New Project for 2019

With the publication of Domino Effect happening in early January 2019, I will be left with no option but to move on to the next project.

For me, it’s an old project. Actually, it is the first manuscript I wrote … and finished. It’s a story I love. The characters are like old friends, whom I know extremely well. And it’s time this baby of mine came into the limelight.

What is the name of the project? Good question.

It has gone from many names over the years. As I don’t want to confuse issues, I will only mention the name it is known by now — Whispering Caves. At present, I will say this is the working title as it may, or may not, be changed before publication.

Whispering Caves is a fantasy novel. Some might describe it as a Time Travel Romance, but that would not be exactly right. The main character does not go back in time, but side-ways. And although there is romance, the focus is the adventure, the danger, the confusion, the main character goes through.

I must admit that I am looking forward to working on this novel. There are many versions. In 2019, I will decide which one I will go with and start the manuscript on the road to publication. Watch this space.

Walking the Indie Publishing Road

No, I have not fallen into a black hole. Yes, I am still writing (even though the progress bars in the sidebar are not moving). So what have I been doing? The last few months have seen me more focused on writing than I have been in some time.

My progress with Whispering Caves was going quite well. However, writing in first person presented a problem where I couldn’t present vital information as the main character had no way of knowing about it (or finding out about it). I came up with a solution, but am not convinced it is working that well. Having written 15,000 words, I must admit that the manuscript has been placed on the back burner, once again. I’m not entirely happy with this decision, but feel I should be moving forward on other completed projects before finishing this one.

The reason I’ve put the manuscript on the back burner is due to another decision I’ve made about my Cat’s Series (for young readers). There are four books in the series. Two have been written and edited. The other two have been planned, but need writing. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided to publish this series of books myself.

At present, I’m trying to decide if I want to set up a publishing company (small press) or find out if there are other options that would be more suitable for my situation. I’m usually quite resourceful, but have had little luck finding any good information on what options are available to me. This may mean the options are limited, but I want to make an informed decision so I’ll keep searching.

Ideally, setting up a business would be great except I have no knowledge how to go about it or what it entails afterwards and this scares me…a lot! In fact, my own fear is holding me back from taking further steps and this not only annoys me, but frustrates me too.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on covers for the four books. As I’m not an artist, I’ve decided to go with a theme that will cover (excuse the pun) the entire series. The background colours will be bright, the main image will promote the essence of the series and then there will be another image that will be unique to each book. Books 2 and 3 are done, but I’m having a devil of a time with the cover of book 1 – Cat’s Eyes. I’ve been to many royalty free websites and have not found anything suitable. I have used family photos of my own cats to try and achieve a pair of cat’s eyes that would be right, but haven’t come up with the right look yet. A simple pair of black eyes on a transparent background, at a size suitable for cover artwork, will not defeat me!

That’s what I’ve been doing – artwork, editing, refining plans for the unwritten books, writing blurbs, researching and reading websites regarding indie authors, thinking about formats and publication. All these things are writing related.

If you know of any resources that may help me, please let me know. I need all the help I can get.

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. 😀

General Update

Health: Due to ongoing health problems, I haven’t had much to say on the internet. I’ve been too caught up in … pain, to be honest. 🙁 However, the intense pain (headaches mainly) seem to be subsiding, leaving me with niggly pains that I am able to cope with. I find I’m clearer minded now and able to think about things. This means I’m feeling more positive and able to get things done.

Writing: Apart from this week (but the week isn’t over yet, so maybe I’ll still get some words down), I’ve been writing about 2,000 words a week for Whispering Caves. I think that’s a great achievement, considering what I’ve been through. Anyway, I’ve hit the 15,000 word mark. 🙂 It is the first draft and I already know the first edit/rewrite is going to be a major one, but that’s OK.

Website: Some slight changes have been made, mainly to the navigation bar above. The home page will change on the weekend, when I have time to code what I’ve already got planned in my head. More on that at a later date.

