Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Posts Tagged ‘writing

Project 10K – July – #amwriting #amediting

with 5 comments

I was all prepared to post my July goals on time, and then the weekend happened and this week started, neither of which I am going to bore you with.

June was productive and good in terms of goal achievements and I was making notes of success as I went along so here’s something I prepared earlier…..

A week into June and I was struggling. I looked at some old drafts of novels that I had planned to submit to new novel competitions, and decided they needed way too much editing to get them to a standard I’d be happy to send off. I decided I needed to concentrate on what I could achieve rather than the remote chance of winning £30000. And then I changed my mind. A couple of mornings were freed up after meetings were cancelled and I got on and re-edited the first 11000-words of my NaNo17 novel, wrote a synopsis, and emailed the lot off. I expect to hear nothing back, but this did refocus the mind on a work that has been neglected since May. The re-edit of the opening words forced me to work through the stumbling block of disconnected thoughts that were words 12-15000, and I was back on track… until the next stumbling block.

Since writing that, the deadline for shortlisted winners to be contacted has passed…… and I didn’t hear anything. I’ve managed to edit a whole 2300-words over the past two weeks.

© Flights of Fancy

Back to earlier…

Mapping my weeks has been helping in that it focuses my attention and I get things done. However, the things that don’t make it from the ‘to do’ list to the ‘to-do-in-this-slot-now-without-excuses’ list tend to be forgotten. There has been no piano or Italian practice, as these have not been scheduled. Moving things from ‘to do’ to ‘to do now’ has resulted in me editing two travel pieces I drafted moons ago and sending them off, probably to hear nothing ever again.

One went nowhere, the other you can read here. 

I submitted my novel to a further 3 agents, heard back from a short story competition that I only just missed out on being short-listed and sent that story on to a publisher who has previously commented favourably on my work…. and who hasn’t been in touch since. I also looked at magazines to submit short stories to and found I have a Submittable account that I’d completely forgotten about, not that I’ve sent anything off. And I started both stories I set as a goal for June.

© Flights of Fancy

 

As I say, June was productive for writing. July has started off badly and so my goals for the month are modest.

 

Goals for July

  1. Give up writing goals.
  2. Pull self together and write some goals.
  3. Contribute to Friday Fictioneers, as that’s an easy one.
  4. Respond to OWLG prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post – already a fail as today is Thursday and I don’t know what last week’s prompts were.
  5. Continue editing Nano17 and Nano14 as time allows.
  6. Finish the ‘just started’ short stories and edit them once.
  7. Put up some bars over there on the right to show my progress and motivate me, because it’s a fun avoidance activity..

 

Achievements/ not in June

  1. Edit the remaining 37500 words of my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel. FAIL
  2. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post. WIN in ¾ of cases.
  3. Write two new short stories the ideas for which have been rattling around my brain for ages. ERM – I started both, but didn’t finish either.
  4. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts. WIN
  5. Submit my finished WIP to agents – another three. WIN

 

Thank you Gabrielle for keeping me on my toes.

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Written by Sarah Ann

July 5, 2018 at 2:22 pm

OLWG#48 – Taking Stock – #amwriting

with 5 comments

Thank you to TN Kerr and The New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild for another set of inspiring prompts this week. I’m not sure my story below works, but I had fun running with the second prompt and then incorporating the others.

 

Taking Stock

Dad was a great guy. Or so I was led to believe. I never met him, but I knew a lot about him. Or was told a lot. Mum said he was a champion at tiddlywinks, loved baseball, hated politics, ate all meals with a spoon, could tell a whisky’s country of origin by smell alone, and that he looked a million dollars. Her eyes would twinkle as she remembered what a dreamboat her travelling salesman had been. I wondered how he made his way if he could only eat with a spoon; maybe he never wined and dined clients? He died in a plane crash just weeks before I was born. He was a soldier coming home from the front line, a hero. On other days he’d been a cowboy and there was a family ranch somewhere waiting for me to claim.

I was almost a teenager before I realised my mother was a born liar, and when I did I moved to live with my grandmother, for my sanity and her peace of mind. She described my ever-present-absent father as a ladies’ man from Texas. That made sense: my mother was easily charmed and incapable of taking responsibility for many of her actions. Her relationship with reality was as tenuous and fragile as were her relationships with people. I sound hard and heartless when I’m just old and tired. It won’t be long now before I meet them again, and maybe my pa for the first time. I wonder if our extended family we’ll hang out as a new constellation. Or are extinguished souls randomly allocated to positions in the sky?

 


This week’s prompts are:

  1. Hanging stars
  2. a ladies’ man from Texas
  3. tiddlywinks

 

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need.

