You may have noticed the Camp Nano pic on the top right. Yes that’s right, I didn’t meet my target. I only set myself 35000 words because working full time and having other stuff to do meant there was no way I would ever manage 50k, but even this reduced target was too much.
Of course I didn’t do myself any favours by choosing a project for which I only had a title and an opening line and a vague idea of who the main character would be. It was ridiculous to think I could somehow improvise a first draft and find out about Jake as the novel developed, and particularly ridiculous to imagine I could do this to a daily word count.
I managed to just about keep going for the first eleven days, and the 12k words I wrote will make for a good basis of notes for when I re-explore this project in the future. But for now, I am not a Nano Winner, and I also know that it is extremely unlikely that I will take part in the main Nano in November. 50k words in a month just isn’t possible for me, especially during one of the busiest months of the year for my day job and a month when I will be planning and shopping for Christmas.
So I am a Nano failure, and will most likely never be a Nano Winner. But that doesn’t mean I am a writing failure or a bad novelist. I’m not published and I’ve only got one (not good enough) novel to my name, but I know that my work is good enough for me to one day see my name in print. Flunking Nano hasn’t dissuaded me from that.
In fact it isn’t just a pile anymore. There is a pile of about a dozen of my most pressing “to read”s next to my bed, but that’s just a tiny glimpse. There are those on my general fiction bookcase which I have never got round to starting (or in some cases finishing), and I also have a separate three-shelf case which is overflowing with unopened volumes. Well, unopened by me anyway, most of them are second hand from charity shops, carboot sales and library clearance sales.
And as if the pile/case wasn’t big/full enough, I went into town this weekend on a mission. I haven’t yet read Catch 22 or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, despite meaning to for years. I found Heller’s classic in the Oxfam bookshop for £2.99 and Kesey’s gem in the library for free.
This hasn’t helped the backlog at all, but it will be two major ticks on the Booket List.
I’ve just finished reading “On Writing” by Stephen King – a cliché I know, which is mainly why I hadn’t done it earlier. Plus the fact that I read a couple of his fiction works a few years back and wasn’t impressed enough to want to read any more, but as everyone says it’s the best book written about the craft of writing, I decided to give it a go. Continue reading
English is a very hard language to learn. I only realised this when I started to learn other languages and realised how much simpler their rules of pronunciation, grammar and spelling are. A lot of the problem is that English has developed as a kind of literary stew over thousands of years – aspects of latin, germanic, norse and celtic have been thrown in the pot and stirred by the tongues of our ancestors. Actually, that’s a pretty gross metaphor, but you know what I mean. And we continue to add more foreign phrases every day to this smorgasbord of words which flood into our language like a tsunami. Continue reading
OK I know I’m a day late, but for us single peeps, it doesn’t make much difference. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
I was in a bookshop last Saturday, browsing the shelves. I have always said I don’t want to read any books on How To Write – I think I am enough of a reader to know if my writing works or doesn’t, and no problem can’t be overcome by rethinking and rewriting (I’m probably wrong of course) – but I have heard that many writers have read Stephen King’s On Writing, so I decided I would go against my own advice and pick up a copy. Continue reading
I’m thirty thousand words into a review of the third draft. I’m not rewriting, although I am correcting the odd glaring typo or badly-constructed sentence. My intention is to give the whole thing a read-through and see how it hangs together. So far, I’m very pleased with how well it reads. There are some very satisfying phrases and a few inspired pieces of dialogue which reveal character as well as being funny, sad, atmospheric, or whatever the chapter requires. Overall, I am proud of it, and I believe in my own abilities and my chances of one day being published.
BUT Continue reading