Writing a Novel: Cutting Out The B.S

If you’re writing a novel, this is all very good stuff.

Sorry nothing from me this week. Am awaiting learning observation in… 40 minutes. Very scary! Ask any teacher.

Blog About Writing

The more I try to write a novel, the more I feel like I’m learning to write all over again.

I’ve got until the end of January to get the second draft done and sent off for a critique, so now I’m going through the first draft (which is as rough as a bear’s bum) and:

1. making a list of all the scenes (so many mad ideas! Some to be jettisoned, some to be expanded).
2. sorting out the ‘backstory’ and putting those pages into a pile of their own, clearly (and rather appropriately), labelled ‘BS’.

When I went on a novel-writing weekend last October, I was told in no uncertain terms, that my first 5000 words were (pah!) ‘backstory’ (ie: stuff that comes before the ‘narrative frame’ of the novel) and, it seems, that’s a typical rookie mistake.

Another delegate on the course confided that she’d had to…

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The Last Day of Christmas

Can’t stop long.  Am reading Anne Boileau’s Katharina Luther, Nun Rebel and Wife, which is amazing and I’ve got to finish it for book club on Tuesday afternoon, when the author herself is coming to deliver a talk on Katharina Luther and her book.  Actually we’ve all known Anne for a long time, as a member of the congregation of our neighbouring church and by another name – her real name.  It’s great to read a very local author.

January 2018, Together magazineIn the meantime – and on a much smaller scale – my article on church bookshops (Do We Need Bookstalls Inside Churches?) has been published in the January edition of Together magazine (Together being the journal of CRT (Christian Resources Together), which supports all Christian publishing.)  Of course, one and only husband found a SPAG, a word omitted – my besetting sin, since I started writing stories at junior school.)

Christmas decorations in bags, having been packed up.It is now the end of Christmas.  Today is 6 January, Epiphany, the last of the twelve days of Christmas.  First thing this morning, OOH and I took down the decorations and put the tree outside.  They’re all in bags now, waiting to go into the attic.  I do love watching the Christmas lights on our Christmas tree, but there’s something very refreshing about seeing the house uncluttered by cards and dangling Christmas lights with trailing electric leads.  The days have started getting longer and lighter, really, honestly… well, a bit anyway.  Not so nice is having to prepare my lessons Bags full of teaching materials, ready for work tomorrow.tomorrow.

So, it’s down to work and down to writing… I hope.  Dear Reader, you saw my writing schedule in my previous post.  First thing is I have to write a blog post for the Association of Christian Writers More Than Writers blog for Saturday, 13 January.  However, already every day life is intervening.  I’ve just had to pay £300 on my car.  I took it into my usual garage to get its indicators sorted out, only to be told, by the mechanic, that all my tyres were almost illegal.  Seeing as I will be taking my poor little car to the same garage for its MOT in a couple of months, I had to get it sorted out.  Ouch, says my poor old bank account.  Ouch.  When are you going back to work, it asks, and when are going to be able to feed me again?

Schedule for Writing and Publishing?

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The day has come… for the Insecure Writers Support Group.  This month, we are asked what sort of schedule we have in place for writing and publishing.  I sort of alluded to this in my previous post (about New Year Resolutions).  My biggest issue at the moment is that I’m teaching and doing other (paid) jobs, also I’m Competitions Manager for the Association of Christian Writers and involved in leading services and preaching at church.  Contrary to what everybody believes about teachers (‘You get your long holidays, don’t you?’ Snigger, snigger, snigger.  Btw, we don’t.  Not in the adult sector), we work very hard, preparing lessons and doing all the paperwork required by management.  Moreover, although I enjoy my role in the ACW enormously, it does take up a lot of my time, as does what I do in church.  So…. a very crowded life, even though I retired, once, from full-time teaching, and this year I’ve got to think about what has to go.  (Put it another way, what I can afford to go.)

Photo of your blogger.
Me, in author pose.

Last month, I did myself an Author Photo – using the selfie tool on my iPhone (see right).

My schedule so far (not necessarily in this order) is pretty ropey:

  1. Edit The Novel whenever I get a spare moment.
  2. On completion of 1, consider structure of The Novel and re-edit.
  3. Write article on rejection for Christian Writer (already pitched).
  4. Read books in later historical genres.
  5. Read and review books published by Instant Apostle (because I’m in their Facebook group and who knows… they might be interested.)
  6. On completion of 1 and 2, seek an editor (probably seeking advice of someone in ACW).
  7. By 1 November 2018, be in a position to start Nano with a new book!

… And I think that’s enough to be going on with. However ropey my schedule seems to you, Dear Reader, I certainly won’t get around to doing anything more.