NaNo Prep

I’ve been thinking about what I really need to do to be prepared for NaNoWriMo and I had just put down to the act of writing but (Mighty) Mur Lafferty is doing a daily NaNoWriMo podcast and has started off with a few podcasts about being prepared and it got me thinking about what I should be doing to be properly prepared for this years NaNoWriMo.

Here’s Mur Lafferty’s website where you can find all things Mur. http://murverse.com/  If you are not already listening to Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast then I’d strongly recommend checking it out.

The first thing that came to mind is lunch. I do write during my lunch breaks during NaNo and I loose ten minutes getting something to eat or microwaving something so this year I’m going to try to do my lunch, i.e. a sandwich, of an evening in that time between getting home and having dinner and a bath (or shower) and cranking the words out.

I need to make sure that my desk is not cluttered up with all the crap that I seem to have migrating across it most of the time. I’m not the most tidy person, which I put down to a lack of space. I will have my own study one day 😀 but until then I need to make sure I keep that little corner clutter free. I also need to keep  my desk chair clear. I have a habit of throwing whatever might not have a home or ironing that is waiting to be put away on my desk chair. So quite often I get home, look at said chair and simply cannot be bothered to clear all the items from it so I can sit down and write. So it needs to be kept clear.

Each year that I have done NaNoWriMo I have ended up going away for a weekend during it. The first year was a disaster on a personal level so no writing got done once myself and my now ex-girlfriend got to where we were going. Last year was a much more enjoyable weekend with Tracie’s sister and her partner for her sisters birthday, but I did not take my laptop. This year we’re off to celebrate Tracie’s sisters birthday again but I’m taking the laptop this time and I’ll be hoping to squeeze in a quiet hour or two of writing during the long weekend.

Thankfully once I get home of an evening I can pretty much get cracking without any real items that need attention. Any little chores around the house that I have to do are done either in the morning or can be done once I’ve finished writing for the night. I do have to be sensible and think about my day job and not write into the wee hours of the morning but there is no reason why I cannot knock out the minimum daily target during the evening. As I said I write during lunch too so I’ll be able to get about a third of the daily goal done then.

At weekends I probably will not be as focused as I am aiming to be of a week night but I’ll have to wait and see. I may be able to get a good couple of hours done on a Saturday as I haven’t been doing much lately on Saturdays due to various reasons, although the first Saturday of the month I’ve got a night out with some close friends from my school days.

Sundays are for me and Tracie. We don’t get much time together, for reasons I’m not going into here, so on Sundays we make the most of our time together. So any writing done on a Sunday will be a bonus.

There are, no doubt, a fair few more little bits and pieces that I need to do in preparation for this years NaNoWriMo but I’ll add them into posts that I’ll be doing in these final days before NaNo starts.

If any one has any tips to share please spread the knowledge 🙂

 

Audiobooks

I have listened to a lot of podcast books. For those of you who are unaware of podcasted novels they are books that are serialised, normally for free as well. Now I have listened to a lot of these over the last couple of years and have discovered some amazing writers like Scott Sigler, J.C. Hutchins, Mur Lafferty, Nathan Lowell, Phil Rossi and many more. For some reason though I’ve never really listened to audiobooks.

I have a few on my iPod but nowhere near as many podcasts though. Maybe part of this is because podcasts are free, but another reason may be because I’ve not enjoyed a couple of audiobooks that I did buy. A couple of which were also abridged and I felt I was loosing out a little because of this. Last week though I downloaded Stephen King’s On Writing and a zombie one, I forgot the name. Ill mention it in a future post. These two downloads have kind of opened a door in my head and I want to download more. This is logical for me because I am a slow reader and I work a job where I can have my iPod and listen to whatever I wish. I do need to get through more books and this may be the way that I can get more fiction consumed 🙂

