How Evernote helped me win NaNoWriMo 2018.

Hello again,

Across the four years I’ve completed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I’ve always started with the same questions running around my head:

  • Will I be able to write 50,000 words?
  • How do I break up 50,000 words over a month? (It’s 1,667 words per day. I always forget)
  • What plans do I have for November?
  • Nights out? (Well, the day after the night out when the hangover makes me forget all words and typing ability) Nights in?
  • Any guests coming?
  • What am I going to write?
  • Do I have an idea I can use or do I have to come up with something new before November? (This particular question usually comes a few days before the start of November. Every. Single. Time)

 

As I pondered these question’s I realised it mostly comes down to the time I have to complete the task. 30 days. And what hours within those days do I actually have available? When I looked at my previous years, I would write when I got home and on weekends. But I would do none during the day when I was at work. So many hours of not writing. This year, I decided to use that time. But how could I use it? Writing on a notepad? Maybe. Wait…

My phone! An app! But which one?

Evernote! https://evernote.com/

I’ve had the app for years but only really used it for taking down ideas. As the app syncs to the website I knew I could write on it and then transfer this to my manuscript when I got home. I could use my commute to and from work to write towards my daily word count.

Sounds so simple that it annoys me I never came to this conclusion before. With this in mind, I was able to write almost the whole of the daily word count before I got home from work. I could then write more at home at my leisure making the 50,000-word target more manageable. Previous years have found me having to block out full Saturdays or Sundays or both to catch up when I fell behind the target. I hated this aspect of the process. My back would kill me and I wouldn’t be able to do other things I wanted to do at the weekend. Wow…that sounds whiny.

Anyway, Evernote allowed me to catch up on my word count when I fell behind. It also helped me to keep the pressure off when I was behind as I could catch up during the day and not have to spend all evening and night writing.

In conclusion, Evernote was very useful for NaNoWriMo. If you’ve already come to this conclusion, fair enough. If not, I hope it helps in future. Making use of all the writing hours of November will be my motto going forward for NaNoWriMo. Amongst other things.

Hope you are having a nice week so far and have a nice time with what’s left of it.

Goodbye!

Advertisements

Another break. Another return.

Would you look at that? Its been too long (12th August was my last post) and I again have no reason for it. This seems to be a bit of trend with me nowadays. So, lets see if I can break this down and find out why I haven’t posted in a while.

Most days I hear by blog crying and having a go at me. Why aren’t updating me? What did I do? I hate you! No wait, no I don’t hate you. You created me. My blogging existence was only possible because of you. I love you!!

And so on.

My last post was the first few pages of my last finished story. I posted this to get some feedback, which I did and it was very useful. Then, I remember wanting to wait a while (a few weeks) to see if any more feedback would come. Alas, none did.

Then, I wanted to post but I decided too…. too…write another story! That’s it! It’s all coming back to me now.

I decided to write a story and focus on this alone. The story is actually a side story to go along with my main WIP that I started to write 3 years ago. I’ve been thinking about and have wanted to complete my main WIP since I started writing oh so many more years ago. The side story concerns Steven (The hero of my main WIP) who has been chosen to be one of a select few who must guard and protect all the realms (Earth being one of them) from each other when needed. Reluctantly, he was recruited and trained by the previous protectors who had grown very old and weary and could not continue to do their jobs. In total, there are 6 main protectors who have been recruited. They must recruit others to help defend the realms alongside them. However, the new protectors have to contend with old, bitter ones who wish to cause chaos…

Dun Dun Dunnnn!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cphNpqKpKc4

So far, I have written 55,992 words of my main WIP. I only realised when I started to write it that 50,000 is only a small part of the story. A really small part. With this in mind, I have decided to write side stories that will accompany the main story or potentially will be mixed into the main WIP in due course.

