Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year - here's to an utterly fabulous 2013!!!

Morning folks, I thought I'd snatch a few mintues with you guys before the rest of the house wakes.
I had a fab writing session yesterday and had to stop just as the excitment was building - my fingers are itching to return to the scene.

I also have a date with the Christmas decorations which I always take down on 31st Dec - two reasons, one being I like a clean fresh start to a New Year and two, it's our wedding anniversary today and it has become a tradition.

I am hoping that 2013 brings utterly fabulous events and joys into your lives - though, it does mean you have to chase utterly fabulous opportunities as we did in 2012.

I started last year by reading Simon Whalley's 'The Positively Productive Writer' and I've dug the book out inorder to have a revisit, as it really was a great aid to focusing my mind. If your haven't seen or read it yet, it is packed with tips and ideas that Simon does to maintain a positive attitude towards his work.

O.K. needs must, so I need to love and leave, wishing you the happiest and merriest of New Years. Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Websites, hubby and word counts

Afternoon folks, I hope you’re enjoying the festive spirit. We enjoyed a quiet Christmas, which is what we’d ordered, so feel fully refreshed and bursting with energy for the New Year.

I’ve used my holiday time well, as I mentioned last week I have added two word counters to the info panel, as you can see both have increased.

I made a start on a new project TFN (I won’t give the game away just yet) anyway, so far so good. I’m trying to use the initial momentum to write as much as possible before the excitement of a new project wanes. Last night I found myself late for a dinner party because I just had to finish one more sentence – this I love but hubby wasn’t too chuffed at the dashing about that occurred afterwards. I’ve created the accompanying novel scrap book, scoured and selected from the baby naming book and have even managed to gain pictures for the cast of characters, as I said, so far so good.

I have finally got around to visiting two interesting websites suggested to me at a RNA Birmingham Chapter meeting back in November www.getgimp.com and www.naturalreaders.co.uk. Both websites offer authors a function that aids writing and self-publishing. The natural reader software enables you to listen to your typed text as a means of editing for typos or repeated words – though the free voice isn’t particularly ‘natural’ unless natural to you is a talking robot, but hey, it’s free. I’ve used the gimp software the most since downloading, which allows you to produce your own book covers. So, guess who has her very own book covers gracing her work on Amazon? Yep, me! Though, it’ll take a few days for you guys to see my art work while the Amazon bods upload the files. So, yet another achievement notched up in 2012. I have to say I did have a lot of fun simply playing with the publisher programme and it couldn’t be easier, which all helps in the game that is self-publishing.

Sharing is caring so, I do have to announce that I have ‘the coolest husband on the planet’, no seriously I do! I mentioned last time that I’d finished reading Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me before you’ well within a day or so hubby had picked it up and has been so engrossed by the plot that he is nearly finished. He agrees that the plot has got him thinking about the questions of life, death and quality time. I say, full marks to the man, he’s never had an issue showing his sensitive side – though I’ll wait to see how he copes with one of the final scenes before presenting him with the satin sash awarded to ‘best chicklit reader 2012’.

And so, another week has rolled by, the Christmas excitement has been and gone and New Year is fast approaching. I like numerous others am busy thinking up achievable resolutions that won’t cause me misery and strife – though, looking at last year’s I did a pretty good job – the only one I didn’t fulfill is the agent but hey, maybe 2013!

Remember you can always follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author… and you can check out my art work at Amazon by visiting the Kindle links on the left hand info panel. Check checking those word counters – I promise they’ll increase each visit. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas folks - I spent a lovely day with my hubby at home; opening presents, eating rich food and drinking a little more than is advisable. Anyway today, having tidied the presents into their new homes, I set my mind to some creative work. My first task was to send a present to Marmite. Back in October, I wrote a poem about the black stuff and everyone that heard it has said the exact same words 'you really should send that to the company' so today I have. Well, today I've printed and packaged, tomorrow I'll post when the post office opens. I wanted the poem to have a little more impact than yet another poem received by a corporate company so I've arranged the poem in a sturdy frame suggesting that it's precious, like Marmite. Anyway, for all those that have repeated the line - it's going, O.K.

Today, I've also written up a poem 'Witherley' that was swimming about my brain - a short little ditty about the church graveyard - not the happiest of topics but definitely significant at this time of year.

Tomorrow, I have been granted an entire free day so I have promised myself an entire day at my desk. Very indulgent but a welcome rest bite from the festive celebrations. I am itching to get back to my work. I have also had the stirrings of another project, which I'll call 'TFD' for now - so, my head is buzzing with the two projects - I really need to free up some space.

Finally, I've inserted two word counter widgets in the left hand panel so you and I can watch my novels grow. I used a similar widget for NaNo and found that it motivated me no end - so, fingers crossed.

TTFN - I must love and leave you, Christmas chocolates are calling my name, again.

Remember you can always follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author - enjoy!

Follow up: I have just copied each entry from this blog and complied them into one document - an amazing acheivement of 160 pages totalling 80, 258 words!!!!!!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Holidays arrive, Me before you and thank you

Evening folks - today my Christmas holiday began. The school bell rang at half twelve and after a quick staff meeting/get-to-together we were set free - for a whole two weeks. So, it starts now!

I've had a busy week but not in the areas I'd have liked. I had plans to complete a short story but that didn't happen, what with all the Christmas tasks, but I'm determined that the next two weeks are mine.

I have two short stories to write, a poetry submission to send and a novel submission to complete alongside the usual writing.

One of the short stories I plan to write is connected to a real life funny that occured last week. I won't outline it here, as that's a sure fire way of killing my muse, but it relates to a food complaint that I recently made to a supermarket. Anyway, I'll dress up the facts a little, a lot actually, then chose a suitable setting and hopefully my muse will deliver the goods in about two thousand words. This recipe has worked for me on so many occasions that I frequently jot down the mishaps of life and refer back and browse when starting a short story. In addition, I also keep a character book, in which I jot down the habits and descriptive walks/talk/mannerisms of strangers I spot in the High street. I know, I know, crazy hobby but it pays dividend when seeking the mannerisms of a new character.

This week I finished reading the beautiful book that is 'Me before you' by Jojo Moyes - ah, utterly breathtaking. I can't recommend it enough. Not only a great read but a startling education into the world of a quadriplegic man - I literally kept discussing the daily dilemas and moral issues, with hubby, as they occured in the plot. He's so intrigued that he'll probably read it now.

My next reading book is likely to be my Christmas present read - which I have dropped major hints for - so, I'll have to wait and see what Santa delivers. If I haven't been a good girl, I'll choose from the 60 or so books that patiently queue on the my 'To-read' bookcase. Yes, I know, maybe I'll ban myself from purchasing books in 2013? Nah!

So, I shall love and leave you. A huge shout out to the followers from Russia, Latvia and Israel who have clocked up a mighty number of visits this week. I am quite humbled by your attentions - thank you so much.
I shall be rejoining the Twitter brigade now that my mind is freed up from school work, search for me on @odwyer_author. Enjoy!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Fireman, planning and a steam train

Evening folks, a late one due to Christmas shopping in Birmingham city centre. I’ve spent the day battling my way through the crowds of busy shoppers – thankfully, I managed to get everything I wanted. Phew, does that take the worry out of Christmas.

Anyway, this week I had two writers’ meeting. My Wednesday group spent the night reflecting upon our busy and creative year – we were all surprised by the sheer amount of short stories and poems we’d each created. My Thursday group held their annual Christmas Quiz – where my group came second due to a technicality, all the same a very entertaining evening. Neither group meets over the Christmas period so I have a couple of weeks to produce a few news pieces to kick start 2013.

I’ve probably mentioned before that hubby is a fire officer, and whilst attending a retirement party I had a flash of inspiration regarding his fire ‘stories’. It doesn’t matter which career path you have there are always interesting and funny incidents that arise. Anyway, once home I announced to hubby that I will attempt to write one of his funny stories each week, if not for commercial publication but more importantly for his own reflection. Either way, I now have another project on the go!

I am entering the final week at work so have started to plan what I’ll be doing during the two week holiday. I have already devised a plan and shall spent the next week days tweaking the plans. My hope is to produce more fresh writing for novel two but also to send out submissions of novel one ‘Her’. Fingers crossed I shall also be getting a new book or two so I intend to be reading in the spare gaps.

