Preparing to Return to Writing

At 1.30pm today I will disconnect the internet, turn off the phone and return to writing Whispering Caves (after a two week break due to illness). I will be home alone. There will be no distractions. And I will ignore the headache I’ve got, because I’m used to working through those now.

I want to write and I will write! Nothing will stop me.

This morning, I have surfed the internet, played games and faffed about doing silly things. I have attempted to get everything out of my system so that the quiet writing time I will have this afternoon will be totally focused.

I have even gone to numerous writer’s websites purely for inspiration. And there’s so much to be had. It’s wonderful. But the place I found the most inspiration today was The Clarity of Night website, where a competition is being hosted at the moment. The entries are in and readers are being asked to cast their votes. There’s over 70 entries but as they are flash fiction the entries don’t take long to read and I found myself reading them. All of them. I also found myself enjoying and being inspired by quite a few. Eventually, I decided that since I’d put the time into reading all the entries, I should cast a vote because it was the right thing to do. I want the authors of the entries I really enjoyed to receive points in the competition. I want them to know that someone appreciated their efforts. I want to add at the time that I’ve never been to the website before so I’m not associated with it in any way.

Reading the short pieces of flash fiction helped me get into the zone today. But as I read the pieces I came to realise that my preferences are clear – I like dialogue in writing, I’m not keen on all narrative pieces. That is the case when reading longer pieces too. I sway towards books with plenty of dialogue, I enjoy them so much more. But all readers are different. I know that. Writing is always about finding balance in our work. Writers can always appeal to all sorts of readers if they can just find the right balance. Easier said than done.

But enough faffing. Right now, I need to make myself lunch and a cup of tea. In just over half an hour I will open my manuscript and will be dragged into a fantasy world where lives are at risk, love is blossoming, secrets are being kept and the past and present meet. I can’t wait to get there. 😀

The Disorder Has a Name

Last week I wrote a post admitting that due to illness I had not written a word all week. Unfortunately, due to the same reason, the situation remains the same and no more words have been written. However, I am feeling slightly better now and there will be a short time tomorrow when I’ll be home alone so I plan to remedy my two wordless weeks then.

Readers who visit here often will know I have a blood disorder. Today, I learned exactly what that disorder is. It is called Essential Thrombocytosis. I’ve had the disorder for some months now and I think it strange that I only now find out the name of it and what it is. In fact, the circumstances behind this happening is complex (which I’m not going to share) but a young, inexperienced doctor has given me more information in the past two days than a seasoned specialist has shared with me in five years.

Anyway, I’m over that side of things. Let’s move on.

Essential Thrombocytosis is a rare chronic blood disorder caused by an over-production of platelets by a certain dysfunctional bone marrow cell. I believe the medication used to treat the disorder puts the patient at risk of contracting leukeamia after long-term use. Due to this, the patient must be strictly monitored to ensure red blood levels do not drop too severely. Of course, side affects are also a worry.

My immune system has been thrown off balance and the last two weeks has seen me trying to fight two infections and it looks as if I can look forward to battling the flu in the near future (next few days). This doesn’t account for all the illnesses I’ve endured in the last 10 days, but as I’m starting to feel much improved I can push the memory of those other things aside and hope they don’t return any time this century!

The difference between today and yesterday is enormous. Yes, I do feel a little better, but the biggest relief came from being told two words – Essential Thrombocytosis. Just knowing the name of what I have has taken some of the strain away. Now I know what it is, I know what it can do and I know what needs to be done. Yesterday, I knew none of these things…and it was stressful. Today, I can start preparing a battle plan to start getting better.

Book Covers are on My Mind

I’ve got a plan and that plan includes thinking about book covers. I look at them and try to work out what works and what doesn’t (for me). All readers are different, so what feels good to me might be a complete turn off for you, but that’s life.

With this in mind, I set out to find book covers, lots of them and I found the Book Cover Archive. It’s a perfect place to look when book covers are on your mind. There are pages and pages of them. It’s easy to see what colours work well together and those that don’t. It’s easy to decide if minimal is the best option, and also when busy is perfect. It’s great for learning about layouts and fonts and images too. When I look at them, I know instantly which ones I’d pick up and the ones I wouldn’t waste my time on.

Yes, book covers are on my mind. My only regret is that I can’t draw or paint or do anything slightly creative in that sense. But does that mean I can’t make a good cover? I hope not because I’ll be needing one or more soon.

I’ve decided to publish my cat’s series. Books 1 and 2 are written, but will need another edit before I move into the next stage of my plan. Books 3 and 4 are planned, but need to be written. The target audience is 9 to 12 year olds, so I’ll need colourful covers that will appeal to that age group. Oh how I wish I could draw because I know what I want but can’t think of a way to get it without it being drawn.

Stay tuned for further updates as I move along the indie publishing road.

Setting Stories Free

I’ve discovered another informative website – Publetariat.

If you click on the “Publish” tab, you’ll find a long list of articles that could steal several hours of your time. I read a few of them and intend to read more. But this post is related to one of the articles Setting Stories Free…For Free.

If you read the article, you’ll discover the author has been giving away free stories for nine years and she intends to continue doing so. Over the years she received a lot of flack over it, but that made no difference. Then, near the end of the article, she tells how she also has seven best sellers since 2005. No wonder she didn’t/doesn’t listen to the flack. What she’s doing is working in her favour, why should she stop doing it?

This is a great example of someone who made a decision and stuck with it. It’s also an example of how giving something away for free can lead to a readership that will support you when you publish too. But what I liked best about the article is that it gives a clear message of determination wins through, which is encouraging as we sometimes get disillusioned on this long journey.

Finish Your Manuscript

These days, many people want to write a novel. They talk about it. They may even plan it in their head. Others will go as far as making notes. Several of them will even open a blank document and start writing. But very few of them will finish the manuscript.

There’s no trick to finishing a manuscript. Except, perseverance and dedication. If you truly want to finish a manuscript, you will. There will be no excuses, distractions or hard luck stories that will stop you. You’ll want to sit and write, so you’ll find the time or make the time to do it. It’s that simple.

If you do make excuses, then maybe you don’t really want to write. Maybe the idea of writing is pleasing, but the actual hard work of writing isn’t for you. That’s for you to decide.

Yesterday, I wandered onto the site of Timothy Hallinan and found a page called Finish Your Novel. If you decide you do want to be writer, yet you’re having trouble getting the words down, then maybe the articles of Timothy’s website will help you.

Medieval Demographics Made Easy

It’s common for fantasy stories to have a medieval backdrop – castles, men (or women) on horseback and fire torches instead of battery operated torches. Of course, writers don’t have to use this setting. They can do whatever they want, because it’s fantasy! That’s the beauty of the genre.

Anyway, by accident I stumbled on a great resource for those of you who do have a medieval type world (like me). The page is called Medieval Demographics Made Easy and I believe it will help anyone get started on a world that is believable.

Feedburner Installed

In an effort to make this website easier to follow for everyone, I’ve installed a Feedburner plugin.  I’m not entirely sure how it works, but I’m sure that will become clearer with time.

Also available is a “subscribe by email”, which is something I’ve wanted to add for a while.  Now it’s here.  🙂

Now I want to figure out how to install feeds onto the home page.

Edit:  Cool, Google Feedburner also has a rss feeds that I can add to the upcoming new home page.