On Writing

How To Write Five Thousand Words In One Evening

how towritefivethousand

… though of course you can write five thousand words at any time of day that you so choose. Obviously.

Find a Comfortable Seat

This is important. I used my large soft toy as a back-rest. (Soft toys are very good as back-rests – an important fact.) If it’s cold, wrap a blanket around your shoulders.

Panic Not

Look – if you think writing 5k in one evening is impossible, you’ll find it impossible. So, when you start to write – cheer yourself on. Two hundred and fifty words down? That’s a quarter of a thousand! Wahoo! You can do it! Five thousand? Pfft, little brain. Just you wait till I write ten thousand in one day. Your brain will quiver with fear and do precisely as you wish after such a threat.

Thank You For the Music!

This is important. Don’t listen to music you are unfamiliar with. You want to sink into your writing with absolutely no distractions. I didn’t even use a playlist. I found one song and then I stuck it on repeat. If it’s familiar it will fade into the background.

Side effects: you’ll be heartily sick of your song afterwhile. So, when you take a break, choose another bit of music and play the stuffing out of that one too.

Make Goals.

Think to yourself – I’ll write two thousand and then I’ll take a break. Reach that goal, take a break and then return for more. Use the break to make tea, rest your eyes and gather your sanity from the far-flung regions it has fled to. It’s really not that bad.

Format That Word Document

You don’t want to be distracted by page numbers (oh bother, I’ve only written one page! ONE PAGE!). So eliminate them. Change your view from the Print Layout to Web Layout. This gives you the freedom to simply spill your words onto those pages without realising how many there are.

I find this tip to be really, really useful. I call it ‘Tricking My Brain To Doing What I Want Muhahahaha Bow To Me Story Of Mine’.

5kin1evening
I took this picture in relieved triumph

Remember That Quantity Does Not Always Mean Quality

… and you know what? That doesn’t matter right now. You can come back and brutally butcher it all. This isn’t editing. This is writing. [Though obviously I like to believe that every word that drips from my fingers is golden and precious, full of diamond rainbows and glorious prose]

For The Fidgety Bits

Right now, it doesn’t matter if the people have a festival on this or that date, they use spears or bows as weapons or if a poodle really is a dog – pop all your questions, continuity issues and ideas into a separate word document. You are writing. Come back to that later.

Tell your story now.

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So there you have it! All you need to write five thousand words in one evening. I managed to do it at the weekend, and now feel like a pompous expert on the matter.

Happy Writing!

(P.S Your wrist might ache jus’ a little bit afterwards. But what is a wrist ache to marvelous words?)

Books

Let There Be Books!

Wohoo! We’ve made it! The sequel to Our Intrepid Heroine has come. Join me as we cut the metaphorical ribbon and present … dunn dunnnnnn … The Curse of Cackling Meadows!

OIH2kindlefrontcoverAll she really wanted was to return home. A curse, a carrot and a unicorn later and our Intrepid Heroine is on her way to finding out just why Cackling Meadows has been beset by so strange a curse.

Accompanied by a unicorn with sensitive nostrils and a Songster whose name isn’t Hector, she will discover that princes, curses and even dragons aren’t always quite what they seem.

goodreads // amazon

The majority of this tale was written on the Norfolk Broads, aboard a boat. Whilst beautiful scenery and windmills passed by, I was sitting at a table inside the main cabin, earphones plugged in and fingers tapping away. It is quite true to say that this book was fueled by tea and black coffee.

And now, months later, here it is – fully butchered, hopefully polished and possibly coherent.ianblinkedI’ve got a sheet of paper with some of the original ideas scribbled all over it. There were lyrics for somewhat-rhyming-songs and snatches of dialogue. dontspreaditIt’s fascinating to see how things turn out. Half the time I come to write with no idea what is really going to happen. Oh, I’ve got a few basic elements there, but never the full picture. Twists arrive that surprise me. Things that I wanted to include don’t always fit. A character marches onto the pages and demands attention.

Writing is a great, big adventure and I’m very fortunate that I can share mine with you.

wivesquoteAND THAT’S NOT ALL! As part of my ‘yay, the sequel is published’ celebrations, Our Accidental Adventure (a completely different book with completely different characters in a completely different setting) is exactly zero dollars/pounds/euros this weekend.

Saith whaaattt? Let me receive this present of such greatness!

Life, On Writing

Heroines and Piano Pieces

At the moment, I’m busily tapping away at the sequel to The Dragons We Hunt. This story has a different tone to the first book – more characters, fewer dragons, a little more dangerous, certainly harder to write. The heroine is unlike the one in TDWH – she’s more optimistic, hopeful, almost naive.

People are interesting. I like to know what makes them them. Why are they like this or that? How were they sculpted into who they are?

Sometimes I find a song or piece of music which simply seems to fit a character. Compare the two pieces – that of Kyssa, Heroine the First:

… to that of Nefna, Heroine the Second:

How different they both are, and what stories there are to be found in them.

