Sunday, 5 December 2010

Nanowrimo Vlog Days 19-30

Yikes! I can't believe I forgot to post all these vlogs.

Well, I've recovered from Nanowrimo and now I'm trying to catch up with everything.

I managed 200k in the end - finishing with 10k days of writing - the last of which I managed to type out furiously before 5pm!

I was so sure I wasn't going to make it especially considering my Granddad died and then my PC exploded with 5 days (and 35K) to go.

Day 19:

In which I bought some bright pink mohair!

Day 20:

In which I worked out I needed to do 8k a day in the days I had left to get 200k - previously I had decided not to go for 200k. I also crochetted a pebble!

Day 21:

In which I try to get ahead, knowing that I won't be able to write much on 2 days.
I've also been putting way more into scenes than I need just so that I know the background to the story.

Day 22:

Yesterday I got 10k in the end! I start to worry that I've written everything I possibly can on this story, but could go into the background of some of my characters. I also managed to write instead of taking a nap!

Day 23:

Managed to discover some scenes that needed to be written. Writing lots feels like really good exercise and I talk about my TV addiction and having to go cold turkey!

Day 24:

In which I came home at 9:30pm and got 3k which took my wordcount up to 152048 words.

Day 25:

My PC died today :( but without the fan on my video is much more quiet! And sometghing falls off my desk.

Day 26:

Today was a painful. I got 10k done eventually. I was out of practice from only writing 3k for the other days.

Day 27:

I almost forgot to vlog today. Only 5k done today and 30k to go. And my brain wouldn't work!

Day 28:

Got 10k today despite not feeling like I would do it. Using a different computer still seems weird. I've been getting my characters to talk about their background.

Day 29:

In which I talk about working right up to the last day of Nanowrimo (something I've never done before) and verifying my novel early.

Day 30:

In which I finished before 5pm!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Nanowrimo Days 15, 16, 17, 18

Videos from the past 4 days...

I'm getting back into the swing of things now and filling in all the scenes I decided I needed.

Day 15:

Day 16:

Day 17:

Day 18:

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Nanowrimo Day 11,12,13 and 14

The last 4 days where things haven't gone so well wordcount-wise!

Day 11:

Day 12:

Day 13:

At this point I decided to start working on a proper synopsis for this story rather than typing out more and more random scenes.

Day 14:

Today I started organising my story in Scrivener - which is awesome!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Day 7,8,9,10

Ooops! I guess I got a bit behind on posting these videos here.

Day 7

In which I was really tired and my eyes are red.

Day 8

Where I tried to be 100% more peppy!

Day 9

In which I started thinking about whether I wanted to start another new story next week or work more on this one.

Day 10

In which I talk about the C.S.Lewis trilogy I got today, linking up a few ideas in my manuscript, some doodles for a new textiles piece and thinking about starting to work on a "proper" first draft next week

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Nanowrimo Day 6 and 7

Oops - I forgot to update here with my vlog from yesterday so here are the two from this weekend.

On both days I've only managed 5k but I feel OK about that at the moment.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Nanowrimo Day 5

My story is going a bit sci fi. I'm not sure how that happened!

However, later on from this video I started working out what was going to happen and trying to bring it all together.

I think I need to go back and start my story a lot earlier. I'm really excited about the changes and think I need to go and do some research into ancient cultures.

I'm almost at 40k.

I went wandering around the graveyards at my Dad's house today and forgot to talk for some of it so I added:
Music by Kevin MacLeod

I'm embarassed I got out of breath in the second half but I'm blaming it on my stuffed up nose. Also I have learnt that my eyes look off in different directions - maybe it's just that the camera is so close to my face!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Nanowrimo Day 4

Just a quick vlog today.

I managed to get my words done quite a bit earlier today - I hope I can do the same tomorrow as I'm going to be out of the house for most of the time.

Sorry about the sniffing. I think I'm allergic to my neighbour's dog.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Nanowrimo Day 3

In which I pause a lot, exaggerate a headache, and discuss why my writing habits are like my textiles habits.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Nanowrimo Day 2

My vlog from day 2 of Nanowrimo. I just washed my hair and don't own a hair dryer so that's why I look like a drowned rat!

I talk about my bad guy who needs working on as he's a bad rip-off of another bad guy from childrens' TV, my fabric map which I melted today and how I feel about Nanowrimo and why I do it and think it's a good thing - the last topic was because I keep coming across blog posts and articles about people complaining about Nanowrimo and do every year.

