A little reflection – ROW80

I’m late for my Wednesday check in, but at least I made it – I missed the last few. There are reasons for that; the internet for one, and an increased work load. There’s also the fact I failed at NaNo, or perhaps I should say, I failed to achieve the required word count. I knew going in there was a chance I couldn’t dedicate the required time – I was juggling too many things. Because of that I also failed to connect with people as I did last year, which is a big reason I felt no motivation to reach the finish line. I was impulsive (nothing new in that respect) and decided to register at the last minute. It had something to do with a certain fireman talking incessantly in my head and reminding me that I’d promised him his day to shine almost two years ago. So, despite everything I’m really glad I set some of my time aside. Tyler is an absolute joy and once I start something I always try to finish. He’ll get more of my attention and in that respect I’m a winner!

When I began ROW80 I set myself baby steps and for the most part have managed to achieve them. That said, as there are only a few weeks left, this will probably be my last check-in. I will still be making the rounds and cheering people on – fulfilling my sponsor duties. It has been the best part for me.

I’m struggling a little at the moment. I’m feeling pretty low and finding the motivation to do anything is quite a challenge. I’m used to these moods and I’m doing all the right things to snap me out of the funk. The lovely Taylor Grace introduced me to the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the escapism has helped. I love the series, so thanks, Taylor! I’ve neglected Tyler a little, and haven’t been writing much of anything, but that’s something I’m familiar with too, so when the compulsion strikes I’ll delve into the fire – literally. I left him fighting a warehouse fire. Thankfully he has it under control 🙂

So, right now I need my internet friends. I’m going to visit some blogs, check in with people and hopefully get to read one of Callum’s poems 🙂

Thanks for listening.

Mel

Last minute changes – WIPpet Wednesday/ROW80

As it’s the first Wednesday of NaNoWriMo I was all set to share with you a snippet from my new project – a continuation of the scene I shared with you last week.  But Tyler will have to wait a while, because my mind is on other things. The short version is that The Fifth Watcher is all set for its release on the 21st of November and, while that should be the end of that, I haven’t been able to get a scene out of my head all day. So I wrote it, and am now considering adding it in (because we all like to make changes at the last minute!).

I’d like to share it with you for WIPpet Wednesday, and am hoping feedback will help me to determine what I should do. You’ve been so helpful in the past when it comes to this project, and I’m grateful for that.

For the math, I added the day and the month together to give me 16 paragraphs. It’s a little on the long side, but I hope there’s enough action to make it worth your while!

I shifted the instant I received confirmation from Havers, the sound of Audrey’s torment travelling with me – a scream which reverberated inside my head long after she’d blacked out.

As I arrived in the small laboratory, I became aware of two things. Audrey’s sister slumped unconscious against the wall, and three armed men piling through the doorway.

I had mere seconds to react. The renegade heading up the crew had already fired his weapon; his henchmen turning towards the prisoner. Diving in their direction, I hit the floor with a resounding thwack, taking all the weight on my right shoulder.

The jolt made my teeth rattle, but I didn’t think about that, or the aroma of burning cloth from the shot which had grazed my arm. I rolled towards Audrey’s sister, disengaging my own weapon as I fired at the nearest scumbag.

Nate loomed behind the group, his arm around the shooter’s throat. “Are you out of your God-damn mind?” he yelled at me.

I took it for a rhetorical question and kicked out to bring the fight to my level. My shot had found its target, rendering the other man unconscious, so it was two against two.

My opponent was surprisingly strong for his size. He was small and wiry, with protruding joints he used to his full advantage. He jammed his elbow into my shoulder, the pleasure in his eyes letting me know how much he relished the fight.

I barely felt the pain because I was pissed. I’d behaved impulsively and deserved the reminder. That didn’t mean I was in the mood to wrestle with an untrained thug. The sound of battle rose up from the hallway, as my men cleared the building. I used it to focus, pinning my scrawny foe to the floor so I could think for a second.

Nate stepped forward, as if on cue, and jabbed him in the neck with a syringe. “Don’t ever pull that shit on me again.” His voice echoed with barely contained rage. “How am I supposed to watch your back, if you take me out of the equation?”

