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.

What next?

After the festivities of Christmas, reality has set in and whilst I made some big plans at the start of 2019, within weeks it became obvious that these would be unachievable.

It has been a lot to admit that despite my original intention to publish The KeyMaster this autumn, circumstances won’t allow. I was so excited to think that this project I’ve been working on for so long might finally be on its way to the big wide world that it’s been crushing to realise this will just not be possible. Yet.

Besides coming to terms with this sad truth, these last few months have been frustrating for me creatively as my laptop finally gave up the ghost. Its memory had slowly been eaten up until there was nothing left and my documents just wouldn’t open.

I didn’t think it would affect me like it did; as a writer you feel helpless, like your creativity has been squashed. I know you can use paper and to plot I do, but to write I like to type straight away.

This last week, I have been fortunate enough to be gifted a Bluetooth keyboard from a family friend, so I can at least continue typing. But circumstances haven’t changed.

Consequently, my next steps forward are to finish the final edit of The KeyMaster Book 1 and move on to Book 2. There are some plotting and planning techniques I’ve come across through the Instagram writing community that I want to try (If you are a fellow writer, I seriously recommend you using Instagram to connect with like-minded writers. It’s such a vibrant and supportive community.) If you are interested in seeing how they go, keep an eye on my social media and website for posts and (hopefully) videos.

Happy Chinese New Year!

春节快乐!猪年大吉!恭喜发财!

Having lived in China and immersed myself in its language and culture for almost 20 years, Chinese New Year is an extra special celebration in our household. I’ve put up my decorations and am looking forward to a feast this evening. Will you be celebrating?

Happy Chinese New Year!

Writing Resolutions

Something @authorbrittanywang mentioned in one of her videos was a piece of advice which has haunted me ever since hearing it : Start with something you don’t love.

I wish I had done that, as I love The KeyMaster and I want to do it justice, but circumstances are against me. My dream has always been to publish this autumn, but I’m having to face the possibility (rather, the reality) that this won’t happen.

So, my writing resolutions, faced with this possibility (reality), is that I shall finish this edit of Book 1 then shelve it and move onto Book 2 and all the prequels I have planned. Which is no bad thing, plus things will be in order for when circumstances do change. I shall also focus on a story that I love but isn’t as dear to me as The KeyMaster is. Inspiration is already striking, which I’ll take as a good sign! I think I might also try Wattpad once more.

Have you any resolutions?

Instagram photo challenges

Sorry! I’ve been a bit quiet on here this month. I’ve been wrapped up with my first round of self-editing plus I’ve been busy on Instagram, taking part in two photo challenges #bawritinglife and #fantasywipseptember

Whilst the two challenges have varied in length they have both been enjoyable and enlightening. Although I reflect daily on my story, its world and characters, I’m not accustomed to sharing my reflections. So it’s been good practice for me. Plus, it’s been great meeting so many nice people!

Have a look at my Instagram Feed for my contributions and posts.