Tuesday, 5 June 2012

InCreWriMa: The Final Check In

Hello and Happy Tuesday to you all, Dear Readers. Today marks the very last day of our International Creative Writing month, and it's time to share, share, share!

How many words or pages did you write in May (and this little bit of June)? Did you achieve your target? Miss it by miles? Blow past it? Adjust it? Tell us how you did in the comments and get support and encouragement from your fellow writers.

Remember - people who checked in on every InCreWriMa day will be eligible for entry into my surprise prize draw, and since today is the last check in, you'll need to comment today too. You'll have until Thursday THIS WEEK to get your comment in. Thursday is when I will randomly pick the winners and announce them. You don't want to miss out!

As I'm typing this post out I'm looking at my current notebook. In a very few pages the notebook will be full and I'll need a new one. Frankly, I'm a bit staggered to realise that at the beginning of May I'd only filled (let me see)... twenty-seven pages. This particular notebook is one hundred and sixty-four pages long. Subtracting the title page and the ones left blank at the end, that means this month I've filled...

*Drumroll please*

One hundred and sixteen pages! 

And that comes to just under 21,000 words. Not the highest word total I've ever managed in a month (I managed 40,000 words in a fortnight once - I must have been very highly caffeinated!) but nothing to be ashamed of, especially considering all the travelling and excitement and nervous tension in the last two weeks of the month, which never helps me to get words down.

My word total on Katana #2 is now 58,500 words, which is around 80% of the estimated word total. 80% peeps! Of course, that's assuming that the book does end up the same length in first draft as the first book (which is a dangerous assumption to make with any book I write) but still! I'm very happy with that. With any luck I'll be able to turn this book in a couple of months in advance of deadline - and that's always great, because it means extra time for editing, and extra time for me to work on the next book.

In celebration, here's a teeny tiny teaser snippet of The Katana Trilogy Book One: The Night Itself.


A scream rang out, cutting through Jack’s rising anger. The noise died off with a wet gurgle that made goose pimples spring up over my entire body. Without a word, we both set off running toward the sound.

Look, you don’t have to say it. I know that we were two teenage girls out walking alone, and that we should not have been running towards the sound of screaming. But it was broad daylight, and Jack already had her mobile out to call the police. Nine times out of ten, if people come running, your potential mugger or rapist is going to drop what he’s doing and get out of there, right? And I suppose all those years of martial arts classes had made both me and Jack feel like we could take care of ourselves. Besides, I’ve already admitted that I’m not the brightest bulb on the chandelier. What more do you want from me?

Where the tarpaulin covered railings curved away there was a narrow alley between them and the railings of the red-brick building next door. I took one look down it and stopped dead. Jack, a step behind, nearly fell over me.

“Near the Justice building, on the corner of Carey Street and Grange Court,” she was saying into her phone. “I think someone’s been attacked – ”

Her voice cut off with a gasp as she looked over my shoulder. Faintly I could hear the 999 operator demanding more details. We both ignored her.

“Holy crap,” Jack whispered. “Holy crap.”

I recognised the person in the alley – the pretty face and the long red hair. I had seen her on the news in Jack’s flat before we headed out. It was the woman who’d been murdered at the museum. A dead woman. And she was ripping someone’s throat out.

She looked up from the man she was holding, her teeth bared in a snarl. Blood was smeared across those teeth – teeth that were way too long and sharp for any human’s mouth. Her gaze fixed on me, and the bright blue of her eyes flashed yellow, like a cat caught in the beam of a flashlight.

Her victim groaned weakly, and she flung him down at her feet like trash. Ragged clothes and a straggly beard marked him as homeless. There was a lot of blood on those threadbare clothes. My first impulse was to go to him and try to help, but another part of me – a part that had been humming with tension since we heard the scream – held back.

“Yamato,” the woman said, and ice shot down my spine. Her voice was like a special effect from a film, a sort of cat warble with human tones underneath – but worse than that was the fact that she knew my name.

