I have kept my word and it’s not even the end of January yet. I’ve written over 10,000 words in the last ten days and the novel now stands at 47,900 words. It has still got a long way to go, but the story is coming together and I’m reasonably pleased with what I’ve written. It will obviously need a lot of editing, but you can’t edit if you haven’t written it in the first place.
The characters have surprised me every once in a while, but that’s the beauty of bringing them to life. They develop their own thoughts and feelings and you can’t always predict how they will interact. How could I have guessed that Miss Ellie would decide to accompany Molly on her journey? I thought Molly was going to have to face it alone. I’m very grateful to Ellie as it’s so much easier to show what is going on and keep it lively and with emotion when you have at least two characters playing off each other.
I’ve been grateful that so much of the research material I need is now on line. The Library of Congress has some great maps of the American railroads at the time I need them and I’ve been able to see clearly how their journey would go. As I left them tonight, they were two days away from Dowagiac and Molly having the opportunity to be reunited with her brother after ten years. You might think the biggest problem would be the fact he has received his draft papers to join the American Civil War, but as it turns out, that’s the least of the problems!
Oh teasing you is such fun. You’re just going to have to wait until it’s finished. However, you might not have to wait until it’s published. I’d like to put together a small team of beta-readers to give me their thoughts before it gets that far. If you would like to join the team then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
There must come a point when it is too late to wish you a ‘Happy New Year’ and with more than half of January gone I’ve probably already passed that point, however Happy New Year to you all.
It has been a busy start to the year, although sadly with only a limited amount of novel writing being done so far. I have had a lot of activity on Alfie’s Diary, with product reviews, giveaways and awards announcing us in the top five dog blogs in the UK, but of course it’s the dogs who write that rather than me!
I’ve been clearing the decks so that I can concentrate on my novel. For a start I found myself losing a number of days to big computer changes, but now that they are done I’m losing less time to problems so it’s proving worthwhile.
Despite a somewhat unhealthy start to the year, I’m getting on top of things and am on target to have half of every day to concentrate on writing from 20th January to the end of the month. There are some things which then get in the way for a few days, but I should have at least 2 -3 hours a day on most days through February too.
You will notice a new panel on the side of the website called ‘My Book Progress’. Each day I will update my progress and you will be able to see that bar moving along. If it doesn’t then you have permission to email me and ask exactly what I’m doing with my time!
I will update you on progress more fully at the end of January, by which time I hope to be able to tell you I am 10,000 words further forward. They may of course not be the right words, but it will give me something to edit, which is a start.
A very Happy Christmas and New Year to all my readers.
This feels like more of an end of term report than my New Year’s Resolutions. ‘Must try harder’, ‘Would do better if she concentrated on one thing at once’, ‘Talks too much in class’ (for talks read spends too much time on Facebook!). However, what are resolutions borne out of, if not the need for change?
In the next year I want to achieve two main things. Firstly, the completion of my next novel – The Orphan Train. So far it is 40,000 words in and has been stuck there for a few months. Oh so I’ve been busy with Shadow’s puppies and the arrival of our own new puppy and of course Alfie Dog Fiction, but there is no excuse. Let’s be specific, by the end of January that needs to be at least 45,000 words. 5,000 words does not sound much, until I think about the fact I need to recap everything written to date to get back into the right voice for the book I’m supposed to be writing. Some writers can do that at the editing stage and believe getting words on the page in the first place is the most important. For me, that doesn’t work so well. Whilst the words on the page may not ultimately be the right ones, they do need to have the right feel to them.
Secondly, I want to record The Appearance of Truth as an audio book. Again, much of the work has been in preparation for a while – but there it stopped. I am resolving to complete the edits to the text, to make it read easily, by the end of January and begin recording in February. That is a lot easier than the novel as it is already in progress and the points which need editing have been highlighted on my Kindle version. The Kindle is much better to use for recording an audio book as you can turn the pages silently.
