before anything gets to paper, before you start to outline, or crack on with your first page – be well acquainted.

Once I’m at this point, I crack out a notebook and write down everything and anything. My brainstorm over the last couple of months gets emptied onto paper. Every last bit, whether it is makes sense or not. If I like it, if I think it might work, I’ll write it down. It all gets dumped in my notebook for later use.

Once again, I feel this is good practise for plotters and pantsers. Your notes don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to use 99% of them, but it is worth having them written down physically in the long run.

I feel this is the initial process of forming the idea. The idea is a spark that needs to be fanned to turn into a flame. At this stage, you can plot and outline further, or like me, sit down and start typing, but as long as you have fanned that spark a little, your flame will keep burning.


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