Thursday, 25 August 2016

One line Wednesday - a weekly twitter event (#1lineWed)

Writers! Poets! Are you tweeting?

First of all, if you're on twitter, please follow @mumbletoes! I tweet stuff about writing, mostly, along with the occasional joke that I think looks good for a writing prompt. Come say hi! :-)

If anyone's looking to build up their twitter account then I'd really recommend getting involved with the #1lineWed hashtag (details here). Maybe I've not noticed it building up and up, but I swear it's suddenly got very popular. I threw a few tweets out into the ether yesterday and when I checked today ... *boom* (have a look at the badge number on the twitter icon!) :-)

206 itty bitty blobs of internet lurrrve!

I now feel vaguely popular in a "fake internet points" kinda way :-)  All right, I don't really, but it's interesting (maybe just to me) to have so much interaction with writers across the world - and all from such little effort. Plus, there's a sense of community out there... and that's great because, let's face it, writing encouragement is hard to come by in real life!

Okay, maybe all this is small beans to the twitter gurus (and yes, perhaps I'd have been better off spending the time writing) but I've heard agents/publishers like to see a writer has made a bit of effort with social media. They do, don't they? Please say yes.

And this was also kind of a shock... five of my own tweets plus a sprinkling of likes, retweets and replies on other people's stuff resulted in all of this interaction. There were lots of likes, lots of retweets, and people were replying with encouragement or even making suggestions for improvements/sequels. And, believe it or not, some of those people hitting the "like" button are agents and publishers. It's not going to get me a contract but surely it's helpful to get your name out there...? :-)

Monday, 1 August 2016

A million words in 2016 (August)

I'm writing a million words in 2016!

Below is the progress diary for August (I'll be updating it as the month goes on). If you're interested, here's the intro, and here are the diaries for January, February, March, April, May, June and July.

The red number in the right-hand column is the total word count. Please wish me luck in watching that number tick up to 1,000,000 over the rest of the year!

The Million-Word Diary: August

1st Aug861,132
Yikes, this is a bad way to start the month. No words! 

Still can't get the brain working! Blah. Argh. Meh

I'm getting very close to the million word target and for some reason: 
  1. my brain has gone to sleep, 
  2. my motivation has packed up and gone on holiday to Malta, 
  3. and my get up and go has politely stifled a yawn and curled up somewhere under an olive tree. 
Zero word count today, so the total's still 861,132. Come on, Brain. Wake up! :-)

17th Aug861,132
I had a little taste of editing today! Okay, it wasn't really editing... it was more like "fighting Word's dodgy formatting". The unfortunate thing about Word is that it's often configured to retain the formatting when pasting from other documents. You think you're just getting the text when you cut-and-paste but, depending on how your version of Word is set up, you can end up with all manner of weird stuff coming along too, such as random paragraph indents or irritating spacing of lines and/or paragraphs.

Anyway, a friend is currently editing a book of poetry and flash fiction (one of the flash fics is by me - hooray!) and I was able to help out. I didn't enjoy my IT career, but I have to admit it's been useful in helping me know all the weird things computers love to do to screw us over.

It all got sorted and apparently I now get a credit in the book notes! And, as an extra bonus, I even was allowed to throw in a couple of sneaky edits to my flash fic piece. Maybe this editing lark isn't so bad after all :-)

Still no words done, though! The brain really has died this month. I could try and blame the heat, I guess. It's well over 30 degrees each day and so I spend my time asleep more often than not, but I can't use that excuse forever. Anyway, I'm still ahead - I guess that's all that matters. I wrote loads at the start of the year and gave myself a bit of breathing space... so that's what I'm using now. Here's hoping I manage to get back into it soon!

25th Aug861,132
After about a month of major writer's block, I'm finally writing again! I can't tell you what a load off this is. In the end it took 6 cups of coffee and 3 huge glasses of wine, but I finally broke the back of Crimble's autobiography. I'm 6,000 words in and am fairly sure I know what happens next, so am confident enough to jinx it with this diary entry! Can't believe I finally got there. I'd cry with relief if I had the energy.

Crimble's autobiography. Sigh. I've been putting this task off for ages but that's crazy because this is the story I want to work on - the one I've been planning for a decade and now, finally, have time to complete.

The hilarious/depressing thing is that I'm not managing to count any new words! Thing is, I have two drafts of the same story. Both are similar (in that the events are the same) but the characters have all changed quite radically, so I'm trying to grab the best bits from both drafts, while rewriting to ensure the character voices are consistent throughout. The word count is impossible to calculate because there's so much chopping/hacking going on... I grab a few paragraphs from each of the two drafts, smash them around for a while, throw in a few new words here and there so everything makes sense, and then rewrite the results to make it cohesive. If I were to attempt counting the new words as I went along, the work would be impossible.

I guess I always knew this would happen at some point in the "million words" project. There are some jobs in writing that you simply can't calculate in terms of word count. You can't even calculate them in terms of time because sometimes you'll be hacking one paragraph around for an hour, and then the next couple of paragraphs come up perfect straight away. 

So, ultimately, I have no new words. Not anything I can count towards the "million words" project anyway. Joining two rough drafts (and cleaning them both up into a decent second draft) isn't something that's going to result in an impressive word count. Not when you're only counting new words, anyway.

31st Aug861,132
A whole month of zero words. Yikes. I'm doing okay with Crimble's autobiography, but in terms of new words that I count towards the "million words" project, I've done nothing. 

Zero words is not a new thing. There have been plenty of months full of zero words in my life so far. But when I'm meant to be writing at least 2,000 words a day, this is really not good :-( 

Come on, Brain. Enthusiasm, please!