My thinking behind this is to write a novella or maybe novel-length stories for each of my main 6 protagonists. Each story will take each one on an adventure away from the others and see how they get on and have their characters grow. The first side story involving Steven has him thrown into a medieval type realm and an adventure with a Princess. Strangely enough, I have had not the ending of this story in my head but rather the moment they see each other again 6 months after their adventure finishes. This plays out in my head every time a particular song, Katherine Jenkins version of Hallelujah, comes on my MP3 player. It always goes the same way but before I can write that, I need to write the story that sets it up.

I used NaNoWriMo 2018 to write most of and ultimately move along with this side story. As a result, I am almost finished having reached the 50,000 target and in total, I have written 55,992 so far. I am taking a break at the moment for Christmas to concentrate on my reading but will get back to it soon. But not before posting on this poor neglected blog of mine.

As I have now successfully completed NaNoWriMo for the 4th time I will endeavour to use it to kick start my writing again and in particular my blogging activity. Here’s hoping I stick to it. Or I will see in 3 months or so.

Have a good day! And here is a quote that I have only recently found and really like.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson.

 

A sample of my own writing entitled…Untitled Project.

Hello,

It has been almost ages since I last posted and I have no excuse for it. Work? Life? Whatever. I sit here now annoyed I haven’t posted sooner so here it is. The following is the first page and a bit of the last story I finished. It concerns a charity shop owner taking revenge on those who attacked him and tried to destroy his shop and his livelihood. It is the first draft so apologies for any errors.

This is as yet untitled. My first title idea is ‘Charity Shop Lad’ but this will almost certainly change.

The unfortunately familiar sound of an item smashing against his wooden floor took Joe’s attention away from his and the shop’s finances and other important shop related things all of which he would rather do quickly so he can go to bed. Saturdays are always busy, he thought with a smile.

“Don’t worry about that, mate. It wasn’t worth much anyway.” Joe said.

“I wasn’t going to.” Mumbled the blue hooded man at the door. His friends giggled. Joe turned away and back to his books.

“A? How much for this?” Barked the hooded man. Joe walked around from behind his counter and over to him. From a distance, they looked menacing and almost fear-inducing. Up close, however, they were disappointing.

“The necklace?” Asked Joe. The hooded man grumbled. Joe noticed that his friends admired the necklace very clearly. “I can’t remember.” He lied. “Where’s the tag?”

“There.” Said the hooded man. Why so loud for a necklace?

“Ah. I see it. Fifty pounds. Hmm…seems a bit low. Wait here. I will check my book.”

“Low? The price is the price, mate. No changes.”

“I can change the price as I see fit, Sir. Let me just…”

“No, you don’t, mate.” Said the hooded man.

As Joe turned with the necklace in his hand to walk to back to his counter and his pricing book, the hooded man grabbed his arm. Joe put the necklace in a nearby vase before looking down at the hand gripping his arm.

“Please, Sir. I don’t want any trouble.” Said Joe. The hooded man’s friends had stepped over and now blocked the door.

“Well, you’ve got it, pal.” Said the hood. The man swung with his free right hand but as he did so, Joe kicked him in the shin and twisted the right hand and the arm round sharply. The hooded man screamed as his face hit the floor.

“Now, gentleman. Like I said, I do not want any trouble.” Joe said. He slowly twisted the man’s arm until he heard a small crack. “If I go any further, it may cause him some damage. I don’t want that to happen.”

The friends looked at each other and back at Joe quickly and with sweat forming rapidly on their foreheads. One friend lunged with a poor attempt at a punch which Joe grabbed with his left arm. He twisted the friend’s arm until it matched the hooded man. Joe, with two men’s faces, pushed against the floor and an arm within each hand, looked up at the remaining friend.

“Now, they will hurt for a few days but if they take it easy they should be fine. Maybe they will be okay for work on Monday. What jobs do they do? Do you all work together? Is that where you know each other from?” Joe asked. The remaining friend stared wide-eyed and unable to answer. Joe stood up and dropped the arms he was holding. The remaining friend jumped and ran out of the shop.