I have to share an experience with you. As I mentioned, me and hubby have been shopping all day, we caught the train there and back as it is so much easier than driving/parking. Anyway, just as we stepped off the train onto the platform for home, hubby shouts ‘steam train’ I turned and the most amazing sight came dashing along the other track. A beautiful plume of smoke and steam, a shiny black engine and carriage after carriage of green and cream cars followed. My heart skipped a beat – honestly, I fell in love. I have never seen a steam train before, let alone stood on a platform waving and jumping about like a child – but hey, the passengers were waving back at me just as eagerly. Wow, what a beautiful sight. I think that little image will be igniting a story for sure.

On that note I shall love and leave you. Remember you can follow me on Tweeter @odwyer-author I can’t promise to follow back but I do always read the bios and follow if suitable. Enjoy!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Planning, productivity and pure writing

Morning folks, it’s another bright Saturday morning in Warwickshire, England. I have a whole day of school work ahead of me so thought I’d spend time with you guys first. I’ve had a busy week writing wise having calmed from the Nano experience I’ve switched back to my novel ‘Weigh to go!’ which will hopefully be my Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme submission for 2013. I am planning to have it written, edited and proofread by April, as I don’t want a repeat of this year where I literally submitted in the final days of August.
Anyway, so far so good. Being the OCD organiser that I am, I have carried on with a couple of tricks from my Nano experience and am pleased with the outcome. I have Christmas holidays around the corner and I am planning to write my little heart out over the festive period to hit the 40,000 words by 31 December.  I might even install a little widget gadget into my blog page to show my current word count – which motivated me so much during November.

I’ve spent quite a while planning and dreaming this week which makes the writing flow so much easier. I try to share some of my techniques as it might help others. I have a notepad with the pages numbered to represent each chapter and I’ve literally written a few events and necessary content on each page. I wished I used this method for my first novel ‘Her’ but hey.

This is the part of writing that I enjoy – the pure writing of new words upon a fresh page. I’ve realised that the editing part is the hardest part for me but then comes the proofreading process which I quite enjoy.

This week I have two writers’ meeting – the Grace Dieu will be the Christmas social event where we put the writing aside for an annual quiz. The Mad Hatters’ meeting, which falls on the 12.12.12 (I love dates like that), which is a group reflection of the year that has past. I’ve written my piece and I have to say I am quite amazed by my output this year; one novel, one NaNoWriMo, the beginning of a novel, 41 poems, 5 short stories, 3 published letters, 1 RNA membership and a wonderful RNA Summer conference. That isn’t bad going for a gal that works full-time and studies too! My New Year’s resolution will be continue this productive momentum.

On that wonderful count I shall love and leave you all. Remember you can follow me on Tweeter @odwyer-author I can’t promise to follow back but I do always read the bios and follow if suitable. Enjoy!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012, plans and determination

Morning folks, as you now know I completed the NaNoWriMo 2012 on Thursday evening with a total of 50,213 words. By my word count I had written exactly 50,000 words but the software used to validate gave me the extra ones – thanks!

Firstly, I will be participating next year – I’ve made a note and will be planning from October. But, and here’s the wonderful thing about completing anything in life – I learnt so much. I’ve learnt:

… that in just 17 days I can write 50,213 words (I didn’t write for 12 days during the month)
… that with just a character name and a title I can produce ideas from thin air whilst I type
… that my back didn’t ache anywhere near as much as I had expected, just the final days.
… that a deadline date is such a motivator.
 ... that my productive output is much higher than I ever envisaged.
… that I always achieve what I set out to do.
… that my writing buddy are worth their weight in gold
… that 2012 is my most creative and productive year ever.
… that my desire to be a novel writer is unwavering.
So, now that Nano 2012 is complete, what next? Well… I’ve got a whole host of things I want to complete. I have a children’s story to write, I need to get back to ‘Weigh to go!’, I now have ‘Pooch Parade’ to edit and add a further 50,000 words too and a whole heap of competitions and ideas to get down onto paper. So my aim today, is to make my Christmas cake, which I should have made weeks ago, do some university study and then have a little planning session, with a calendar at hand, to see when I can fit in all these wonderful ideas – oh, and cram Christmas in between. But hey, if I can complete Nano in 17 actual days – I can do anything!

In the right hand panel, I have listed the writing group tasks that I'll be completing next year. Each task is a 1000 words unless it is a poem, in which case a maximum of 40 lines. Join in if you fancy a challenge, I'll let you know how I get on as the dates arrive.
 
Remember you can follow me on Twitter by searching for odwyer_author – that way you can accompany my creative journey as it happens. Enjoy!

Friday, 30 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 29 - 4000 words and... the finishing line

I did it! 50213 words in 29 days - one day earlier than expected. Wow, what a result!
Last night, I arrived home from work and literally sat at my desk for four hours and wrote the final 4000 words. And at 9:30pm I signed onto the NaNoWriMo website and validated my word count - total being 50213 words.

A big thank you to my writing buddy Helen Phifer - it was her that nudged me and said 'come on lets do it.' Helen has also finished, but hey she's a NaNo pro not a NaNo newbie like me.

The next thing I did? Call it madness by I made a note in my diary for NaNoWriMo 2013 - but this time I shall give it some thought in and begin planning in October.

So, who will join me next year?

I need to leave for school now, so enjoy the day and I'll see you tomorrow for a weekly update - oh yeah, other creative stuff has happened this week. Enjoy!

Monday, 26 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 26 - 2000 words

Hi folks - today was tough going. I literally had to drag 2000 words form my finger tips. Funny how some days the wrods flow so quickly and yet others, like today, it takes two long hours to hit the target. But I kept going till I had the exact amount I'd promised you all.

I'm now heading to bed for a read of my current reading book Elizabeth Gaskell's biography on Charlotte Bronte. I'll see you tomorrow, and please pray that the words flow freely again. Enjoy!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

NaNoWriMo day 25 - 1982 words

Hi folks, I have just finished my writing session for today 1982 words which brings my total word count to 42002. I have till Thursday night to complete so I need to make sure I write each day as I would be so angry to miss the end of the challenge in the final week. My plan is to write 2000 on each day for four days. Phew!

My day has been spent working on a university essay relating to Alcott's 'Little Women' and Stephenson's 'Treasure Island' - its a lovely question based upon the representation of fatherhood - so I did find myself becoming engrossed. This too has to be complete for 29th November!

So another day over and the weekend has disappeared in a flash. Hopefully, I can have more of a rest next weekend - here's to hoping. Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

RNA, NaNoWriMo and a 2013 diary

Evening folks - sorry for the late post but I have been attending my Romantic Novelists' Associations Birmingham Chapter meeting. They meet four times a year, though this was only my second meeting. I have to say it really is so lovely meeting up with other writers who are struggling and striving with manuscripts. Anyway, today was a particularly good meeting as the range of topics for discussion covered everything from choosing meeting dates for 2013, an Ian Rankin programme, erotica, lunch paid for by Bruce Springstein and stud farms! I know, varied or what? I've arrived home full of creative ideas and renewed energy to make an immediate start. Our next meeting will be 2nd February 2013 - it sounded strange saying, 'see you in the New Year!'

My NaNo week has been a bit hit and miss but I promise I shall disappear after this blog to clock up a couple of thousand words. Honest, I will.

My writers' meeting last Thursday was filled with poetry, purely a fluke everyone bought poetry to read - which never happens. I read my poem about Marmite - which recieved excellent feedback and a repeat of my hubby's remark that I should submit it to the company. Hummmm, I may well do that.

I have my other writers' group this coming Wednesday for which I am aiming to write a play inspired by last times meeting when another group, sharing the room, had a major bust up. Now, us Mad Hatters have been witness to many a spat but nothing compared to the bust-up that occured last week within a genealogy group. Anyway, I'm turning it into a piece which I'm sure the writing group will appreciate - though I'll ditch it should that group re-appear. I'm not brave enough to suggest they perform my play.

Right, I must go and produce some NaNo - please re-visit and check up on my progress. I have received a record number of visits this week, you really do help to motivate me. As always you can follow me on Twitter by searching odwyer_author. Enjoy!

P.S. I alway purchased my 2013 diary today - as a stationery freak, that's news.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 21 - 2233 words

Evening folks - I am still at it. Today, I managed to write 2233 words bring my total to 37442! The offical Nano site is stating that I shall finish on 28th November with the rate I am doing, I shall continue to plod and see what happens. I would like to finish before that, if I am honest.

I've started to run though possible and plausible endings in preparation of next week. I have two selected, I can't decide which is better, maybe I should leave it to the final few days and see which one 'feels' right.

I am having to fight a strong urge to do a reread - but as with everything with Nano you have to fight that instinct and plod on towards the finishing line.

