Sarah Ann Hall

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

Posts Tagged ‘WIP

Project 10K – February 2018

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I seem to be keeping to some sort of schedule by posting my goals on the 10th of each month instead of the 1st.

I am happy to report that I achieved my one goal for January and yesterday re-submitted the first three chapters of my novel to the agent I pitched to in November. I hope that I haven’t taken so long to get them to her that she has forgotten my work and who I am. The first third of the book has been re-jigged – the first chapter written, others cut from, added to, and re-ordered – and I am still reading making further subtle changes, at least I hope any changes in the latter chapters will be subtle and not too involving. The book is better now for the agent’s suggestions, and I hope she likes how I have addressed them.

 

In answer to Gabrielle’s questions:

1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals?

Yes.

2. Did you have fun writing?

Yes, once it was all over and I could look back. Not so much while I was doing the writing; it was hard work.

3. Did the P10K help with motivation?

Yes.

4. Anything else you want to tell us?

Nope, I don’t seem to have done much else over the last month.

 

© Flights of Fancy

 

Goals for February:

  1. Participate in the remaining Friday Fictioneers challenges for the month. I have failed to participate recently as I’ve had no time to read and comment on others’ stories.
  2. Finish reading to the end of my novel so it is pitch perfect again.
  3. Write/ submit some new short stories. I have been looking at competition deadlines and not getting around to writing anything new. My muse needs challenging and developing. I need to set myself a specific word count on this one …..

 

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Written by Sarah Ann

February 10, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Project 10K – January 2018

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You might be able to tell how well January is going with goals given that we’re a third of the way through already.

The goals for this month are to get the first third of my WIP re-written (1) and ready to resubmit (2) to my prospective agent by the end of the month. I don’t think it will be sent of by 31st but as long as it’s ready for a re-read prior to sending I will be happy. This task has been taken up again this week and is bigger than I’d hoped as chapters chop, change and dive-bomb all over the place.

 

December goals were partially met, and I’m posting all of Flights of Fancy’s badges as achieved in different areas.

  1. Read 9 books and get them back to the library by the end of the month.

Mostly a fail. I read and returned two, am currently reading two, have started two others, and have two unopened by the side of my bed. I’m not sure what happened to number 9 and hope I returned it as I can’t remember doing so.

  1. Edit the first 3 chapters (approx 8k-words) of my book post-pitch.

Partially met and yet the task has grown to the first third of the book.

I’ve written a new Ch1, edited the original Ch1 into Ch2. Ch5 has become Ch3, which pushes the original Ch3 and Ch4 to positions 4 and 5 and I’m not sure they work there. This is very much still a work in progress, and I’m also having to adapt Ch7 to make this all hang together.

  1. Get a 1000-word ‘Christmas’ story ready for my writers’ group on 12th.

Yes, I managed it, and then the meeting on 12th Dec was cancelled because of bad weather. We read our stories to each other this month (9th Jan) instead. The group liked my character, could relate to the frustrations I described, and said my story flowed well. As I told them, in terms of constructive criticism, they were useless.

  1. Participate in one Friday Fictioneers’ challenge – I’ve missed the last two.

Success, I managed to complete two.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

January 10, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Pitch Feedback – #amwriting, well I was

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Awake in the middle of the night last week, having tossed and turned for one hour, read for another, and still nowhere near dropping off, I asked myself, what would I do if I had a week to live. The first thing that popped into my mind was that I would contact the agent to whom I pitched three weeks ago to let her know my revised manuscript would not be arriving in her inbox. This was a surprise to me. Is this really the most important thing I would need to do during my last days? Probably not, but the thought did spur me into action. Since my pitch meeting on 27th November I have been thinking about the changes the agent suggested, and attempted a few false re-starts to my manuscript. However, later on in the morning that this life-limiting thought arrived, I finally buckled down and set to work on the first five chapters of my book.

Chapter 2 has disappeared, being chopped up and pasted into Chapters 4 and 5, as Chapter 5 moves forward to the position of Chapter 2. Keeping track of all the pages and moved paragraphs has been a task, but one I’ve enjoyed as I see the start to the book reshape itself. I am yet to discover if this will result in additional changes through to the end.

The agent suggested I have started my book in the wrong place. Instead of Chapter 1 being a character looking back retrospectively on a lunch at which she hears some bad news, I need to open with that lunch and the receiving of that news. This I am still struggling with, as it was hard enough to get the first chapter written the tenth time I attempted it. Having to shift the timeframe, and add in a character’s voice I was reluctant to write in the first place, is a difficult task. I have to remember faint heart never won fair lady. Unfortunately, with the Christmas holidays almost upon us, my colleagues seem to be dropping like flies and I’m the only one who seems to be available to fill in. My work schedule has gone bonkers, and my re-started novel languishes neglected…. I’m going to have to take some time off in January!

 

Written by Sarah Ann

December 19, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Project 10K December 2017

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Plans for December? Nope. Life has gone slightly awry since the month started.

November goals:

1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals?

Yes, I completed NaNoWriMo successfully.  I wrote 50000 words and that seems to have exhausted my creative juices. I also had a successful pitch event on 27th November with a lovely agent who gave me some great suggestions on my book. Now I need to pull my finger out and make the changes she suggested before resubmission.

2. Did you have fun writing?

Yes, definitely and I want to keep on writing about my new character’s life.