You know, not everything works for everybody. There are lots of ways of writing a book - I remember reading about one guy who would rewrite and rewrite and rewrite the same novel over and over until it was perfect.

What a wonderful world we live in where everyone has different opinions and different ways of doing things, it's just a shame we all expect everyone to think the same as we do - something that I'm just as guilty of as the next person.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Nanowrimo Vlog

I decided I needed to save my fingers so I would vlog my Nanowrimo experience (also slight craft chatter towards the end!).

Friday, 29 October 2010

Nanowrimo Map Brainstorm

Seeing as I finally got my map into a painted and almost workable state I thought I'd brainstorm it for some ideas. As Nano starts on Monday - yikes!

It's been ages since I painted anything so please forgive the muddy colours - I figure it makes it look old and worn.

The wallpaper paste I used ending up resisting the paint in places (I used very watered-down acrylics) but I loved the effect because it gave the surface a bit of texture and I discovered some more islands hiding in the paint.

I'm not quite sure if there's any meaning behind the shape of the map yet. Perhaps the discovered world is that shape and no one knows what lies beyond the T-shape.

So far, in the murk, I've discovered possible icebergs - although they could also be islands of metal, or submerged metal forms in the sea?

I have a cat island (made with a torn print-out of a Frida Kahlo painting).

There's a possible sea graveyard. I'm not sure who's buried there or whether it's a shipwreck or a drowned city.

I've got a ring of mountains under the water.

One of the islands (at the bottom right) was made with a scrap that had a very scultpural-looking face on it. I'm wondering if this island is a bit like Easter island - full of strange sculptures.

At the top central part of my map I've discovered Sugar Mouse island. I couldn't stop thinking of it as that due to the tail coming off the main triangular shape.

I've also got an Anchor in the ocean - what does this mean? Maybe my characters are going to go sailing - maybe this is where they put their anchor down.

At the top, above Sugar Mouse Island I've got a piece of land that's covered in circles - I'm wondering if these are a strange formation of hills or even manmade shapes of some kind?

Next to the bobbles I've got a piece of paper which has handwriting on it. I picked out some of the words which include:

"better get back" - maybe this means that when my characters get to this place they're going to have to leave again because of some sort of obstacle and disaster?

"without the stains" - I dread to think what this could mean! Haha!

"lots of love" - I think it was a discarded page from a letter. Maybe there's love in store for a couple of characters.

This next picture is the lefthand side of the top of the T.

The printed writing mentions broken jewellery and found objects so that could be interesting.

Perhaps someone's very important piece of jewellery goes missing?

I wonder what the characters could find there?

I've got a line of mountains along one border and the other half of that Frida Kahlo picture which shows a monkey and a dead hummingbird necklace. I might be wrong but I think the hummingbird was supposed to represent sorrow - I'll have to look that up. There's also a lot of leafy jungle going on in that painting so maybe there's a jungle in this part of the world.

The other end of the T has a piece of land with the words "recycle, reuse" on it. Perhaps this is a place where the people collect all the junk that everyone else throws away. Perhaps they're skilled at fixing and patching up things.

I've got a couple of places here that have funny lines and swirls on them. I'm wondering whether these are contour lines on the ground or perhaps some sort of sculpted land? They could be meteor craters?

There are a couple of rectangles in this area too. I wonder what they could be? Something manmade - maybe walled in cities?

Well, that's given me a little bit to work with on Monday!

This week I set a textiles challenge to make fabric maps. Check that out here.

The map brainstorming idea came from Holly Lisle - check it out here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Getting read for Nano...

I don't have much of a clue about what I'm writing for Nano this year but I thought I'd make a cover anyway - I had just about enough info to go on.

I know I want to write about:

A girl.

That's all I've got so far!

Last night I decided I needed a break from work and played with making this cover. I used a photo of some small islands, taken in Cornwall in early September, and one of my self-portrait pictures from July.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Making a Map

Recently I’ve started thinking about Nanowrimo again.

I had intended to plan this year out. I’ve never planned a single first draft before and I like to try something different every November. With editing my first manuscript weighing on my mind I just haven’t got around to even thinking about what I’m going to write in November.

