Tuesday, 9 July 2013

InCreWriJul WEEK TWO: Check In

Good morning, my lovelies! Welcome to Tuesday. How are you all feeling? Good weekend? Good week for writing? Before I start journeling my first week of InCreWriJul, a few bits of other bizniz.

News about The Night Itself! BLISS Magazine (which I remember fondly from many years ago when I was a mere kiddliwink) chose TNI to be number one on their Summer Reading Chart in their August edition:


Dubray Books, a marvellous independent bookshop in Ireland, chose TNI as their Teen Choice Book of the Month:

Amanda Craig of The Times gave TNI a mention in the Times Summer Reading Guide (13+ section). This is what she said:

"Next month the fantasy writer Zoe Marriott explodes back on to the scene in THE NIGHT ITSELF, a manga-inspired romance about a half-Japanese girl in London whose grandfather's antique sword turns out to have supernatural powers."
Yay! (although Mio is actually British-born-Japanese, not half Japanese). And today the lovely Megan from the U.S. emailed me with a pic of her copy of TNI nestling on her shelf after it arrived yesterday:

Thank you, Megan! All wonderful stuff. And if anyone wants to make my day even better, I'd absolutely love to see a few more Amazon reviews for The Night Itself go online; there are five lovely ones up there now, which is brilliant, but reviews like company and I think they may be just a leeeetle lonely :)

So! Let's talk about Week One of InCreWriJul!

Well, I started out on Monday last month with about 12k in on The Name of the Blade: Book #3, as you know, and my goal was to do at least one 1.5 hour long-hand writing sprint per day, write up those notes and revise them as I went, and end up with about 10k of new words at the end of the week. Did it work?

It did and it didn't. Tuesday and Wednesday went absolutely to plan - about twelve pages of handwritten notes each day, which translated into two thousand words when typed up, making a total of 4k for both days. But on Thursday I woke up with a thundering headache which threatened to turn into a migraine despite all my best efforts. I wrote about half a page and then just had to give up - I could barely focus on the page - which was very frustrating because that was The Night Itself's official publication date and I really wanted to be working on the last book in the trilogy!

The next day the headache was still with me, but slightly better, so I decided to get stuck back in and hopefully make up for the wasted day. At which point I screeched to a halt, completely nonplussed. I realised I had no idea what to write next.

It was time to start work on a particular part of book #3 - a part I've been looking forward to for ages. I've had this amazing idea in my head since almost the beginning of planning these books out, where I wanted to send my characters on a sort of mini-quest and have them explore a wondrous and dangerous new environment like nothing we've seen in the books before. I've been collecting inspiring Pinterest images for it for three years, and frankly I couldn't wait to get started.

But because of how long I've been looking forward to it, and because of all the images I've collected, and because I wanted to absolutely stuff this section with cool stuff, I realised it wasn't good enough just to plough in and hope for the best. I needed to pull back, go through all the research I'd done and all the photographs I had and make a plan for how to fit everything that I wanted into this part of the book WITHOUT it becoming a rambling, pointless travelogue. My characters and plot still needed to be moving forward, after all.

Curses! That meant another day in which I couldn't do my writing sprint. Instead I spent the whole day covering Post-Its with scribbles and making bullet-pointed lists and clicking through my Pinterest boards. By the end of the day my headache was raging again and I felt very sick, but I did have something like a workable plan.

The next day was Saturday, my official day off (and the headache was finally mostly gone). But now I had two wasted writing days to make up for, so I chucked the idea of a day off in the bin and did my long-hand writing sprint; I just didn't type the notes up immediately afterwards. Then on Sunday I needed to do a bunch of things that I hadn't had time to do in Saturday, so I did my writing sprint, but again didn't type up the notes.

Monday rolled around. I did my writing sprint (in a rapidly filling notebook) and then it was time to type up my notes. I did a quick count and once again screeched to a halt. I had over thirty handwritten pages to revise, re-write and neatly type up. THIRTY. Eeep.

Well, I did my best, but after typing my little heart out for most of Monday I got to dinnertime and realised I still had eighteen pages to go. So I gave up for the day and watched The White Queen.

The wordcount for my manuscript is now 23.5k in total. That's 500 words less than I need to be on target - remember, I wanted to do 10k a week, and I started out with 12k. But I do have those eighteen pages of notes to type up, after which I'm confident I'll probably be a few thousand words OVER target, so I'm not beating myself up about it.

As first InCreWriMa weeks go, this one was pretty good (apart from the headaches - no more of those, please). What about you guys? Did you hit your target, blow past it, miss it completely? Tell us what happened and why in the comments. And remember, those who comment on every single check-in post will be entered in a prize draw at the end of this month, so don't be shy!


Essjay said...

Wow, well done on the words, the planning etc with an awful migraine too.

I hit my 7k (1k a day) which makes me wonder if I'd set myself more could I do that to? I'm awful at doing no more than needs to be done. Last year when I did nano I stopped at 50k dead! I think I need to tell myself it's okay to freestyle a bit more!

