Writing Plan

Reading and Plans

My reading plans at the start of the year was to read 40 books including the following:

Non-Fiction

'White Mughals' - William Dalrymple
'Return of a King' - William Dalrymple
'Jerusalem' - Simon Sebag Montefiore
'One Summer' - Bill Bryson

Classics

'Macbeth' - Billy Shakes
'The Tempest' - Billy Shakes
'Something or other' - Charlie Dickens
'Name of the Rose' - Umberto Eco


SF and Fantasy

'Gormenghast' - Mervyn Peake
'The Silmarillion' - Tolkien
'The Golden Compass' - Philip Pullman


I'm well on for the 40 having read 32. But of the eleven above I've only read four (
The Tempest, Macbeth, Jerusalem and The Silmarillion). The remaining seven are all a bit to hefty to carry around so I can't see me completing all of these. In general though it's been a great reading year, even if I stopped now. But of course why would you stop?

But FFS my bloody
writing has been really neglected. Perhaps I can kick-start it with an attempt or two on Shake's 'CalenDark'. Once I've blocked that off, or at least given it a good go, I can get back to one or two of the items on my original Writing Plan. There are real life things going on, for this next few months which will take a few days and hours out, so perhaps I'll let the reading go a tad and focus on some writing.

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Big Little Update

Flip, it's been over a week since my last update. Not been too much writing from me in last week. I wrote a Memoir piece on some musical history: Smithdown; the band. And wrote a few small bits and bobs for nothing in particular. Unfortunately I missed Microcosms, which was a bit of a shame as I liked the theme idea this week (I even picked my book for it). Time defeated me after a very hot Friday at work.

I went back to reading my NaNoWriMo story from last November to see whether it has enough meat on its bones to turn into an actual fully fledged story. And... well I think it does. So yes, I am going to attempt to edit and polish it. It'll probably take a couple of months, but would be great to finish it. So bloody hell, I'm going to bite that bullet.

Heard from a mate who doesn't do that much reading who got around to reading my story in Infernal Clock and really enjoyed; he actually said 'gripped'. That made me happy.

So all in all whilst not much writing it is a big week for me... I'm going to finish writing a bloody novel. And now I've said that out loud, haven't I. So I have to. Watch this space.
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A Globe Trip

London: The Globe Trip

Only had one night there but had a cracking quick trip to London. Had the £10 Virgin tickets to London. The hotel up near Arsenal wasn't up to much but everything else went swimmingly!

The trip started well. A full English in the Shiraz in Liverpool then off to Platform 8 for the Virgin train to London. Ended up sat next to a woman on her way to Zambia for a trip with students from the University of Central Lancashire. Had a nice chin wag about traveling and reading. She was reading Lord of the Rings in paperback.

A guy who got on at Stafford overheard us talking and joined the conversation. Turned out he had some books with him. That he'd written. Cool! And who was he? Leaf Fielding. Okay, I hadn't heard of him either. But that's what Google is for. Flip! Think I'll have to buy that first book now.

I'd booked my ticket for Nell Gwynn at the Globe the previous night and went for the standing option. Glad I did. Standing was fine (no different to going to a gig (including have the issue of tall people in front of you). The play was brilliant laugh out loud fun. It was designed for the Globe originally and it worked fantastically. Didn't know the lead, but she was excellent. A few of the actors I recognised from the telly.

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Talking of which I sat next to Mark Rylance in the Swan Bar before the show (yep, Wolf Hall and all). Rubbing shoulders!

On Tuesday it was a quick walk around the Emirates stadium, home of Arsenal. A bit antiseptic as a new build stadium, but worth seeing as it was round the corner from the hotel. Then on for an hour walk around the never to be missed British Museum, before heading to a few pubs... including the oldest surviving pub in London the George Inn (near the Globe actually) and then up to Pimilico for Cask, and to Euston for the Bree Louise and the Euston Tap.

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A great trip.

Uploaded some pics onto
Flickr. First time I've Flickred for ages.


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Pull Your Finger Out!

Writing... Focus

Not much writing been done over the last week. I did manage a few hours work on
Project 2 last week on a day off and to enter a Flash into Microcosms for the first time in a few weeks. Other than that writing has been a bit thin on my ground.

Work hours have been messed around with - with a late start and consequent late finish it has messed things up in many ways at home and socially. And as per my last post there has been some great TV which has eaten into my time (okay, I know that is my choice). On top of that I have been reading... including The Infernal Clock.

I finished reading Infernal Clock yesterday and have given that a
solid 4 stars (why can't you give 4.5?). Some cracking story telling on all sorts of horror themes. Aim to get a review up on Amazon and GoodReads over the weekend if not before. Um, that will have to count as part of this week's writing - look I'm desperate to count everything.

Great to see that the offer to get the
FlashDogs 'TIME' for FREE on Amazon for the week has resulted in great sales (is it sales if it's free?). Good to see Flash getting out there in book form and not just on web pages. Get yourself on Amazon if you haven't already.

