#WIPpet Wednesday and #ROW80 Update – In which we get a little bit meta

wednesdaybannerHello! It’s Wednesday and I’m so determined for my WIPpet Wednesday post to go up on time this week that I started writing it last night. Since I posted late and missed the linky, some of you might have missed the news that I figured out a lot of stuff in Operation: Nutcracker and have been working on it again! There is still a lot that needs working out, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere with it again and it’s been really exciting visiting Max and Clara again. Though I did have a moment while I had my Nutcracker on Ice DVD on (my neighbours were blaring techno all weekend, so I figured blaring Tchaikovsky back at them was only fair) and I realised I kept referring to the Nutcracker Prince in that as Max. So that’s a thing.

Anyway, for this week’s WIPpet, I have four lines (2 + 2 for the 22nd of January). I didn’t even actually think about what I was writing when I wrote this, and it wasn’t until I sat back and read it and went, “Wait…”

“So now everyone is waiting for their long lost Prince to return home and save them,” Clara summarised, though Max heard the skepticism still in her voice. “I can’t decide whether your life is the plot of a fantasy novel or a Disney movie.”

“Disney movie, definitely,” Max declared seriously.

Silly Max. If only you knew.

Also, on the subject of meta, I found out a thing the other day and it kind of broke my brain a little. The actress who plays Cait in my dream AMCF cast was in a workshop for a musical version of the movie Ever After: A Cinderella Story. Which might seem like not too major a thing, until I add that the character of Prince Felipe is very, very inspired by the character of Prince Henry in that very movie. So I had a bit of a moment then, though now that I’ve written it down, it’s probably not as mind-blowing for anyone else as it was for me. 😛

row80-2As for writing goals, well, I wrote about a page and a half of Operation Sugarplum on my breaks at work on Monday. When added up, said breaks work out at about an hour. Today I took my print out of the current version of AMCF in with me and have really started working on the edits and the Post-It-Noting. I have green ones for where entire scenes need to be moved or changed, orange ones for timeline-related stuff because I’m reasonably sure my timeline isn’t entirely straight, and pink ones for random little changes, including spelling/grammar/”is this even a sentence?!” issues. Though a lot of those are just being written straight in, in pink pen. So that’s my two hours for the week up already, and I plan on doing more editing this evening if I have some time.

I’ve also met my blogging schedule for the last couple of weeks, so that’s pretty awesome.

If you would like to join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow correlates to the date (we encourage creativity with the dates) and then link up with us here and check out others’ offerings. As always, thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting us. 🙂 If you are more into the A Round of Words in 80 Days, check it out here.

On that note, I’m going to sign off and go back to drinking the tea I bought from the actual Twinings shop in London and listening to an album of the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir singing Christmas carols and pretending I’m back there for the Christmas concert I attended. Catch you all later. 🙂

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#ROW80 Round 2, 2013 – Goals Post

row80 For those who are new around here, A Round of Words in 80 Days is the “writing challenge that knows you have a life”. Round 2 for 2013 started yesterday (April 1) and goes through until June 20. I was rather under the impression that it would not start for another week, hence my goals post being a bit late. In fact, I haven’t really thought about goals for this round yet.

My primary project will still be A More Complicated Fairytale, the first draft of which is currently with beta readers. I have received feedback from one beta already, and it was fabulous and has given me some new ideas for the second draft. That said, I’m trying to convince myself to wait til I’ve heard from a few more so that I can see whether there are any running themes in what people say, and also because I don’t want to be writing a new draft to take into account each person’s feedback.

My secondary project will be my modern-day adaptation of The Nutcracker, tentatively titled Operation: Sugarplum. So far this project consists of half a plot outline and a few character sketches. I’m currently reading a couple of different translations of Hoffman’s original story, upon which the ballet and all the other adapatations are based, and then I’ll need to get started on my world-building… the real-world stuff is set present-day, but currently I have no idea about the magical other world.

I considered doing Camp NaNoWriMo and using this story, but, well, Round 1 of Camp is upon us, I didn’t have enough plot and didn’t really fancy trying to pants it. So I’ll be setting my own writing schedule for the next couple of months, though Camp is still on the cards for July, especially since I’ll be traipsing around Europe in November and won’t be participating then. I have to say,I love that you can now set your own word count goal. Maybe I’ll do Camp instead of the “official” event more often in the future.

So having now waffled on for four paragraphs, I suppose some goals are in order. I found last round that I am much better at setting aside a couple of nights a week for writing than trying to squeeze something in every day. If I do manage to write every day, that’s fantastic, but I don’t want to feel guilty if that doesn’t happen. I don’t have uni to worry about, having cancelled my enrollment a couple of weeks ago, which leaves my weekends nice and free. Therefore, I think my goals for this round will be to work on A More Complicated Fairytale for two hours a week, and spend another hour a week brainstorming Operation Sugarplum. Friday night makes a good week, and for the first couple of weeks, Wednesday can be my other nominated writing night, at least until my Italian course finishes on April 16. After that, I’ll probably go for Tuesday and Friday nights. This round, I don’t think I will stipulate when I write my Check-in posts. Now that I do WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy enough to do a Wednesday check-in at the same time, and I like writing Sunday ones to sum up the week, so sometimes I’ll do that, too! Yay!

