NaNo Update #4

November is drawing to a close and another NaNoWriMo with it. Mine hasn’t been the all out marathon slog and final race to the finish as, once again, I’ve played by my own rules.

There’s one more day to go, but with that in mind, how have I done?
Not bad. Not bad at all.

  • My target of 30,000 words won’t be smashed. But I’ll be close.
  • Twenty chapters? I’ll be a chapter short. Not a problem.
  • Have I enjoyed it. Certainly!

I have lots of flesh on the bones of my main plot and I’ve a couple of subplots bubbling away nicely. My characters have been chased up several trees and fires set under them. I still don’t know quite how it will end, but where would be the fun in that?

Now, like any good brew, I shall leave it to stand for a little time before launching into the second half of the book, which I hope to complete by next (southern hemisphere) spring. In the meantime, the novel I started last November, Song of the Sea Goddess, will be released in early January 2021.

My conclusion:
November is a good month to start writing a novel.

NaNo update #3

Week 3 came to an end all too quickly but I’m still almost on track to achieve my personal target for this ‘dedicated’ writing month. I’ve dropped a chapter behind, but it’s not a train smash. The story is shaping up nicely and a few unexpected elements have emerged. I love these kind of surprises!

Meanwhile this week, I launched the ARC for Song of the Sea Goddess – do help yourself to a copy, there are still some left. Since it’s the sequel to Sea Goddess that I’m writing now, I’ve been truly immersed in my imaginary world on the west coast. It’s an exciting place to be.

Eight more writing days left to the end of NaNoWriMo2020. I wonder what further surprises lie ahead? Apart from a planned interruption to the electricity supply for the whole of Tuesday, which is really not going to help. Ah well, this is Africa!

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend – whatever you’re up to!

Nano update #1

The first week is over – already! All is going well (so far). Words are flowing, characters are cooperating, and lo, I’ve even done a little bit of ‘panster planning’.

I’m embarking on the sequel to my soon-to-be-released novel and it’s certainly easier working with a core cast of fully-formed characters. New ones too, are appearing from the wings and it’s exciting getting to know them.

Here’s the mind map I’ve been scribbling, which is supplementing the jottings of my developing thoughts in a notebook. Don’t try to read my terrible handwriting. I blame it on years of note taking.

So, in summary, how am I doing?
Five chapters (almost) completed
7169 words written (all of them good ones)

Verdict: Just a handful of words shy of my target. I’m happy with that!

To NaNo or not to NaNo?

Shall I? Shan’t I? This is what I’ve been asking myself over the past few weeks. I think I vowed not to do this again at the end of last November. I’d made hard work of it, although I didn’t need to; not that I signed up for the ‘real deal’, just a modest target of 30,000 words. However, in the end, I did get half a novel almost completed within the month.

So it was worth it!

That novel is now complete. Song of the Sea Goddess is due for release early next year and, in the meantime, I shall be offering advance reader copies to any of you who’d like to read it and review it. More about this soon.

So, NaNo again?

You bet! But on my own informal personal terms like last year and the year before:

– Target 30,000 words.

– Write at least 5 chapters each week.

– Enjoy it!

That won’t be a whole novel. It will be a good start.

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and Sinead and Moonsprite’s saga will continue too!

My Monday warm up with Sadje’s What Do You See will continue

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Good luck to all NaNoWriMo participants!
Especially those who have committed to doing it properly.

It’s all over now

nanowrimo 2019

The final week shuddered to a grinding halt yesterday, with not a single word more written since Thursday. ‘Life’ got in the way. 

Never mind.

The ‘life’ bit included trying to persuade people to help themselves to the free download of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ I’m pleased to say there has been some success so far, and the offer will still be running for almost another 24 hrs.

Back to NaNoWriMo. I didn’t quite reach my hoped-for word count of 30K, but I’m beyond 25K and story-wise I’m reaching the mid-point, although there are a few blank spaces in the chapters I’ve written so far. Compared to last year, I’m about two chapters shy of where I got to with Following the Green Rabbit, so I’m pretty satisfied.

Of course it isn’t all over. The story continues to drip forth. I’m hoping to have something approaching a completed MS by next Easter. Then comes the tricky bit. To paraphrase one of Mr Shakespeare’s characters: ‘To query or not to query?’

If you were participating in NaNoWriMo on any level, how was it for you?