So, my goal for next week is another 7k on wip (which is now up to 17k) but also to do some handwritten stuff on another project (I normally type straight into laptop but I want to differentiate from my other wii).

Am loving this btw :-)

Barker and Jones Staff said...

I'm so impressed. When I have bad headaches I mostly just lie around and moan about them. :)

I'm at 12.8k of my hoped for 35, so I'm well ahead of target, and really enjoying myself. I knew I'd like this project once I got going on it, I just needed a push, so thanks Zoe. :D

Come on, everyone, we can all do it! ::pompoms::

Zoë Marriott said...

Essjay: Oh, it wasn't a migraine. It did feel like it might turn into one, but it didn't. If it had, I'd have been too busy throwing up and begging for death to do *anything*. Well done on hitting your target! Don't tell yourself off for that; it's a good thing. Just stick to it and if you feel like going more, fine.

B&JStaff: You're very welcome! And wow, well done :)

April C Rose said...

Zoe: When I read "The next day was Saturday," my sleep-deprived brain read, "The next day was Sunday again." I was expecting the next line to be about you eating one nice green leaf and feeling much better. I swear I didn't used to see children's books everyone. In any case, I'm glad you do feel much better. :)

Essjay: I think you should do it. Or maybe you can set a new goal, like: Exceed goal by ### words. :)

B&JStaff: Pompoms indeed!

As for me: I'm 160 pages into my line edits. My novel is nearly 300, so that's more than half way (Woot!). I started last week about 80 pages in, so I should manage the rest of my novel. I'm doing some small changes along the way. My betas said I need to make the Woods grittier. Part of that was making my main male less boy-next-door. I cried a little inside when I did that.

I haven't typed up all my edits yet. (I always print everything I have before I edit; it helps me to see it out in front of me.) I started last night after the toddler went to bed and worked til midnight, but I only typed in 24 pages before my eyes started crossing.

The next two weeks shall be challenging. I won't be in state for most of them. Fingers crossed. Thumbs pressed!

maya said...

Glad your writing sprints are going well and the headaches are gone. My copy of The Night Itself arrived this morning and I can't wait to start reading it!

Zoë Marriott said...

April Rose: Oh, you're not alone - I see them everywhere too. Well done and good luck with those edits!

Maya: Thank you! I really hope you enjoy it :)

Rebecca Lindsay said...

You did better than I would with a headache. I would be like Barker and Jones Staff, I would mope about the house and not do anything.

I didn't think I would achieve my target for this week, but I did. My goal was to write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a week, and I wrote 5,236 words. I am dissappinted not to be nearer to the top end of my goal, but considering I had my friend's birthday night out (after which I only had 3 hours sleep before going to work), two family outings, and lots of overtime, I think I did ok :)
My goal for next Tuesday is to write between 8,000 and 10,000 words.

Phoenixgirl said...

I made pretty good progress this week; I wrote something almost every day, ending up with almost three handwritten pages' worth (which is more than it sounds like, because I don't put in paragraphs when I write longhand - I know, it's weird). I covered several short scenes, and also got a clearer idea of the shape of the next chunk of plot. (As it happens, my recent reread of Shadows on the Moon helped with that, because part of it involves the heroine trying to push the hero away and him refusing to let her...)

Q said...

I worked on my novel every day this week (except Sunday, which I'm giving myself off)! I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but having the commitment to work every day was very useful in actually getting myself to work every day.

Zoë Marriott said...

Rebecca: Well, it wasn't a migraine. Like I said, if it had been a migraine I would have been far too busy begging for death to do anything useful. And what is it with people beating themselves up about hitting their targets? You hit and exceeded 5000 - that's great! Celebrate it! Good luck with next week.

Phoenix: Yay! So glad to be helpful :)

Q: Good for you. I wish I'd managed to get my day off this week; I'm already feeling a bit of fatigue as a result of missing it, so I hope to get this coming Saturday.

Rhia said...

Gosh, everyone seems to have done much better than I (checks words counts in Diary...)

The Good News: Target Two is nicely on-course, with the difficult chapter blocked out and almost 1,000 words of this written (which wasn't on last week's plan, so I've deserved chocolate for this).

Bad News: the article requires a lot more research than I'd thought/had been led to believe. I'd set myself the goal of reaching the second draft, which should have been 5,000 words. The reality is that I've written the first draft - which is a meagre 2,000 words and has a lot of holes clearly marked "AND?? Check this!"

No chocolate for that, then.

This week's goals:

a) Listen to progamme on iplayer which seems to have exactly the information I need to take the Big Hard Chapter further forward;

b) At least another 5k on the Big Hard Chapter;

c) Further research on the article; complete second draft of 5K.

In the meantime, I have thought of a lovely plotline for the next WIP, which is just calling out for me to to research and start on this; AND the research for the article has uncovered a fascinating life story which I an sure would be a good basis for a book. I mean, how do you guys out there COPE with this??

