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!

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.

 

My Writing: Everyone is Welcome! A 996-word story of mine.

So, I entered a short story competition in August 2017. Safe to say I didn’t win. I’ve not heard anything. Ouch for me.

Anyway, here is one of my short stories. It is about an aging employee and his annoying and constantly angry assistant who are just trying to make sure they do their jobs correctly for their very strict employer. Let me know what you think either good or bad but please be constructive. I would be more than happy to return the favor.

“The day begins like all those that have come before it with my big, bearded and always grumpy assistant standing guard to help me welcome the new arrivals. “Good day to you, Sir.” I always say to him. Silence is his eternal reply. Such a grump.

No hassle from the first customer but judging by the look on her face, I can only assume she is not a morning person. I am and why would you not be? The hot and humid weather might have something to do with it. Some act like the weather is nothing to them but I know they lie to themselves. That is the worst thing they could do.

The heat is searing and the sun is easily cutting through the clouds. If only I could reach up so high to calm the heat down and help the new customers. I wonder what it would be like if I could reach so high? More arrive now and are moving in a smooth stream with little to no grump on their faces. It could be a busy day but as long as I remember my routine, they will all get in with no problem. I hope my aches and pains do not come back. That would be a disaster.

Great. One stupid rubbernecker holding everything up. The worst thing that they could do. To be fair, most concentrate on just getting in. The people walking through seem to be shivering slightly. Is there a breeze? I cannot tell. In fact, I can feel something but it can barely be described as a breeze. Do they shiver for a different reason?

What are some of these people wearing? More money spent on their clothes and hair than their bodies and minds. Individuals wearing all kinds of so-called fashionable clothing with not an ounce of class or pride amongst them. Well, except that guy. Tragic really. They look so bad they do not even look good walking past the overflowing refuse bins. How can you look worse than a bin? It is a shame they did not think things through. Or maybe they did. That could be why they are here.

Mid-day approaches and the customers are increasing but they still come in a steady stream so no worries. My assistant barks at the unruly ones. He has such authority. More than me. I think I will ensure the gates are fully open for a while. Until it dies down later on.

Wait. Disaster. I can feel them. The aches and pains. I thought I was getting better. He will be here soon to help me so no worries. He does not spare any expense with me. He knows what to do. Just a few drops of medicine is all it takes…hold on. Where is he? No. He is busy! How could this happen? Now, of all times! I am starting to seize up. No, not now.

“What are you doing? The punters are brushing against the steel? You know, the tall spears that make up the structure with gargoyles atop pillars that hold them together at either side lose their desired effect when it jams like a common garden gate.”

“I need him to come and provide me with my medicine. There are so many new arrivals.” The steel is beginning to bend under the pressure as the punters push against the gate. Look at this one. His red face reminds me of so many others that have come before. Took it too far. Big shame. Moderation is key. Enjoy life but remember to care for body and mind.

“There are always so many. Calm down. I’ll get him. Why can’t you just do your job?!” He shouts like I can help it. Please stop shouting. It is slowly getting better, I assure you. Stop shouting, Sir. Please!

*

What did he just do? Has he managed to get him to come back? It is such an honor to see him. How long has it been since I looked upon the Lord?

There. He. Is. So domineering. So in control. So much strength. He is coming closer. Look at the punters. Cowering. Treat him with respect and he will be your guide. He is your leader now.

“He is unable to perform his duties again, my Lord. Replacement is needed.” Wrong words. And from a Gatekeeper no less. You are lucky to have a role in this at all. You can be mean to me but not in front of the almighty. “Please, I did not mean…”

That sickening thud. Never ceases to make me flinch. Look at him, flying across the land and smashing through the piles of waste. I hope he is in good health and not hurt too much.

For someone so powerful, what great care he takes of me. So delicate. “Thank you, my lord.”

My Gatekeeper is back. I hope he is well enough to continue. He flew faster than I have ever seen him fly to get back. I forget his power and how wide his wings can span. He looks shaken but I feel he will be alright. He is a tough customer and always was. I knew that when he first walked through the gates.

“All I meant was that they are old gates, your eminence. The fear that the gates of hell create for those who are to spend eternity behind them, thus avoiding the white fluffy Lord above and seeing you; the red, brilliant, and all-powerful God below, is diminished when you have to keep fixing its aches and pains.”

