Friday, January 12, 2007

Welcome to the Friday Coffee Break

So...nearly two weeks into the Novel Race, and time for a cuppa and a gossip. I've decided to make the coffee break an all day event, because I know we're around at different times, so feel free to chip into the 'chat' in the comments at any point today.

Coffee Break Topics:
I appreciate Blogger isn't the friendliest interface for chatting but here are some things it might be fun to discuss:
  • How's it going? I think we should all post our current word count, and how that compares to our overall plan: are you at the beginning, middle or end? Juggling more than one project?
  • If you're a new racer, tell us a bit about yourself and your writing. Why did you want to race?
  • Tricks and Trips: what's working for you, and what isn't? Do you need any advice on how to get the word count up? Is one of your characters giving you a headache?
  • Real Life: is it getting in the way? Husbands, wives, offspring or four-legged-friends proving too distracting? Name and shame them here.
New Racers:
We have two new racers joining us: Sheepish and Sarah.
Sheepish lives in France and has a particularly fetching picture of a...sheep (what else) in the profile section of her blog. Actually, I am assuming Sheepish is female but not sure that's true. Sheepish, care to enlighten us on this and on your plans?
Sarah found this blog when searching for 'chick lit word counts' and is 70,000 into her book. She's even set up a blog to enable her to join in the Race, though the blog is blank so far.

Finally, can I apologise if I've missed anyone out or messed up. Please either message me here or email me via my website if I am being dense. I am not a natural at web administration...



Blogger Kate said...

So I will kick off. Mine's a double-espresso. Yum.

I am slowing down. The boyf has been sorting out his career, which has involved lots of input from me on CVs, technology etc, which is quite distracting. That, and keeping the cat's nose out of my daily breakfast of Total Greek yoghurt and frozen raspberries, is my excuse for a slowdown. As I posted yesterday, I also want to do some work on my central character AND I've been writing a play called Party Girl for the Open University short course I'm doing on writing drama. It's quite fun, but I keep wondering whether to stop doing it, because it doesn't earn me ANY dosh. But then again, the story in the play might work as a magazine short story which WOULD earn me money.

My target for next week will be 5,000 words I think, allowing for the fact that I want to do some editing here and there to improve the characterisation. And I might do some work on Project B, too, as well as finishing the play.

Anyone else writing across different forms and genres? I know Lucy is.

9:27 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hi. Me next. A latte please.

Well I started the week with about 42,000 words. I’d written them in November last year (considering that I finished In Search of Adam in that August). This week I read through and deleted 14,027 words. It was kind of liberating.

This week I’ve written just over 1,000 words and so I’m at 28,728 total, with my aim for next week being to write 3,000 words. I write and draft as I go along.
At the moment I am also marking A-level exam papers, moderating coursework, preparing for my February intake of OU students and reading the second lot of ISoA proofs. I need organisation and structure in my days.

Real life – my little girl (she’s 3) is at playschool 3 mornings a week and my other 2 boys are at school. My husband has just started a new business. I am writing/working mornings, when I can snatch a few moments and after the children’s bedtime.
But it’s all fun. I’m just hoping that by this time next week I have written 3,000 words. Otherwise I think that I may cry.

The novel that I’m writing – well I put out a request for any easy to read works on memory. I’m considering the reliability of memory. The idea that we select and manipulate to fit what we want to remember. If anyone has any ideas – then please let me know.

That’s about it for me. I joined novel racers to give me a focus and in doing so I have returned to my writing and deleted lots of words … I soooooo hope that I write this week. Please come by every now and then and tell me to write … please.

10:26 am  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

Skinny cappucino for me, please. Still on the diet I started at the beginning of December when I was so unfit that I failed my rapier (swordfighting) exam.

I've spent the last couple of weeks writing a couple of long short stories for erotica anthologie but I've just joined in properly. I have the book outlined and I've just done the first draft of the prologue and chapter one so far. I'll start kicking up 5-10K a week from here on in.

In real life new dog is taking up some time, as is the youngest daughter who, at nine going on fifteen, seems to have a daily tantrum or drama. Tears before scolll today when I insisted she replace a polo shirt that was so small it was barely a bra top.

Weekends are always busy, as we have a large household with 10-30 adults in it at any point. Mayhem!

I blog mostly on If there are other racers there feel free to add me and I'll return the favour. Same username.

10:36 am  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Better make mine a peppermint tea as I'm detoxing and maybe that accounts for the fuzzing brain feeling........

In the throws of writing at the moment, well not just this minute, so I won't give today word count yet.

Today I am wondering if I am making the Serena the fifteen going to twenty-five to angry. Her chapters are littered with minor explicatives and I wonder if it will pull the reader out of the story. having said that ran a chapter by my 14 yr. ds and he said yeah, i think like that.

