Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Eve and writing goals!

Photo ©  Konstantin Chagin
I shall be drinking both those glasses of champagne this evening (or at least, glasses of champagne that look similar)! It's New Year's Eve and that's reason enough to celebrate! (not that I need much excuse for champagne...and yes, I did go through a phase when I hated the stuff, but I've done a 180 since then!) But I have another reason to celebrate.

I achieved all my writing/revising/etc. goals for 2011!!

I have put up a page for 2012's goals, so we'll see how I go with those. I will have a period of about four weeks in March/April when I'll be overseas, so I will be taking that into account. But for now I am basking in my achievements for this year. Instead of rehashing them, I will just point you to the 2011 goals page.

Have an awesome New Year's Eve, and I'll see you in 2012!!!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

An update

Hi everyone! I'm just popping in to post briefly (or that's the plan...sometimes my plans go awry and I post non-briefly!) so that I can still say I've written one blog post per week for 2011. Yep, one of my writing-related goals this year was to post at least once a week in this blog. I have other goals, but I'm not yet ready to do an assessment of all of them, because I haven't yet achieved all of them.

The Chrysalis Experiment, for example. We have our final prompt (#52) up, and I have yet to write that story. Won't take me long, but I have other stuff I'm concentrating on first and foremost. Namely the fact that I have to revise 4.5 chapters of NAUSICAA, then all 5 appendices (yes, the novel has appendices), in 2.5 days. I've been a real slacker on this so far, but I'm getting there in these last few days of the month. I will achieve my goals, but it will be another case of staggering over the finish line, as I did with this year's NaNoWriMo.

So yes, it will be a busy few days to end off the month for me. And then I'll be in 2012, and will have a bunch of new goals to start working on! I think I will have to do my "2011 wrap-up" on December 31st, or possibly in the new year. Meanwhile, I hope you all had a great Christmas, and that your New Year's Eves are lots of fun! I'm going to be hanging out on a friend's couch in the beautiful Perth hills instead of braving the evil drunken hoards out on the town. I'm way too old for that crap!

Unless I post sooner, see you in 2012!!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

I think I am on holidays

I can't guarantee I won't post before Christmas (yes, I call it Christmas, even though I'm not in the least bit religious), because knowing me the compulsion will take me on the very day itself. But I will say that I am nearly on holidays (half a day at work to go), and I am going to be doing a lot of resting in various forms (actual sleep, lazing around at the beach, staring at walls...). One form may or may not be taking a slight rest from blogging.

But next time I take a sip of champagne out of a glass like the one in that picture above (see what I meant when I said I take weird pictures?), I will be toasting to all of you and wishing you a very Merry Everything indeed! Kidding, I wish you merrier things than that.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Retro reads

As we near the end of year, I'm indulging in some retro reading. Not just any old stuff but the stuff I used to read when I was, say, 10. Maybe a bit older too. Maybe in my my in my *gasp* thirties! Yes, I still love reading these books. I guess they're my form of trash. They are YA of course, and I do love a good YA read. But YA isn't really my main passion. That would be Adult fiction, I guess. Still, I go back to these fluffy pre-teen reads at least every few years.

My little brother actually started reading them before I did. Oh the shame! I think the first one he read was THE ACCIDENT by Diane Hoh. That lady went on to write the NIGHTMARE HALL books, which I also enjoyed (and still have a fair few of in my collection). Out front of my place I've got a book shelf for more "literary" reads, you know, to impress all the visitors. But my beloved Point book collection is tucked away in my office, where only my cats can see.

Not that I'm ashamed, of course. I'm really not. But sometimes I do get a little confused. Why do I still love these reads? It's not just nostalgia, though that does play a significant part in it all. It IS also the stories themselves. The writing isn't always particularly authentic for YA, but while I'm reading, that doesn't matter. What matters is the story and the mystery and the...cute boys.

What's on your "guilty secret" shelf? (assuming you're not too cool to have one)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Keeping up with the bloggers I lurve

So, lately (say, in the last few months? Possibly longer?) I've given up on Reader. That is, Google Reader, which for a while there I used to keep track of all the blogs I'd followed (hundreds of blogs, let me tell you). I kept having to mark everyone as read 'cause I'd get in there and there'd be 500 unread posts, or 700, or the dread 1000+ (I don't WANT to know how many there really are). So I've given up. And now I'm relying on my blog roll to keep me in touch with the blogs I like to read. As well as reciprocating for comments I get on my blog.