Ove the past two days, I have been quite reflective regards the challenge. I've mentioned before that I had a failed attempt in 2009 - then I took the view that you only wrote 1667 words each day and before long, the second week actually, I dropped off the scale and threw the towel in. This year I realised that, in the first few days, you literally write with the momentum - when the ideas come thick and fast. You take full advantage of the high spirits that have built up regards the starting point and produce as much as you can at each sitting. If like me, you are able to produce in excess of 1667 do it; then when you have a tough week at work or a family crisis hits home the banked excess carries you through for a few days when your output is lighter. I haven't written every day, as I'd hope too - but hey, that's life.

Come back tomorrow and see if I've broken that 38,000 barrier. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 November 2012

NaNoWriMo day 19 - 1722 words

Evening followers, I have managed to write 1722 words - a task I did as soon as I arrived home from the day job. I have purposely left my heroine in a pickle so I can hit the ground running tomorrow.

My grand total now stands at 35,209 - an awesome amount - I never doubted I'd get here but am still surprised to have managed it. Which is strange given that I was determined from the off to complete the challenge.

Last night, I announced to husband that I'll be making this an annual event in my writing calender. I might even plan it into my Autumn half term holiday for 2013. Participating has taught me a couple of thing about myself as a writer.
                     1. I can produce far more than I give myself credit for
                     2. my imagination is pretty phenomenal regards ideas
                     3. if I keep my ass in the chair, the trigger igniting my fingers just keeps going
                    
I am very proud of my achievement in the last 19 days - let's hope the final 11 days work just as well.
Anyway, I'm now heading off to complete an hour or two of university study. See you tomorrow, enjoy!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

NaNoWriMo day 17&18 weekend challenge 10,000 words - I've done it!

Hi folks, I promised I would have a go at 10,000 words in one weekend and the result from yesterday was 5404 written in four hours. My fingers literally flew about the keyboard as I had a week of ideas to pour out. This brought my total word count to 28465.

I've woken this morning with an aching back, so will have to make sure I am sitting correctly today but, I am  a very happy bunny.

The aim for today is for another 5000 words. I have already written 616 words while I ate breakfast but am disappearing to dog training in a mo, so will pick up the task when I get back.

Please pop back later to keep an eye on me - it makes it so much easier knowing that I have shared my challenge with followers and I'd hate to let you down, as well as myself. Enjoy!

Update: I've done it! 10,426 words in two days!!!! WooHoo! I knew if I put my mind to it then I could do it, but all the same it feels great to have reached my weekend goal. This means that from Saturday morning I have gone from 23061 to 33487 word count for NaNoWriMo.

My NaNoWriMo stats page is saying that for me to finish my challenge on 26th November I just have to write 1271 words per day. I promise you now, I am going to do this smaller amount each day and see where it lands me. I have a free week ahead so there is no excuse for dropping behind and having to repeat what I've achieved this weekend. Right, I'm now heading out for a jogging session to help free up these tired muscles.

See you tomorrow folks - enjoy!

Friday, 16 November 2012

NaNoWriMo day 11 - 16 zero word count

Evening all, well the titles says it all really. I have written zero words in six days! The longest I have ever gone without switching my laptop on - I kid you not, my laptop and desk have a layer of dust.

The mother of all weeks has blown me from the water resulting in many meetings, appointments and work overload. So, here is my promise to you, my faithful followers. I, secretwriter, will write ten thousand words this weekend  Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November inorder to make up for my non-existant participation in NaNoWriMo. My starting figure for this mini ass kicking, self whipping challenge is 23061 and my aim is to be at 33061 word count at bedtime on Sunday night. I'm up for it, are you?

In between the manic writing I will also be dog treking, dog training, school planning and book marking, plus I have university tomorrow morning. So, stick with me - it won't be pretty and it won't be easy but I promise 33061 will be mine on Sunday.

Remember you can follow me on twitter odwyer_author - I'll keep intouch with a progress update. Enjoy!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

NaNOWriMo Day 10 - 7034 word count

Afternoon folks, please forgive me but I was busy with NaNoWriMo, so got carried away and didn’t notice the time. For those that have followed my NaNo journey, you’ll have noticed that I haven’t updated and logged a word counts for three days!!!! I’m always totally honest on my blog and have to confess that I didn’t write a single word, so couldn’t update. Not because I couldn’t think of anything to write – oh, no far from it but literally because I was too whacked to even contemplate a session at my desk. You’ll remember that I returned to the day-job after a week’s holiday. So, instead of feeling guilty and beating myself up about it – which I have a tendency to do, I took a deep breath and thought ‘Bugger it, I’m not writing for the sake of it.’ The great thing is that with the three days of zero word count my guilt-free head is now bursting with ideas. This morning I got up and have already logged a three and a half thousand word count and I’m not finished for today. I shall update later and I promise you, I will have past the 20,000 words deadline.

My week, as I mentioned earlier, has been busy. Monday saw me return to work so it was full steam ahead there. Within three lessons it felt as though we’d never had a holiday.
Tuesday saw a full night of NaNo writing – I did very little else that evening. The words simply flowed and I gained that heady session, as if you’re drunk, when sentences and plot are coming together as they should, but rarely do. Wednesday saw me asleep by half eight – I kid you not – I was fast, Zzzzzzzzzzz. Thursday - saw me attend my other writers’ meeting in Coalville with the Grace Dieu Writing Circle – we had a mini in-house competition as it was National Short Story week. Each member brought a piece of work of approximately 750 words. There were six entries this year, each story was blank so we didn’t know whose was whose. I didn’t win, but thankfully the rightful winner did, following our little voting system. A tiny in-house tradition but one that adds a bit of sparkle and healthy competition into our group meetings. I would love to see more of this but sadly time restraints in meetings and accommodating all needs and tastes limits us slightly. Friday, well boy – was I glad to see Friday. Friday dragged his feet in arriving but finally made it. I love that feeling when the weekend begins and we all dash off home to make the most of every hour. Anyway, I had a flute lesson booked so I had to get home for one last practice before my teacher arrived. I have to say, something has happened with my flute playing recently – the sound and tone has changed and I can’t put my fingers on why. For the better I quickly add, but it’s strange that it has occurred at the same time as I advance towards certain goals in writing. I have said before that I feel that creativeness links into each other areas and supports other skills and talents. I am starting to think that my self-satisfaction in writing is also being witnessed in my flute playing – more confidence perhaps? Who knows!

Anyway, back to today. As I said, I woke early – I’ve written three and a half thousand words, taken the dog for his usual trek and been inspired to write a poem. I’ll continue to alternate my daily tasks with writing and will post a final word count later today.

Finally, best wishes to a poet friend Mal who’s not his usually energetic and musing machine – I’m sure you’ll be back fighting fit very, very soon. You’ve got to be – you’ve so many creative ideas to capture.

Apologies for those who follow me on Twitter – I have been pretty quiet this week, but I’ll make up for it next week. For new followers please look me up on Twitter under the name odwyer_author (it took three attempts for me to type my own name correctly – not good). Enjoy and I’ll see you back soon ;-)

Follow up: I promised I'd come back with a word update - (drum roll) 7034 words for today. As you can imagine I am feeling pretty pleased with myself. That is the second highest word count I have ever produced in a single day. My persoanl best is 8000 words which I accomplished when working on my novel 'Her'.

Not only have I written 7034 words (I keep saying it as I can't believe it) but I have also written a poem today inspired by a group of teenagers seen in the local park whilst on my dog trek. All in all, a very productive day. Fingers crossed your day has been just as productive, whatever you've done. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 6 - 2246 words

Evening folks - my daily update regarding NaNoWriMo come about so swiftly - which just shows how quickly the days are passing. Firstly, I am still enjoying the challenge and not once has it been a chore to sit and write. Which may be hard to believe, but true. Today, I managed 2246 words bringing my ever increasing total to 16027!!!! 

I'm now finding that my editing head is starting to nag about the fact that I haven't reread, altered or made corrections. And so I am having to ignore the nagging witch who is so eager to whirl a red pen!!! So this non-stop writing does feel completely unnatural to me, but in a good way as it has forced me to plough on with my ideas and effort.

A brief update but now, I'm heading toward the sofa to catch up on soem light reading. Ciao - enjoy!