Should I stick at just the two? In terms of making sure I achieve them that would be wise, but I’ve rarely gone for the easy option. There is a short story that I have written for a forthcoming anthology that I had in mind making the basis for a novel. However, then I received a letter from a reader of one of my short stories saying ‘Have you thought of turning this into a novel? I want to know what happens next.’ I hadn’t thought about it, but when I sat down and did so I realised it would be rather fun. It’s a humorous story and I enjoy writing humour. The story concerned, ‘A Test of Friendship’ is available as free download HERE, feel free to send me your comments and just maybe you can influence the direction it takes in becoming a novel!
It’s been a busy time and that does include my writing, or at least ‘my dog’s writing’! Shadow’s puppies were born three weeks ago and Alfie has been reporting all the news at www.alfiedog.me.uk It’s no small commitment to blog twice daily, which when combined with sleep deprivation and taking care of tiny puppies means it is hard to fit everything else in. Now they are a little bigger time is become a little more available and I’m trying to catch up.
I have at last finished reading The Appearance of Truth out load as a practice read in preparation for recording it as an audio book. What have I learned? Despite much editing and proofreading prior to publication I have found a remarkable number of minor, niggling errors and for those I apologise. The good news is I will now do a complete edit ready for a relaunch when the audio version is ready.
I have also learned that it is not going to be easy for me to read something that contains so much emotion in places. Now I will need to find a way to get the balance between conveying that emotion in reading it and breaking down during the recording. I strongly suspect there will be a number of chapters which will take several ‘takes’ to record. There is a limit to just how much emotion it is practical to include in the voicing of the book. At a certain level the risk is the words cease to be able to be differentiated by the listener which would be most unhelpful.
I’ve also learned I need to do some more work on the voices and remember which character is which. I will do a short sample recording of each character so that I can check back as I go through to ensure they don’t morph into each other over time.
First off is to correct the text, which I shall hopefully start in the next day or two. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the gratuitous pictures of the puppies. They aren’t writing but you have to admit they are cute!
If it were alcohol you’d be sending me to get help, but it’s not. It still leads me to lose touch with reality, become distant from my family and become depressed if I have no opportunity to feed my addiction. If you are reading this you may share my problem. We don’t sit around in an old hall on wooden chairs and come out with lines like ‘Hello, I’m X and I’ve been on the wagon for three weeks.’ Instead we join Goodreads and say things like, ‘I only give this one two stars because the characters weren’t believable.’
I’ve known for years that I’ve had an addiction. I can’t walk past a bookshop without going in. I get bookcase envy almost anywhere that I see a row of books and own more Ikea Billy Bookcases than is reasonable for a human being to have. My mother and I have labelled ourselves as Bookaholics for years and if you search the Internet we are clearly not alone. However, even in my own family my problem is not fully understood.
This became painfully apparent when my father decided to THROW OUT some books! My mother did the responsible thing and immediately sent me a list of all the titles to see which I would want. It took willpower, but I didn’t just respond with, ‘All of them.’ Instead I carefully selected the ones I would like to read and having managed to eliminate one or two sent the list back. That’s when the problems started. My father assumed I must want to give them away elsewhere or sell them. My mother understood and reassured him that she was sure I’d want them for myself. He still found it hard to believe and it took some fairly emphatic explaining to convince him that of course I wanted to read a book about the Goons that I hadn’t got and various political memoirs (not written by the Goons), as well as some works of fiction. They will be carefully added to the pile, ready to feed my addiction at a moment’s notice.
In the meantime you’ll find me in America, or falling in love, identifying a murderer or back in 1840. If you need to rouse me, just remember it can take a while to bring me back to the real world and be gentle as who would with any other addict who needs your help.
Except… I’m happy to be addicted and I really don’t plan to stop anytime soon. My eyesight might be suffering and I would look at everyday objects as possible murder weapons, but I’m just fine. Now, what page was I on?
I’m currently giving away a copy of Pet Dogs Democratic Party Manifesto in a Goodreads Giveaway – see below for details:
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