I was a little disappointed in myself for not having thought of anything yet so I decided I’d give Holly Lisle’s Map and Essay a go and see if I could conjure up any ideas from that.

I have made a couple of these maps before but find myself agonising over where to put trees and mountains! I decided this time that I wouldn’t work on plain paper.

I grabbed myself a load of paper from my discarded print-outs pile and started to age them with a tea and coffee solution (I went for Instant Carte Noire and PG Tips!). Colour print-outs look so gorgeous when they’re tea-stained. The colour from the ink becomes very diffused and anything can look beautiful – I used an HP print test page which has a beautiful butterfly on it and some print outs of Frida Kahlo paintings. I also used some worksheets that I printed out for a textiles workshop I taught a few years ago.

My first experiment hasn’t been too successful – I decided yesterday that I would make an Atlas.

I have the vague image of an island in my head and I was thinking I’d like to try some sort of fantasy adventure with lots of travelling. So, I figured I needed lots of maps.

I took a really old diary of mine and started to paste together the pages. I decided I’d only give myself 6-8 double page spreads so I needed to glue all the other pages together (stopping the pasting at interesting spots of writing and doodles which might make good backgrounds for my map).

Unfortunately this has led to one big soggy mess that I’m trying to dry on the towel rail! Maybe it’ll be beautifully distressed like an old map once it’s dry, who knows – it might take a few weeks though.

My second attempt has been a lot more promising.

I took one of those cardboard pieces that use to send books out, unfolded it and pasted on some of my favourite print outs. Hopefully it’ll be dry tomorrow and I can carefully cover the other side too.

Once it’s dry I’ll start to draw in my islands and mountains and volcanoes and so forth, drawing on the imagery and words in the background.

I’m thinking about leaving the actual essay until the first day of November and trying to make it more into a story.

I already have an idea about this map being passed down to a girl. I’m going to let that thought compost during October.

Find out more about my Nanowrimo experience here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Knitting the Plot

I’ve started this knitting project which is perfect for the story I’m currently working on.

It’s called Oceanstream by Jane Thornley and I’m working on it whilst editing my novel – well, I say editing but there’s a lot of rewriting and fresh plotting going on too. It’s a loose top which Jane refers to as “notaponcho”.

Jane’s instructions are written like we’re on a ship following a map that takes you out of deep water, past an island and up to shore (at the top of your not-a-poncho).

This is great for me as my current (no pun intended) story is all about the sea and I’m composting a new nautical story for this year’s NanoWrimo.

It’s a free range pattern so there’s a lot of making it up as you go along – kind of like starting out on your first draft of your novel.

I’m still at the beginning of the pattern so I’ve just started knitting the moon in amongst dark streams of deep water. This is a mysterious place – a deep well of ideas. Maybe if I cast my most sparkly yarn down into them there waters I might catch a jewelled fish.

As I knit further up the piece I’ll come to a lagoon and an atoll.

I’m carrying along a lot of yarns as I work the different colours of this piece and they keep getting tangled on the back. Every now and then I keep untangling them – like making sense out of all those places where your plot explodes on you.

I started thinking – wouldn’t it be cool to have a knitting project for every story – a way to keep my mind thinking about what’s happening plot-wise whilst I having a sneaky break.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Monster that Swallowed a Hairball

I started off yesterday morning by beginning to work on story for Tricia Ander’s The Monster that Swallowed a Hairball Giveaway and finished it tonight (complete with run-on sentences - but as I haven't written anything short and eperimental for a while I hope I can be forgiven).

Check the monster out – I think he’s adorable but I think my story might be getting a teensy bit too cutesy. But I think that’s me all over – I take after my Nana too much.

The hairball immediately made me think of my brother’s old girlfriend who had a crazy number of furball pets.

It’s been quite a while now since I last wrote a short story but I had so much fun with it. It reminded me of all the little bits of detail I like to put into stories that I completely forgot about whilst working on editing my novel-length story.

At the last count Lucy owned 7 rabbits (2 angora, 1 English giant, 3 dwarves and an American fuzzy lop), 8 dust bunnies (of varying sizes and countenances), 3 guinea pigs (2 of which were long-haired and regularly needed bathing and brushing), 9 cats (3 Persians, 2 Siamese, 1 tortoiseshell, 2 tabby cats and a ginger tom), 11 white mice and 2 puppies (pugs of course).