Monday, 5 November 2012

NaNoWriMo day 5 - 1717 words

Evening boys and girls - my word count today, in the last hour in fact, is 1717 words. Not a ground breaking, earth shattering amount but hey, it is more than the required 1667 per day needed to complete this mammoth task. Plus, I return to school today, so I only had a one hour slot in which to write. When viewed in that manner, this update is actually a mini celebration honouring the fact that I managed to get my daily allocation produced in 60 minutes. Bringing my grand total to 13781 words!

Hee hee, I'm still on track and promise that I will get out of bed tomorrow morning at 6am, so I can write before I go to work. How's that for determination?

Sweet dreams folks - see you tomorrow at 6:01am. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz enjoy!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

NaNOWriMo Day 4 - 1980 words

Evening folks - I thought I'd update just before I dash off to bed. I manged to increase my NaNo total by 1980 words today - bringing my total to 12064!

I had aimed to break the 12000 mark as I return to work tomorrow, so know I will be back to juggling with day-job and writing. The plan is to write during my lunch break, if that fails I shall write once I arrive home.

I have linked up with four NaNoWriMo buddies who are also participating this year, Cally, Bekki, Paula and Helen - it is so motivating seeing their word counts increase each day as well as my own - carry on ladies - we can do this!

O.K. enough from me, I need sleep. See you tomorrow. Enjoy!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

NaNoWriMo day 3 - 1840 words

Afternoon folks – forgive me for being late but the day job got in the way, I had to mark school books this morning, so my routine had to change. But, I’m here now and have I got news for you! My week’s holiday has been so productive that I could cry with joy.
In one week I have:

  • Submitted ‘Her’ to four agents and one publisher – yay!
  • Re-written the synopsis for the ‘Her’ submissions – double yay!
  • Written two new chapters for my W.I.P. ‘Weigh to go’
  • Written five poems (Ben, Dad, Heron, Marmite and Alice Liddell) - wow!
  • In two days of NaNoWriMo have written 8234 words – amazing
  • Have plotted a children’s story – which I haven’t got around to writing but I will.
  • Have finally finished my reading book ‘Death comes to Pemberley’ – P.D. James
  • Have finally read the short story ‘The Signalman’ - Dickens
 
Alongside the creative work, I have also had the car M.O.T at the garage and one cat M.O.T at the vets. Visited the cinema to view the new James Bonds film ‘Skyfall’ and watched a handful of dvds about Jane Austen. Phewwwww! I haven’t wasted a moment, honest.

It is weeks like this that confirm that I truly love what I do – life is busy but it’s what I’ve created and chosen. Am I refreshed for next week – you bet!

I’ve promised to provide a mini up-date each day during November in relation to the NaNoWriMo challenge 2012. I have mentioned before that I attempted the challenge in 2009 but failed in week two – I can’t see that happening this year. I haven’t written any for today, so day one and day two total 8234 words. I shall have a writing session after typing this blog, but I’ll provide an update before I go to bed regards day 3 word count. My goal is to top 10,000 words – we’ll see.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter by searching for odwyer_author – that way you can accompany my creative journey as it happens. Enjoy!

Follow up: On finishing my writing session today I managed to add 1840 words to my novel 'Pooch Parade' bringing the grand total to 10084 words - woohoo, I'm doing better than I had hoped!


Friday, 2 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 2 - 3940 words for today

Afternoon folks, I've just finished a session of NaNoWriMo writing and have managed to write 2313 in one sitting. This brings my word count total to just over the seven thousand mark in two days. Boy, am I chuffed with myself. I don't think I managed that amount in two whole weeks in my failed 2009 attmept. So fingers crossed this is a good sign - I am determined to do it this year, come hell or high water.

I shall have another session later tonight, and will update afterwards. Enjoy the rest of your Friday!

Follow up: I managed another little session this afternoon bringing today's word count to very respectable 3940. My total word count widget (when it appears in the left hand panel) should be reading at 8234.

Not bad for a rookie ;-)

See you all tomorrow x

Thursday, 1 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 1 - 4744 words

Well folks, I did it. I attended my writers' group meeting, came home and sat up until midnight to begin my NaNoWriMo 2012 challenge. I wrote for an hour which gave me plenty of time to write a thousand words than I headed for bed. Hubby thought I was mad, but hey, I literally had to get that first thousand words down before my eyes closed.

This morning I woke with such joy knowing that my NaNo jouney had already begun. It is now one o'clock in the afternoon, and I've just entered the total of 3967 words. I did link a little word counter widget to my left hand panel but it depends what you're viewing this blog on to whether it is currently working. Anyhow, that's me done for a few hours I shall have another NaNo typing session later tonight - strike while the iron is hot, so to speak.

I will try my upmost to produce a daily update, so be sure to come back and show support as I'd hate to reach 50,000 words and no one knew about it.

See you later - enjoy!

follow up: I managed to squeeze in another hour this evening so my total for NanoWriMo day 1 is 4744 words.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

Evening folks - a quick little update as you know I love to share. At midnight National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins - which means some craziness occurs as we try to write 50,000 words between
1-30 November.

I have attempted this feat once before in 2009 , but I bailed out in the second week. I can assure you this year will be different - I will be victorious! 2012 has been such a fabulous year, so far, I feel it can only get better by participating and completing this challenge.

My novel title is 'Pooch Parade' and it revolves about dog training/walking - I don't know much more than that, but hey, I shall find out in the next 30 days! I have placed a small word count widget on the left hand panel so you can keep a close eye on me. My friend Helen Phifer, who has previously completed the challenge will also be checking up on me, she'll kick my ass aswell should I consider pulling out before
50, 000 words have been spun from my finger tip.

As the clock strikes midnight - I will be seated at my desk so I can enjoy a nocturnal writing session to get me started.

Follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author - I shall see you just after midnight!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Memories, Chairing and Surprising Ben!

Morning folks, I’m officially on school holiday, I can’t describe just how good that feels. I have spent the week motoring on reserve energy and really don’t know how I made it to Friday, but I did.

I had an extra busy week, as day-job work intensifies at the end of term as you want everything ship-shape for the beginning of the next. Anyway here’s an account of my week.

Monday – I was exhausted by the day job as it was a parents’ day event – so I had appointments with students and their family from 7:45am through to 6pm – a long day. By the time I arrived home, my voice was broken and I was too knackered to write - I just wanted food and then bed.

Tuesday – I was absent from school for my Teacher Training Graduation. OMG, disaster! If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll know I qualified on 1st June, so was looking forward to having a fabulous day of celebration alongside hubby and mum. It never happened. I had planned and paid for everything eight weeks ago but, I suppose it must happen to someone, but my graduation robes hadn’t been delivered to the venue. I’d stood in line to be robed, handed over my confirmation slip and number, only to have the man say ‘they’re not here’. I honestly thought he was joking. My heart hit my stomach, as I stood watching him fumble with row after row of graduation robes. They quickly ushered me aside, away from the other ‘happy’ student, to explain ‘this never happens, honestly’ – I should have gone home at this point, really I should. We stood as three listening to their constant assurance that everything would be fine – no, my memory was tarnished and there was no way it would be O.K. Anyway, to cut an incredibly long story short by four hours – I did graduate in a set of robes secured by another student from the afternoon ceremony. Did we go for a celebration meal? No. Did I drink champagne? No. I came home, changed and moped on the sofa for the rest of the day – before writing my letters of disappointment to Hogwarts Ltd who provide ceremonial robes – hey, let’s hope they get it right for the next Coronation!

Wednesday – I had the joy of day-job colleagues helping me to laugh about the events of Tuesday! The girls are making me a set from black bin liners so the same doesn’t occur at my next graduation in 2014 – oh, yeah, I already know they’ll be another. Good job really!

Thursday – I buzzed about work like a blue bottle at a window trying my hardest to get everything in order for my form group’s class assembly on Friday. There has been lots of problems by I had written a small scene script for them to follow and we’d filmed it last week – though it needed finishing ready for Friday. On the evening, I chaired the Grace Dieu Writers Circle – which was a great success. I have performed this task once before, so I enjoyed it this time rather then let the nerve take over. We had a decent turnout of members too – which helps. The meeting’s theme was ‘horror’ due to the nearing Halloween celebrations and the members didn’t fail to impress. We had lots of short stories and a poem related to the theme. This morning I have typed the minutes and emailed them to the members. During the meeting we had several interesting discussion, the first was about workshops – many members have experience of attending one of the many advertised. It really was a mixed bag of opinions, some positive, many negative. We discussed the quality, content and experience of the leading mentor – and decided that the reason for the workshop could determine the outcome. Some did it purely for the hard cash and others because they genuinely wished to support fellow writers in their journey towards publication. Interesting topic. On arriving home, I suffered a massive migraine – which kept me up till four in the morning – oh well, these things happen.