Zoë Marriott said...

Rhian: The answer to that final question is that most of us aren't as ambitious as you, with all those projects. I could *never* work on that many things at once. My eyes would explode. So you're doing really well as far as I'm concerned! Congratulations on your progress and good luck for this coming week :)

Rhia said...

Oh, I have no intentions of working on them all at once - it's just that the plot bunnies have gone stark raving mad and are coming up with ideas, and indeed lines of dialogue...

AmyLily said...

That's great Zoë! :)

I've managed to make good progress this week and hit my target everyday, apart from at the weekend. I too was crippled by a headache and had to work both days, leaving me feeling drained & sick yesterday. So things have started off slowly this week, but I'm not giving up!

Rachel Balcombe said...

Considering I only really write yesterday and today, I think I've done rather well. I've got about an extra 1,000 words on the second attempt at my WIP, although some of those were stolen from the previous draft. And my brain's been exploding with plot epiphanies all over the place, so I should be able to get some more done this week. I'm therefore going to tentatively raise my target to 200 words a day, which means 1400 words a week. My target isn't high enough to deserve a day off, and at this point I think the best thing for me is to just keep going. :)

(btw, I finished TNI yesterday morning - OH MY GOSH I love it. Perfect for the first in a trilogy - it has its own individual plot but enough to make me sad that it's going to be a whole year until the next one. And that's impressive considering the novel all happens in like 24 hours or something? I thought you were going to make me cry near the end, but then crisis averted. You are awesome and wonderful and never stop doing what you love, Zoe. :) )

Cherie Rosemin said...

People seem to have done so well! *stares at ground, guiltily*

I haven't written nearly as much as I'd like, but I think that the stuff I have written is a lot better than normal so hopefully that balances it out a bit.

And the planning for the new story is going quite well. I have yet to put anything down on paper, but I'm still working stuff out in my head and planning characters and stuff.

I didn't write for a couple of days because it was just too hot to do anything but melt, but I've been considering starting a blog (again) because the lack of an actual goal left me floundering a bit.

Good luck and well done to everyone else participating in InCreWriJul :D

Zoë Marriott said...

Amy: Isn't it ANNOYING? It's like your own brain is against you. I know that I would have been close to 30k by now if it weren't for that stupid headache. Oh, well. We did well to keep our spirits up, right? FIGHT!

Zoë Marriott said...

Rachel: If you want to keep going, you keep going. When I worked full-time I never had a day off because I was writing small amounts, so I just wanted to write as much as I could when I could. Keep up the good work. Thanks for your nice words about TNI, hun! I very much appreciate it (and if you felt like perhaps copying and pasting that into an Amazon review, that would also be awesome - although there's no pressure!).

Cherie: It's only week one, my lovely. No need to feel worried or inadequate at all - this is supposed to be fun, after all. Keep doing what makes you happy, that's all. I hope to see you back next week :)

Elyndra said...

My goal might not have been very big this week, but I'm still happy that I did manage to write 500 words a day. It was a good way to get started again after so long. I decide to use prompts and write short stories, because I didn't feel like jumping right in the middle of my story just yet. I actually used that 500 as a limit as well as a goal, which is very difficult because I'm not good at being brief.

For next week, I'm going to try to write 1000 words a day and see how it goes. I might write more, but I don't want to be too ambitious just yet.

Rachel Balcombe said...

Ooh yeah, I was totally going to do that and then I forgot. Done. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Elyndra: It sounds like you did brilliantly at easing your way back into writing. Well done. And good luck with the 1k target next week :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Rachel: Thank you! I appreciate it very much. *Hugs*

Isabel said...

This week didn't go very well for me, because I was unexpectedly really busy. My cousins from Brazil arrived, there was my birthday and 4th of July, plus a trip to NH over the weekend and starting camp yesterday. I've been really frustrated with how difficult it's been to get to work on anything, but I did work a little on the intro to my essay, so at least I have a start other than one of the middle sections that I worked on the week before. As for my plotting, it's been brewing in the back of my mind but I have yet to take time to put some more ideas down on paper. Hopefully this coming week will be more productive for me. Everyone else seems to be doing really well though, which is great!

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: It's only week one, and you've had a lot of stuff going on, so don't worry about this too much, hun. Do what you *need* to do, and then make writing the fun thing that you *want* to do. It helps :) Good luck for the coming week.

whispering words said...

Hey Zoe! Congrats on your word count - very impressive especially with a headache raging in the background!

My word count is not so good. Even though my target was a mere 200 words a day - I only just made it! Barely! Because of work, combined with 37 degree heat (never thought I would miss British weather so much) and the summer invasion of cockroaches, its hard to find time to write! Combine them with the typhoon that is suppose to hit us tomorrow, I think mother nature is conspiring to kill me! lol

Anyway good luck to everyone else on this weeks goals!

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