'Clock was my 16th book that I have read this year which is good. Still well ahead of my target. Have read more books than I've bought this year (just) which means I'm ticking off some of those long unread books on these shelves of mine. Huzzah!

Got to focus on my Projects.

Focus! I tell you. Oh look, washing up to do. Is that another Trump tweet? Oh my lord Sean Spicer. Can I just watch that again. Oh, I could watch that Firmino goal again - that was top. There's washing up to do too. Did I say that earlier? Focus, I tell you!

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Fabulous TV Eats Time

TV Eats Time Until There Really Is No Tomorrow

There has been rather a lot of great TV on for the last month or so. And I've loved watching lots of it, but it has slowed my reading down and, even more, my writing. Whilst work takes up so much time I really can't help that. TV though... I should make harder choices about what to watch or not, but flip there have been some cracking shows on. So rather than feel any guilt about it I'm calling it 'research into writing'. Just in case I end up doing any screenwriting.

Current and recent TV must watch for me:

  • Taboo
  • Line of Duty
  • Homeland
  • Follow the Money
  • Inside No 9
  • University Challenge
  • Only Connect

At least Taboo, No9 and Follow the Money have finished (and UC and OC have only the Finals to go) so I may have more writing and reading time without the need for making difficult telly-box decisions over the coming weeks.

Keep Writing - Stop Watching.
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Writing and Writing

Performance Monitoring - It's Not Good News

I'm behind, I am. Tick tock. The plan is there to motivate, surely. Tick tock. Or else it is
there to measure failure. Arghhhhhh!

I should be three or four stories into
Project 1 - and Project 2 should be properly started. Shouldn't it?

Well. Well...

Okay, I'm behind. But it's catch-up-able.
Blasted out a quick 500 words on Story 2 of Project 1 this morning. Will print out the thing and see how much work it needs (and if it's any good yet). Then hopefully complete by say... Monday? Then I can get onto Story 3. Again.

Still, 500 words is better than none. Right?
Hell yeah!

And I may get a few more done later on Story 2 and Story 3 as it stands (or at least some notes on where to go with it).

Dang! I just thought of a decent idea for a book - or at least the structure of one - maybe add that to the list for Project 4. My god, stop it already and finish one of the others first. And lord, look I'm talking to myself. Indeed shouting to myself (in a quiet inwardly no-one else would notice kind of way). Arghhhhhhh!

Of course there's the
Angry Hourglass challenge going live later. The decision will be whether to write 300 words or so on that today or tomorrow or use that time on one of these stories or Projects. Decisions. Maybe I'll just see what the prompt is before calling that one.

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Hope to do a little on
Project 2 later whilst on the move. That'll be a worthwhile investment of time.

My only other writing this week (other than a couple of blog updates) has been a
job application; now that is definitely a worthwhile investment of my time!


Come on AJ. Get with the Plan. Keep writing. And writing. And tick some of these little buggers off the list...

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More Thinking Time Than Writing Time.

Time, Time, Time

Writing when you work for a living can be a right problem. Unless you write for a living of course. Then it's a whole other kettle of fish I expect.

Today though was a case in point. Expected to be back home by 5:30 or 6:00pm but got home at around 7:30. That's up to 2 hours of potential writing time out of the equation. And when the other parts of the equation include eating, dishes and winding down it leaves actual time pretty slim. I had hoped to get the bulk of one of my Project 1 stories finished tonight, but I haven't.

Still, whilst driving around north Wales on my deliveries today I did get some good thinking time for two of the stories I am doing so hope to get stuck into them and should finish them by the end of the weekend still. So that'll be fine.

There are other things of course that could help free up a bit more time... denying myself any Social Media time for one. Or having an absolute No TV rule. And maybe that 'Winding Down' time could be after the writing. But then again writing before winding down may lead to some unusually sweary and erratic writing; then again that may help with some stories.

Next time I'm short of time but keen to get something actually FINISHED then maybe I'll pre-wind write. Today I chose to write just a bit and leave it (got about 400 words down on a story). So I've got a foundation (some words). I've got my scaffolding (my ideas). It's now up to me to set aside the right write time over the next few days.

In the meantime at least it was a lovely day down/up/along here. It was stunning all day in Llandudno and Penrhyn, and the first day of the year I spent all day without a jacket on. Shorts are a-coming!

icecream

And I even had myself a (late) post work ice-cream in Rhos-on-Sea. Nice!

Keep Writing!


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Project One: More Storifying.

Project 1: Short Story Writing

I'm behind time a little bit with
Project 1 of my 2017 plan, but I have a (sub)plan to get two short stories completed this week for it. I've started the third one, just to get it rolling. It's an idea I've had for a while and hopefully will come out fairly easily ultimately. That's the theory, anyway. We'll see.

I intend to finish Story 3 this week and then go back to the story with the
1000 word start; as starts go it's not a bad one.

The lack of good telly each night should mean I've no excuse other than
lethargy and sloth. And there the answer may be coffee.