3. Did the P10K help with motivation?

Yes, because posting my plans is a great way to keep me on track and accountable.

4. Anything else you want to tell us?

I don’t think anything else exciting happened in November. It was all about NaNo and the opportunity to pitch.

 

December goals:

December has started like a damp squib – any writing will be a bonus.

1. Read 9 books and get them back to the library by the end of the month.

2. Edit the first 3 chapters (approx 8k-words) of my book post-pitch.

3. Get a 1000-word ‘Christmas’ story ready for my writers’ group on 12th.

4. Participate in one Friday Fictioneers’ challenge – I’ve missed the last two.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

December 9, 2017 at 10:30 pm

#NaNoWriMo – getting there – #amwriting

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NaNoWriMo was progressing well, slowly but surely. It is good to have a word counter that also gives percentages. By the end of day two, I had written 3800 words, which I was reliably informed was 8% of the target, and this gave me hope. Strange the effect percentages can have compared to raw numbers.

The words were flowing freely, but that might be because I am writing a stream of consciousness novel, in the present tense. I wondered if I might get stuck with nothing to say mid-month. I didn’t, and haven’t now I’m nearing the finish, but on day 9, I went back to the beginning. My story had gone off-track; I was venting about my stuff rather than discussing what my character needed to say.

I lost a couple of ‘home alone’ days late in the month as they were filled with other stuff or hubby’s appointments were cancelled. This meant I needed to work harder at the front end of the month. All good in theory, but on 6th Nov I received an email inviting me to pitch my existing novel on 27th. So I had a new priority, learning how to pitch a novel and getting the pitch word perfect. My NaNoWriMo word count fell behind and I have consistently remained about two days behind where I need to be. I worked on my pitch, which got me back into my novel, but the structure of the pitch was superfluous in terms of the lovely informal chat I had yesterday. I am still unsure if I am able to summarise my novel in an enticing way given that Broo Doherty had read my synopsis and first three chapters and had lots of useful advice on how to take the work forward.

The good thing with this year’s NaNWriMo has been that, as I get the bare bones down, I can see where I need to go back and pad out with muscle. As this story takes place in one day, with flashbacks telling the reader how my protagonist came to be standing on the edge of a cliff, there is going to be a lot of cutting and pasting to make a coherent narrative. Character back-stories will need to be developed and incorporated on a third or fifth draft, but I am hopeful I am making notes of these requirements as I go. This is a development from my previous NaNoWriMo attempt in 2014, which was put away and only resurrected relatively recently. As I read through it last month, I noticed the holes and found a whole load of other stuff that needs explaining more fully, as well as characters I’m not sure are needed. Hopefully by the end of this month I will have 50000-words and maybe another 1000-words or more of questions to answer/ research to do to make the story consistent, which is more than I managed last time. I am only just identifying the jobs needed to sort out my 2014 efforts. At 42000-words or thereabouts this time, and with only two-days until the finish, I might not ‘win’ this year, but at least I took part and wrote a story that didn’t exist a month ago.

Written by Sarah Ann

November 28, 2017 at 9:09 pm

How to pitch a novel? #amwriting

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How do you? Please can someone send me the foolproof answer, like yesterday?
I’ve looked online, read a number of articles, and tried to sit through some Youtube videos. So far I know I need:

(1) a hook/ the elevator pitch – the attention grabber in around 20-words;
(2) 2-3 paragraphs/ 2-3 minutes about the book including title, genre, setting, protagonist, the conflict and how she overcomes it. These words need to be simple, clear, irresistible, and an interesting description of the novel that captures its best qualities and sells it in a most intriguing way;
(3) to be confident in my presentation;
(4) to say why I was best placed to write this book and where the idea came from;
(5) to say what is unique about my book;
(6) to identify where the book will sit on the bookshelf and comparative works/ authors;
(7) to know about my prospective agent and the authors she represents and where I might fit on her list.

I have less than a week until my pitch. I will never be (3). I think I have the answers to (4 -7). I am still at a complete loss with (1) and (2), which are sort of the important bits. I keep writing and re-writing the opening to the pitch hoping the killer lines will appear eventually.

Written by Sarah Ann

November 21, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Writers’ Group – 1; Panster – 0

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At last month’s Writers’ Group we discussed submission letters, reading ours to the group and taking comments. The three sentences in my letter describing my novel elicited a question about what it is about my character that makes her choose to stop having chemotherapy treatment. My colleague said, ‘I suppose that’s in the synopsis.’ Well, no, I thought, but didn’t let on.

Being the panster I am, it was only when he made this comment that I realised my character is a control freak. As I looked from a distance at the emails she writes, and her behaviour though the timeframe of the book, this is blindingly obvious. I have been too close to see before, worrying more about the grammar of the writing than the purpose of my characters.

I did not change my submission letter, but I did re-work my synopsis. I introduced the newly identified, but always there, key personality trait and did a little tweaking while I was at it, removing redundancy, re-ordering events. I sent both out, with the first three chapters of the book, as I have been throughout the year, expecting nothing in return. But, hey presto, at the beginning of this week I received an email inviting me to pitch my novel. I am flabbergasted, over the moon, and completely unprepared. Thankfully I have a couple of weeks to learn ‘how to pitch a novel,’ as well as get it written and rehearsed. I am going to make sure I don’t trip over my shoes and waste this opportunity.

Written by Sarah Ann

November 11, 2017 at 12:26 pm

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