Lucy would sweep her tiny cottage from noon until twilight and still she would sneeze from the wisps of fur tickling her nostrils.

She would spend the rest of her time in the garden whilst the rabbits nibbled grass with the guinea pigs (fighting over the dandelions - whose heads would grow enormous and yellow like the sun and later make the most amount of seeds which would add to the fur balls in the cottage), the cats would stalk imaginary foe along the weedy flowerbeds, the white mice would nest in Lucy’s hair and the puppies would roll around the long grass, making grass pugs (like snow angels but with less snow and more pug) and scratching their backs on tree roots.

The monster arrived one evening when Lucy’s sweeping duties were over. Her broom had swept so much it was close to spontaneously combusting from the friction of its bristles on the William Morris tiles that Grandma Flowerpot had laid in place throughout the cottage (she had been an avid gardener and “Flowerpot” was an easier name to say than “Grandma Eustacia Eulalia Eugenia” which was her name).

“Oh!” Lucy was surprised by her uninvited guest who at first she had mistaken for a piece of fudge brownie (the kind that has extra large chocolate chips and icing sugar) that she hadn’t swept up.

The monster’s tummy grumbled with the strength of thunder on a hot summer afternoon, scaring away 5 of the cats and 3 of the rabbits which had been sniffing at him.

He put his hand on his belly and the bits that Lucy thought were his cheeks flamed a cherry colour.

“Oh dear,” said Lucy. “What do you eat?”

“Marf!” he said, which Lucy rightly took to mean that he ate fur-balls.

“Excellent,” she said and the very next day he was put to work eating the fluff balls that were whipped up by Lucy’s broom.

Lucy’s cottage was swept clear in no time at all and she could greatly reduce the budget she set aside for the shea butter quilted toilet tissue that she used to wipe her nose after every violent sneezing session.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

New Books on the Shelves

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I received some delicious books which have all been on my wishlist for a while now so it’s awesome to actually own them.

First up is Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev.

I think I first heard about this book on Kelly Fineman’s Live Journal.

I finished it today and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel!

Eyes Like Stars is set in a magical theatre where all the characters who have ever lived exist.

There are a lot of references to Hamlet and The Tempest which I'd like to pick up and read again.

Check out the lens I made for Eyes Like Stars.

The second book I received was Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence.

I’ve never read any of Susan Cooper’s novels before. To be honest I haven't read any of the authors in this post before.

I believe The Dark is Rising was another recommendation from someone's blog that has been lurking on my wishlist for more than a year.

Third is Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Summer Tree.

I don't know anything about these two books although they looked like something I'd love. I'll get back to you when I've read them!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A vision of the future

I keep hearing a lot about vision boards and having an image that represents your dream and keeping it where you can see it all the time.

It suddenly occurred to me – why not make a vision of my finished book?

When I originally started writing my novel I made loads of collages for every character and scene in my story (some were edited out several versions ago). These collages gave me a wealth of imagery I could draw on.

I picked two pictures that I thought summed my story up pretty well – a girl swimming and an image of some rocks and photoshopped them together, added the title of the story and my name and slapped it up on my computer desktop where I’m going to see it all the time.

Now every time I feel like giving up I’ve got this image to cheer me on. A vision of the future.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Books I Own and have Never Read


I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I last posted on this blog.

I decided this morning that I’d begin to regularly update it again. I’m all about setting myself different challenges at the moment and seeing as my self-portrait challenge ended earlier this month I’ve had some time to spare.

I made one self-portrait a day for a month. You can check them out in this video:

So, I guess I’d better start to catch up on what I've been up to.

I’m really obsessed with decluttering my life at the moment and that includes my book shelves so I challenged myself, back in March, to start reading my way through the massive To-Be–Read pile at my bedside. I’ve got books that I’ve been lugging around for over a decade which I’ve never read and I don't really want to have to lug them around again - if and when we move - not knowing what's inside them.

One little part of my T-B-R pile:

And that's just some of the non-fiction.

I decided to keep a record of what I’d achieved in this lens.

There’s still a long way to go - so many books here that I’ve just never read - it’s criminal.

I’ve read quite a bit of Jane Austen recently – including some of her Juvenilia and Northanger Abbey.

I love Northanger Abbey – and I love Kelly Fineman’s notes for it even more – they helped bring the story alive for me.

She’s also made notes on Persuasion, which I hope to read soon.