Personal: I recently wrote a post about feeling isolated. This was written after several weeks of very little sleep and intense pain. Now that I’m feeling a bit more on top of things I’ve been thinking about what I wrote then and what I feel now and have decided that the house is important to my future security. It’s something I’ve strove for for a long time and I would be wrong (and stupid) to let it go without a fight. With this in mind, I think it’s time for me to “embrace” my decision to move to the new location and plan a future there. This may mean finding a new job in the area — even a part time job, if I can’t find a full time position — so that I get my life back. Until now, I have been holding on to my current job because I dreamed I’d be able to move back to the old location. But I’ve never been able to afford there. I can’t see why that will change now or in the future.

More on Writing: I’ve made a decision to do with the Cat’s Series (chapter books for 9 to 12 year olds). I won’t go into details now, but I’m excited about where I intend to go with these manuscripts. Stay tuned for announcements.

Writing: The Cogs Turn

As mentioned yesterday in Writing Progress Bar, I have been posting a lot about other things but nothing has appeared lately about my writing. I wouldn’t blame readers for thinking it’s not happening, but it is. I can’t say I’m crunching the numbers, but slow and steady still finishes the race.

Over the last two weeks I’ve written about 2,000 words per week, which I think is good. It’s certainly better than not writing at all. As of right now, I’m hovering just below the 10,000 word mark, which is very exciting.

However, what I really want to post about today is how even the best planned stories can go off in a completely new direction. This has happened to me with Whispering Caves. My plans are sitting dormant and the storyline has changed. The main character’s personality is not how I envisioned. A rawer, gutsier woman is coming through and that is definitely a good thing. Her background has shifted too. She has had a tough upbringing and I guess that’s why she won’t take any crap from anyone. I like her.

But that’s not the only thing that has changed. My entire vision for the manuscript never saw the light of day. For starters, I surprised myself by writing in first person and then I surprised myself by splitting the manuscript into three parts. I won’t go into details as to why, but I’m pleased with the new direction.

Finally, remember that “book” thread that gave me so much trouble? Well, it seems all the thought that went into that thread has paid off because I am now completely rid of the old storylines and scenes that kept popping up in my head. (I suffered from “not wanting to let go” syndrome.) The cogs are turning in the right direction and the storyline is nothing like my plan, but it feels complete in my mind.

I may not give regular updates, but the status bar will indicate if I’m still focused and writing the manuscript. At this stage, I will not set a public goal as to when I want to finish the manuscript. I just want to write and setting goals could put unnecessary pressure on me. The manuscript will be finished when I reach the end.

Whispering Caves: The Writing Begins

After all the planning, procrastinating and problems, I finally opened a blank page and started writing. And…to help myself get a good start I made a very public goal on Facebook – I declared I would write 5,000 words this weekend.

In all honesty, I went with my gut when I pulled that number out of the air and even though I published the goal I felt this overwhelming urge to retract it instantly as I thought I’d given myself a recipe for failure. I forced myself to ignore that negative feeling and immediately started to write. That was at about 9ish this morning.

It’s now almost 8.30pm and I’m pleased to report that I wrote a staggering 3,728 words. And I did it with ease. I’m so pleased with myself.

Yet, after all the planning, I was still in for a pleasant surprise when the story I began came out in first person. Now, that was a shock. It certainly wasn’t planned, but it’s given the story a whole new feel which I didn’t expect and have found quite inspiring. Hence the number of written words today.

On top of all this, I have discovered more about the main character I didn’t even know and I also have been given three items that fit into the storyline, which weren’t there when I started typing. Who said planning took the fun out of writing?

Whispering Caves already has a prologue and a first chapter. I’m feeling excited about this whole writing thing and I can’t wait to return to the story tomorrow morning.

Update: I managed to reach the goal set on Saturday morning. I wrote a total of 5,124 words, which was very satisfying.

Solved: The Book Thread

Originally posted on another site on 28 April 2010.