Friday – boy, was I glad to see Friday! It slipped by in a dream as I could hardly keep my eyes open having had very little sleep. The highlights of my day was having another unexpected visit from Barbara Catchpole, who magically appeared in my teaching room – always a please to receive such a smile. The next was my form group’s assembly – the entire assembly hall roared with laughter – they did me proud. I cried with laughter and yet, I’d seen it several times through. Anyhow, the school bell finally rang loud and clear – holiday time! Believe it or not, it took three journeys to my classroom to load my car with books and papers – but hey! The saddest moment of today was saying goodbye to a dear friend – I don’t class many people at the day-job as a friend, just a handful, but one young man is definitely in the group. Ben is off to travel the world and I pray that he will come home to us at school and train as a teacher, when his itchy feet have settled. I hate goodbyes, with a passion and struggled to hold the tears at bay. He’s been a smiling face every time I’ve hollered at my IT not working, he’s been my Ma Parker bitch collecting my lunch every Friday, my little brother at work and I am so going to miss him. So much so, I let him into my secret as a final present hoping he keeps in touch throughout his travels. I’ll miss you, matey. My classroom won’t be the same without you walking through offering me a smile and tea!

27th Oct, today is a strange day for me - mixed emotions regards events that have previously occured on this day. But one very happy event is the celebration of a childhood friend who is 40 today. He doesn't know this but seeing him as a baby is my earliest memory. I remember being picked up as a tiny child, and ducking my head under the hood of a pram, to view a sleeping baby. The image is so clear, I could draw it. My mum confirmed many years ago my details of the navy blue pram with the string of yellow ducks strung across the hood front. Its comforting to know who the baby was, and today I wish him the happiest of birthdays.

So, finally to my holiday – my plan Stan for the coming week is:

Send ‘Her’ out to more agents.
Begin the NaNoWriMo challenge on 1st November
To complete an inventory of my short stories

Remember you can follow me on Twitter by searching for odwyer_author – that way you can accompany my creative holiday. Enjoy!

Friday, 19 October 2012

W.I.P Creativity, Barbara Catchpole and P.I.G.

Evening folks – some spare time on a Friday night – so, here is anther early update. Allin all, I’ve had a pretty decent week. Last weekend I read seven chapters from my current project to hubby – his critique ranged from ‘you’re further on than I thought’, ‘I can see that character in my mind’ and ‘you’ve relocated the row of cottages near the pub, haven’t you?’ Yes, yes I have! Anyhow, he enjoyed what I’d produced and now I’ll make a start on the next seven chapters. If only he knew not only have I moved the miners’ cottages but I’ve pinched the local road layout too.

Monday was a manic day at work, so I arrived home with a bad head – a wasted night. Tuesday evening saw me rushing like a mad man trying to fit two nights of writing into one. Why does my brain do that? My W.I.P. is becoming real with each chapter - the characters are starting to talk to me, their actions and behaviour is surfacing and the chapters are flowing nicely. I feel quite smug, for once.

Wednesday saw me attend the world smallest writers’ meeting with the Mad Hatters’ – just two of us. We’d had several apologies and one no-shower (who we worried about due to the lack of communication – though totally unnecessary). The two of us spent the evening chatting about anything related to writing and poetry – a very relaxed meeting which finished at the normal time.

Thursday saw me and my form group produced a scary movie themed about Halloween trick and treating. The kids had a great time dressing up and acting – though secretly, not as much as I did. Thursday evening saw me curled on the sofa with my ‘Harry Potter’ reading book which is part of my Open University literature course.

Friday – was a sheer delight! I welcomed the author Barbara Catchpole into my English lesson to give the children a talk about her P.I.G. books, published by Ransom Books. Barbara encouraged the children to produce the outline of a character and begin creating an idea for a story. She filled the classroom with happy, smiling faces for the entire hours – which is more than I do on a Friday morning, period 3. Barbara generously shared her creative thought process, daily writing routines and the inspirations which helped to create her series of P.I.G. books for children. Anyway, after a few photographs for local press publicity Barbara said her hearty goodbyes – the children were disappointed to hear the school bell signal their next lesson, I am sure that her enthusiasm has ignited lots of creative thinking.

And finally, to this weekend – my plans revolve about an study essay that I have to write regards ‘Harry Potter’ book – woohoo! The rest of the weekend will fall into place about this central focus. If I get the chance I will be working on the W.I.P. – attempting to put together the next few chapters. A decent dog walk and dog training will definitely be on the agenda to blow the cobwebs away. And, it goes without saying I’ll be twittering as I go. You can follow me by searching for odwyer_author – that way you can accompany my journey as I walk it. Enjoy!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Submission, NaNoWriMo 2012 and surprise!

Hello my lovelies, how the devil are you? I had a spare half an hour so thought I’d spend it with you guys! So, sit back and enjoy an early post on a Friday evening.

I’ve had a strange week, some highs and low in the creative department, many highs and lows in the day-job department but, all in all, a decent week.

I left you last week, trying to write a submission piece for the Stroke Association’s Celebratory book – well, the little grey cells worked wonders and an idea transpired. You’ll remember that the inspiration had to be the number 20, so I’d opted for the 20th element on the periodic table, calcium. Anyhow, I spent Saturday morning researching and by the evening I had the draft I needed. A short piece of 250 words but it was jam packed with information. It took me right back to my study days and science classes. Writing a factual piece made a refreshing change, as I usually stick to fiction, though I did craft the piece from a creative angle. I went to bed last Saturday very happy with my submission but, I kid you not, I woke at 7am on Sunday morning less than impressed with the final line. So, I had no option than to change it. Hey presto, within minutes the editing was complete and I the submission sent.

You may remember that I’ve decided to enter this year’s NaNoWriMo and so, my head has been busy plotting and planning. My writing buddy Helen Phifer is going to kick my ass good and proper if I don’t complete – so there is no fear of me failing this year. With Helen’s support I can do this, I can do this, I can do this…. (my mantra for the entire month of November). Anyhow, I have decided upon an idea which relates to my dog training classes – yep, I’m going to use all the little ideas that I’ve collected over 16 months - but that’s all I’m sharing with you, for now. I plan to write each lunch time at the day-job and then at home on the weekends. I have already worked out that I need to write 1667 words per day – which is a comfortable amount once I get going.

Tuesday night found me at my desk busy with a writing session. I managed to introduce another hunk into the plot, one which I found myself falling for in a strange authoress kind of way. I thought I could land this guy with a few personal secrets, which are in fact mine, but hey, it was good fun creating a male me and I’m sure he’ll cope better than I ever have. The novel is beginning to take shape and the characters are coming alive – though the interaction isn’t as smooth as I’d like – but hey, that’s what editing is for.

Wednesday night was robbed from me by a stinking headache from the day-job. The evening was a total wipe out - the only good thing was hubby making me a rhubarb crumble to indulge my mood.

Thursday evening, I missed attending my Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle as I attended Jackie Kay’s appearance at Birmingham Book Festival. I wasn’t as enthralled as I was a week ago at seeing Simoin Armitage but none the less, she was very good. Talking of Simon Armitage – I think the kids at school are now sick of me mentioning it. I actually taught ‘The Clown Punk’ this week to a class of yr9 – which made me smile.

Which brings me to tonight, Friday night. There’s probably one hour remaining before I dive into my pit for a decent sleep. Tomorrow my plans revolve about school work and lesson planning. Sunday is marked as my writing day. I am hoping to write another chapter of ‘Weigh’ – which will see the action truly flow between the characters. I do have some university work to complete – but that’s more of a leisurely pace than usual so I can sit back and enjoy that study session.

Earlier today, I sent an email reserving my membership within the Romantic Novelists Associations’ New Writers’ Scheme. A job that I’ve been meaning to do for a few weeks – so hands off, nobody will be getting my place on the NWS, unless of course I get a publishing deal in the very near future.

And finally, I surprised another friend today with my ‘secretwriter’ secret – I really do love telling people my news. Its not that they don’t expect me to be doing something interesting, its more a case of wow, you do that aswell!

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. The follower numbers are going through the roof – which humbles me greatly. Enjoy x

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Simon Armitage, calcium and ‘If’.

Good morning, at this slightly stupid-o’clock-time-to-be-up on the weekend – my brain literally won’t switch off – so, I shall make the most of it.

