Self-confidence Restored

Since unvamped was picked up for publication…actually, if I’m honest, since I finished writing unvamped, I have found writing hard, planning has been hard, I just haven’t been able to get into the swing of it. I felt like most of my problem stemmed from how much I liked unvamped when I finished it. After, I worried about not liking whatever I wrote next, or not being able to write anything good, or never having my writing published again.

However, NO MORE! 🙂

Somehow, I have pushed through the barrier and emerged the other side actually quite excited about coming up with something new. Soul Wars* has been put on the back burner for a little while – along with other pieces, so it won’t get lonely – as I’m all fired up about Matlock College at the moment. This is the one I started as a novel, set out as a script and then adapted the first section into script. It’s going to be a bit Hogwarts meets St Trinian’s and I’ve manages to get myself quite excited by the whole thing – and I have been able to get the planning done! Which, in itself is a major acheivement as I’ve been stalling on Soul Wars* planning, which is one reason my momentum fell flat I think. But, Matlock College is all blocked out (for a script at least) so I have the bare bones already, now it’s just fleshing it out and making sure its interesting.

My other motivation for writing at the moment is Camp NaNo. I’ve kept the traditionally 50,000 words my goal for this month and, while I may have had a slow start, I am feeling really into and the word count is slowly racking up (first point of order is to flesh out what I already had so that’s been a bit of a mire to wade through).

Also, a note on the Goodreads Giveaway; it is still pending approval by the Goodreads people, but all going well it should start on 13 July!

I am off to work on a mock up cover for Matlock College (I find it helps my motivation 🙂 ) while I procrastinate until my Chicko Roll is ready.

Happy writing, reading, and living,

x iz

*Working title


Day 19 – Where have the last four days gone?

While I have been posting something this week, I have neglected my little diary sort of thing.

This week has been busy at work and I’ve still been fighting off this bug, which seems to combining with hayfever to cause all sorts of havoc. But still, plodding along.

I have managed to post up one lot of Tips & Tricks and one short story so far, now I just have to work out how to format things properly and I can start adding some more of both – I really wish there were more formatting options (does anyone know if there are somewhere).

Work will still be busy this coming week, as deadlines are approaching,but I will try to get something up once a day.

Needless to say, Camp NaNo is not going all that well, but I’m still plotting Unvamped 2* here and there, so there is still writing work being done. I will have to push a bit harder through next Camp Nano – July 2015 – and try to make up for it. I think my focus at the moment needs to be Unvamped 2* since all my thoughts and ideas are surrounding that, it seems silly to press a story when another one is bombarding my brain. But, I did have a great idea for something to do with Soul Wars* the other day, so obviously Unvamped 2* isn’t entirely taking over inside my head, which is nice to know given I’m trying to get into short stories now too. There are still 11 days left of Camp Nano though, so I haven’t given up hope I will reach 25,000 words. It just might not be the story I had intended to write. I only have just over 2,000 words per day to finish on time, so that’s manageable.

I suppose I will get onto that as soon as I’ve eaten! Am starving!


Day 14 – short stories on the brain

Today has been another refresher day which I sorely needed. I have had no work and no study to do so I slept in and had a bath. The cold is finally getting better…I think…

Short stories are on my mind at the moment. I feel a bit like I’m ready to try them again – I have, in the past, been terrible at them! “A 2,000-5,000 word story? I can do that!” 30,000 or more words later…oops… :\

So, I thought a good start might be to put some of my writing on here and I’ve started up an account on Wattpad as well so I will make some use of that with new stories I write as well as submitting some to competitions and magazines. My mum bought me a diary/journal where you have a question or writing prompt each day, so I’m going to start there and see if I can at least start off with Flash Fiction!

I have realised that this blog is indeed more than just finding my way to a completed Soul Wars* but its a journey for finding my writerly self and for discovering any story that I have in my head – there are a lot clamouring around in there and it would be good to get tgem out if only for a bit of peace and quiet. But, also, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learnt through my Bachelor, my Masters, courses taken at the SA Writers’ Centre, and extensive reading. So, tomorrow I’m planning to put up some Tips & Tricks on plotting that I’ve collected over the years, including a few bits that I’ve found for myself over the years.