Once upon a time there was a book thread in a story that was washed up and going nowhere fast. It was so boring that the writer refused to work with it – horrible, I know, but it’s the truth. Yet, no matter what the writer did, she could not find a replacement. Even with proper advertising, no good candidate came forward.

What was she to do?

Days turned into months and still no joy. In desperation, she talked to anyone who would listen but that didn’t amount to many people. She knew what those glazed eyes meant or the roll of their eyes. She then turned to another avenue which offered a slim chance of solving the problem. From that source she received a few suggestions, but one sparked an image in her mind. A small solitary image.

Had she found a new candidate? Hope stirred in her belly yet she wouldn’t allow herself to get too excited because she knew how disappointed she’d be if it was another false lead.

Climbing out of the box she had found herself in, she decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt something unheard of – for her. She wrote a voice journal from the point of view of a book. Yes, you read that correctly.

It started out like this:

I am the keeper of secrets and most of my life has been spent in hiding. I am a book. When I was young, I had durable leather binding and my pages were an off white, creamy colour. They were thick to touch and held the ink quite well because I was made by an expert in the field. Now I grow old and fragile, but I still hold the secret entrusted to me many, many years ago. But no one has come to learn my secret for a very long time.

Nothing special, but from there it got quite interesting. The book told the story of its existence and the secrets it kept and the author was eager to hear it all. It told of violence leading to death and magic leading to disappearance. It told of old kings, young men and forgetful minds. It told of rebellion and magic of a different kind. It told of old haunts and new beginnings. But it didn’t tell the most important thing of all!

The weak book thread has been abolished and replaced with a storyline that the author is happy with and now the writing of the manuscript can begin. 😀

Writing Update: Doubts, Problem Threads and the Mystery Project

Originally posted on another site on 24 April 2010.

Whenever I make a public declaration about my writing, it all falls in a heap a few days/weeks later, so I’m reluctant to talk about it any more. And I’m sick and tired of reporting that “I don’t have time” or “I’m too tired” or “blah blah isn’t working out how it should”. Excuses, all excuses!

So I’m going to say it straight. I’m doubting my ability as a writer. There, I said it.

Oh, it’s not the first time I’ve found myself full of doubt and it won’t be the last time. It’s just the person I am. I’m a worrier from way back. If I haven’t got anything to worry about, I’ll worry about that. Anyway, I have doubts, but I’ve decided that I want to write so I’m going to write. What happens after that is not to be worried about. And I’m going to write when and how it suits me and stop (or try to stop) worrying about the whole bloody thing because it’s the worry that is taking the enjoyment out of it.

Project 1: Whispering Caves

This is a project I started way back in the old days – and I mean 20 years ago. I finished the manuscript, but it needed much improvement. There were holes like you wouldn’t believe but I fell in love with the characters and world, and have decided to salvage what I can and move on.

Thing is, the longer I plan, the more I’m moving away from that old story. Admittedly, I know I’ve been holding on and holding on. I’ve even written a post about it before, but I’ve finally made the decision to let go and remould the story without holding on to the past. That decision came when I realised I had to remain my characters to fit with the history I have built for the world. If I don’t rename them then I will be leaving a marker in the story that shouldn’t be there.

In essence, the only remainder will be the story title – Whispering Caves – because that is the perfect name for the story I’ve planned.

Now the problem with this story is that I can’t stop planning and that is a bad thing. The reason is because one thread is lacking something, still, and I can’t figure out what to do by myself. This morning, in fact, right now I’ve decided to approach a small group I’m a member of and ask for their help. Maybe getting this issue resolved will allow me to move from planning mode to writing mode.

Project 2: The Mystery Project

This is a project that I’ve started working on and doing research for. I will not divulge any information about it, but I will mention that the planning practically took care of itself in a 24 hour period. It will be written in three parts, which I can flit between at will. I’m ready to write.

I’ve set up the document and plan to dedicate a few hours to it today. This is an exciting step for me as I don’t feel as if I’ve actually written anything in a long time.