Tag Archives: Novel

May it last.

Resolutions I intend to stick to:

*Wherever possible eat healthy, home- cooked food.

*Avoid additives and preservatives, especially artificial sweeteners such as those containing aspartame. This includes choosing organic, wherever practical.

*Avoid caffeine. Choose decaffeinated and herbal options.

*Increase activity and tonal exercises with the aim of reaching a healthy target weight by summer. Goal: 2 pounds a week.

*Be more sensible with money – reduce small outgoings, monitor spending, save for larger purchases, etc. Generally be more organised and less impulsive financially.

*Plan solo travelling to see more of the world. 2013′ s planned trip: Italy. (Any advice, suggestions, recommended viewing, etc welcomed!)

*15 minutes a day on self taught Italian book and audio.

*Ensure put maximum effort into obtaining good grades on first year my English degree (going well so far) via Open University.

*Thoroughly revise and have pro- edited at least one novel, with the view of publishing this year.

*Complete at least one screenplay and research markets, with the view of being accepted somewhere.

*Continue to attend writer’ s group set up with few of the 2012 NaNo- ers, meeting once a week.

*Personal facebook page has already been deactivated. Ensure contact is maintained with close friends, and author and twitter page is restricted in terms of times accessed and used appropriately

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Thought I may as well treat myself to a tub of ice cream and an entry into this competition for a really cute, handmade plot bunny!

Why am I treating myself? I completed the preliminary read through of The Devil’s Beat, with notes. Now onto the real edit…

Spilt Hot Chocolate

As I write this, this blog has reached 1,009 views in 28 countries! I am SO excited! Thank you so much to everyone who’s been reading! I hope you continue to do so.

In honour of my 1,000 views, I am doing a

COMPETITION!

Now imagine that in the style of a children’s TV show when the presenters go nuts and wild, wacky music plays and the word ‘Competition’ runs across the screen in bunny hop jumps.

Why bunny hop jumps? Simple. This is the prize:

Meet Bobby. Bobby is a quirky, handmade (yes, seriously, made by yours truly) sock plot bunny who’s unblinking, loving stare will watch over you as you write.

How do you win? Also simple!

I talk a lot about my own writing (well, it IS my blog…) but I want to know about your…

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In the zone: channelling my energies.

I have spent far too long ducking from self-imposed deadlines, and making crappy excuses for not getting things done. Have had to seriously question recently what I really want from my life. Every time I ask myself where I would see me in “x” amount of years, in some way or another it always involves writing and the publishing industry.

I know that I can’t predict whether I’ll be a successful writer, but that isn’t really the point. It will be great if the writing will support me, but I see writing as being a part of the whole. Every dream I have involves writing, either as a novelist, lyricist, or script writer. There are often many other layers to those dreams: marketing, project managing, publisher… and so on. But being creative is always the focus.

So, with that in mind, why do I keep shying away from what I want? I can only assume it’s that pesky inner voice that doesn’t want me to try. If I don’t try, then I don’t fail. But if I don’t try, then I fail anyway, right? So, shut the f*ck up, inner voice. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

With that in mind, here are a list of projects that I’ve been working on over the years and, thanks to the prompting of a chatty fella on a facebook writer support group, I have managed to begin setting myself achievable targets that will work around my degree and job. I will succeed! Even if it’s to succeed at completing tasks. Woo!

*The Devil’s Beat – first draft complete (64,639 words); contemporary fantasy. No plan – major rewrite needed.

1) Read draft and make notes, approx 10,000 words a day [by 7 Oct ‘12].

2) Re-plot for second draft [by 14 Oct ‘12].

3) Set targets for re-write, and adhere to them.

*The Monster Hunter Club: Monster City – first draft (733 words); young children’s fantasy. No plot, just rough concept.

*King of Hearts – first draft (50,028 words); thriller. Nano ’10 – major rewrite needed.

*The Monster Hunter Club: Brazzelworth – first draft (813 words); young children’s fantasy. No plot, just rough concept.

*The Rising – first draft (27,001 words); fantasy. Basic plan.

*Blood ties – first draft (3,450 words); screenplay. Basic plan.

*Nightminders – first draft (17,351 words); medieval fantasy. Basic plot outlined.

*Shadow – first draft (9,291 words); fantasy. No plot, just rough concept.

*Shakti – first draft (3,619 words); contemporary fantasy. No plan, just basic concept.

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Book Review: The Wolf Gift.

Anne Rice: The Wolf Gift

I’ll tell you now, if you’re expecting something like The Vampire Chronicles you will be surprised. Anne’s new series exploring the legend of the werewolf (or Wolf Man as is the name given by its lead character Reuben), is so far from the prose that envelops Lestat that you’ll be convinced it was written by someone entirely different.

That said, you may be surprised but, I’d wager, you will not be disappointed. The Wolf Gift follows a young man who becomes embroiled in the age-old lycan myths after receiving a bite during an incident involving the brutal murder of his lover. Reuben has to learn about both the wonders and limitations of receiving these abilities on his own. As well as who he can trust, and all the moral dilemmas that come with the ability to smell and track evil.