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’m going to go have some afternoon tea and then push through for the last hour or so of work. I’m trying to comment on some of your goals posts as well, so I might see you there!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in #8: Request for beta readers

I had grand plans of finishing my WIP today. But then I got distracted by various things, and ended up only getting a couple of hundred words written today. That’s okay, though, another couple of days and it’ll be there. In light of that, I would like to put out a request for beta readers for a romance novella of about 21000 words, involving a prince who is a bit of a prat and the outspoken townsgirl who refuses to like him until he starts being less of a prat. It’s set in a quasi-Victorian era, and there is a war going on between the characters’ country and the neighbouring one, against which the romance is set.

If it sounds like your cup of tea and you would be willing to give it a look over, fling me an email at fuzzyagent999[@]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au. I’ll probably have it ready to send out before the end of next week. At the moment, I will just be looking for general feedback, like whether the characters are likeable, whether the plot is interesting,whether there are plot threads that I began and then forgot (I’m aware of one of these, but as far as I know, there might be others)… that sort of thing. Also any suggestions for titles might be good, as I currently have nothing. My working title is “A More Complicated Fairytale” but I don’t actually like that at all. And I am terrible at titling.

In other writing news, I finally reread my NaNoWriMo story from last year. I had convinced myself that it was really, really awful but then I started rereading the ending (the most “awful” part) and realised it was nowhere near that bad. I mean, you know, it’s of a NaNoWriMo standard, but it can definitely still be used. I’m actually thinking of making it a shorter work, like the one in the above paragraph. I think I work better within that word length frame than longer.

And in other other writing news, I was listening to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker suite on repeat the other day, and was inspired to start nutting out a modern-day retelling of the story. Mostly because whenever I listen to the pas de deux from the ballet, all I can think is, “This is the most romantic piece of music ever, I cannot reconcile this with the fact that the characters are supposed to be about twelve (or younger).” So, after discovering there is nothing online that can help me with this, I decided to write my own. So far I only have a few vaguely connected ideas, but I’m working on it.

Anyway, so specific goals progress this week:

row80Write for an hour on Wednesdays and Fridays, or until 500 – 1000 words (minimum) is reached in each session.
Well, I haven’t really been timing, but I wrote Wednesday, Friday, yesterday and a bit today, for a total of 3807 words for the week. So not a bad effort. I didn’t quite reach the 10000 words for February mark, but if you allow for the fact that February is a short month, and therefore allow me a couple more days, I did reach 10000 words within the length of any other month. So I’m counting it. 😛

Spend Saturdays at the National Library working on uni stuff.
Ahem. Well, my semester doesn’t technically start until tomorrow, but I was going to be good and studious and go to the library yesterday to get a bit of a head start. The universe was conspiring against me, however, as first, my phone was turned off overnight (my fault entirely, I admit; I had changed some settings and turned it off to reboot it) and so my alarm didn’t go off, resulting in me sleeping in until 9am. Then about an hour later, my sister called me to say they were in town for her partner’s niece’s 21st birthday, and would I like to catch up. I don’t get to see them very often, so I said yes, and ended up spending a good portion of the afternoon with them. Then despite good intentions to study at home later in the afternoon, I ended up being completely distracted by the House DVDs that my housemate put on, despite having never really watched the show much and only having a passing interest in it. Amazing what catches your attention when you’re procrastinating.

I think I might try to spend a couple of evenings at the library this week, since next weekend is a long weekend and my mum is coming down to visit. I’m sure she’d be cool with me spending a morning or two studying, but I would rather be spending the time with her. Wish me luck with that.

Attend choir on Thursday nights.
Check. I was looking forward to a Thursday off this week, but received an email today saying there had been a change of plan and we would be having a rehearsal after all. That was a bit disappointing, since I had been hoping to make it to the Italian conversation classes this week. Those classes are one reason I am going to take a break from choir after our concert in May, as well as the fact that my writing group meets every second Thursday and I only see them on the irregular weekend events at the moment.

Write a ROW80 check-ine very Sunday.
This is it. 🙂

That’s about it from me. Once again, if you are able to beta, that would be fabulous and you would have my eternal love and affection. And gratitude. I will see you on your own blogs, and next Sunday here! 🙂

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in 1.5: Excitement! :D

So normally I don’t do Wednesday check-ins, but I was quite excited about my progress so far this week and wanted to share. Yesterday, I solved an issue I was having with my WIP, namely that my opening was boring and mundane and too exposition-y. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen my post where I figured out how to fix it:

problemsolutiontweet

Please ignore the typo *blushes*

Now, instead of a couple of pages (it’s not a long story- don’t know if will result in a short story or novella, but either way, a couple of pages was a reasonable amount) of events leading up to them meeting, the opening line is the first line of their first conversation. Now there are just three or four paragraphs filling the reader in on why the two characters have come together in this scene, and off it goes. I wrote about 700 words of my new opening last night, and was pretty pleased with it. I managed to link a scene I had already written to the end of that scene without having to write any filler between them, which worked out well.

