Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

Posts Tagged ‘progress

Project 10K – November Goals – #amwriting

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October turned out to be a mixed bag of a month where goals were concerned, with two achieved and one missed. Two out of three isn’t bad though. This month I am committing myself to one thing – to write 50000-words for NaNoWriMo. Trying to get all those down is going to be task enough and anything extra I achieve will be a bonus. So to do this properly, I need to answer some questions. Thank you to Gabriele at Flights of Fancy for the nudges and the badges.

1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals?
Yes, no, yes.
I started off well with my first goal of editing 10000-words of my NaNoWriMo2014 novel, went through a mid-month lull, and ended with me actually beating my target – hooray!
My second goal to write two new short stories for competitions was a complete failure. The ideas for one short story are scribbled down on various pieces of paper, but haven’t been pulled into a coherent shape yet. I gave up completely on the other one.
I wrote stories to three of four Friday Fictioneer prompts and received some encouraging feedback on those.

2. Did you have fun writing?
Yes. I enjoyed seeing my word count slowly increase as I got back in touch with characters I wrote about three years ago. I can recognise where I need to pad out and expand as well as what to cut during the next draft. It’s a slow process, but I will get there in the end.

3. Did the P10K help with motivation?
Definitely. Having a word counter on my blog for all to see made me push myself in the final few days of the month. Committing to ¾ FF stories also pushed me into making sure I took part.

4. Anything else you want to tell us?
I was in Las Vegas for four days – my first trip there. I didn’t lose my shirt, but came home with a cold I am still trying to shake off.

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

October 31, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Too much to chew? #amwriting

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Before going away last weekend, I prepared a list of writing jobs to tackle on my first full day back – Wednesday. As I post, three and a bit more days have passed and none of those jobs has been completed. One has been partially addressed and I have decided not to attempt another – writing a new story for a competition with a deadline of 31st October. I might have managed it if I had written anything while away, but I wrote not a jot and read only a few pages of the book I took with me. This is good because it means I was busy doing new things and had no spare time, which is what holidays are about.

However, my inability to complete relatively simple writing tasks in the last few days has made me re-evaluate my decision to take on NaNoWriMo this year. On current form, I am not likely to be a winner. In fact, I am probably unlikely to get half the 50000-words down. I could give up now and not even start, but if I don’t try, I will never succeed. So, I will start writing on Wednesday, prepared to fail while hoping to succeed. I need to be writing something new as well as plodding on with the old, and I need deadlines to focus my energies. Hopefully my word-meter will be full by 30th November, but possibly not. 🙂

 

Written by Sarah Ann

October 29, 2017 at 1:52 pm

That sinking feeling #amwriting

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I started to draft this post last night. Having taken August off to decorate, and finding that putting everything back together took much longer than expected, I had planed to report I was back to writing. Yippee. I now need to get back into the practise of goal setting and reporting of achievements/ not to keep me on my toes.

This week I managed to tick other things off my to-do list that have been hanging around forever. I finally bought my brother’s birthday present, four months late, and responded to some emails sent by friends in June.

On the writing front, yesterday I re-jigged my covering letter and synopsis and submitted the first three chapters of my manuscript to two more agents. I was on a roll and felt I was back on track, predicting that something would come along to upset my progress. And hey presto, the three hours I had home alone today disappeared as hubby came home after being out only half an hour. Today’s place of work had a burst water main and everyone was sent home. So, instead of typing in the hand-written edits to chapters 7 and 8 of my NaNoWriMo2014 novel, and instead of reading blog posts I need to catch up on, I had a nice lunch and chat with my other half – pleasant but not terribly productive. I had hoped to clear the decks of writing tasks today, as I’m working tomorrow and then away for a few days. I feel now my list of writing jobs will bleed into tomorrow. At least this update is written and posted.

 

Ongoing goals met since my last progress post in June (ouch): I have finished reading through my novel and made all (?) typo corrections; its cover letter and synopsis have adapted; novel submitted to 8 agents – 1 rejection, no other responses as yet; 8-short story competitions entered – no placings; editing of NaNoWriMo2014 novel has commenced; my friend loved her crocheted scarf (birthday present July); tap dancing has recommenced and I need to get back to practising between classes if I’m to keep up.

Priorities for the next fortnight: write and submit stories to three short story competitions; submit finished novel to two/ three agents; edit more of NaNoWriMo2014 novel.

Fails throughout the summer: I’ve spoken no Italian and played no piano, although it now has a new, more accessible, home so there’s hope I’ll put fingerprints in amongst its gathering dust.