In terms of the writing style, it is so much more relaxed on details than previous works. But this does not, in my opinion, compromise quality. Anne has clearly been somewhat influenced by contemporary fantasy novels, particularly YP fantasy, but this is no first person angst-fest. True to Anne’s previous works, she explores characters thoroughly, her plot progression always seems so incredibly flawless, as well as exploring myth origins and literary references (giving lots of extra reading material, if you’re interested in that kind of thing).

There seems to be an obsession with technology and money which is somewhat grating, though it’s probably quite normal for most people in this day and age. Life is a little too easy for this guy. Sure, he’s a little lost trying to find his place in the world, but he stumbles across and multimillion pound mansion, women love him and his ‘baby face’, he is rolling in cash, and is a talented writer. Also, everyone owns an iPhone. Everyone who’s integral to the story anyway.

The worst thing about this book? It’s a hardback. If I wanted a paperback copy, I’d have to wait for its release. That makes me very dissatisfied as I had to lug this heavy book to and from work.

Other than these minor points, it was a thoroughly enjoyable book to read!

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Book-crazed: POD vs Ebook publishing.

Naturally, the best way to get away with procrastinating is to ensure that whatever you’re doing is somehow loosely related to what you should be doing which, to your own mind, makes it seem a worthy waste of your time.

In the back of that marvellous mind of mine, I know that it’s not true but I continue to do it regardless. Yesterday I spent hours looking through magazine markets and I got so frustrated that I decided to start constructing my own online magazine and webpage (if you can’t take the man to the mountain, take the mountain to the man?).

I’ve got up this morning, my brain rattling with thoughts on publishing and portfolios after several discussions with friends about the various options. So, in my wisdom, I have decided to waste yet more time writing up a blog about the various things I’ve come across re: publishing options. I am by no means an expert on this, so gap-fills in my knowledge welcome. Particularly personal experiences!

Print on Demand (POD)

The main companies I’ve been hearing about are CreateSpace, Lulu and Smashwords.

For those of you not ‘in the know’, my understanding is that POD companies do what their name states – someone orders, they print the book and send it out. In terms of book production, this is the most costly method. Generally this option is more suitable for those authors who only want a few copies of their book, or just allow others to purchase at their leisure.

It is not really something suitable for anyone dreaming of huge sales and mass promotions as the company only publishes your book, you’re the one that needs to do the leg work. A lot of buyers are put off by having to wait for a while to have the book delivered.

However, there have been some promotions from sites such as NaNoWriMo with CreateSpace – 5 books free when you agree to publish your book with them. If you only want a few books for the sake of posterity, then this is a fabulous idea. If you intend on trying to make a living from this venture, you probably won’t unless you know lots of people willing to purchase a full price book to which you’ll receive about 10p per copy (and that’s providing you actually get your royalties). There is actually a community thread on CreateSpace discussing author’s experiences and what they felt were ‘scams’.

There is a review by eHomeBusinessReviews that outlines the various ‘up front’ costs of using this service but, overall, talks of it in a positive light and another review which contradicts some of what eHome says. There are also customer comments on that one.

Lulu is another POD publisher that, until I did my web searches, were actually spoken of very highly by friends who have used them. WP blog about experiences with Lulu were a very positive but realistic look on what to expect from services like Lulu. And yet, one of the first sites that came up in my search was a Myspace post outlining a very unhappy customer who believes that no royalties were sent despite books being sold. There was a thread that opened with one person’s bad experience but many more people coming forward with good ones. And a very open review of personal experiences there.

Ebook Publishing

Smashwords appears to be in fact purely for ebooks which means you can see your work ‘published’ quite quickly. If your plan is to just get your work out there for the world to view, this looks like a very reasonable platform to do just that as it’s free to publish and distribute online with them, as well as the authors having control over how much they charge for their work. On their about page it talks about offering part of your work for ‘free’ to entice readers, or even chosing to allow readers to access the entire work free which is great if all you would like is for people to read what you write. The royalty percentage is far higher than POD publishing (70%+). I couldn’t find any information pertaining to this company being a scam, but the downside is that you will not be offered a hardcopy of your work which tends to be the appeal of using something like the two previous companies.

Poolside view

In summary, whilst it would be wonderful to have that wonderful hard copy of our work right there in the palm of our hand (whatever the quality, whatever the reason) it is in fact the e-book publishers that offer a far better deal if you only wish to get your work ‘out there’. If you manage to sell your work, royalties would be better as there are very few overheads for an e-book publisher, and you essentially have complete control. For a world where gadgets are taking over and the e-book market is booming, this seems like a wonderful choice for ‘new’ authors to get there work out there – this coming from a traditional book lover. Even I’m beginning to see the merits of such things.

I think the moral of all this really is just to make sure that, whatever you want to pursue, to ensure that you do your research! Leave no stone unturned, read the small print, ask around and view the forums. Only then should you consent to hand over your labour of love.

Happy writing!

Related WP Reading

e-publishing on Kindle

recommended publishers

e-book publishing model

talk self-publishing

video blog on self-publishing vs traditional

 

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The key to success: flexibility.