Pretty sure with both
Story 2 & 3 these are relatively low hanging fruit and then I can get back on target for my 'one story a week' aim.

Will report back on here with my progress by next Monday. So fingers crossed.


In the meantime I did start taking a look a my
NaNoWriMo 'novel' at the weekend to see whether it was any good and/or worth looking at doing more work on - perhaps as Project 3. Only read the first two chapters again so far and I'm thinking I need to read the next two to make a more reasoned determination. But it's not a 'no', yet...

Anyway folks, keep writing!
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Project 1: and so it begins...

Project 1: The Short Story Collection

And so it begins... yep, my 2017 writing - other than ubiquitous random Flash - is
now off and running! To be in accordance with my plan I need to write a minimum of one short story a week to get a collection of 12 or so stories together in three months. Certainly doable.

Liver Pen 200

Well, I'm now one story in, yep! To be fair, in full on Blue Peter fashion, it was from a story I'd started earlier. It's spot on length wise, being just over 2500 words (aiming for 1500 - 3000 word stories). I'll give it a proper read through in a week or two to see how well it hangs together. It's a story that hasn't seen the light of day anywhere else yet. I'll probably try out at least a couple of them at the Poised Pen meetings over the coming couple of months. The stories are all going to be stand alone ones - the stories are to be held together by setting not theme.

The Thousand Word Prompt

I've also found another
half written story which could fit right in for Story 2 of Project 1. There's a 'slight' problem with it... It is written in a well detailed way up to the point it stops; but I have no idea where I was going with the story - I've probably a note in a notebook somewhere about it, but it is now effectively a 1000 word prompt!!





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Writing Plan (Draft)

Writing Plan - February 2017

Writing plan is developing folks, let's call it a first draft. Should be a bit more firmed up over next week.

Project 1 - Short Story Compilation - ebook
Project 2 - Non-Fiction Book - ebook
Project 3 - FT or 2HB - novel
Project 4 - HS1 or TTYA1 - novel or novella

I’m not going to put many details on what these projects actually comprise at the stage other than their general form. As they develop the working titles and contents will come out when appropriate.

Even with ‘just’ four projects I know I’m being over ambitious; at least in terms of finishing all four in the year. But if I work on all of them at different points I expect one or two will take on a life of their own and then the reality of things will become clear. Let's face it if I finish two of them I'll probably be pretty happy and if I finish three I'll be
chuffed to little mint balls!


Projects:

Project 1 - is to be a Short Story Compilation of probably 12-14 stories of between 1500 and 3500 words. I’ll aim for c. 2000 words but let the stories get to their natural length rather than force it.

Project 2 - is a Non-Fiction Book I’ve been thinking of getting done for a while and can drop in and out of as and when.

Projects 3 and 4 - novels or novellas both Projects are currently down as ‘either / or’ and will be firmed up over the coming couple of months. If you followed my NaNoWriMo last year then you’ll guess that Project 3 is either 'Fergie Time' or a.n. other novel idea. I’ll make that call over the next week or so.

The Projects aren't necessarily in the order of commencement or completion (but probably are). That said Project 4 would definitely be started after completion (or calling a halt on) of Project 3.

Fergie Time is the only writing project that has any significant writing actually done at this stage. But the three other potential stories in Projects 3 and 4 are partially developed in my noggin and on scraps of paper.

Timetable:

Ha ha! Bit early to get that sorted but I will need to firm up a plan including schedules for all the Projects or else they will likely slip without me even trying.

Project 1. My feeling is that Project 1 should be completable in three months from start to finish in terms of writing the stories, just on the basis of simply writing a minimum of one story a week.

Project 2. Would be c. 3 months to write as well. The issue is whether I can fit the work required within the same 3 months as Project 1; dropping onto sections of it between the fiction writing. Would be great if I could. Undertaking the two Projects simultaneously is certainly a s t r e t c h goal. But back in the day of my report writing days I would often work on multiple reports, letters and proposals in a day (not to mention reviewing reports) so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Projects 3 and 4. Maybe it should be Project 3 or 4? Writing and finishing a novel or novella this year is my biggest target if not my first. Fergie Time may have legs, but if not the three other potential ideas have great possibilities too and it may well be a case of starting writing the other three and seeing which flows easiest… Any of these may take 3-6 months each… er at least…

Other Writing:

Of course there’s other stuff to consider in between.

  • I always go in for Writing on the Wall Flash Competition even though they’ve really stepped back from it themselves. It’s just a tradition for me now.
  • NAWG. Poised Pen is a member of NAWG and I should enter a competition or two.
  • Would love to give a screen or radio play a try at some point. Will just see if it happens, but currently don't want it to get in the way of the four projects above.
  • Similarly submitting to a magazine or podcast would be great, but at this stage only if a piece comes naturally and doesn't get in the way of the above projects.
  • And of course random competitions I haven't spotted yet!

So much writing. But I have some scheduling to do...


Keep Writing Folks!

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