Tonights Post

I’ve been listening to Scott Sigler’s first book in his Crypt series, called Crew Stories. This basically is a collection of short stories about the future crew of a ship known as the PUV James Keeling, also known as The Crypt. This is a collection that I have listened to before but I had forgotten just how good these stories are and I really enjoyed reliving them again and getting to know the crew once more. This is not a book for the faint of heart! And at the moment is only available in podcast form (Which means free) A lot of the stories here are co-written by some amazing writers including, Mur Lafferty, Paul E. Cooley, Jake Bible and many other excellent writers (Look out for the story  co-written with Greg Crites). Here’s the link to the page on Scott Sigler’s website;

http://scottsigler.com/books/the-crypt-book-one-crew-stories

If you have read my blog for a while you will know I am a big fan of Scott Sigler, he is an amazing writer who I have a lot of time for as he has worked very hard to get to where he is today. He has had a little help along the way and I would love to steal his business partner, A Kovacs who seems to keep Mr. Sigler on track. They are a great team and are producing some great content.

 

I would also like to quickly give a link to this interview on Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing with Kevin J. Anderson. I have not read any of his work yet, I do have the first of The Saga Of Seven Suns book on my shelve, but I love listening to him talking about the art of writing. It’s in two parts so I’ll give you the link to the first part;

http://www.adventuresinscifipublishing.com/2013/02/aisfp-197-kevin-j-anderson-part-1/

 

You can find both podcasts in the iTunes library.

Reading update, I finished Stephen King’s The Gunslinger last night. I was aiming to get it read by the end of the week but the final sixty pages went by in a beat of an eye. As I’ve said before I had no idea what this book was about and I’ve really enjoyed discovering it. I am looking forward to the next book but I am going to read a couple of other books before I delve into book two in the series.

I’ve now started Haywire by Justin R. Macumber.

I have not done any more editing, but I have done some hand written bits for Project Apollo.

Mur Lafferty Shout Out

‘Mighty’ Mur Lafferty is I think easily considered the Godmother of the podcasting world. She was one of the first and is still going strong. I’ve listened to a lot of her work and enjoyed it for the most part but it never struck in the way that Scott Sigler or J.C. Hutchins do but her podcast for writers I should Be Writing is essential listening. I Should Be Writing is very helpful to the new writer and Mur Lafferty does not hold anything back. If she is feeling depressed, she talks about it. She is very easy to listen to and does some great interviews.

 

Lets get to Marco And The Red Granny though.

 

Think; Aliens with seven senses, artists, writers and death matches on the moon. You need more? Really? It is worth a listen to the first episode at least. Lafferty is a very strong writer and she creates some amazing characters here.

I listened to this today and absolutely fell in love with it, this is my favourite story by Mur Lafferty and I would love to see more in this universe.

 

The link to Mur Lafferty’s website is below and you can find everything that she produces there. This is an amazing person as well as a writer, please go by and check her out.

You can also find her work on iTunes and at Podiobooks.com

 

http://murverse.com/

A Little Target

I’m not going to reveal my writing goals this year like I did last year, because I missed each one of them, but I am going to let you all know that I am aiming to read twelve to fifteen books this year. So that’s about one a month, I’m currently about a hundred pages off finishing The Hunger Games (yes I started reading it last year, but im still counting it 😛 )  I would also like to knock out as many audiobooks as I can too. This is going to be a little more difficult as I do not really have the money to buy the audiobooks at the moment.  Paper books are different because I have about forty on my book shelve waiting to be read.  Audiobooks are great for me because I can listen to them while I’m at work.  So to save myself a little money I’m going to raid the books on Podiobooks.  If you love listening to fiction in audio form then I’d recommend checking their site out http://podiobooks.com/ You can also find them on iTunes.  Podiobooks basically allows writers to release thier stories in podcasts for free.  Personally I’ll only download a completed story as I like to hear it all in one go. It is a great idea and I have listen to many great writers works from there.  Scott Sigler, J.C. Hutchins, Mur Lafferty and a fair few others.  The most recent is Jeff Lane.  I listened to his story, Crush Depth, today and I really enjoyed it.  Here’s the link to his site http://jefflaneaudiobooks.com/