But I keep stumbling across writers I've lost track of, and haven't yet got around to adding to my blogroll. If I used to comment on your blog a fair bit, then dropped off the face of the earth, only to recently resurface, now you know why. If I still haven't resurfaced, it's 'cause I haven't added your blog to my roll yet. That sounds funny..."your blog to my roll." Anyway, if I've forgotten you, please let me know. Oh, and a note to anyone who's followed my blog but doesn't have a link to theirs in their Blogger profile...maybe add a link so I can find you? AND I still hate the word 'blog'. For such a hater, I've used it a lot in this post!

Now, since I'm here, I might as well do a really quick rundown on my writing/revising status: 1) NAUSICAA revision started, but progressing slowly; 2) this week's Chrysalis story not yet started; 3) I can't remember the third thing I'm meant to be doing. Oh wait, I think I'm doing it right now - writing in this blog.

How do you keep up with the blogs you love to read?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Merry Everything - the "Wrap it Up" blogfest

In the words of David Powers King, this is what's involved with the "Wrap it Up" blogfest:

Write a piece of flash fiction, poem, or song (300 words or less) for someone you know (real or imaginary). It may be in any genre, but it must have a holiday theme (real or fictional). Post it on your blog anytime between now and when the linky closes. You will then give it to that someone, sometime before the new year.

Give it in the form of an email, on fancy stationary, or laser-etched onto a solid gold plate. Your choice.

Telling us who you're giving it to is optional.

My entry is as follows:

P.S. Forgot to paste the linky code, but here it is:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

2012 - the year of revision

I'm thinking that next year I will be mostly focused on revision. One of my goals will be (I think) to look at one Chrysalis 2011 story per week and either finish revising it, or at least think about how I want to revise it. Some of them still need to be completed. Some may even become novels. But the aim will be not necessarily to finish revision, but to just think about how I want to revise them. I have a huge list of novels I could choose to work on, but I think I know which I will be starting with.

I will be writing new stuff in 2012, of course. There's NaNoWriMo and BuNoWriMo and another year of Chrysalis. I may use BuNo to work on finishing existing novels. I'm not even thinking about NaNo right now, but for Chrysalis my tentative plan is to try to write and record one new song per week. I've also got NaNo novels to finish (BuNo?). But there will also be NaNoEdMo, which will involve more editing.

So I'm thinking that 2012 will be more focused on revision for me than 2011 was. I've also got to work around 3.5 weeks overseas in March/April, but that's a story for another day.

What are your writing plans for 2012?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

49 short stories

I caught up on those Chrysalis stories! Now I'm just three short stories away from having written 52 short stories in a year (one per week), and from truly earning that sparkly button! Last time I did a Chrysalis stats update, I had written 40 stories. Now I've written 49. Some are finished, some are not. Some are utter crap, and some are not. They're certainly all rough drafts, to go with all the other 'rough draft' material I've written this year. And you know what that means, right? Editing in my future. But not yet. Ohhhh no, not yet.

To be honest, I'm looking forward to Chrysalis being over. I know my fellow participants will understand wholeheartedly. My co-hosts Jenn, Winter and I haven't actually finalised any plans for next year yet, but I do have something planned myself, regardless of what others will be doing. I do hope to have some fellow participants, but I know firsthand what a huge commitment it is, so I won't blame my fellows if they're desperate for a rest.

Here I am, talking like we're finished. We aren't. But we're not far off. Only three weeks, three prompts, and three stories to go. Craaaazy! Just for the record, Scrivener tells me I've written 106,360 words so far. But I'll leave the in-depth reflection on stats and so on for once we're actually done.

Friday, 9 December 2011

My to-do list

Technically, this is my to-do list right now (without counting this year's goals which are still being worked on):

Rough Drafts
  1. Complete rough draft of DANNA
  2. Complete rough draft of VICTORIOUS
  3. Complete rough draft of CARNIVAL
  4. Complete rough draft of TURKEY BOURKE
  5. Complete rough draft of JUST ANOTHER DAY IN THE OFFICE
  6. Complete rough draft of RAGEWATER book 1
  7. Complete rough draft of SOMANA
Second Drafts
  1. Complete Draft #2 of FIRE
  2. Complete Draft #2 of DAPHNE, weaving in more of Carly's story
  3. Complete Draft #2 of SQUEAKY
  4. Complete Draft #2 of EXCISION (oh my. This one is a huuuuge undertaking. Will basically need a rewrite)
  1. Finish any unfinished stories from The Chrysalis Experiment 2011 (which would be the majority of them)
  2. Get all caught up on reading the Catrina Chronicles
  3. Read all the eBooks by my blogging friends that I have waiting for me (and the print books by them too).
  4. Read any Chrysalis stories by my fellow organisers that I have not yet read!
I think that's all?! Except for all the other stories/novels I'm not mentioning in the list above, and "all that other stuff", like NaNo 2012, BuNoWriMo, writing in the blog, reading books in general and writing music (which will more than likely relate to Chrysalis 2012 for me next year). And whatever else I'm forgetting.