Written by Sarah Ann

October 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

Project 10K – September Goals – #amwriting

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Mid-month is probably not a usual time to be goal-setting, but with little paid work materialising, I have been able to move on with my writing. I have even dug out and started to read through, and add to/ correct, the 50588-words I wrote as part of NaNoWriMo 2014. This was a project I had decided to pick up next year, but by talking about this story with others, I became motivated to look at it now. In the past week I have made it to the end of page 7, so only another 158 to go. I doubt I will have finished reading through and making changes before Christmas. However, I am setting myself the target of editing 10000-words in the next two weeks as part of Flights of Fancy’s Project 10K. You can commit to write or edit 10000-words, or set a specific goal to be met if numbers aren’t your thing. And if you succeed, you get a badge to put on your blog at the end of the month. A long long time ago, I used to collect badges, and keyrings, and bookmarks….

At the end of the month, I will answer the questions:

  1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals?
  2. Did you have fun writing?
  3. Did the P10K help with motivation?
  4. Anything else you want to tell us?

And then I’ll set my goals for October.

Have a look at Gabriele’s site for more.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 15, 2017 at 10:27 am

Too organised – #amwriting

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It is time again to review my writing progress for the year. This is proving a really useful process for me as I see priorities change and move. Some of the goals from the beginning of the year have been discarded, others partially met, and the easy ones at the top of the list have been mostly achieved. Having a human accountability partner didn’t quite work out but, by blogging what I intend, I am keeping myself on task.

This week I have been looking back through old short stories, to see what could be deleted from my hard drive, and what might be adapted for submission. This has resulted in a story being submitted to a publisher looking for supernatural stories. I don’t think mine will hit the mark at all, but the process of trawling through old works was not completely wasted. It was good to see how my writing has developed over the years, and how tired and plodding stories have been adapted to be punchier. Coming up with new ideas is good, recycling old ones sometimes helpful.

Going through my hard drive also reminded me that, a long time ago, I had planned to self-publish some of the flash fiction from my blog. I saw how much work I had done on collecting these stories together and collating them into themes. Laying them out correctly on the page is a laborious process, and one that can be done with half an eye on the TV rather than stealing from precious ‘alone’ writing time. This forgotten project has, for the time being at least, been added to the list of the year’s tasks, albeit one to complete by Christmas.

August is earmarked for home re-decoration and writing will be sparse. With this in mind I have reduced my availability to work during July in order to have one full day free to write, and hopefully complete some projects before a month of physical hard labour. Thursday mornings will be taken up with completing work reports from Wednesday, and then I will have an afternoon and all day Friday to get on with short stories and editing the back end of my out-with-agents novel.

 

Task & original priority position – re-ordered June 2017 Ease of completion Progress 6 weeks later (end of Feb) Progress April Progress end of June
1. Keep up with blog Variable on time allowing/ having anything to say.

Hopefully on the easy side.

 

Not great. I’ve not posted as often as I would have liked. I’m doing better, but I might be running out of things to say already. I post at least once a week, but could be more regular with writing updates.
2. Read 85k word novel and decide whether to pitch or ditch.

Easy and relatively quick if I decide to ditch. Time commitment if I’m going to pitch and it needs editing. Time commitment if start sending to agents.

I have allocated the week of 13-17th March to do the read through. I’m away from home and will have the head space. Done – it’s a pitch. Sent to an agency’s open pitch process.I need to go back to a list of agents to approach I drew up 12 or more months ago and submit to others.

Deadline to have made other submissions: end of April 17, and ongoing.

 

Deadline met.

Sent to eight agents – a ‘near miss’ for one. Chs. 1-3 have been re-edited and are ready to resubmit. Deadline for resubmission: mid-July because of people taking the summer off.

8. Friday Fictioneer stories Easy to do if have nothing else on. Requires time and concentration. Can be addictive so need to limit or will get caught up and carried away to the detriment of other things. No progress.

I wrote a story to one prompt, which I was pleased to have achieved, but didn’t manage to post it.

I have managed to write and post a 100-word story two weeks running. It’s a bit early to say I’ve succeeded with this priority, but it has been met earlier than expected.

 

I have responded to most prompts and gained some encouraging feedback on my stories.
4. Write short stories to go with friend Jan’s paintings/ prints/ illustrations. Relatively easy if I come up with any ideas. Enjoyable. Able to do between other things as shorter time commitment. I have drafted one short story and am looking at the other pictures chosen. I need to re-visit the project with Jan to see if she wants to paint to my words. These stories are progressing slowly. There is a lot of research and re-drafting to be done. Need to determine number of stories to write and liaise with Jan on how to take forward.

Deadline to complete stories: end of summer.

 

Ongoing. One story is finished. I have done research for others. One is only just started. Deadline for completion will be missed.
7. Short stories for competitions Quite hard. Time commitment to look for competitions and then write themed stories to deadlines.