“It won’t happen again.”

“You’ve got that right,” Nate snapped out, clearly working on his anger. “Because if…” He felt the threat the moment I did, and started to turn.

Cursing myself for the complete lack of preparation, I grabbed his weapon from its holster and fired at the doorway; mine was on the damn floor where I’d dropped it.

Nate glanced at my handy work. “Nice shot,” he said, as we rose to assess the damage.

The renegade officer, a bear of a man at least 6ft 3″, had hit the deck hard. Stepping over him I couldn’t help but feel a wave of pity; he might prefer death to Taylor’s brand of interrogation.

“Why don’t you do the honours?” He motioned towards the hall. “Since you’re hell bent on sticking your neck out.”

I ignored the jibe, bobbing my head through the opening to get a better look. “All clear.”

I know it needs a little work, but I’m hoping the bones are there. I will be doing a cover reveal next Friday (the 14th), so if anyone would like to help out by featuring the cover or allowing me to do a guest post, please let me know. That would be great 🙂

Thanks so much to K. L. Schwengel for hosting and providing us with an opportunity to share with and support one another.

ROW80LogocopyI’ve been concentrating on my writing goals this week, for NaNo, and have about 8,900 words so far. I haven’t connected with as many people this time, but I’m hoping to rectify that. I know we write mostly in isolation, but one of the things I loved about NaNo last year was the sense of community.

My editing goals are on track. I wish I could say the same about my blogging goals, but I haven’t made much progress in that department.

Overall things are good. I’m a little tired, but I’ve been interpreting a lot in the past few days so that takes up most of my brain power!

I hope you’re having a good week, and I look forward to catching up with you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Thrills and Chills – ROW80 and NaNoWriMo

Darkness falls across the land. The midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of blood… Yes, I know I’m quoting the lyrics from Thriller, but I’m trying to set the scene. My daughters’ persuaded me to go to a Scare Fest last Thursday, close to midnight no less *cue music*  “It’s close to midnight…” Sorry, can’t get the song out of my head!. As I stepped into the woods, gripping tightly to my partner in crime, I expected Michael himself to cross our path – it was like the set of a horror movie! There were a group of us, which added to the fun. We even had the stereotypical tough guy; with his false bravado and constant jokes to compensate for the fact he was way out of his element. He actually made the night…when the first zombie jumped into our path, he screamed louder than I did! It was a lot of fun. The scene wasn’t complete without a cabin in the woods and despite signs warning us against the horrors waiting inside, we entered the fun house. Yes, you guessed it, there were more zombies…this time axe-wielding fire-men.

So, anyway, that leads me onto my own fireman – Tyler Davies. NaNoWriMo is going well. I’m enjoying spending time with Tyler and the gang, and I’ve even found time to continue editing. I don’t have a great deal to update in terms of ROW80. You win some and you lose some. My writing and editing are on target, so this week I plan to concentrate on the blogging elements I’ve failed to complete so far.

How about you? How was your week, and what did you do for Halloween?

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Share Your World 2014 – Week 13. Exploring brave new worlds…

Share Your WorldThanks to Cee, as always, for providing the Share Your World feature.

Here are my answers to this week’s questions.

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? 

I believe anything is possible. I also think the subject intrigues writers because the mere concept of life on other planets allows us to unleash our imagination, and dream up a new civilization. It’s empowering really.

What type of pet or pets do you not want to have?

Do bees count as pets? Sherlock Holmes in the show Elementary has a few hives on the roof of his apartment building. I can’t think of anything worse than the amplified sound of bees busy at work. I can hear them just thinking about it…

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

I struggle with the colour questions because my brain automatically goes to yellow. I guess, whatever ‘colour’ I’m feeling on the inside, I’d like to be bright and optimistic and bring a little happiness.

What type of transportation would you be? Why?

If I can choose, regardless of personality or the fact it’s purely fictional, I’d choose the Starship Enterprise. For no other reason than the fact it’s totally cool!

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for my beautiful girls, because they are my ‘yellow’ – they bring light and laughter and their own special kind of joy.