My week has been a roller coaster of emotions and temperaments. Last weekend, I had a heavy, heavy heart due to sad news, throughout the week I’ve supported others whilst experiencing elation regards my own personal achievements. Phew, I’m emotionally knacked! Which goes some way to explaining why the old brain is a whirring. Any way, at a writers’ meeting this week a poet, Mal Dewhirst, duly quoted Kipling’s ‘If’ – and yes, it was very appropriate, as was ‘if all around you are losing their heads, and you’re staying calm – maybe you don’t quite understand the situation’ was is possibly nearer the mark.

Monday and Tuesday saw very little writing occur as I had the day job to contend with – class observations and all that razzamatazz. Anyway, once achieved, I returned to my W.I.P. At first, it felt strange working with new characters and settings but now, I. Am. Loving. It. Tuesday evening, I had a read through of the first six chapters and critically assessed each characters’ introduction, setting and situation – I surprised myself, which was nice.

Wednesday night, saw me attending the Mad Hatters’ Writing group – I didn’t take anything to read, as the chapter I wanted to read needs a slight tweak. Strange, but I literally don’t want the group to critique what I already know needs attention. So, I attended and critiqued their work instead. I’ve mentioned before that there are only four regular attendees, we have two others that attend when they can. So, we do have quite a varied agenda from critiquing work, chatting about anything literary and anything obscurely related. The group must have entered some kind of time warp on Wednesday night, as we were critiquing and chatting for about four hours and yet, only two and a half hours had past on the clock???? Strange, but hey, bonus time - an early night! The congratulations of the evening went to Mal Dewhirst, who will be inaugurated into the role of Staffordshire’s first Poet Laureate tomorrow, 4th October - National Poetry day.   

Thursday evening, provided another carefree night at the laptop pummeling away at the W.I.P. plus, I got to watch the first of the new series of Downton Abbey – yep, that’s right, I’m only four weeks behind the t.v. schedule.

Friday was a day of mixed emotions. It was the funeral of baby Campbell Burns – I thought about his fmaily all day, as I couldn’t attend. The day job simply turned manic. By the evening, I needed to be soothed by the dulcet tones of Simon Armitage, appearing at the Birmingham book Festival, to talk about his new book ‘Walking Home’. The added delight was having my copy signed and chatting briefly to him about ‘Clown Punk’ which is currently on the GCSE exam syllabus. Bless him, he seemed quite embarrassed by the honour. Hubby was cheeky enough, as always, to ask for a leaflet of the event to be signed – bless him, Simon immediately drew a pair of glass and a squiggly moustache onto his photo and signed it. What a lovely chap!

Which brings me back to this morning, having spent my early wake-up chatting with you guys, I am about to head off for my weekly dog trek – miss muse included. I’ve just purchased, as a reward, a year’s adoption of a donkey called Oscar, as a class pet for my form group and now, my day can begin. Sometime today, I shall be writing a piece about the element calcium – which has the twentieth position within the periodic table. I shall be submitting the short piece sometime tomorrow, for consideration in the Stroke Associations celebratory book organised by Mal Dewhirst. Hopefully, the piece flows nicely and I get chance for more W.I.P writing before bed time.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. The follower numbers are going through the roof – which humbles me greatly. Enjoy x

p.s. - that was the 100th blog post - boy, oh boy!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Children’s literature, W.I.P and The Campbell Burns Metabolic Trust

Hi folks – a late update today. This morning, I was busy attending my first university tutorial for Children’s Literature course. Sorry. So, how the devil are you? I’ve had a busy but delightful week.

Last weekend, you’ll remember that I was reading poetry at a 10th birthday celebration. Well, well the weather was awful, the Gods were definitely against us in every way. It was a wash out. The performance consisted of 7 poets plus 2 husbands, the audience - 3 adults and two children. Certainly, not what I’d been hoping for, but hey, at least our performance spot was changed from underneath the M42 motorway bridge to a warm and cosy room, where we remained dry. The poets present shared the readings, ensuring that the entire trail was read between us. Regulars will know about the Polesworth Poetry Trail that snakes through the village of Polesworth and ends within Pooley Heritage Park, Warwickshire. My hubby took many pictures as it provided a photo opportunity for my scrap book.

Tuesday evening saw me taking full advantage of a silent house – I worked my little socks off on my W.I.P and was delighted with the read-through on Wednesday evening. I’ve found that this project is progressing at a better rate than my first novel ‘Her’ – I’m being more critical with each chapter before moving on – a huge mistake made with the first draft of ‘Her’. So, far the feedback received has been excellent – let’s hope that continues as the chapters grow.

Wednesday saw a reply for the local council regards a research question I had put to them. I had written two letters last weekend requesting additional details. I shall be honest, I wasn’t expecting to hear anything. So, imagine my amazement when I received such a swift reply, a lovely reply at that, with an additional map included from a council officer. I have kept his name and will, in time, thank him for his efforts.

Thursday evening – saw me at home for a writing evening on the W.I.P. I have to say, as I sat at my desk I realised autumn has arrived - my toes were freezing cold. The view from my seat was beautiful, a dusky autumn sky but woo, the heating needs to be put on. I actually love the autumn session – the colours, smells and dark nights drawing in - provide me with a visual reminder that I’ll have plenty of hours indoors to spend writing.

Friday night – gave me a precious moment of reflection regards life and the entangled webs we weave. I attended a ‘Thank You’ bash – where I knew hardly anyone, but everyone made me most welcome. It was a party for hubby’s friends – but it gave me plenty of time to people watch and take note of the joys of life.

And so, to today. As I mentioned before I attended my university course tutorial this morning – this year’s crowd seemed very nice, the tutor - awesome! I have already begun my studies so I came away feeling very content with the path I’ll be treading between now and next May – I’ll let you know how I get along.

I’ve been out for my weekly trek with the pooch – he needs a decent walk, and so do I, to blow away the cobwebs having spent all week in school. Today, as always, I dragged my muse along for her weekly exercise – which she reluctantly attends. And, yet again, I arrived home with a head full of creative ideas, a renewed energy and a willingness to work.

Finally, throughout my time writing this blog, I have always tried to be honest regards my creative journey and my experiences as a writer. Well today, I must continue. And so, I do reveal that I have a heavy heart today, for I received the saddest news this morning. I have previously mentioned ‘The Campbell Burns Metabolic Trust’, created by a fellow writing friend to blog the progress of her baby son Campbell, who was diagnosed with Leigh’s disease. Tragically, baby Campbell lost his eight month battle yesterday afternoon – those who have followed their daily blog cannot help but be touched by this baby’s incredible story. www.campbellburns.wordpress.com

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. But more, much more importantly this week - love the ones you love – life is so precious. X

Saturday, 22 September 2012

NANOWRIMO, Writing groups and Celebrations

Morning folks – I’m on an early start today, as I’ve got a ‘To-Do’ list as long as my arm. My first job is to visit the local library for a research session using maps of the local area. Then, if there is time, I would like to do some botany research relating to my current W.I.P. It will be a race against time as the library only opens for half a day on a Saturday – so, what I haven’t found by one o’clock will have to wait for another day.

But firstly, how was my week? A bit bumpy and lumpy, if I’m honest. Last weekend was filled with study and writing which set me on the right track for the week ahead. I managed to have an entire day of writing which paved the way for many ideas to be secured and saved. Though, the Victoria sponge I made, as research, was a complete disaster! How it ended up so flat and hard was beyond me but hey, it only goes to prove my coffee and walnut cake truly is my specialty.

Any way, Monday was a no-go regards writing – I was far to busy with family. Tuesday was a sheer delight. After work I knuckled down for four hours after a full day at work – heaven. Tuesday, also saw me contemplating participation in NANOWRIMO 2012 – where you write a novel draft between 1st – 30th November – just 30 days. Anyway, my RNA writing buddy Helen Phifer suggested it and yeah, I’m up for it. It’ll mean a slight change of plan regards my current project but I can do that. As I’ve mentioned before I do have a creative queue of ideas so I shall swing with one of those. The official website will be update in October, but there is nothing stopping you from signing up now. For further details please check out the website: www.nanowrimo.org

Wednesday night – I did attend my writing group but it wasn’t without fuss. We had a few members absent, which I hadn’t known about, so was told that with just three members, the other two didn’t want to attend. I was so miffed. I had given up precious writing time to prepare my chapter to read, had read another member’s piece twice so I could give her feedback and had refused another invitation for the same night. So at eight in the morning the writing group had cancelled the meeting. Now, if you’re part of a writing group you’ll know that there can be many issues and difficulties that arise – but the group gets through them with as little fuss as possible but sometimes, just sometimes, you have to speak up. Wednesday morning was one of my moments. The other two members had cancelled and I felt well and truly cheated. So, I sent a simple email reminding them that the Mad Hatter group wasn’t run by any one person but belonged to each of us as a group of creative individuals. That's actually one of the reasons why our group broke away from a previous group. Cancelling the meeting made it seem as though our work/critiquing/feedback isn’t worthy or of value. I also wanted member feedback on my piece, regardless of who the members were. Well, within an hour or so they had re-thought and the meeting was back on. Yay! I have to say, they each agreed with my email. Writing can be such a lonely business and the fortnightly meetings help to brighten the routines. I have to say, we had a cracking evening filled with much laughter, which was so much nicer than simply cancelling.