Then last night, I was lying in bed, and a scene came to me in which they argue about the nature of their relationship and what other people might think of it (it is something of a begrudging friendship, basically forced upon my main female character, by the prince, who is the main male character). You would think that considering the number of times I have thought of things in bed and not written them down, only to have forgotten them in the morning, I would have written this rather important scene down at the time. No, I didn’t, but luckily I still remembered it when I woke up this morning, and made sure to write it on the bus into work. That was two (handwritten) pages long, and I was pretty pleased to have made that much progress by the time I got to work at 8am.

On my tea break, it occurred to me that another significant scene from the story could actually take place immediately after the one I had just written, so I wrote that… then at lunch time, the scene following that began to write itself… Add to this the fact that I have had the house to myself this evening (housemate is at a concert), so have been able to write with absolutely no distractions, and I have totaled 2330 words for today alone. Not only that, but a lot more of the filler I thought I would have to write is no longer necessary, as these scenes are transitioning from one to the other without any need for it. I hate writing filler (something I sincerely discovered during last year’s NaNoWriMo – that manuscript is full of it!) so this epiphany is a great relief!

Tomorrow evening, I will be spending some time at a write-in with some other locals I met during NaNoWriMo 2012. They’ve had a few of these already but I have been unable to make them due to them clashing with choir. Since choir has not gone back for 2013 yet, I am making the most of tomorrow’s. I’m actually thinking of taking a break from choir after our variety concert in May (as much as my choir mistress will surely object; she is always telling me how much of an asset I am to the choir) so that I can get to some more of these meetings. Alternatively, I can just tell my choir mistress that every second month, I won’t be attending rehearsal on the third Thursday.

Anyway, just wanted to share my excitement about how things are coming together and how I’ve progressed this week. I hope the rest of you are doing just as well on your goals! 🙂 See you Sunday!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in: Validation is a nice thing

It is a slightly strange feeling, being asked to proofread/give feedback on a short story written by your boss. I felt a bit nervous giving him my thoughts, because while they were 90% positive, I didn’t want to offend him with anything I said. Just cos, y’know, he’s my boss. Eventually I just bit the bullet and pressed “reply” on the email, and he was really good about the tips I gave. I wasn’t sure whether he wanted me to fix typos and formatting, so I asked him about that, and he said it would be great if I would. So I’ll probably do that today. It does make me feel kind of validated, that people other than my close friends are going, “Hey, can you read this for me?”

This is me when writing projects start working for me.

In other news, despite being theoretically on hiatus, I have been doing a bit of work on my writing. Plans for my former June Camp NaNoWriMo story, which didn’t get finished because I realised at about 16000 words that it needed some serious reworking, are coming along. Without my even realising it, the two countries in the story have developed a bit of science vs. religion debate; one relies on technology, the other on magic, and neither culture really understands the other. I started inventing a panethon of gods for my magical culture, and now I want to write stories about the gods as much as the characters I already had. So I’m thinking of writing those to tide me over to November, at which time I will probably use the actual big story for NaNoWriMo and hopefully do much better this time around. Both my housemate and our other best friend who lives in the flat above ours are going to do it againt this year as well, so there are epic write-in times ahead, I’m sure.

Incidentally, I realised that production week for Guys % Dolls is the same week as the break between Rounds 3 and 4 of ROW80. Anyone who does theatre will appreciate how convenient this is, as that week I will be eating, sleeping and breathing nothing but the show. So that’s good.

Anyhow, I think that is all I have to report. Check in with other ROW80 particpants via the ROW80 blog here.

P.S. WordPress is giving me gold stars and things because apparently this is my 50th post on this blog. That’s kind of exciting and milestone-y. So yay me!

#ROW80 Final Check-in

Whoa! Where did that time go?! How is it the end of the round already?!

Well, to get the compulsory stuff out of the way first, goals progressed nicely this week. I’ve been writing about 2 handwritten pages on my lunchbreak each day, which equates to between 400 and 500 words, so about twice my daily goal. 🙂 However, that’s not really what I want to go on about in my final post for Round 1..

What I wanted to say was a big THANK YOU to everyone who saw this round through with me – your encouragement has meant so much to me! I have learned so much about this industry and my confidence in my writing has skyrocketed! For the first time, I don’t feel entirely daunted by the process of writing a book, instead I’m feeling excited! I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but I feel like I can get there now. And that is thanks to you guys!

See y’all back here next round! 😀