 

One short story submitted. No other competitions identified to enter. I have written another short story to a prompt and submitted it. This is something ongoing that I will fit in as time and interest allows.

 

I came runner-up for my one entry so have continued looking for competitions to enter.

Two more submissions made.

9. NEW ENTRY

Self-publish flashes and short stories.

Time-consuming but can be dipped in and out of. An organising project and learning experience, e.g. about self-publishing platforms. Takes less brainpower than writing.

 

Stories are collated. Laying out pages to be completed. Cover design needed. Self-publishing platforms to be researched.

Deadline: December 2017.

4 NANOWRIMO story from 2014. Work up 51k words into a novel. Medium. Big time commitment. Hopefully enjoyable to do. No progress No progress. I want to work on this story as I want to get back to the characters.

Deadline to have started second draft: end of summer.

 

No progress – this is off my radar.

New deadline to start second draft: before the end of the year.

3. Edit diaries of living and travelling on a narrow boat and self-publish. Hard. A lot of editing and additional writing to be done. Self-publishing is new. Large time commitment and learning new skill.

 

No progress There is too much work required to get this to a state suitable for publication. The narration needs to be completely re-written.

 

2018?
4. Continue with novel-length abuse story started 2014. Medium. Need time and space to pick this up again. Has a beginning but needs a middle and an end.

 

No progress No progress.  This is a project too far for 2017. 2019 maybe

Written by Sarah Ann

June 28, 2017 at 11:26 am

Slow progress – #amwriting

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Any writing progress is satisfying at the moment as work chops and changes and makes planning difficult. Writing on two fronts, as the mood takes me, I am focussing on the short stories I am writing to the prompts of a friend’s pictures and my has-been-going-on-forever novel.

The short story I wrote during a train journey in March, about a dancer turned boxer, has finally been re-read and lots of holes found. There is a story, but I have yet to work out how much background needs to be included and how much can be left to the reader’s imagination. There is a lot more work to be done, but the story has been looked at again so it is fresh and hopefully the hole-filling will be completed soon.

Chapters 1-3 of the novel have been re-read, scribbled over, the changes typed in, and the chapters read once again, slowly and aloud. I know I’ve said this before, but I think they are ready to go. Moving Chapter 4 to the position of Chapter 3 has made the start of the story less repetitive, given voice to a new character, and maybe even introduced a small hook. On my list of jobs to do, I have to compile a writing CV for one agent – it will be short – and then, after another read through, I think chapters 1-3 will be ready to send into the world again. So that’s next week’s job, assuming the work that currently pays my wages doesn’t want me to provide cover on the days I plan to write.

 

Priorities for the next fortnight: write a writing CV; submit novel to agents; continue reading novel from chapter 4 to make sure changes follow through and there are no typos!

Ongoing projects successfully met: chapters 1-3 of novel had been read, edited, and are ready to go; a short story has been edited and work to be done identified. (I need to count the small things!)

Ongoing projects partially met: I am crocheting a scarf and have completed five repetitions of an 8-row pattern – only 32-repetitions to go before the thing is finished.

Fails: I have done no Italian or piano practise.

Written by Sarah Ann

June 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

Oh those poor agents – #amwriting, #amediting

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I am not sure what I was on in March when I thought that my has-been-going-on-forever book was publishable as it was. Perhaps I made too much use of my friend’s Nespresso machine and excess caffeine caused delusions. On the advice of my new writing friend Lou, who said the book was almost there but not quite, I have been re-reading and re-editing. Chapters 1-3 haven’t been covered in so much scribble since a major re-write two years ago. And when I found a typo in Chapter 2, I wanted to jump up and down and pull my hair out. A train pulls away, not ‘as the trained pulled away.’ How did I miss it? As I paced my friend’s kitchen, coffee in hand reading aloud, how did I not stumble over this mistake? I don’t know, but I did, and it makes me unhappy to know I sent out a manuscript that wasn’t just not perfect but also contained errors.

I have worked on Chapter 3 today, which was previously chapter 4, and found yet another mistake – a we instead of a with, as in ‘take a walk we me.’ Again, how is it only now I am seeing it? I want to boil my head for my stupidity/ poor eyesight. Instead I will plod on. It has taken me three weeks to get this far (p. 21), slotting in reading and editing between appointments, typing in changes while hubby watches TV. I just hope I can keep the same mood and frame of mind until I reach the end of p. 212, as the changes need to be uniform and the feel of the book consistent.

As for the eight agents I submitted to in April, one replied the book was a near miss for her, three others said, no thanks in the current market, and after the passage of time, I imagine I will not be hearing from the remaining four. I will be working on my re-submission next week.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

June 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

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