Dear January, 2016

I felt it only fair, after the month my family and I have experienced, that I bring a couple of things to your attention.

First two weeks were spent with head-splitting migraines.

Third week caught flu. Hubby ended up in hospital with severe chest infection and also flu.

Everyone besides ‘the hungry one’ ended up with it and are only just beginning to recover.

David Bowie died.

Then, Alan Rickman!

Yet I hear Justin Beiber is doing quite well.

This is not good enough January!

February…I trust we will be seeing an improvement???

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Friday Fictioneers – A day in the Life

It’s been a while.

This will be my last post of 2015. I hope everyone’s had a fabulous Christmas and gearing up for an even better New Year.

If you’d like to join in the latest Friday Fictioneers run by the lovely Rochelle, please find the latest photo prompt and rules here. Just write to 100 words then stop!

Add your link to the blue frog when you’re done.

Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2016!

Copyright Jean L. Hays

Image courtesy of Jean L. Hays

A Day in the Life

Sunlight shines through the stained glass window. I study the list of names, tracing my finger over the first.

It disappears.

A form appears in the chair opposite me.

‘It’s a little disorientating at first,’ I say.

He spins round, scanning left and right. ‘Where am I?’  Panic stings his eyes.

‘I’d like to collect everyone personally, but with population numbers this is more…convenient.’ I smile, touching his head.

His mind fills with his final moments.

I hand him a note, two words – ‘Rebirth or Serve’, written on it.

‘Choose,’ I say.

He points and disappears.

I move onto the next name.

102 words

Five for Friday – Things I’ve learned so far!

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Nope I haven’t left the country, fell down a well or been eaten by cats. I’m doing NaNoWriMo and am sooo behind I’ve taken to drinking more wine and walking round graveyards to prove to myself that things could be worse.

The first week was fantastic, I was full of energy and enthusiasm and flew along, each day creating more than I did the day before.

Then…

I slammed into the wall.

Some days I do above and beyond and others I do nothing at all which translates to me barely making the daily quota and me thinking I should have probably stayed in bed and watched Come Dine with Me.

I am terribly late in my Five for Friday today, but determined to do it anyway I thought I would write a note on Five Things I’ve Learned So Far!

  1. 1667 words are more difficult to write than I thought. Especially when you’re managing on three hours sleep, not brushed your hair in two days and forgotten where the children are.
  2. Some days the words just aren’t there. In which case, I make another cup of tea and write absolute rubbish till something manifests. And if it doesn’t at least I’ve added to my word count. Result!
  3. I love word sprints. It’s possible that I have become an addict and that will probably be the main thing that gets me to 50k.
  4. I need short term goals to keep me going. Just the act of going onto the NaNo site and updating my word count or adding a badge gives me a sense of satisfaction and helps when I’m really struggling to find the motivation.
  5. There’s lots of writers out there like me. You’re not all poised with quill in hand staring off into the distance with a look of the muse about you. Your in your pyjama’s, eating dry Coco Pops, possibly crying, just trying to get through the next 500 words.

So that’s my Five for Friday, rapidly written as I’m still behind and the wine’s running out.

Speak to you soon and Happy Writing 🙂

Five for Friday – Interview with Pleasant Street

Welcome to Five for Friday!

I’ve decided it’s time for a regular spot on my blog. So every Friday (or at least every other Friday) I will write a post.  It can be anything from 5 tips to sell your novel or 5 reasons you should eat as much cake as you can.

So to kick off my new spot I am beginning with an Interview from the lovely Pleasant Street. You can find her blog here – In My Parlour – which I love. Full of beautiful poetry and fantastic prose, take a look if you get chance, you won’t regret it.

Pleasant Street is undertaking NaNoWriMo for the third time and as you probably know, I am joining for the first time. So I asked her some questions on her experiences to help newbies like me get acquainted.

So here we go:

  1. Had you ever completed a novel before joining NaNoWriMo?

No I hadn’t.

In fact I never wrote anything longer than a poem prior to NaNoWriMo, not even a short story. I don’t think I considered it. I’ve written poetry since childhood. Much of my reading consisted of biographies and history. I usually missed the popular novels, opting to read classics.

The great thing about the classics is that many of them give you a good model for what a great novel is. I think the first year I tried it, 2013, it was more of a lark. It was a gimmick online that others were doing and it sounded fun.

Could I really do it? I had to try!

  1. Did you decide on a process before you started, i.e. a certain word count per day/write at the same time every day? Or did you develop this as you went along?

No way, I had no idea of any process at all. I had a title and a basic idea.

In 2012, I started NaNo but never even got half way. I lost that manuscript, so I started over in ’13 with the basic concept. I mean I had a goal, the goal that NaNo puts out- 50k words in 30 days, which amounts to 1667 words/day. But the writing just came naturally and organically. I had no plan other than keep the coffee pot full and write my ass off.

  1. You say that you’ve done NaNo a couple of times before. What are your reasons for coming back this year?

I’ve come back because even though now I’m writing every day, it offers an incentive to finish. There is a great feeling at the end finishing with your buddies, and of course, your own good feeling of accomplishment.