NaNoWriMo Week #3

nanowrimo 2019

Well, I’m pretty pleased with myself at the end of week 3. I have a further six chapters more or less completed, although obviously not polished, and the story is flowing now.

My characters are fleshing out nicely: they have quirks and foibles and they’re starting to spark off one another. Yesterday I nearly fell off my chair trying to imagine what it would be like to climb up the inside of a cave, and I became quite breathless swimming along an underwater tunnel.

It’s been fun!

I’ve fallen a little behind today, as I spent all morning chatting over rooibos tea and biscuits with one friend, and half the afternoon chatting over coffee and stollen with some other friends. I must take advantage of the sudden sugar rush!

On to the final week…

Enjoy, fellow NaNo writers! My tip of the week: cake helps.

NaNoWriMo Week #2

nanowrimo 2019

Well I’d be fibbing if I was to say it was all going swimmingly. And, in a sense this is more prevarication. So I’ll keep it short.

This week two things have been troubling me:

Firstly, the story I’m working on is set in a semi-fictional part of South Africa, which I know fairly well, and it’s sort of present day, but there’s something which doesn’t feel right. I’m not yet sure what it is.

Secondly, I’m having trouble with a couple of characters. I can’t quite work them out. I’m still waiting for them to speak to me. I’m sure they will. I need more conversations!

I just checked back to this time last year. I was doing better word-count wise, but I can see there were doubts in my mind.

Oh and my laptop is on a go-slow. Must be the heat: mid afternoon, 34C in the shade.

Okay, I’m telling myself it’s going to be fine, fine, fine. Just go with the flow and enjoy it! It’s not that anyone but me is piling on the pressure.

Going back to the writing ‘happy place’ for a couple of hours…

Onward and upward, fellow Nano writers!
(as I said this time last year).

To which this year I add:
Relax. Enjoy.

 

The Story of the Storyteller

The Story of the Storyteller by Chris Hall lunasonline

The Storyteller arrived in the village wearing a broad-brimmed black hat which made it hard to see her face. She began to tell stories, her stories. She encouraged us to tell our stories. Stories of all kinds: short stories, sad stories, stories that would make you think, or laugh, or look under the bed before sleeping.

Our village was alive with words. Our stories became known far and wide. We were the ‘Village of the Stories’ – stories which we could shout from the rooftops or sing by the stream or whisper in the woods.

People came to hear our stories. They wanted stories of their own. Some learned how to tell them, but others came to steal them. They sent their spies to seek out our stories and sell them as their own.

We were disheartened. The Storyteller slipped away; her stories disappeared with her. We fell silent. Our words were hidden and our stories slept.

But then we decided.

‘No more,’ we shouted. ‘We will seek out the thieves and shame them. We will take our stories back.’

And so we did. And we hope the Storyteller hears this and returns with her stories and her broad-brimmed black hat.

 

 

Author Angst

Nothing to Say by Chris Hall lunasonline

Drag open cupboards! Rummage the dusty shelves!
Words spill out; letters separate, scatter across the floor.
Photos flame to ash, picture frames’ contents
ooze sludgily down the walls.

You fling open a window. There’s a beach, sunshine and the smell of the sea!
Waves lapping; a boy in a boat.
He points and you look
but there’s nothing to see.

A sudden squall
slams the window
shut.

Here’s a door; chained and padlocked.
There’s a message, curled and yellow, stuck to the frame
A single word, written in your own hand:
No.

You step away, anxiously.
You know. Now
is not the time.

Turn away, turn back!

You trudge step-by-step
over the disturbed contents
of your untidy mind.

Empty handed.
Empty headed?

You take a breath, drain the mug of tepid tea and realise that
Today, you simply have
Nothing to say.

Ducking Under the Radar

cropped-editing-youll-never-walk-alone-by-chris-hall-lunasonline.jpg

Okay, those of you who’ve been following the unfolding story of ‘A Nick in Time’, my children’s novel, will know we are reaching the climax and soon the story will draw to a (very satisfactory) close.

I’ve decided to devote the next couple of weeks to doing just that, so I shall be going rather quieter than usual, although I will be popping up now and then to see what you’re all up to.

One more cliff-hanging chapter will appear here, but the ultimate finale will remain undisclosed until the story is ready for publication. Then you, loyal followers of ‘A Nick in Time’ (and you know who you are), will receive a free advance copy of the ebook. 

Bear with me. If I work hard it shouldn’t be too long.

see you soon