Thursday was a long, long day. I didn’t arrive home from the school job until nine o’clock due to the annual Open Evening night. A colleague had had the brilliant idea of preparing a newspaper in one night - so we’d been busy, busy, busy. Once home, I was too whacked to even read a book, so an early night filled with zzzzzzzzzzzzz was necessary.

And so, back to today. After my research session, I shall be back at my deck to plod away at the current W.I.P. Tomorrow, I have been invited to attend the Pooley Heritage Centre’s ten year celebration – where they have a number of activities going on; poetry readings, local fire engine, face painting - the usual birthday celebration events – though, I have to say, I think the weather will put a stop to most of it plus, I don’t know of any other the Polesworth Poets attending. I’ll have an update for you next week.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. A huge ‘thank you’ to all my new followers – the crowd is growing day by day; I’ll be at one thousand very soon. Enjoy

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Twitter followers, a perfect Saturday and a successful letter

Morning folks – it is a glorious day here, the sun being bright and warm. So, I’ve already completed an early morning dog trek about the local villages, I dragged my muse along for some thinking time – I have a writing day planned and so wanted to get my thoughts flowing before hand
.
It’s been a busy week, with the day job and the writing – which is all good news – I’d hate to be saying that I was bored, lifeless and had spare time on my hands.
Firstly, I need to say a big hello to my new followers on Twitter – I’ve had a recent splurge to boost my following and I can report back that Talli Roland’s suggestion from the RNA conference do indeed work – I’ve gone from a couple of hundred to seven hundred in a matter of a ten days! It has been wonderful chatting with new bods and hearing your success stories.

Secondly, I received a ten pound gift voucher for a letter I sent to a dog’s magazine several months ago. The voucher is for a pet store so I’ll be nipping in one day next week to purchase a few basics - which allows me to put the cash equivalent into my writing account. You may remember that a while back I mentioned Simon Whalley’s book ‘The Positively Productive Writer’ in which he explains how to increase your writing in a positive manner, I followed his advise and so far, it’s worked!

Last week, I had to forgo my writers meeting with the Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle but it was for a very good cause, I had to do my bit at Blood Donors. I lay there, giving blood, watching the procedure slowly pass about me. As always it was very relaxing and mind stimulating thinking about the characters and lives they each lead – so it goes without saying I have sketched a plot and I’ll keep you informed when it is written. It never fails to amaze me where my idea spring from – the most routine daily systems to the thrice yearly appointments – there is always a story lingering.

My plans for today, as mentioned early, comprise of a day at my desk – nothing else. I have a head full of ideas, fingers that are twitching to type and a hubby that has an afternoon of football to watch on the t.v. A perfect Saturday. Oh, I do have a cake to bake tonight – in the name of research, a plain Victoria sponge.

An update on my W.I.P. - chapter five is coming along nicely. I've a heap of research scattered across the dining room table that needs sorting but I shall ignore it in favour of a writing day.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. I’ve had a huge increase in followers over recent weeks and the traffic to this blog humbles me beyond belief, it honestly does. Enjoy

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Manuscript feedback, routines and resolutions

Morning folks, its little old me again! This morning I was woken by the sounds of hammering on the front door – husband shot out of bed and came back to the bedroom with … my manuscript fresh from RNA NWS. OMG! I hadn’t expected to see it for another five weeks. As you can imagine I tore open the jiffy bag and grabbed for the report. A three page report much longer than I had expected and then I silence descended as I devoured every word. Hubby sat watching, holding his breathe I think, not daring to ask a question. My first comment was ‘yep- I’m happy with that’ I think the poor bloke was relieved that he hadn’t had a duty of consoling a weeping author first thing on a Saturday morning. I can honestly say I am pleased with the feedback, there is a balance of negative and positive – though I feel the pluses far out way the negatives. Comments such as ‘the manuscript shows this is a good writer’ (blush) ‘very readable style of writing’ (blush again) ‘good pace throughout’ – a huge sigh of relief as I was on tenterhooks about that one. My synopsis wasn’t as polished or structured as they’d have liked and there were typos towards the end of the manuscript but hey, I can’t get right first time, can I? Anyway, having read the report twice I have decided to put the manuscript aside for another few weeks, which was my original plan if it hadn’t been returned until October. I will then begin addressing the negatives and my goal is to send out the first three chapters and a new structured synopsis first week in January 2013. Between then and now, I have a weeks holiday in October and two weeks at Christmas to dedicate to polishing and preparing it. In the meantime I will continue with my new project as my ideas need capturing before they dissolve.

So, my morning started with the very best of starts. I needed to free my head of the feedback report and focus on my current project so took the dog for an early weekend trek, which given the glorious weather, was a treat in itself. It is amazing how such a simple task as walking in silence allows the mind to wander and conjure the answer to every creative question. I’ve arrived home realizing that I’ve written the wrong setting for chapter three and that I should write chapter four from a different slant which can introduce the hero. God only knows what the dog thinks about when we’re walking – but I bet his pooch manuscripts coming along just great. OMG! Oh,oh,oh sorry, I literally had to leave typing this blog and make some notes as a great idea just came to me… someone is smiling down at me that’s for sure, I’m like a creative melting pot at the minute,  every thing I see provides another plotline or character. I’ve got more ideas than I can feasible write. I am not complaining, believe me, but how can I fit it all in? The most I can do is keep writing them down and adding bits as they each merge and form - other than that they will have to form an orderly line and patiently queue.

On today’s walk I also took photographs of certain houses which I imagine my characters living in – I shall stick those into my manuscript book later. Lordy, what strange looks a woman gets simply taking a photograph in a residential area – didn’t put me off taking it though.

I returned to school this week – so have had a huge change about in routine. If I’m honest I do look forward to settling back into a daily routine for the autumn/winter months. It’s like New Year resolutions time and I make the most of setting up new habits that enable me to juggle life, school and writing work. As I’ve mentioned before, I now have my own classroom and boy, what a difference it has made. No more dashing from classroom to classroom, dragging piles of books only to find a bomb site of a classroom. Oh no, my room is by far the cleanest in the entire school and I’ve made the most of it by taking anything and everything that I need for my study and my writing.

As a writer/teacher one annual treat for me is the class registers which provide a wealth of new and unusual names from which I can pick and note details. I have to say every year there is something I’ve never heard of or thought of – such a great resource, but shhhh don’t dob me in.  

Last night, in the name of research I baked yet another cake – coffee and walnut from the ingredients that remained after last week. I remembered to leave the butter out this week so creaming it with sugar was so much easier. And this week, hubby won’t be putting it in the fridge to keep fresh which made the butter cream harden on last weeks.

My plans for the rest of the day are: an hour or so of degree study for a children’s literature course – this week I’ve completed all my study at work, which has worked out well – next week I am ‘plot planning’ at lunchtime. Afterwards I shall be at my desk working on the ‘Weigh’ which as always will be interspersed with washing/drying clothes and general family tasks. As ever I’ll be writing in allotted time gaps with the kitchen timer counting every minute of progress. It sounds crazy doesn’t it, but I’ve now found my system for working and I’m sticking to it – it is so psychological it is frightening but hey, it works for me. Writers amongst you are all nodding, non-writing folk probably have a puzzled expression but hear me out, we all get to the finish line in different ways, some more crazier than others. I’m told that Carole Matthews originally started by tying her own leg to the desk as a physical reminder and restraint till her allotted writing was complete – it worked for her!

I've had a 'spring clean' of the blog panels just to spruce it up a little. I've added a list of authors' blogs that I regularly follow and read - please take a look and spread the word.