Plotting for Unvamped 2* is also still going along nicely. Sometimes I get in the groove and feel I can just wing it, but sometimes I feel like I can’t move forward with my ideas until I do some more research. Its a very different process to Unvamped where it really all just flowed. But, that’s writing for you.

x iz

Day 8 – a new week, a new me (complete with poll!)

This last week has seen some productivity, some rearranging of priorities and a settling in to more of a rhythm. I may not be any better at this blogging business, but I know what I want to acheive with this site/blog now and that makes me a bit more comfortable with my lesser abilities.

I’ve done a bit more work on Soul Wars*, I have a much better idea of where the middle is going – though I fear its going to turn into more of a saga than planned! – and have written a few more words on it. So hooray for some progress on Camp Nano! I still feel like there’s something missing from what I can see of this story. I don’t know what it is, but there seems to be a plot element I’m not seeing but that has already inserted itself into the story. Hopefully as I keep writing and planning, I shall find it! 🙂
I’m also energetically making up promotional materials I will need for an Unvamped launch in readiness for a release date (woot bookmarks!) and posters. Its probably the least productive thing I can be doing really, but it is tremendous fun! I just have to decide if I’m going to pay for the fonts the cover artist used so everything is aesthetically pleasing, or just match as best I can. What do you think?
After adding the word “poll” everywhere it is starting to look weird and wrong, so I’m going off to do something else now…
x iz
*working title

Day 7 – realisations hit

Week 1 is finally finished and with all the excitement of Unvamped getting closer to publication, I have realised that this blog is becoming more to me than just about finding a new story. I feel like I have a bit more to share than just about Soul Wars*. Especially with pre-promotion of Unvamped and some reviews to be made (now that I’ve finally finished reading Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight).

Planning for Soul Wars* has been put on semi-hold for a while with all the Unvamped excitement and some (real) work needing to be done (yay money though). I haven’t forgotten about it entirely, I’m still thinking about it, but I do think it needs a lot more thinking and planning that I have done so far. The plot I’ve been coming up with is not really the story I’ve had in my mind – although how that makes sense, I’m not sure! I sort of have this picture in my mind – a bit like a movie – of how it is supposed to be, and the plan I’m working on doesn’t seem to measure up. I’m sure it will all pan out in the end. I also have the problem that I keep envisioning some story to do with angels – though I blame Laini Taylor for that at present!

Having said that, Camp Nano is on this month, so I would really like to be able to get some work done on Soul Wars* during that time – nothing gets more words on the page than the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – you’ll find me at izziestevens) – after two years of NaNo (and no work in between) I came up with Unvamped.

I feel really positive going forward – things are becoming clearer in my head and my path seems more direct and better lit so I feel I can see my way now.

Should get back to some actual writing work now 🙂

x iz

*working title

Day 6

Plotting and Planning is well on the way now. I have a beginning and an end, and am getting the details of the middle sorted out. I feel I will have to take out a few of the in depth ideas and scale them back a bit; I feel I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

The plan was to have an alternate history which leads to the post-apocalyptic future in which the story is set. However, on rethinking, I’m not entirely convinced I need an alternate history to lead to my future. I’m thinking there is a two step process to get to my future; a post-apocalyptic future with a middle ages-like setting (although, the finer points of that are definitely going to need to be worked out), and then an even further post-post-apocalyptic future. I haven’t decided how far in the future these futures are though, which will determine a lot about the smaller details.

Part of the purpose of this story will be to investigate magic/religion vs science, both of which will play a big role in how the souls are dealt with throughout the story. How these aspects fit together needs a lot more work, in fact I’ll need to add it to the Plot Arc Table I think. Which will mean I will need to re-work a lot of it, but now I have more idea what’s going into it, it will create more ideas, which is always fun!

Off to do more planning then 🙂

X iz

Day 5

It turns out, I changed my mind about the notebook – I have decided to stick with the white and black one. Which, as it turns out will be easier to deal with as I already started using it and had an idea for the other one – not that I can remember what it was now but it seemed to suit the look and feel of the notebook better. I also decided that I would just stick the Plot Arc Table in somehow and have a way of keeping the progression of it.