“Look, I’m sorry about that. But I did say I didn’t want any trouble.” The men walked out holding their damaged arms. “Just take it easy tomorrow and you should be fine for work.” The men ran out and Joe closed and locked the door. He watched as they were swallowed by the almost pitch-black night. He pulled down the blind over the shop door window and exhaled, putting his hands on his knees. He composed himself and looked around his shop. He savoured the calm and quiet before settling on a vase. He reached inside and held up the necklace.

“How much are you worth then?”

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to, please leave your thoughts and such in the comments section. Thank you.

Bye Bye for now!

Finally… My first story of the year is finished! What next?

Hello,

I’ll start with a question; Do you prefer to leave a piece of work you have finished and move onto the next thing or dive right into editing said piece of work?

finish-writing-project-630x472

So, for the last 6 months or so I have been working on my latest story. It centres around Joe, a calm mid-thirties man who owns an antique shop in Stockport, Manchester, UK. This shop is his life. His grandparents, who were more like his actual parents than his real ones ever were, left it solely to him when they passed away. He has worked to make it the go to place for antiques in Stockport and is enjoying his life.

However, when he purchases a necklace from a car boot sale in London, it brings trouble. Notably, three men who come to steal it. They assume they can intimidate him easily, given his calm and nice exterior, but what they do not know is that Joe has taken numerous Karate, Boxing, MMA and self-defence classes over the last ten years. Joe defends himself against the men easily and decides to take the next day off, take the necklace with him, and try to find out more. His friend Kelly manages to find out that the necklace is worth way more than what he purchased it for. A LOT MORE. When he comes back to work the following day, his shop has been smashed to pieces. Nothing has been stolen but it is a mess. Completely wrecked on the inside. Joe decides in that moment to track down who did this and bring them to justice. But in a nice way.

Well, at least that’s how the first draft has panned out. Joe and his friend Kelly track down who is responsible and go toe to toe with him. Him, known as D.A.D, is the biggest gangster in Stockport who is a more of an urban myth. Not many people have seen him and those who have are either dead or working for him. Currently, I have been able to test Joe and test all the other characters along the way. Though, as it seems to be with a lot of my stories, the villain has taken on a better and more rounded shape than my hero, but I will sort this out in the edits.

But, What next? Jump onto my next project? Edit this one? Run away? Eat a Pizza? The list is endless. I have settled on leaving the story for a while. In that while, I will finally finish my online Fraud Diploma course (he says after saying the same thing a few times before) And after that I want to focus on entering writing competitions and trying to get published.

That was way too easy to write. If only that road was that easy. I know it will be hard but it is something I have been looking forward to doing for years. I now feel ready. Well, as ready as I ever will be, to put my work out there for more eyes to see. Wish me luck.

The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart — Novelty Revisions

Hello,

I came across this awesome and really useful article regarding writing advice from

Novelty Revisions https://megdowell.com/.
We’ve all read writing advice but it isn’t always clear which to use and which to throw away. And who to take it from. This goes a long way to helping solve the problem. Here is the first part of the article:

 

‘How do you know if the writing advice you’re being given is worth listening to?

Does it matter if someone is a published author or not?

Who is “qualified” to give the best advice?

These are all tricky questions. So here are some of the types of advice you’ll generally get about writing, who they tend to come from, and how to apply them (if at all) to your own writing life.’

For the full article, click the link below the picture.

 

How you should interpret writing advice depends on who — or where — it comes from.

via The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart — Novelty Revisions

A cold that was a writing break in disguise?

Hello,

So, around the middle of March, a snowy, windy, coldy, all-round menace of a weather thing that the media dubbed ‘The Beast From The East’ terrorised the UK. This ‘Beast’ caused a lot of snow and then ice and then more snow on top of the ice and so on. Usually, I enjoy the snow but when the ‘Beast’ came so did a nasty illness. I take pride in how little time off from work I have and keeping generally healthy. But this illness just hit me all of a sudden. I’m sure it was linked to the sausage and bacon barm I had for breakfast the day I got ill but it manifested itself as a banging headache, blocked nose, and tickly cough, which I have only just gotten over.