I’m looking forward, in the coming weeks, of getting to know my fellow camp mates at Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m unpacked my virtual duffel bag and I’m raring to go. This is the first day of thirty wonderful days of guilt free writing!

 

Thanks for reading.

Mel

Diagnosis Pending – It’s either Nano-fever or Wrimo-itis…

2014-Participant-Facebook-ProfileSix months ago I was mostly writing in isolation and then I found NaNoWriMo.

I’ve posted about the journey I made last November often enough, but for those who’re new to the blog – it changed my (writing) life. Literally.

Such was my momentum that I created a co-authored blog with another wrimo, set myself a goal to improve my personal blog (I now have a pretty fantastic community who I cherish), and have made headway in the editing process.

The novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2013 – Worlds Apart, is something I continue to be excited about. Perhaps more importantly, I’ve learnt that I’m not in this alone.

So now the dust has settled, it’s time for my next challenge. I’ve just signed up to Camp NaNoWriMo 2014, and though some question my sanity, they can’t dispute my passion or the depths of my enthusiasm.

I’ve agreed, in the month of April, to write a series of novellas under the Worlds Apart series. My target is 36,000 words and I’m optimistic I’ll reach that goal. I will also be continuing to edit the novel and prepare it for publication.

But that’s not all. I’ve volunteered to be a fundraiser (now you’re questioning my sanity). I’m so grateful to nanowrimo that I want to give back. As my motivational levels have just kicked into overdrive, the timing couldn’t be better!

So, why not click here, and check out my fundraising page. I will be updating it over the next couple of weeks and adding features that will, hopefully, encourage people to give.

I’ve already had ideas about how I can meet my fundraising goals. I’ll be baking, making, creating and coaxing from now until I hit the magic number!

033e255b-1969-47fc-8ee1-3f614a4e8980I’ve already started making personalised pocket books, and I’m selling these on Etsy. They come in any size and colour, blank or complete with words. All proceeds will go to NaNoWriMo.

Click here if you’d like to know more.

So, as you see, it’s a good kind of fever and you don’t even have to worry about it being contagious!

Thanks for reading, and for agreeing to embark on this new adventure with me.

Until next time

Mel

It's the beginning of things, in a roundabout way

365 Days of Writing Prompts

February 12th

All about you

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

So, why Writing Room 101? Would it surprise you to know there are a multitude of reasons. To understand them, I should probably give you a little background.

For those familiar with my personal blog, you’ll know I took part in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November 2013. This experience changed my ‘writing’ life. Suddenly I had an excuse to put my needs first. No more staying up until 2 or 3 am to sneak in a little writing time. I was writing all day, every day (almost). I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed writing so much. The experience was invaluable and I learnt many things during NaNoWriMo; not least of all discipline, structure, and an acceptance of my limitations.

I loved the collaboration, the familiarity, the community, and I didn’t want it to end. So I reached out to my fellow wrimo’s and met Laura.

We are both interested in the collaborative way in which writers work. At the same time we share a common curiosity about the craft, and are both keen to develop. In short, we wanted to keep the momentum going.

One of the reasons for a joint blog was to begin a co-authored piece, a tale written by us both, that we could share with you. It developed from there.

The title.

All writers like to experiment, and often, when we make a decision about something, the reasons can be convoluted! I like language in general, and particularly enjoy the various interpretations gained from a few simple words. It’s all about meaning, and how we look at the world differently.

If we look at the meaning of ‘101’, it usually relates to an introductory level of learning, and that’s certainly one of the reasons we established the blog – to learn from each other. But it’s more than that. Yes it’s about starting something from scratch, something a beginner in a particular field should know, but I also believe everything links back to the basics. Certainly, everything links back to writing for me. Take for example, Room 101. It is a torture chamber in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I’m not intimating that we want to torture you with our words, but rather everything is game! If it links back to writing, at even a fundamental level, you will find it here (hopefully).

It’s the reason I named a radio station Music 101 in Addy’s Choice. Complex and Catchy – sounds like a song, right?

The term 101 can also be linked to rules, or a list of the things people should know (that sounds like a fun project!). It’s also interesting that in some traditional keyboards there are 101 keys. I like the fact 101 is a numeral palindrome (remaining the same whichever way you look at it).