Have fun

Written by Sarah Ann

May 3, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Posted in OLWG

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Project 10K – May #amwriting #amediting

with 4 comments

April has been good to me and I have achieved a lot of what I set out to do. This has been helped by me starting to map my weeks – breaking the week down into working days and the days into hourly slots that I fill with tasks. (For a technical explanation, the reasons why it works, and some examples click the links.)

To answer Gabrielle’s, of Flights of Fancy,  questions:

1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals? YES and NO.
2. Did you have fun writing? YES, and headaches trying to work out what’s going on in my NaNoWriMo novel.
3. Did the P10K help with motivation? YES. People are checking up on me so I have to perform.

 

 

I set myself four goals for April and achieved two of them fully. Submitting short stories to four competitions has resulted in me being placed in the Top 3 of the Blank Page Short Story Challenge, so I am pleased I got my entry in at the last minute and I am now willing people to vote for my story to win. 🙂 I have also submitted to all of April’s Friday Fictioneer prompts, with a variety of story types, and received some very encouraging comments.

 

 

One of my fails this month was to edit my 2017 NaNoWriMo novel. I lost the first two weeks of April to the Easter holidays and having some time off with hubby, so it is hardly a surprise I am behind with this task. I have also learnt that writing in a stream of consciousness way is a complete pain in the behind when it comes to editing and making sense for a reading audience. I am chopping and changing and about 20% through. However, having started, this is an ongoing goal and I plan to get the first edit completed by the end of this (next?) month.

My other fail was to respond to the New Unofficial On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after they are posted on Sunday. I think I managed this on one out of four occasions and, although I’m thinking about last Sunday’s prompt, I have only five lines of scribble to work with so that might well be a fail of 4/5.

 

Goals for May (in no particular order)

  1. Edit the remaining 39500 words of my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel.
  2. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post. (I live in hope.)
  3. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions – enter three.
  4. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts.
  5. Submit my finished WIP to agents – at least five.

 

To sum up my goals for April, were:

  1. Participate in Camp Nano – edit the 50000 words I wrote last November. I really don’t expect to get this done but I do need to look at this writing again to see if it has legs. FAIL
  2. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions. I have a list of 7 possible deadlines to meet, so let’s aim to enter 4. WIN
  3. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts. WIN
  4. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post. FAIL

 

Written by Sarah Ann

May 1, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Project 10K – April #amwriting

with 3 comments

© Flights of Fancy

 

March turned out to be more productive on the writing front than I could have imagined. At the end of February I decided to give a month’s notice to reduce my paid working hours come April. The universe had different ideas and I immediately lost my three times a week client, so March provided me with lots of writing time and I was able to meet my goals:

I have finished reading through my WIP.

I have entered some short story competitions and written some new words, albeit not too many.

I have looked at old short stories and started to edit a few.

I am a happy bunny as I go into April, although I do not expect my writing to fare that well this month. The next two weeks are the school holidays so hubby is home and we are entertaining friends and family. Having posted quite regularly in March, I expect my April posts will be infrequent, but I live in hope.

Putting my goals into numerical form with a bar to show how much I’ve achieved has been a great incentive as I’ve seen how far or not I’ve progressed, and I will be attempting to define my goals similarly for April.

 

Goals for April

  1. Participate in Camp Nano – edit the 50000 words I wrote last November. I really don’t expect to get this done but I do need to look at this writing again to see if it has legs.
  2. Write new short stories/ adapt old ones for short story competitions. I have a list of 7 possible deadlines to meet, so let’s aim to enter 4.
  3. Contribute to Friday Fictioneer prompts.
  4. Post responses to the On-Line Writer’s Guild prompts by the Thursday after a Sunday post.

 

With thanks to Gabrielle for keeping me motivated and on my toes.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

April 1, 2018 at 5:32 pm

Project 10K – March 2018

with 6 comments

Oh dear, I’m even later this month although I have been thinking about my Project 10K post for a while, even before the end of February. Of the three tasks I set myself, I completed one and a half:

  1. Participate in the remaining Friday Fictioneers challenges for the month. YES.
  2. Finish reading to the end of my novel so it is pitch perfect again. NO.
  3. Write/ submit some new short stories. YES and NO. I started writing two, submitted one, looked at deadlines and got no further.

© Flights of Fancy

 

So my tasks for this month are the same as for last. However, I have given myself a word target as incentive. Seeing how well I’m not doing will help me focus.

  1. Read through WIP to the end. – 49000 words!
  2. Look for short story competitions. Submit two stories by month’s end.
  3. Contribute to the OLWG challenges in good time and not a month after the prompts appear.

