A Scary Deadline…

As it’s nearly Hallowe’en I make no apologies for the spooky photos!

Win a Year-Long Novel-Writing Course with The Novelry
Here’s a fabulous competition (only requiring you to fill in a form, answer an easy question and keep your fingers crossed!) to win a ‘year long novel writing course’, courtesy of Stylist and The Novelry.

But be quick because it closes at midnight on 1st November, which is next Monday. In the competition blurb it talks about ‘the winner’ but in the small print it says ‘x 15’ and talks about ‘winners’, so I don’t know how many prizes are up for grabs. I’d be surprised if it was as many as fifteen, so I think that might be a typo. Anyway, who knows? But it’s definitely worth a go if you want to write a novel or are in the middle of one!

Me, talking about my novel? Boring?

And talking of which, who’s gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which also starts on Monday, 1st November? I am going to use it to kickstart novel #2 (yes, you read that correctly. The ‘start’ bit, I mean!)

I have been doing some research and getting some ideas for my second novel but have I actually started to write? Erm, no I haven’t. And I have until 18th March to produce the first draft. So, there we go. I’m not panicking at all. Oh no. *cancels Christmas*

I am going on a writing retreat next week – more about that next time – so hopefully I will have time to get some words down.

I used NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago to get a big chunk of novel #1 written. I didn’t try to write chronologically, I just wrote scenes, descriptions, anything I could think of (that related to the story, obviously!), aiming for 50,000 words and it was helpful. Not everything I wrote made the cut but it didn’t matter.

Another reason that I haven’t got going yet with novel #2 is that I’ve been working on novel#1. I’ve seen and approved the proposed cover (squee!*) and the proposed tagline and blurb (double squee!*) and I have to write my dedication and acknowledgements. So, it’s all starting to feel quite real (and surreal) now.

* I swore I would never do a ‘squeee’ but sometimes, nothing else will do..

I’ve also been working on the novel’s line edits. (I know, I know. How many edits are there? Millions, is the answer). And I’ve realised that I have an awful lot of nodding and head shaking (the characters, not me).

You can get away with a few of those in a short story but in a novel, it starts to grate. It becomes repetitive and there’s a danger the reader will notice it and start to get annoyed (as I did with the Steig Larsson novels when they drank coffee on practically every page).

So, one of the things I’ve had to do, is go through the manuscript and take some of the nods and head shakes out completely or change them (and not to ‘she moved her head up and down’ or ‘he moved his head from side to side’ either, which I have seen someone on another site suggest!).

What’s your favourite character gesture? Do you have lots of furrowed brows, or smiles or sighs? Because most people don’t speak like robots. We move our hands, our faces and our bodies when we talk. Often, we give away what we’re really thinking – even if our words are saying something else – with our body language. So, gestures are important when our characters speak.

Just not always the same gestures, right?

Yes! No! Nods, shakes head.

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3 Responses to A Scary Deadline…

  1. Eirin Thompson says:

    How exciting to be starting a new novel! I hope you have fun with it in November. I am contemplating a new book, but am still at the dreamy, letting-ideas-land-lightly-on-my-mind stage and not yet ready to begin writing. Best wishes to you and all your correspondents who are doing NaNoWriMo – I wish I was ready to take part this year, but I’m just not.

  2. Oh, the nodding, the smiling, the sighing, the gazing, the one-shoulder shrugs. Excuse me while I slap my characters. 😉 Since I write crime fiction, I also have a lot of ‘fear’ reactions that I overuse. Notably, ‘she felt cold despite the warm room’. Stopittt!!!!

    I really recommend The Emotion Thesaurus and What Every Body Is Saying for finding more varied reactions.

    Good luck with nano! I’ve really come to value writing a draft zero, since it stops me from obsessing over word choice.

  3. AMANDA BARTON says:

    My characters are forever raising their eyebrows. Great post, and photo. March deadline? Ages away, as is Christmas – and no-one will convince me otherwise. Hope your retreat is productive and enjoyable.

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