Finally before I say bye - I'm still reading Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' - oh what a read, I love it. I had to get out of bed just before midnight on Tuesday, grab my Ipad and start searching for a particular painting mentioned just because I had to see the mystery detail... hubby laughed his socks off but it had to be done.
Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. I’ve had a huge increase in followers over recent weeks and the traffic to this blog humbles me beyond belief, it honestly does. Enjoy

Friday, 31 August 2012

Submissions, genealogy and cake baking

Hello folks – today, is officially my last weekday on school holiday so I thought I’d make the most of it and surprise you with an early blog update.

I’ve had a fabulous week, jam packed with lots of research for my new project ‘Weigh’ which I shall begin drafting tomorrow - another reason for the early post. Anyhow, I’ve finally completed my characters sketches and have been working on the nitty-gritty of their roles and lives. I’ve watched countless baking and cookery programmes to gain some know-how on commercial cake baking and decorating – I can bake but it’s not a particular strength of mine. In the name of research, I have discovered a local cupcake cafĂ© – which is a total delight, from which I shall be ‘borrowing’ ideas and frequenting often. Today, the research has continued, I have baked a coffee and walnut cake – which I shall ply hubby with as soon as he arrives home. I’m all for the ‘must live it, to write it’ research and yes, I’d forgotten how much your arm aches trying to cream rock hard butter (which I forgot to leave out to warm to room temperature - dooh). So, after much indulgence and internet research I am making a start tomorrow 1st September – I shall let you know how it goes.

For numerous years I have been tracing my family tree, which offers an escape from the realities of life. I like to incorporate family names into my novels as a personal way of linking memories and genealogy discoveries. In ‘Her’ I used a family surname, a second name and forename and I wished to continue this aspect in my new project. So, I’ve been scouting my records for the right choices, from the opposite side of the family – I like to be fair. I think lots of authors weave tiny details such as this into their work as a means of securing a special detail, which I know family and close friends will take delight in.

As I prepare for Monday morning and the return of the day job, I have tried to reflect upon why this has been the most productive holiday that I’ve ever had. The answer - deadlines! Having joined the RNA New Writers’ Scheme I had to work to their deadline 31st August (which is today, eeeekkkk I hope everyone made it). Anyway, I had no option. Nothing else was necessary for me, as everything dropped into place from the moment I broke up from school – I did nothing but work on the manuscript for a month. Previously, my deadlines had always been self imposed and if life pushed it aside than I just went with it. Not this time, I’ve learnt my lesson. So, I have a self imposed deadline for the writing of my first draft of ‘Weigh’ and come 31st August next year, I will have a second book to submit to the RNA NWS.

And finally, in recent weeks, I’d received a rejection for my poem ‘Poodle in a puddle’, so today, I posted three submissions to a new selection of children’s publishers – one more piece doing the rounds in the big wide world.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. A big ‘thank you’ to all my new followers – the crowd is growing day by day. Please pass my blog to anyone who might be interested. Enjoy

Saturday, 25 August 2012

New project, routine and submissions.

Morning – as you know, I had a fabulous week last week due to completing my manuscript for submission to the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. It might sound strange but this was actually the second time I had finished ‘Her’, the first being last December. Though, with an additional subplot and a change about in chapter order I do feel that the recent draft is truly the finish. So, what did I afterwards? Having spent every day of my six week holiday editing or proofreading – I took the remainder of the day off and indulged myself in an afternoon of film and… Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost symbol’ – which hubby has finally finished.

Wednesday saw the beginning of another project ‘Weigh’, one that has leap frogged ahead in my creative queuing system – I’d already started a new work-in-progress ‘To honour and obey’ - but this will have to wait. As my new, new project which was barely an idea a few weeks ago has grown; the characters began to form immediately and plot ideas sprung from no where - I couldn’t ignore it. I started as I always do by numbering a journal pad, a page for each chapter and then began laying out a manuscript book with the details of the characters and places. I grabbed a clothing catalogue and began searching for my cast of characters, snipping and gluing as I went. By Wednesday evening I had the beginning of a plot floating about my mind.

I promise you now, that this new project is not going to take me six years and four months to write – like ‘Her’ did. I have a plan! Oh, yes, I’ve thought it through. My intention is to get this book written in the next six months!!!! I hear you gasping but I think I can do it. My daily life has become more streamlined thanks to qualifying, as a teacher, which in turn will allow me more time to write. At work, I will also have a place to write during my lunch break - my brand new classroom! So, a daily routine is established – we’ll see how it pans out.

I had two writers’ group meeting last week – both very different and both very necessary for my needs. The Mad Hatters had a lot of chit chat this week prior to critiquing, and the Grace Dieu was bursting with people so a new energy was gained in seeing returning members. My theory is that with autumn fast approaching the hobby writers start to settle back into a writing routine having spent the longer days out and about. This week’s meeting certainly gave a boost to the numbers which had started to flag a little.

I have one remaining week on holiday before school starts – so my plans are to submit a poem to a children’s publisher, continue to jot chapter ideas for ‘Weigh’ and finish two writing exercises set by the groups.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. A big ‘thank you’ to all my new followers – the crowd is growing day by day. Please pass my blog to anyone who might be interested. Enjoy

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

'Her' manuscript - Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme

Hi folks - rarely do a mid-week update but today is special! Today, literally just, I posted my manuscript of 'Her' for entry in this years' New Writers' Scheme! Yay, oh yay, it has taken it out of me the last four weeks doing nothing but rewrititng, editing and proofreading but, I made it, I did it.

Yesterday, I printed the finished manuscript so it was a celebratory dinner last night - today, off it goes wingings its way to Norfolk.

For those that haven't followed the blog, I initially finished my manuscript last December 2011, but knew it needed an extra little TLC for entry into the NWS. So, with the deadline of 31st August looming, I have managed to add in a few juciy sub plots and rehaul some chapters which are a improvement to last December's draft. So, my news for the day, shared with my you guys, I have offically written a novel - it only took me six years.

So, what do I with myself today? 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Chapters, proofreading and Pemberley

Good evening, sorry again for a late up-date but I was out enjoying myself with other writers so please forgive me, us.
Today, I attended my very first Romantic Novelists’ Association ‘Chapter’ meeting in Birmingham – basically the local members in this area met informally for a catch up and a meal. Before attending I only knew one member, the organiser, who I’d bumped into at the RNA conference back in July – today, I met seven other members, who were a delight. We met at midday and lunched/chatted until half two when we each went our separate ways – but boy, did we get through some topics in such a short time. One member brought along a proof copy of his book which he has self-published – I hung onto his every word as he explained how he did it. I was so impressed with his efforts and results! Other members explained about their writing journey and recent New Writer Scheme submissions and the feedback reports. Other member shared her positive feedback from two publishers – which is always nice to hear from a fellow writer. All in all, we had delightful meeting and catch up and I can’t wait for the next one in November. I had a personal delight - several members had remembered my name from the conference which just adds to the ‘magic’ of networking.

My week has been a tough slog of proofreading 73 chapter of my 80 chapter manuscript -yes, just seven to go! I have literally sat and read my book aloud to the dog!!! I spotted and corrected typos/punctuation as I went. I also picked up on my over use of the term ‘OK’ – which I addressed throughout the manuscript, it was getting on my nerves so it certainly would have annoyed others whilst reading. To be fair, I have found the process of the last three weeks tough in regards the hours I’ve dedicated to the job. As a teacher I do about fifty hours a week, as a fulltime writer (which I am when on school holidays) it is nearer sixty/seventy!!! I kid you not, I have spent so long sitting down that I have begun to ‘set’ on some days. But hey, it is all necessary to push me towards a polished manuscript and publication.

Wednesday night, I met up with a fellow writer friend who now resides in Prague. He was on a fleeting visit to the UK, so me and Mal Dewhirst opted for a meet-up. We didn’t critique work but instead sat and chatted about anything g literature – what an indulgent time we had!!! I truly miss the days when we exchanged news and views about the publishing world focusing on anything and everything other that our own work.

I had hoped to have started reading Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’ by now, but as mentioned last week hubby is currently reading the text and so, I having finished reading Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’ had to seek elsewhere. Where better than PD James ‘Death come to Pemberley’, now, if you follow this blog you’ll know Austen is one of my passions (I know, I have far too many) and so far, I haven’t been disappointed. The plot picks up where Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ finishes and with the addition twist of James’ criminal mind has evolved an excellent read. I won’t ruin it for others but it is very obvious James’ also has a lifelong obsession with Austen. I highly recommend it.

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @odwyer_author to receive random updates throughout my creative week. Please pass my blog to anyone who might be interested. Enjoy!