Speaking of buddies, I do visit the forums some and sometimes participate in discussions, especially the ones that involve sharing snippets of our work and getting/ giving feedback. This is enormously helpful, getting that kind of response, good or bad.

Also the folks at NaNoWriMo have v-logs on youtube, sometimes with a live feed and interaction with us, asking questions, etc. A big part of NaNo for some people are the word sprints, you can find these on twitter at @NaNoWriMo. Someone sets a time and everyone writes until the time is up and says how many words they wrote. This can be fun and exhilarating. It can also help you not to give up.

  1. Is there anything that didn’t work for you, being on such a tight schedule?

That’s a good question.  I’d say reaching back to the last question, though the social aspect of it is fun, I find too much social interaction is distracting.  If I interact with others on a daily basis, it is before I start writing, maybe a stroll through one of the discussions, reading and offering replies. Occasionally I’ll join in a word sprint on Twitter. I think the interaction is great but if I get too involved socially I don’t write as much and I lose my train of thought where I am going in the story.

  1. Finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone taking on NaNo for the first time?

This is a good one. My advice is this- ignore the constant criticism of NaNo and the people that want to drag it down. They have their reasons and they will tell you that it isn’t good for writing a good completed novel; it is too fast with no editing, etc.

They have some good points but even NaNo doesn’t claim that the manuscript you have after 30 days is going to be a finished novel. But you will have a first draft. Without the second-guessing and constant editing, your creativity really flows. Oh, there will be typos and you’ll want to delete some of the crap, but I find it very satisfying once a year to write like mad and form a first draft this way.

Do talk to others and see how they run it. Do they write an outline? Do they write by the seat of their pants and let the story unfold? But ultimately you should run it how it works for you, and you’ll pretty much know in the first week if it is working. Don’t worry about the naysayers. It is 30 days of your life and you’ll have 50,000+ words that did not exist before, which I think is an astounding feeling. I love that accomplishment.

Thank you so much to Pleasant Street for giving up her time to answer my questions.

I’ve found them very helpful, especially the information about the social aspect, which I knew very little about. And I have to admit, I’ve heard a lot of negative things said too and I was starting to worry whether I’d made the right decision, so it was good to put my mind at rest about these issues.

To anyone looking at joining NaNo this year, I hope you  find this post helpful and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe we’ll see each other in the forums at some point.

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Writing!

If anyone would like more information on NaNoWriMo, visit their website here.

Last in Line – Friday Fictioneers

It’s that time of the week again. Welcome to Friday Fictioneers! The lovely Rochelle issues a prompt and you have approx 100 words to write your story. Thank you to Ron Pruitt for this weeks prompt pic.

If you’d like to read more of this weeks stories press on the blue frog 🙂

Happy Writing!

Last in Line

‘Push me again buddy, see what happens.’

‘Hey I’m not your buddy.’

‘You wanna go?’

A fight broke out at the front of the line. Merv backed away. A shoe flew into the air and landed behind him.

‘Things are starting to fall apart,’ he said.

Lou nodded. ‘Maybe there’s another bus?’

Merv shook his head.

A blood curdling scream exploded. Everyone turned to see a woman being dragged away. ‘It’s too late, they’re already here.’ Merv grabbed Lou’s hand and they raced to a nearby store.

Hiding behind the counter, they watched as the monsters ripped the crowd apart.

100 words

 

Massive Book Rant (contains swearing)

Great post by jjmarsh. Sterling advice for all; writers take note 😀

jjmarsh

cartoon

I’ve now destroyed three Kindles by flinging them at the wall. Number of paperbacks taken to recycling – three bags full. I am so tired and weary of reading half-baked bollocks, I want to give up my treasured pleasure of literature and watch Blackadder repeats.

No, you beard-strokers and bespectacled nodders, this is not the ‘Great Unwashed Tsunami’ of self-publishing. It’s far too many shite books by authors whose gaze rests otherwhere than on their readers. It’s self-indulgent crap and it comes from every kind of publishing arsehole.

This week I hurled a Booker Prize nominee out the window. Gave up on a small press manuscript. Spent three hours trying to refine a critique which should simply read: Don’t.

book job

From a reviewer’s perspective, here are the Golden Bloody Rules.

  1. Stand in your readers’ shoes. We don’t know your characters or storyworld as well as you do. Tread that fine line…

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The Fun of the Fair – Friday Fictioneers

Hello Everybody, It’s been a while 🙂

Here’s my contribution to Friday Fictioneers, I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you to Ted Strutz for the image today. And also thank you to the lovely Rochelle for running the challenge. If you’d like to have a go, pop onto her page and take a look at the prompt. Write your story in 100 words or less and post it up. Good Luck!

 

The Fun of the Fair

‘What if one of them throws up?’ Ray laughed and we both took a step back.

‘Do we have to go on that?’ I grimaced. The people above had now become a continuous blur of colour.

‘Come on, where’s your sense of adventure?’

‘It’s still on the waltzers with its head between its knees,’ I replied. ‘There’s some nice pedalo’s over there.’ I pointed to a lake in the centre of the park.

Ray turned to look just in time. Vomit cascaded down and hit the floor hard, splashing onto his shoes.

He looked up at me and grinned. ‘Pedalo?’

100 Words