Her bloody lips stretched into a smile that spread wider, wider, revealing rows of needle-like fangs all the way back to her ears. “I knew you were near. I knew you would come. Yamatos can never resist a cry for help.”

“Run Jack,” I whispered. I wanted to shout it, but my throat wouldn’t work properly. “Run.”

The woman’s body was spreading, losing its human shape as it drifted out into a mantle of darkness with nine long trailing tails. An overpowering smell of animal, dung and wet fur, and something sickly and rotting, rolled over me. I gagged on the stench as memories unfolded in my head. This was the creature I had seen fighting the boy in my dream – or vision – or whatever the Hell that had been – last night.

Desperately I scanned the windows of the red building, but they were all veiled by thick grey blinds. The tarpaulins on the fence concealed us from the Courts of Justice. It was the middle of the working day and the street was deserted. There was a monster, a nightmare monster, right here, alive and walking around in daylight on the streets of London, and no one had noticed.

“Give me the sword.” The creature was suddenly right before me. I hadn’t even seen it move. “I know you have claimed it. Give it to me.” Black, jelly-like tentacles reached out for my face.

Something shoved me hard. I fell, and the tentacles closed on air.

Jack hadn’t gone anywhere. She was stood directly in the monster’s path, in her fighting stance, fists raised.

“No!” This time my scream worked. It was too late.

The creature lashed out at Jack. Its tentacles thudded solidly into her midriff and swept her right off her feet. She went flying over my head and crashed into the rank of motorbikes parked behind me. They toppled like dominoes. 

Jack disappeared in the tangle of wheels and exhaust pipes.


Now, over to you, my lovelies! The comment trail is open!

P.S. My Top Ten UK YA Novels is posted over on the UKYA Blog right now - check it out :)


Ruby97 said...

Wow! good job! :) I didn't meet my goal, which was to outline 25 or so chapters, only did 15 :/ oh well, its still a really good achievement! :D Thanks for starting this, its been great! xx

Zoë Marriott said...

Ruby: It's still a very good achievement, and I'm glad if InCreWriMa offered you some extra motivation :)

Rachel Balcombe said...

In total this month I wrote over 5,600 words, which is excellent for me because I know that if it hadn't been for InCreWriMa I never would have got to 1,000. Despite my upcoming exams, this has stopped me from turned my writing brain off. After the 21st June, I will have to time to be more involved and invested in my writing than I ever thought possible.

amycelestia said...

That's awesome Zoë! :D
I've not written that much lately on account of being ill and having exams, but I have got a few pages of story done, some blog posts planned and written and the short stories I started work on are coming on great! Every little bit counts :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Rachel: Well done! I'm so happy that it worked out for you :)

Amy: Yep, all those pieces probably add up to quite a lot. Good work!

whispering words said...

Hey Zoe, congrats on all those Pages! It must be so satisfying to have another note book filled :) Also I really suprised myself this month and have ended up with a total of 12,782 words! (making my actual story around 54,000) I'm aiming for about 70,000 so who knows - I may actually finish my first book yet :)

P.S Loved the teaser, its brilliant - but a little cruel as now I really want to read the rest! lol Do you have a release date?

Zoë Marriott said...

Whispering: Yep, and as of today I'm working on another one! I wrote 13pges this morning and finished it once and for all :) Well done writing so many words yourself. I'm sure you WILL finish your book.

P.S. Thank you! Release date will hopefully be July 2013, but don't quote me on that.

Aimen said...

That teaser is brilliant ^_^
I just love the way you write. It's just the right amount of detail mixed with the right amount of distance so that you don't end up tangling us in the details *sigh* I just felt incredibly happy reading that teaser.
As for InCreWriMa, my total aim was 36 pages but because of school and just a general lack of commitment, I only managed 8. But those 8 pages were helpful so even though I wish I'd worked harder, I'm really glad that I at least have 8 instead of 0 ^_^
But a little piece of mine got published so yay ^_^ That's definitely a first.

