Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Giant Spreadsheet of Editing

They say there are two kinds of writers: planners and 'pantsers' (who write by the seats of their pants). I'm a planner. And a scientist. Double-whammy!

I've just finished the first (rough!) draft of the book that follows on from "The Call". Yes, the one I've been writing since 2013. The one I've abandoned a couple of times and written "Lies That Poison" and two books of an urban fantasy trilogy instead. Anyway, I finished the rough first draft last Monday and so have moved on to my next stage of editing, which is to produce The Giant Spreadsheet.

I write early drafts of books using Scrivener and one of the features of the program is that you can export the novel outline to Excel. The folder and document titles are exported, along with notes, word counts and a host of other things. I'm mostly interested in the titles, notes and word counts for each document (for me each document equates to a scene), and I add in information about which characters are in each scene (using colour coding).


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Tea and plastic

My husband and I are tea drinkers. I don't drink coffee. I can't actually ever remember liking coffee. But tea - I love a good cuppa.

Like many other people I've used tea-bags for most of my life, but I'm not buying them any more. Not while they are full of plastic.

Wait, you thought tea-bags were made of paper? Hm. Partly true. They do have paper, but they also have a thin layer of plastic mesh, which doesn't biodegrade. It's there mostly to heat-seal the two layers of the tea-bag together and is usually polypropylene.

We'd suspected this for a while as we have a compost bin and used to put the used tea-bags in there. When we came to use the compost, there would always be the ghosts of tea-bags in the compost. At first I thought these were just the bags taking time to rot down. They're not. They're plastic and they will release microplastics into the environment. If you still don't know why microplastics are bad, read this... And if you really want to learn more, read this report by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Supportive friends, I thank you!

It's not been a great week. I came down with a cold to end all colds, I started hating what I'm writing (yes, again...), my productivity sank like a stone and I seriously considered abandoning the book (again. I first abandoned this one in 2013).

I have to say, the writing community is a fabulous one! When I said that I was struggling with the book and ready to chuck it all in, I got so much support with people offering to have a natter and talk through the issues, others encouraging me and saying "Don't give up!"

Knowing they all had my back, I filled up a trusty fountain pen (well, I do have rather a lot!) and tried to brainstorm why I was stuck with the book and what I hated (most) about it.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Morning pages and Meditation

This is one of my favourite poems. It reminds me that I need to take time and slow down and that once I do, I'll see the world differently.

Some days, my head is whirling - too many things to fret about; too many ideas for books... When it's like that, I need to slow down. Actually, I need to stop, but I'm not good at stopping. Never have been. After a lot of trial and error (and a need to find something before I burned out completely) I've found that a combination of "Morning Pages" and a brief meditation does me the power of good.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

You Don't Always Need A Plan...

Ah yes. The New Year. The time when I've traditionally thought about what I might accomplish in the year, drawn up wildly optimistic plans and then, over the year seen my life head in a completely different direction from where I thought I would go.

Take 2017 for example. Although I hoped I would get a publishing deal, I wasn't banking on it, and my writing plans focussed on finishing books, and getting them edited and self-published. Having been signed by Joffe Books last year, I ended up doing none of the self-publishing stuff I had anticipated doing. I also didn't envisage doing so many author events (in fact, I didn't envisage any!). When I look back on last year's plans, they seem faintly ridiculous in places.