“Your words are heeded. And immediately disregarded. The gates will stay and your lack of respect is wasting my time and making the hounds of hell hungry. The refuse bins are empty. The rotting limbs within them are coming with me. Now, let the accursed through. I am in need of torture and…amusement.”

I am fixed and back to work I go!”

Thank you for reading and have a nice week.

Five Fascinating Facts about William Gibson

Hello,
I’ll be honest, I had not heard of William Gibson until this post. This is reblogged from and my thanks go to interestingliterature.com. I’ll try to make up for my error. William Gibson sounds like someone I should be reading. 

Here is the first fact from this post. 

Interesting William Gibson facts

1. William Gibson popularised the term ‘cyberspace’ in a short story of 1982. Defined as ‘the notional environment in which communication over computer networks occurs’, cyberspace first appeared in fiction in William Gibson’s 1982 story ‘Burning Chrome’ (no relation to Google Chrome, we’re told), a story about a couple of freelance hackers. (Before it was published, Gibson read this story out at a science fiction convention – to an audience of four people.) But contrary to a widely held belief, William Gibson did not actually coin the term: it had originated, surprisingly, back in the 1960s when two Danish artists styled themselves as Atelier Cyberspace, after ‘cybernetics’, a term invented by Norbert Wiener way back in 1948 in his book Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. (‘Cybernetics’, by the way, comes from the Greek meaning ‘steersman’ or ‘pilot’.) Gibson, however, helped to bring the term ‘cyberspace’ to a much wider audience, especially after the success of his smash-hit cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer, in that uncannily dystopian year, 1984.’

For the rest, please click the following link:

https://wp.me/p2WHCx-1hH

Have a good day. 

My first Manchester Literature Festival experience: Cory Doctorow ‘Information doesn’t want to be free’. 07.10.2014.

Hello

I just wanted to let you know about the great talk I recently witnessed as part of this year’s Manchester Literature Festival.

I received the booklet which explained all the MLF events and this one stood out for me. I hadn’t heard of Cory Doctorow before but what his talk was about, which covered the choices you make about your digital creativity resonating throughout the internet and three laws to abide by when doing so, sparked my interest. I’ve read plenty regarding copyright laws and what rights writers have when they decide to self-publish or are lucky enough to be signed up by a major publishing house and what they want when you sign a contract but hearing an expert talk about it was something I wanted to hear.

The first law covered the locks that are put in place on something you own, mainly the thing you’ve created, and how it’s not really there for your benefit. As far as I was concerned before hearing this, I thought these locks are there to help. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is one lock that you would click before publishing with Amazon for example that would protect your creative product. Cory explained how easy these things are to unlock by saying that such locks were on DVD’s when they first came out and it was broken within 24 hours to allow any DVD to be pirated. Once the lock is in place as well, only the company that put the lock on can remove it. Not even the author can remove it once they agree to it. That sounds pretty scary to me. The Hachette Vs Amazon barnstormer battle came up and he explained how, with Hachette refusing to agree a new deal with Amazon re: sale of their products and such, Amazon have refused to sell any of Hachette’s stuff, which accounts for 40% of their annual turnover. Hachette has mandatory DRM on their products and some websites have this auto-selected when really, by the sounds of things, you shouldn’t use it. It’s akin to having armour round you work like wet tissue paper.

The second law was that publishers will make you rich as long as you are already famous. I’ve read many stories whereby an author will be rejected by publishers, self-publish and sell a lot of books, and then make a deal with a publisher but make it tailored to their needs because they can live without the publisher. It does seem to me like trying to go it on your own is the better option and probably the more satisfying one.

The third law was that information doesn’t want to be free. Information always seems to have some kind of cost to it. When it is put onto the internet, which is the Nervous system of the 21st century as Cory put it wonderfully (if you’ve heard that before, fair enough. But I haven’t so it was a wonder to me at the time) then it does seem like it would be easier to encourage people to freely share parts of their work which would in turn help the sales of the book in the future. This is something that Cory has done very well for many years. He explained as well about how computers seem to be everywhere nowadays. You carry a computer in your pocket (mobile phone) or an iPod or any number of things which can have its contents accessed by anyone if they tried hard enough. He said that in the future everything will run through the internet and that it was evitable.

In conclusion I did enjoy the talk very much, even buying a book of his and getting a picture with him, and would advise anyone who wants to know more about copyright laws to seek out Cory Doctorow and his musings (http://boingboing.net/ and http://www.craphound.com amongst many) . To finish, here are a couple of pictures from the night. Thanks for reading.

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