Have a great weekend!

Characters, On Writing

Waiting for Trains

Now, I’m going to admit that this is a bit of a long post. But if you have a few minutes to spare than please do read on. The theme for this month’s Chatterbox is ‘Waiting Fulfilled’. And so below is a small story about a woman who is waiting for her husband and would rather not have ‘death by bench’ on her obituary.

And you may have noticed the new header of this blog. It is winter and I feel the need for warm wood and polar bears.

– – –

She had waited for oh so long. Both for the train and for him.

Though, to be perfectly truthful, she had waited only two hours for the train. For the man on the train, well, she had waited much longer for him.

Three years, five months, two weeks and six days. And, if she truly applied herself, she could work out the hours and minutes as well. But she was quite done with applying herself and besides, maths was never her forte.

Oh, she thought, very well then. I may as well be truthful with myself.

❄ Winter Wonderland ❄ PLEASE NOTE: this  image is a GIF - Animated Pin ❄ Please click on the play button to view ❄It had been three years, five months, two weeks, six days, ten hours and- she glanced at her watch and moved her hand to catch the light of an overhead lamp- thirty-six minutes.

A long time. Too long, almost. But she often thought that it was too long. She had thought it too long when his car had driven off in a cloud of black smoke that heralded a need for a mechanic. She had thought it too long when his first letter had come a week later. When that first lonely month had dragged so unwillingly by.

And then there was that awful first year.

And that perfectly dreadful second one.

She shivered and pulled her coat about her. It didn’t help much. She was going to sit on this cold bench and wait for the train even if it killed her.

She hoped it didn’t though, she had much too much to live for.

And besides ‘death by bench’ didn’t have a nice ring to it.

Suddenly she stilled. Because-? Could she-? Was that-?

It was.

His train – his long delayed train was coming with an impatient huff and a piercing whistle. She could hear its approach.

It was coming. He was coming.

She stood up and began to pace, up and down. Up and down. Puffs of her breath showed white in the air. Up and down.

Here it came.

Standing very still, she watched as, with a screech of the breaks, the iron monster came to a stop.Smoking train (by: Ralph Graef)

(It wasn’t a monster, she told herself. It was a dear, dear machine that was bringing him to her. And that also made her wait for two hours in the bitter cold. Yes, it was a monster. A dear monster, but a monster nevertheless.)

Smartly dressed passengers dismounted. Bags and briefcases bashed each other whilst their owners took sharp breaths at the sudden cold outside.

She stood and waited.

And suddenly, suddenly he was there.

Tall, dark hair messy (because three years, five months, two weeks, six days and bother the hours later and he still forgot to brush it) and with those kind brown eyes glinting in the lamplight, he stood there. In front of her.

“Hullo Vivian,” he said.

“Hello,” she said staring up at him. He really had a marvellous chin, she thought irrelevantly.

He joggled his briefcase and cleared his throat.

“You look …” he started, and she wondered how he was going to describe her. ‘Wrapped-up Cornish Pasty’ she had mentally described herself this morning. Though if he said, ‘Wondrously Beautiful Beloved of my Heart’ she wouldn’t complain.

“… like …” he was fumbling for words. It was rather strange really. He had never fumbled for words. Not even on their wedding day when she had come down with a nasty cold and sneezed during his wedding vows. He had squeezed her hand and smoothly carried on with ‘through sickness and in health.’

She couldn’t bear it anymore. Three years and all those months and weeks and days and a delayed train were much too long to wait, so she did the sensible thing and flung herself in his arms.

He caught her and she didn’t hear the ‘thump’ of the dropped briefcase.

He drew back after a few moments, holding her at arm’s length (though, she noted that he held her quite tightly even then) and staring down at her. “You look,” he said. And stopped. Cleared his throat.

She nodded encouragingly, much too full of everything to speak.

“You look like home.”

Oh,” she replied eloquently as their breath curled white and delicate together in the winter air. “How lovely.”

On Writing

Picking Up The Threads …

I don’t much like it. And by ‘it’ I am referring to the moment when I open a story that I haven’t touched in ages with the intent to continue writing it.

In fact, there are three lines of thought that I have when I’m staring at that last written sentence:

  1. No. Just no. I can’t do this – I might disturb the genius [cough, cough] of the story. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing. In fact *closes word document* I’m going to do something else.
  2. I’m doomed. Completely. What was I thinking? What was I trying to say with that last paragraph? The heroine says … what? Goodness, I can’t even finish a paragraph. Nope. I’m not doing this. *closes word document*
  3. I could do this. I think. I’m just going to take a deep breath and plunge. Pop one word in front of the other. This is my story and if I muck it up then … then that’s fine. As long as I’m trying. As long as I’m writing. It’s going to be fine.

Just fine.