For most of my life, I never bought into the idea of New Year’s Resolutions – they were just noble aims most people forgot about by mid-late January. But a few years ago I made a fairly vague resolution, to progress my dream to be an author, and it kind of worked…
2010: I write THE END on Forfeit.
2011: I bravely upload my book on Authonomy – a writing community – seeking reviews/feedback and begin the arduous road of editing.
2012: I submit Forfeit to agents and write Distraction.
2013: Distraction becomes an insta-hit on Wattpad and buoyed by the fact readers actually love my work, I beg a favour from an old friend and get feedback from a real-life fiction editor. Her feedback, my success on Wattpad and a day with erotic author Kitty French spur me on to publish Forfeit. I commission a structural editor.
2014: #Forfeit goes on sale and I rewrite and rename Distraction =>Nearly Almost Somebody. I attend not one, but FOUR author signing events where I meet readers who’re fangirling me. Wasn’t expecting that.
2015: Nearly Almost Somebody goes on sale.
2016: Hmmm… now what?
When I launched #Forfeit, I had every intention of rolling out a new novel every six months. NAS wasn’t far off, but getting Afterglow on shelves by November 2015… unrealistic to say the least. I have a full-time job, I’m mother to a 7 year-old, my husband and I are starting a renovation project with the last one barely finished… I’m kinda busy. That said, I don’t like making excuses – I’d rather plan better.
So here’s my new, über-realistic plan for 2016:
Publish Afterglow — my third book, the one about backpackers behaving badly in Sydney
Write Flora Pip Book #1 — a kids book about fairies, elves, blind ogres and rocking horse poo. Seriously.
Drink less wine — at least 3 AFDs (Alcohol Free Days) a week.
Drink more water — suspected kidney stones at Christmas were not pleasant.
Epic #fail on the word count front this weekend. I’m 5000 words behind par. Eeek. But I will catch up. Just need to rewrite a few hundred words on a panto script I’m directing first — more on that in another post. In the meantime, here’s another extract to prove I am actually writing.
‘Hi,’ she said, bravely smiling at the Cute Regular as she joined them. ‘You know if you asked her out, she’d say yes.’
His eyes, hidden from view, didn’t give anything away, but she couldn’t miss his frown. ‘Sorry? Do you mean Fliss?’
‘God, no. Lara. The blonde waitress at the cafe?’ Her voice wavered as the frown grew. ‘You sit in her section everyday so we, well I thought…’
Steve laughed. ‘Fucking hell, this is why you go to that hellhole cafe. Mastercard moment.’
The Cute Regular gave a small shake of his head then, for the first time, he took off his sunglasses. His brown eyes twinkled as he turned to face her. ‘I’m Dominic.’
‘Now,’ Steve said, leaning towards Jasmine conspiratorially, ‘ask him why he goes to that hellhole of a cafe every morn–’
‘Hey, I work in that hellhole.’ Jasmine scowled at Steve before reality hit. Did he mean she was why… No way. Frowning, she turned back to Dominic. ‘Why do you go to that hellhole of a cafe every morning?’
He cringed, but never dropped his smile. ‘Why do you think?’
Was this some kind of joke? ‘The double espressos?’
‘They’re probably the worst in Bondi.’ He glanced down for a moment. ‘But the apple danishes and your legs more than make up for them.’
It had to be the single, nicest statement anyone sober had ever said to her and, without stopping to think, she kissed him.
Last week, I was messing around with WordPress templates to see if there were one where I could have links to pages on the Home Page. Surprisingly few let you do that. And as I was discovering this, I managed to activate one of the themes, messing up my live site. Yikes.
It was the kick up the butt I needed to sort out my site, so at lunchtimes and early mornings, I’ve found a theme that does let me feature pages, and I’ve also learned how to tinker with css. Get me.
For three days I’ve been busy beavering away on Afterglow and my Nano Afterglow Stats proclaim I’ve written 7394 words. The thing is, I haven’t — some of those words I’d written ages ago, but there’s no point me rewriting chapters one and two again, is there? Yet, I don’t want to cheat. If I’m to “win” at NaNoWriMo, then I can’t count the words I already have – where tot up to a smidgen under 17k. So, to win at NaNo, I have to write 67,000 words, not 50,000. I can live with that.
But the exciting point is… I’ve worked on Afterglow for three consecutive evenings and I’m looking forward to writing tonight!
As most of you know, I’m not exactly whizzing along with Book Three: Afterglow. To try and get things started, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). To “win” at NaNoWriMo, I have to write 50,000 words of my novel during the month of November. That’s 1600ish words a day for 30 days — tough, but doable. To get into the swing of things, I’ve mocked up a rough as toast cover. It’s not the final one by any means, but you should get the gist of what I’m going for.
Next up is my project plan — actually, that’s been done for years, but I could do with updating it, so that’s tonight’s job.
Then, come Sunday it’s getting up at 6am and writing for a couple of hours before the rest of the house wakes up.
If you’d like to keep updated on my progress, you can check out my NaNo page.
Now for the important bit, the bit you can do to help… KICK MY ASS.
If you see me on Facebook or other procrastination sites, please feel free to yell this at me:
There’s this book I’m supposed to be writing, about backpackers in Sydney and a café owner in the Lakes. But… yeah there are cat videos on Facebook and actually, I think it’s high time I cleaned the fridge. And behind the freezer. Okay, I’m exaggerating for effect – I have neither cleaned inside the fridge nor behind the freezer, but I have watched a lot of cat videos and been totally Upworthy-ed.
Today I saw something on Buzzfeed: How ASOS is turning us all into Cher. Very funny, but with a side effect of keeping down with the kids when it comes to fashion — Wait, is this procrastination with a purpose? Could this actually be classed as… research? There’s a link at the bottom of the Cher/ASOS thing: 21 Things All Sweary Girls Are Sick of Hearing. I’m a sweary girl. My characters are sweary girls. I can use this. This. Is. Research.
I’m amused and doing research. Book Three’s practically writing itself.
That’s what I was pondering today. The mild OCD side of me – the part that has to fold crisp packets into neat triangles, even other peoples – says no, they’re Rich Tea, not Rich Coffee. But I like Rich Tea biscuits so I went wild and had one anyway.
I also like that there are many non-Brits who’re going WTF is a Rich Tea biscuit. I suspect they’re also unaware of the crisp packet triangle, mostly because they have giant packets of crisps/chips in the States and big packets don’t fold so well. I mean, I can still make a sharing bag of Doritos into a good triangle because I’m a legend at the crisp packet triangle, but you know – it’s a skill.
I was just reading a v funny BuzzFeed thing on Brits confusing the World. The one about a “cheeky Nandos” had me choking on my Rich Tea biscuit with laughter. But I get accused of confusing the world with my books. I’d get comments about it on Wattpad too, but this is a real Amazon one-star review of Nearly Almost Somebody:
“Would not recommend. Too much British slanguage.”
Each to their own, but I’m not sure I’d want to write a book set in England, featuring British characters and not use British vocabulary – it simply wouldn’t sound genuine. And if we all stick to using universal terms when writing novels… well that would be just dull. Besides, there’s also a devilish part of me that revels in US confusion — I figure it makes up for all those Sweet Valley High books I read as a kid and hadn’t the first clue what Bangs, Broilers and Station Wagons were. And let’s not even get started on the time I worked at an American summer camp and discovered that a “Fanny Pack” was a real thing…