With all this happening, I said to myself that I would try to keep on writing. This did not happen. Sad face.

Button---Sad

In work, I stare at a computer screen. I could not bring myself to do that when I got home and the illness put me off doing anything for a few weeks. I found that I wanted to write but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. My WIP was constantly spinning around in my head, which I could not keep writing and it drove me a little crazy. But, as I dosed myself up each day, the illness slowly departed. It was like my writing inner beast was slowly winning the battle against the ghastly ill that ravaged my body. Those few weeks were also a writing break. Was it one that I needed?

It appears that the illness was…dare I say it…a blessing in disguise?

stock-photo-hand-writing-time-for-a-break-concept-with-red-marker-on-transparent-wipe-board-155132870

I spent weeks feeling awful and it was all just so I could take a break? Was my subconscious working with the rest of my body to force me to take a break and recharge my batteries? I am beginning to wonder because of how ill I got and how quickly it just seemed to hit me.

I am now writing as normal and moving my WIP along at a brisk pace so it will be finished soon. Within the next few weeks hopefully. I am also looking forward to entering more competitions over the rest of 2018. Last year, I entered one competition. This year, I’m hoping to enter more and flex my old writing competition muscles.

So, I have a question, have you ever taken an unplanned writing break that turned out to be really helpful?

 

The virtues of reading two books at once…almost.

ccc52e3603bc9c8f8cdd19231a61ef83

Currently reading: The Breathing Method: A Winter’s Tale by Stephen King.

Also currently reading: The Good, the Bad and Me: In my Anecdotage by Eli Wallach.

Hello,

Recently, I have been reading Stephen King’s Different Season’s and really enjoying it. I always wonder though, with every book I read, what book I should read next to keep the enjoyment going. Usually, I wing it but recently I have started to plan ahead when I was coming to the end of The Body (Stand by Me) and starting the last story of Different Seasons. I thought, why not read two books at once? I have never done that before. Let’s see how this goes, shall we…

Well, actually, I have tried two books at once before but it didn’t work very well. I just ended up focusing on one book and forgetting about the other. I would always have to go back to the beginning of book two when one was finished. This time though, I have the ten minutes or so before my second train departs to take me to work and the twenty minutes on the train that allows me to read one book in a fair amount of peace. Beforehand, the bus or tram had mostly been my method of travel. Or walking. Each with plenty of things to stop me from reading (mainly concentrating on the road and other people. Laaaaame.) But waiting and travel with plenty of space available has helped my cause.

I thought of many books that could be my second book. As I did this, I began to hear something. What do I hear? What is that noise? Thousands of little voices but from where? I follow the sounds and they get louder and clearer as I approach my lovely bookshelves. All the books and their characters giving me their own reason why I should read them instead or as well as my current book. They say “Kindle is killing books, you smell lovely, you should be worried as you’re hearing voices from books”, and so on. I looked around and saw one book I’d been looking forward to reading since Christmas. Eli Wallach’s biography The Good, the Bad, and Me. He played The Ugly (Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez aka “The Rat”) in my favourite film of all time so naturally, I wanted to read it. And so, I now have one book for home and one for travel.

I’ve found it very useful and enlightening for my own writing to read two different authors and their very different styles. Each I enjoy and each is pushing me to make mental notes to use in my own writing. Stephen King (for obvious reasons) and Eli Wallach for his straightforward and unflinching account of his life. Most of the notes lean towards helping me to describe effectively and to try and make the reader feel what I want them to feel for a particular scene.

I’m also reading fast and racing through my books. But what of the next two books? Oh no. I hear the voices again…

Before you go. Quick question, if you do read two books at once, are they similar? Or different? And for either answer, why?

Thanks for reading. Have a good rest of the week!