But for me, it’s the low down, the place where anything goes, and the root of why we do what we do.

So there you have it, welcome to Writing Room 101. Come back soon!

Thanks for reading

Mel

 

Thanks to the wonderful editors at WordPress who developed the 365 Days of Writing Prompts.

 

Sneak Preview

2013-12-12 00.01.19

As promised, I’ve added a ‘sneak preview’ of Worlds Apart below. I’ve given the novel its own page too, and as I enter the wonderful world of editing (see how optimistic I’m being) I’ll post any updates.

I’ve also added another novel – Hands of Evil. This is a sequel to Sins of the Father, and is another journey into the lives of Morgan and Fairchild. I’ve included a synopsis and preview to that page too. It’s actually in the final stages of editing, and should be available from February 2014.

So, (drum roll) here it is:

The Watchers

The Watchers were so named for their ability to observe and detect. Nobody knew how old they were, just that they were part of the very fabric of time.

They resided within the Hub; a cross-roads of sorts, and the centre of a dimensional structure that was theirs to protect.

Though they were one being, they presented as four; each part responsible for a strand of the multi-layered continuum. Its shape a quadruple helix – a chain to link all worlds as one.

The structure of the Hub was a living, breathing part of the whole. It fluctuated, evolved, and had the ability to regenerate the system from within.

The Watchers could draw energy from around and within them to manipulate their view. To anyone else the effect was a matrix of light and sound, like they were in the middle of a storm.

They didn’t see things in a linear way. Everything happened simultaneously, and when it happened in one of their dimensions they knew it.

Communication took part on a subconscious level, so subtle it was impossible to determine how they were doing it. They were just in your head, placing knowledge and understanding as though it had always been.

They weren’t transient beings, but neither were they constant. They chose others to reign over chaos, allowing a select few the privilege of command.
That command formed the Governance – a group who enforced the law and granted autonomy to each separate universe, providing they followed the rules.

Those realities, or alternative existences were not meant to collide. With such knowledge came a hunger for power and dominance, a power not even the Watchers could easily control. Yet there was an innate need for freedom, for fluidity in the very matrix itself, and so travelers were born to create balance.

The means and ability of travel was as varied as the world’s themselves. Though not predetermined, given the nature of an ever-changing system, indicators came into existence the moment a world was born.

Some travellers required a key, a tool to allow them to pass from one dimension to another. Others roamed only through their subconscious, leaving their physical form temporarily to share the reality of a new host.

Then there were those who could integrate, those who could travel body and mind wherever they chose. Only one world produced such beings, and only they could reach the Hub. For the chosen, an authority was formed; a group of interdimensional officers of the law – IDOLS.

Using the Hub as a base, the authority ran investigations, coordinated manoeuvres and offered protection to every life form in the continuum.

To become an IDOL they first had to take part in a test; an audience with the Watchers. There was no training manual to read, no years spent gaining the necessary experience. If they had the cognitive ability, the emotional intelligence and the desire to serve, they were given all the knowledge they required to fulfil the role.

The structures they built within the Hub were designed to accommodate a large number of people. An observation bridge was erected, a sanctuary at the very top of the dome. It connected to a device which stored and recorded the endless stream of information pulsing along the outer layer of the Hub. Every world, and every being within that world was mapped.

To bring order, and communicate a shared understanding, each strand of the continuum was named. This name was influenced by the shape it represented within the Hub.

The first pattern resembled a trident, the others a talon, sceptre and aegis. A code therefore evolved so observers could refer to the originating world.
They were responsible for one hundred and sixty territories. Some were well established dimensions, others vacant, and yet more that were in their infancy. When one reality died, a new one emerged, or it didn’t. The system was an ever changing thing.

These territories were numbered, and used within the coding system. TR-24 referred to Trident’s twenty-fourth territory. Until recently it had been dead space, so dark the Watchers couldn’t remember seeing life of any kind.

All that had changed, and it wasn’t the only thing to capture their attention. None of its inhabitants could travel. Even those born with the ability in alternative existences were dormant on TR-24.