A few of the books I’m aiming to read this year are; The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, Dauntless by Jack Campbell.  That’s part of his The Lost Fleet series. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.  Haywire by Justin R. Macumber, Dunne by Frank Herbert and The Man In The High Castle and Do Androids Dream Of Electronic Sheep, both by Phillip K.Dick

A Little Progress Made

I’ve got to break a nasty habit that I have.  I mentioned yesterday that I do not think that a story I have needs re-writing and I think I’m very guilty of this with other stories (I can hear Owen saying ‘I’ve been telling you that for years!’)  So I’m going to try to stop this because I think it’s why I’ve rarely got anything finished.  I don’t need to re-write when I want improve a story I just need to learn how to seamlessly write additional details into my writing without it looking out-of-place.  I can think of at least three of my stories that this applies to.

As for NaNoWriMo, I’ve got to give it a decent bash, even if it is second to Project Delphi (knocked out a few pages of that tonight) I think NaNo is one of those things that all writers should at least look into.  It’s a great way to get into the habit of just writing and not worrying about whether it’s any good, As Mur (Lafferty) says, It’s OKAY to suck.  I have settled on a story that I am going to work on 😉

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Being Professional

I was talking to a friend who was asked to review a book by a writer and when she gave her honest review the writer had a go at her because it was a glowing one.  If you go over to Cinta Garcia’s web page you will see all about this amazing writer who is not nasty of vicious at all.  Cinta is one of the kindest people I know.  I’ve also read the review and its a well written and direct review.  Heres her website, which is new by the way http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fcintascorner.weebly.com%2F&h=3AQHmYSjH

This got me thinking about something that the Mighty Mur Lafferty says on her podcast I Should Be Writing, basically being professional is the best way to be.  Please go and check out her website because she’ll express it better than I can http://www.murverse.com/ She is of the mindset though that trying to be a professional is the best route because its rare that being rude and unprofessional will just get people’s backs up and put them off you and your work.  I think a good analogy is if you buy a car and its nothing but a pain in the backside you tell people about it and rarely buy another car of that make.  Or a rude staff member at a coffee-house or something.  These things annoy us and we are more than likely to talk about a bad experience then we are a good experience.

Mighty Mur puts forward a lot of good points.  Like not trying to get into a discussion with someone who has left a bad review.  I quite like the sound of this piece of advice.  If the reader did not get what you were trying to say in the book its kind of like explaining why a joke is funny.  If it’s a nasty review then surely it’s not even worth the time to post a reply.  I know in the early stages of our careers we’ll reply to almost anything because we’re building our online presence but its easy to get sucked into a heated exchange and I think that I will probably steer clear of the people leaving nasty comments when I have my work out in the world for people to read and talk about.

Mighty Mur also talks about things like not asking for critiques from editors when they reject your work as they have slush piles to read etc.  Seriously if novice writers have not at least checked out Mur’s I Should Be Writing podcast then I’m surprised as I have learnt a lot from it.

Lets not forget our writing too.  When we submit we have to be sure that what we’ve written is not only good but our spelling, grammar and presentation is also correct.  If it’s a paper submission then make sure that there are no coffee stains or handwritten notes on it.  Follow the submission guidelines, I’d imagine doing research on where we’re submitting is a good idea.  I have a list of websites, some of which were recommended to me and some were even searched out for me (thank you Cinta 🙂 ) This is knowing our audience.  Finding the right places to submit and who the editors are has to help our chances of getting noticed, of course our work has to be good at the same time but from what I can make out slush piles are big so we do have to stand out and or find an editor that loves the genre or type of story that we write.  I wouldn’t send my space opera stuff to an editor or agent who hates space opera, that’s just daft.

Being a writer is not just about what we write, it’s about who we are as well.  How we come across to the people in the industry and most importantly to the people who read our work who one day may become fans of ours.