In the immortal words of Bill and Ted, "The clock's tickin', dude."

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Jenni Merritt's debut novel...PRISON NATION!

My blogger friend Jenni Merritt has just released her debut novel, PRISON NATION. You can read all about it here. I haven't bought my copy yet, 'cause I'm waiting for information on autographed copies. heh heh. I've been following Jenni's blog for a while now, and I'm so excited for her about this release! And just look at that cover...which is a DIY cover, by the way! Special, huh? Anyway, congratulations Jenni and I can't wait to get my hands on a print copy! Yes, I like my books physical, what can I say? ;)

I will finish this post by mentioning that I did actually do some...revision... gasp! Not last night, but the night before. And now we have all our prompts up to date for Chrysalis, so I have no excuse for further procrastination there! I better get a move on with December's goals!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

What are those words for?

"My tale is done. See the mouse run. Catch it, whoever can, and then you can make a great big cap out of its fur."

Is it just me, or is that a totally random way to end "Hansel and Gretel"? I mean, there was no mention of a mouse in the rest of the story. Unless there was and I've forgotten.

I love the Grimm fairytales how they always get straight to the point. If there's ever any poetic description, i.e. "The moon was shining very brightly, and the white pebbles glittered in front of the house like pure silver coins", it's because the pebbles are going to play an important role in the story very shortly. In my story if I've described a beautiful sunset, it's not because the sunset is going to be of any use to the characters. It's just to put an image in the reader's mind.

With the fairytales, there is nothing said that doesn't need to be said.

At least, that was what I believed until I read about that mouse fur cap!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Soooooo unmotivated (and belated blogiversary)

I think for December I shall skip trying to find a photo or artwork or whatever to put in my blog entries. Perhaps I will go back on that decision after this horrible crappy day is over and I start a new and way less crappy day. Or perhaps not. I guess the best advice is to be prepared for boring bare-bones entries from me, entries that are just words. But we like words, right? So it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Anyway, since this blog is meant to be about writing and so on, I may as well give a writing update. I haven't done anything since writing that last Chrysalis story. I haven't even opened the file for NAUSICAA, and at this particular moment I'm not too bothered. I did start reading the Grimm fairytales, and I keep laughing out loud in amazement at the gruesome things that happen. I find it hard to believe a wolf, even a lazy one full of food, wouldn't notice his belly being cut open and then sewn back up. Stayed asleep the whole time! Anyway, so far most of the tales have had happy endings (of sorts), but one or two perhaps have ended not so prettily for the main characters. All in all, I'm enjoying myself so far.

I hope everyone is enjoying their December!

P.S. I missed my blogiversary. It was on December 1 (my first post was here). Boo. Oh well, I've been here a year, folks! Yay for me! (and of course for you who get to listen to me ramble the hell on)

Friday, 2 December 2011

December goals

I've really enjoyed the fact that I didn't have to write anything for NaNo yesterday. Nor do I have to write anything today...or this month. Well, for NaNo at least. I also don't have to write in this blog every day, or every other day. I do, however, still have some goals to achieve by the end of the year.

8. Write 52 short stories, one per week, for the Chrysalis Experiment
9. Write at least once a week in writing blog
12. Complete a preliminary read-through/edit of NAUSICAA (NaNo '10 novel) - as of March 6, opening chapter has been worked on/critiqued

Of those, writing in this blog is definitely the easiest. As for the others...I have fallen slightly behind in Chrysalis, partly because we are missing prompt #46, and partly because I haven't written this week's story. But I'm not too concerned about achieving this one. Writing 1k a week seems like absolute peanuts after what I just went through with NaNo. Even writing 1k a day would be comparative peanuts.

As for the read-through of NAUSICAA...I think I can do it. I don't need to actually do any serious editing. It's just a read-through and some note-taking on what will need editing later. That's how I'm choosing to interpret my own words up there, anyway. I have to say, though, that while 2011 is not yet over, I've been thinking about my to-do list for 2012 for a long while now. The Goals page is under construction. I shall unveil it probably on Dec 31st, or January 1, or somewhere around then.

But let's forget next year... What are your goals for December?