I am stupidly thinking of signing up to Camp Nanowrimo next month so need to get the WIP out of the way and pull myself back into setting goals and sticking to them.

 

To answer Gabriele’s monthly questions:

  1. Did you meet your writing/editing goals? Yes and no.
  2. Did you have fun writing? Yes, writing stories in dialogue for Friday Ficitoneers has been challenging.
  3. Did the P10K help with motivation? Yes, but I should have organised my time better.
  4. Anything else you want to tell us, questions you want to ask? I’ve had a work-life balance rethink, which will be the topic of  soon-to-be-posted post.

Thanks to Gabriele at Flights of Fancy for Project 10K and keeping me on my toes, even if I’m always lagging behind. I’m off to read Chapter 11 of my book now….

Written by Sarah Ann

March 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Priorities and Progress, 2017-18, #amwriting

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In January 2017, I came up with a list of writing tasks to be completed during the following 12-months. These were reviewed in February, April and June 2017 with mixed progress having been made. A little over 12-months since I wrote my original list of jobs seems a good time for yet another review, as well as to make commitments for the coming months.

 

Task, in rough order of priority, as priorities change.

Ease of completion: *easy to ***hard

Time commitment required: ^a little to ^^^a lot

Progress and Plans  February 2018.

 

1. Keep up with blog.

* Easy if I have something to say/ report.

^ Variable on time allowing/ having anything to say.

Posting has been sporadic dependent upon work commitments. Regular writing updates in the first half of 2017 petered out towards the end of the year and were replaced by me concentrating on Project 10K, a monthly commitment to write and or edit 10000-words, or undertake other goals as self-defined. I concentrated on the micro instead of macro in terms of time frame.

In 2018 I will post monthly as part of Project 10K.

 

 

2. Read 85k word novel and decide whether to pitch or ditch.

* Easy.

^^ A large time commitment for revisions/ editing and sending to agents.

Achieved.

I sent the manuscript to 8 agents and received a ‘near miss’ from one. Is sent to another 10 and was invited to pitch my novel to 1. This agent suggested changes, which I have recently re-submitted. The end of the manuscript needs re-reading through.

In 2018, I will continue to submit my revised manuscript if the current agent considering it rejects it.

 

 

3. Write 100-word Friday Fictioneer stories.

* Easy to do if have nothing else on and come up with a story.

^^ Requires time and concentration to perfect. Takes time to read and comment on other stories and be part of the community.

Mostly met.

I have responded to most prompts and gained some encouraging feedback on my stories.I don’t participate unless I have time to read others’ stories and sometimes the photos cause no neurones to fire in my head.

In 2018, I will continue to participate as inspiration and time allow.

 

 

4. Revise and edit my NaNoWriMo stories from 2014 and 2017. Work up 51k words into a novel.

** Medium.

^^^ Big time commitment. Hopefully enjoyable to do.

I began to edit NaNoWriMo2014 at the end of summer 2017 and made progress until November when I participated in NaNoWriMo2017.

In 2018 I hope to be able to edit both these works into full-length second drafts.

 

 

5. 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.

Ongoing.

Jan and I talked about this project briefly recently – Jan hasn’t painted a picture but has ideas. I am in the same position as before regarding progress: 1 story finished; 2 needing tough editing; 1 just started.

In 2018, I will get my stories finished, send them to Jan and then nag her to paint.

 

 

6. Write short stories for competitions.

*** Quite hard writing to order.

^^ Time commitment to look for competitions and then write themed stories to deadlines.

I came runner-up for an entry in March ‘17 so thought I’d made it. Subsequent submissions through the year yielded nothing.

In 2018, I will continue to look for short story competitions, but not concentrate on them to the detriment of other commitments.

 

 

7. Self-publish flashes and short stories.

*** An organisational project and learning experience, e.g. about self-publishing platforms. Takes less brainpower than writing.

^^ Time-consuming but can be dipped in and out of.

No progress since June 2017.Stories are collated. Page layout needs to be completed. Cover design needs completing.Self-publishing platforms to be researched.

In 2018, I will get this published… and pigs might fly. Colleagues in the Windsor Writers’ Group are self-published and are there to call on when I’m ready.

 

 

8. 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 to me.

^^ Large time commitment and learning new skill.

Schedule in for 2020?
 

 

9. Continue with novel-length abuse-survivor story started 2014.

* Easy to write – the story is in my head.

^^ Need time and space to pick this up again.

This will happen only when I’ve completed all of the above… so maybe never.

 

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

February 27, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Project 10K – February 2018

with 7 comments

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 …..

 

Written by Sarah Ann

February 10, 2018 at 12:17 pm

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