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Camp NaNo: July 2019

I signed up! I’m doing it and let daily goal too! I’ve never done anything like this but I’m really enjoying my cabin, the support of my fellow campers and a chance to totally focus (as much as I can!) on my writing.

I’ve been sensible with my goal: 15,000 words for the month, just under 500 words a day. I’m also using Chris Fox’s 5k power hour method of weird sprinting which is stressful but do good!

Anyone else taking part in Camp NaNo?

I never win anything!

The last thing I remember winning was a bottle of Babycham from the Summer Fair raffle when I was at primary school. It promptly vanished and I never got to enjoy my prize, although my parents seemed quite chuffed (!) But, I can now say differently as I recently won a critique from a professional editor on the first 5000 words of my WIP!

I came across the giveaway on Kristin McTiernan’s new YouTube channel. Kristin is a professional editor and fellow author I know through Instagram (@kristinmagoo) and when she announced her new channel I immediately subscribed. I now eagerly await her videos to be uploaded. As someone who is self-editing one book and writing another, I devour any hints and tips I come across from editors and authors. Anything to help me improve. Her channel is no different.

One day whilst listening, I heard her mention a giveaway: a critique of 5000 words! I immediately entered with all my fingers and toes crossed. I’m nowhere near sending my manuscript off to editors, but I knew I would benefit from a professional’s opinion. Days later, a notification came through that I’d actually won!

After taking the weekend to make my first 5000 words as good as I could, I nervously pressed ‘send’ and a week later my critique arrived!

I received several pages covering “First Impressions”, “Grammar/Punctuation/Mechanics”, “Characters”, “‘Grab’ Factor” and “Editing Recommendations”.

As a teacher, I understand the benefit of constructive criticism, so the process didn’t faze me at all. It was great seeing the opening chapters from someone else’s point of view. Sequences and reactions were questioned which I would never have considered. Kristin herself was friendly with her critique but honest; the perfect combination needed to get manuscripts looking their best. I would highly recommend her and can already see improvements in my manuscript. All in all, it was a really positive experience. (Phew!)

If you’re in need of an editor or simply want to reach out, her website is can be found here.

Happy Easter

He is risen, hallelujah!

Whether you are religious or not, celebrate Easter or not, I wish you all a very joyful, happy, egg-filled Easter!

✝️
Cross facts. This beautiful cross belonged to my Belorussian grandmother. She had quite a life. Whilst a teenager, the Nazis invaded her village doing their thing and they wanted a daughter from my grandmother’s household (There were three, her stepsisters and her). Her stepfather told them to spare his own daughters and take her, so they did. She was then sent to work in concentration camps until the war ended.

Despite the atrocities she lived through and those that she saw, she still wore this cross. I think that is amazing.
✝️

Plotter or Pantser, which are you?

Now, until I’d joined Instagram and befriended other writers, I had never come across these two terms, let alone contemplated which I might be. However, since joining Instagram, I’ve quickly realised I am neither. It turns out I am a Plantser or Plotser, or whatever a hybrid of the two is.

This revelation shocked me quite profoundly as I am OCD. It doesn’t rule my life but it’s there. I like things clean and tidy but I’m not obsessive. My ‘thing’ is checking things: locks, windows, items, is my alarm set? Did I lock the car? Is the window that’s been locked all winter, still locked? Double check, triple check, quadruple check. It’s not (totally) a bad thing because I know for certain if something’s amiss, but it does waste time and I know it’s not healthy. But, I digress.

So, despite being OCD I’m not with regards to my writing. Contradictory, right? I mean, I plot. I have a basic timeline, chapter outline, back stories for my characters, I research names, terms, phenomena, anything and everything that’s relevant. But I don’t have the full outline written down. I know the key points, I know some of what happens in between but not everything; and writing like that suited me fine for Book 1.

However, for Book 2 I’m trying to plot more, not necessarily the entire story, but more. So far, I have worked on my Beats, but I could only plot so many; I have plotted and planned my key characters in more depth, using Sarra Cannon’s freebie “Plot your Novel”; and I am 5,000+ words into typing up my Series Bible (using the free outline courtesy of Bethany Atazadeh). And I’ve still got my plot embryos to draft!

I really recommend the freebies, they’ve given me direction and have made me contemplate things about my characters and world that I would never have done. Which can only be a good thing, right? Nonetheless, it’s been difficult. Not the plotting or Series Bible, they’ve been fun; but the Story Beats (a section within Bethany’s freebie). Bizarrely, pinning them down was really tricky; my brain reached a point where it couldn’t take anymore and suffered a meltdown: “I don’t know! Let’s just write and see!”

I’m certainly not a Plotter! I am determined though to do a month’s more plotting before I start writing. I have a feeling it’ll save me time later, and time is my most precious commodity.

Does this resonate with you? Are you in Team Plotser/Plantser? Or a clearcut Plotter or Pantser? Any tips you’d be happy to share? I’d love to know!

Today I created a #hashtag!

Today I created a hashtag for Urban Fantasy authors: #urbanfantasyauthorcommunity

I’d been think of creating a hashtag for a while but thought I was being silly. Then yesterday, I received a message from a fellow author who said how glad she was to meet a fellow Urban Fantasy author and it struck a chord. So, on checking Instagram and seeing no hashtag had been created, I created a post and made one myself. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive and I’m so excited where this could go!

Building Your Platform – the BuJo Way! (First ever video!!)

Every month, I send out one free Bullet Journal spread to those on my mailing list. For March I’m giving them not one, not two but six (!) spreads to help plan, organise and improve their Author Platforms. However, the spreads are perfect for any creative entrepreneur wishing to review and improve their platforms.

To help introduce them, I have created a video (my first proper one!)

If you’re interested in receiving this month’s free spreads, as well as future ones, please sign up here.