They knew the cause of such an anomaly, and that an even greater change was coming. All they could do was watch; watch, wait and put trust in those who held the power.

*****************

I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to feedback, if you wish.

Thanks for reading
Until next time
Mel

Inspiration

Nanowrimo Update

I’m at the point where I’m doubtful I’ll reach the deadline on time, but where I appreciate all I’ve learnt about the early stages of nanowrimo. If I enter again I’ll choose a genre I’m familiar with, there are, after all, other ways to challenge myself. To stretch those creative boundaries.

I’ve read advice that is relevant to all areas of my writing; ways to gain inspiration when I’m drowning in a sea of words and don’t know which way to turn.

Today I chose to write something unrelated to my novel in order to get those juices flowing. I’m a member of various writing websites so I checked in to scroll through the most recent contests. I was reluctant to start a short story, so I decided on a poetry contest. I had a great deal of fun with it, and decided to share it with you. I don’t have a natural skill when it comes to poetry, nobody would call me a poet! But I enjoy taking the challenge from time to time.

Here it is, with the writing prompt so you have the parameters I was working to.

Writing prompt (provided by a member of FanStory):

Please select a single letter of the alphabet, and write a RHYMED poem, including that letter as the main theme.

THE TITLE OF YOUR POEM MUST REFER TO YOUR CHOSEN LETTER

Bobbing for a ‘B’.

Bobbing about in the deep blue sea
Broken and bleeding
Baleful and needing
Bound and unable to flee

Bobbing about in the deep blue sea
Babbling like a brook
Baked like a cook, and
Baffled no one can see

Bobbing about in the deep blue sea
Blood in the water
Breath getting shorter, no
Bargain will bring you to me

Bobbing about in the deep blue sea
Battered and sinking
Bawling and thinking, it’s
Beautiful to finally be free

Hope you enjoyed it. It was certainly the right kind of distraction for me. When I went back to the novel I wrote another few thousand words.

At some point over the next few days I’ll post an extract from the novel.

Thanks, as always for reading.

Until next time

Mel

Led down the garden path

Stats.pub

It’s been a tough couple of days. I’m slightly gratified to learn that ‘week 2’ is widely accepted among the nanowrimo community as being a tough cookie. As the minds that be put it, those plot holes in my work are beginning to feel like chasms.

The guides published on the site are hugely entertaining. I especially enjoy references to the inner editor, and the guide to week two suggested a stream of consciousness style of writing to annoy the editor within…

‘sic a swarm of words on him like a hive of killer bees’
Tim Kim – Editorial Director (NaNoWriMo)

I’ve spent the past few days trying to solve some of those plot holes. During my linguistic training we learnt about being ‘led down the garden path’ because, instead of waiting for a sentence in its entirety, we process as we perceive it – word for word. As sign language interpreting happens simultaneously, there are many occasions when we make the wrong assumption, or miss information, and have to repair as we go along. From my perspective, writing in general can be a little like that. I have the words in my head, I think I know where I’m going with them or the idea, and then I’m taken down a different path entirely!

And so, I have been repairing those cracks before they swallow me whole.

I read an interesting post today by Cristian Mihai (http://cristianmihai.net/2013/11/12/outline/#more-4154). He discussed the issue of outlining a piece of writing. I know it’s good practice to outline, and there are various ways to do it, but I’m often lacking in that department. I prefer to start with the germ of an idea, and since I can already see the characters in my head I give them free reign. They have a habit of taking you where they want to go anyway, whether you planned it or not. So, in my case, to answer Cristian’s question (to outline or not to outline), I’d choose the latter.

Having said that, for Worlds Apart, the novel for nanowrimo, I had no choice but to plan a little. I had all these worlds in my head and in order to make sense of them I had to put them on paper. I did a crude drawing, and made a few notes – much more than I normally do.

It’s helped, as has a delightful little app called Storyist – I’ve been able to add details as they emerge.

So, I’ve repaired what I can and with less than twenty days left, the pressure is on.

I’ll be writing for the rest of the evening, and already the ideas are springing up and competing for my attention. I’d better get busy!

Until next time
Mel