I’ve been looking more at the characters today, and their journeys through the story. I have one main protagonist, at the moment, and I think that might be a good idea after the last story I wrote had three. I feel I might end up with at least two, but I’ll start out planning for one. I also have one antagonist, although I feel it will be more of an antagonist organisation, but it will need a figure head that can be cut down to symbolically cut down the organisation. There is a love interest planned, but I’m not a hundred percent sure of her story at the moment, so I may get rid of her as such a major character. Maybe this story won’t have a romance element? That is something to definitely keep in mind.

My premise is set, I know what kind of story it will be (hero saving the downtrodden, etc), but the whole plot is still a little bit elusive. My next priority will be to sort this out, even if I don’t get the whole Plot Arc Table filled in yet.

A cold doesn’t help matters, its been on the cusp of a slight sniffle and getting worse for about a week, and now it has decided to get worse. Add to that, the dog keeping me up all night, thinking is a little hard at the moment. But, in saying that, it all just serves to make the findings all the more sweeter!


Day 4

Today was a bit of a bust in regards to writing, but I did get a good amount of reading done.

I have been lamenting my lack of ability to draw today. I have this great landscape in my head from [Soul Wars]* and I’d love to be able to actually see it, not just imagine it. I used to be a terrible drawer but decent copier of pictures – yet another thing I never fostered and now regret! Oh well, can’t spend all the time looking back, must push on!

Today was also spent thinking about writing styles. I read books and think how mature and sophosticated a lot of writers sound, then I read my work and think it sounds quite simple and basic in comparison. I’m not sure if this truly reflects my writing style, or I’m being hard on myself. I do know that there is plenty of room for simple writing in the market – I myself love a nice, easy to read story. To me the simplicity of the writing doesn’t denote a simple story, and maybe that’s what I have – a decent story and an easy to read way of telling it? It doesn’t feel much like that sometimes though. I feel like I have a simple story and no storytelling ability.

Oh well, so far, the search into how to ‘sophisticate’ my writing will need tp continue I suppose.

X iz

Day 3

I made a decision about the notebooks and went with the leather-look one. I decided the handy pocket would be useful for holding the Plot Arc Table without having to actually stick it in – it will inevitably become almost illegible before I’ve finished planning so I’ll need to transfer all the info to another table before long.

Another decision made – my Smart Person, as I call her (I can’t call her a publicist or agent since I have no money to pay her), has made the brilliant suggestion of including reviews of books that suit audiences similar to my work or by authors who inspire me. So, look out for the new review space once I’ve finished the book. I’m currently reading Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and Starlight. I’m not sure about the etiquette of book reviewing in regards to sequels…so I may put up a short bit about what I remember of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

I had best get to it all then! Nothing will write itself!

X iz

Day 2 – notebook conundrums

Plotting and planning aren’t really going to plan. It is being much slower than expected so there’s not a whole lot to report, but I felt sticking to a ‘post once a day’ plan was important.

My Plot Arc Table doesn’t look a whole lot different than it did yesterday – the prologue and most of chapter one’s arcs are filled in. I feel like I’m going to need to do a short wrote up of the dot points in each arc when I’ve plotted a bit more so I don’t forget my potentially brilliant ideas.

Yesterday wasn’t a complete bust, mind. I got a lot of the basic planning down and started on character bios – which I think will help a lot when I get to the character arcs specifically. I realised as I started my Plot Arc Table that I needed to know a bit more about my characters before I could start the story and find their individual journeys.

The rest of today – given so far my day has been sleeping and going to the shack – will be sorting out my notebook/s. Notebooks are one of the most important pieces in my writing arsenal. I have at least one for each individual story, plus another dedicated to random ideas, often one for series planning, and an awful lot more filled with anything and everything.

Not only is the notebook as a concept very important, but the specific notebook for a given story. I have so many ‘special’ notebooks – I collect nice notebooks, knowing I’ll find a use for them one day – that it takes me ages to pick which one I want to use for the current story. I am in such a pickle at the moment; use the white one with black faux suede flocking or the fancy Paper Blanks one with handy pocket for the Plot Arc Table. I shall need to come back with an update on my decision as I feel it will take a while.

X iz