All in all, I think InCreWriMa was a brilliant idea, Zoe. Thanks :)

p.s: congrats on doing so well this month. ^^

Phoenixgirl said...

I didn't reach my goal of finishing the story I'm working on - mostly due to discovering a lot more plot that needed to be included - but I think I'm fairly close now. This was fun!

Isabel said...

You did an amazing job this month Zoe, as did everybody else! Good job guys!!

I didn't come up with an impressive word total this month, but I think my main focus was to try to develop more regular writing habits, and I think I made some progress towards that goal. On Friday I'm leaving to go to a family reunion for a week or so, and almost immediately afterwards I'm off for a longer trip until the beginning of July, so I probably won't be writing very much then. However, I'll be reading a lot and hopefully gathering inspiration, so I'll be ready to get back into writing when I return.

The teaser got me really excited - vampires?! I can tell this is going to be totally different from what you usually write, and I can't wait to read more!

Zoë Marriott said...

Phoenix: Well, at least you've been plugging away at it - which is the hardest thing of all :)

Isabel: Good luck with gathering inspiration! And yes, it's totally different. From anything I've ever written and, to be honest, from anything I've ever READ, too. I really love it, so I hope you guys will as well.

Helen said...

Didn't quite get all the blog posts I wanted to written but this all did give me the kick to list everything I'm going to review soon so hopefully I'll get a bit more productive in the coming weeks and just continue along with it.

Zoë Marriott said...

Helen: But it sounds like you still got LOADS done, so well done you! And good luck with the next couple of weeks, too.

Elyndra said...

I’ve had a really mixed month, some good days, and some bad. Still I got some work done, which is always a good thing. I also learned that time works better for me than a set word count. With a word count I just keep checking how much I still have to write. Not a good way to work. Time boxing however works great.
The last week has been fairly productive, especially since I started camp NaNo, but it hasn’t been fun. I’m really tired, getting out my daily amount is almost painful and I feel like the quality is terrible, like I forgot how to write.
I wonder, do you ever feel like what you are writing isn’t very good? If so, do you keep going?

Congrats on your progress, it’s impressive.
And now I so want to read that book. I’ll have to see if one of the book stores here can order English books.

Zoë Marriott said...

Elyndra: I know what you mean - my May was mixed too. Some days I could hardly keep up with my pen, and others I just wanted to hide under my pillow. And yes, I often feel that what I'm writing is complete bilge! I just try to remember that a) it probably isn't, I'm just too close to it to tell and b) even if it is bilge, I can't fix it until it's finished. So I try to keep going :)

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Well done! I didn't reach my goal. I haven't been able to write anything for two weeks because of exams :/ I think overall I got 44/52 pages done. I don't think I did too bad but I wish I reached my goal.

Zoë Marriott said...

Rebecca: I think that sounds like an amazing total, especially with exams! Well done!

Rhia said...

Well, InCreWriMa has been an incredible boost to me, and thank you so much for coming up with the idea, Zoe. And congratulations to everyone who has achieved anything. Even if it's not as much as you'd hoped.

I've managed just over 10,000 words - which is far more than I'd normally manage - plus a complete revision, thanks to Zoe's help; awkward chapter completed and another one well advanced with the blocking out; a day out in the sunshine on the hills soaking up atmosphere and eating wild winberries (which I've written into the next chapter because it was such a lovely thing to do); and I've organised my work.

And I've learned an awful lot. And gained more confidence in my own writing.

Thanks so much, Zoe. I'd never have got so far without InCreWrima.Let's just hope I can keep this up!

Zoë Marriott said...

Rhia: YAY! I'm so glad that it worked so well for you - this is just what I hoped when I came up with the idea :)

Rhia said...

Thought of you when I ate the winberries, as well! (A very satifying thing to do - if you ever go the South Shropshire, do climb the Long Mynd and eat the winberries.)

All I need now is the courage to set my own InCrWriJune deadlines!

And talking to a Real Author has done wonders for my confidence.

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