This feels like a check-point where I feel I need to reflect on my progress, re-evaluate what is important, and adjust my plans accordingly.

Since starting ROW80, I have been adding new challenges and targets to encourage improvement and to see how much I can accomplish.

Overall, I’ve been fairly successful. My main challenge hasn’t been work, like I feared, but myself. My own drive, my own motivation, and my own confidence in my abilities. I have repeatedly been heard mentioning terms like “a positive attitude” which I believe is any writer’s downfall if they don’t have it. Even when you’re super busy, if you don’t believe that you can fit something in, if you don’t believe you can achieve whatever you want to despite the demands on your time, you won’t then work out a way to fit everything in. You won’t organise your time, your priorities or reshuffle your commitments to enable everything to work out. Because you won’t believe that there is a reason to.

My first post for ROW80 was here

When looking at my first goals, many of them I have been able to stick to or go above if I re-worked when I did them. For example, I set 750 word goal a day which was achievable. But I found it was more productive to use my days off and plan to do 5,000 words every day I was off (2-3 days) and achieve more than the 750 words a day. That then meant I could use my breaks to continue reading a book for the BCC challenge (100 books in a year). Since making this change, I’ve managed to reach the ‘two books in a week’ minimum for the first week since starting the challenge. However, this sometimes means that my days working run over some of the check-ins and it appears that I haven’t done anything for the week

I started The Rising on the 2 January 2012 with very little idea of where it was going to go. I’m now at 24,000 words (I still have another 10,000 minimum to add by Friday) and I’m feeling incredibly positive about it. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s as close as I’ve ever come to a complete idea taking shape in a draft that I feel I can actually work with.

I have set up and post regular updates on https://www.facebook.com/KellyCautillo page to promote myself as an author.

Blogging has become much more regular and I’ve even set up another blog here: http://cakemixeater.wordpress.com/ to share research, opinions and recipes on improving the quality of the food I eat and making more home cooked things.

I’ve learned so much in the last two years about what doesn’t work for me that it’s so nice to finally know that I’ve found a method that does. I’ve been using a combination of Scrivener and Write or die to achieve my word counts in the quickest time possible, to organise my ideas, to create templates and fill out work sheets, and make the chapters easier to edit or add to later on.

I have found that very detailed plans don’t work for me. I need a rough idea, a few chapters briefly planned and then, as I write, the story and characters take shape. I can then jump into the separate folders and add details, chapter synopses, research folders etc.

In this time, I have proved to myself that I can do this work, I could (if writing was all I had to do) be a full time writer, I can fit networking, work, reading, writing etc in around each other. It’s just a shame I’m not getting paid to write. Yet. (Mark my words, it will! Ha!)

Though, within this last week, I have submitted a piece of flash fiction to an online site that pay $3 for published work on their site – it’ll be a good start!

Continuing to look through my initial goals, the sleep thing is something I’m struggling with as it’s not something I can force. Some days I have the time to sleep for hours but then I get woken or I can’t settle. Other days I could sleep until next year but I have only four hours until I have to get ready for work. I’ll keep trying though. I’ve been spending more time at my mum’s to try to encourage more of a regular sleep patter whilst I’m working. But, again, this is hit and miss as to what my body will allow. I’m getting on alright though as I don’t feel I’m suffering in any way.

I have finished The Tudors: season 3 and a friend at work has supplied me with the fourth and final season to get through. Yey!

In terms of making more home cooked food – it has really only happened in the last week with chicken stew, fresh curry and, as I write, potato cakes are just starting as boiled potatoes.

I didn’t get chance to continue with a food, fluid and exercise diary as I don’t seem to be consistent with when and where I am and what food is available. If I’m at home then I can eat more fruit and veg, fresh food etc. But my mum doesn’t really eat those things which makes it difficult to keep up elsewhere as travelling for over 2 hours can really affect the quality of some food choices I want if I want to take them to Mum’s. Plus it’s the actual lugging them about 3 miles – hardcore! I will have to look at putting in some orders for their next food shop to accommodate a better diet for me. 😀

So, whilst I may feel at times that I haven’t achieved anything, when I look at what I have accomplished in less than a month it really makes me very proud.

Thank you ROW80 for teaching me the value of flexible plans that can work with and not against having a life.

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Plan and Progress – 19 Jan-20 Jan.

The Plan & Progress

0000-0100: Brainstorm & Plot subplot/existing chapters (research where necessary).
0100-0130: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0130-0200: Read Book 3
0200-0230: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0230-0300: Read article/blog re: craft of writing
0300-0330: {Food}
0330-0400: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0400-0430: Write1Sub1 – explore/plan
0430-0500: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0500-0530: ROW80 – blog comments/network.
0530-0600: Short story ideas – brainstorm/list.
0600-0630: Internet browse/basic research for short story.
0630-0700: Write or Die min 1,000 words on novel.
0700-0730: Outline/write short story.
0730-0800: Network/browse.
0800-0830: Find new markets for SS submissions.

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