So I have decided to write what I hear and try not to do any major editing until the end.

I haven't set a target for next week. I try to acheive 1000 words a day m-f. Wekkends are hit and mostly miss but the dh is in Houston this weekend so maybe......

My distractions are three kids, on dh and a large fluffy white cat. In fact his hairs keep appearing on the new lap tops touch pad and its driving me crazy as it is sentitive enough without me trying to get hairs off it!

Oh and I joined the novel racers because this has to be finished by end of August for the Romantic Novelist New Writers Scheme....and because it's great to have other people to chat and moan to.

11:51 am  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Forgot to welcome the new racers. Hi Sheepish and Sarah.

11:56 am  
Blogger Hera said...

Hello all! I'm on lunch break. I'll also take a peppermint tea cause I'm starting to realise the caffeine ain't doin me any favours.

I'm on 2,968 which is less than I'd hoped for as I wanted to hit it hard and then cruise towards the end, but perhaps I'll reverse that and pick up momentum.

The novel racers was like a bolt from the blue. I was already flirting with the idea of writing a book by spring and this is a great way to keep me motivated, mainly by being inspired by my fellow racers, so thank you.

I need writing to be part of the fabric of my life, but at the moment I'm having trouble establishing the habit (not so with Galaxy caramel). Do you find you fall into a groove? I hope to write a book centred around a Social Service Dpt, however it is a Social Service Dpt that's getting in my way at the moment. I'd love to write in my lunch hour which always seems a bit wasted, but I find it hard to switch on. Whinge, bore, moan etc etc.

But I love how this coffee break allows you to lay the week to rest. I have a really busy week so I'm going to aim for 2000 taking me up to about 5000 and then up the ante the week after.


12:19 pm  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

Strong cup of tea please, bit of milk, no sugar. Ooh, and a large cake, too. I'm feeling a teeny bit rough today...

Hello everyone, anyway. I've managed 5,700 words this week, all of which poured out yesterday. I write for a living, but only work two days a week at the moment, as I have three kids (aged 6,4 and 2) and the rest of the time I am on Mum duty. I also write children's books under various names, and so on Tuesday I was finishing one of those, about a tap-dancing fairy of all things (don't laugh).
Between now and the end of April I've got another five children's books contracted to write (eeek) so this race is going to be brilliant for keeping me focussed on the novel, too. I am really enjoying this - feels like we've got a nice little writing community going!

I'm going to try and write another 3,000 words of the novel next week. I was originally planning to write the novel over this whole year but have now revised my deadline, as everyone else seems to be aiming for much sooner than that. So I'm going to aim for a summer finish, September at the latest.

Right - off to go and lie down while youngest child is having her nap!

1:32 pm  
Blogger sheepish said...

Hi I'll have a weak tea please, milk no sugar. Yes I am a she!
I have two projects for this year, the main one is a novel I started last year but which has taken some time to get going as I am a novice at writing anything longer than a shopping list. The other project is the Blog I started this month, I intend to write a journal of my 15 years as a Shepherd in France. I am hoping that it will help my writing generally and be a form of discipline. I have joined the race as it seemed like a good way to be in contact with like minded people who speak the same language!!!

It can feel a bit isolated when you have no-one to discuss your highs and lows with, so this is a real boost for me. I hope to be able to pick peoples brains on getting the most out of the internet as a research tool, as I have limited access to other means.

So far I have about 6k typed onto my laptop with a bit more in longhand. My aim is for 1 or 2 k per week, but I have no deadline.

Finally on the home front I have a OH to care for, 65 ewes, 2 horses, 3 chickens, 3 cats and 2 dogs.

I am looking forward to getting to know everyone.

2:14 pm  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Hello racers both original and virginal.

I'll take anything strong, as I'm required to rise today at about the time I normally go to bed.

I'm at a bit over 5,500, which is well shy of where I had planned to be. I'm hoping to finish the first draft by St. Patrick's Day.

My distractions have mostly been related to my professional money life, which is not yet literary in nature (graphic arts). That and my blog, which I like to pretend is related to my fiction writing, even though that's not really the case.

I stopped updating my word count a few days ago, and have been thinking about the best way to get the story told since then. I realized I was 5,500 words in and still mostly in the expository stage, so a reordering is necessary. I don't like working from an outline, but may take a stab at one over the weekend for this project, as it is turning out to be quite complicated.

My project is about what makes people "significant" or not (to themselves and to others), strange diseases, time and a few other things. It is set mostly in 1986.

I am also juggling a couple of other writing projects right now. I have another novel I'm probably going to start tinkering with (a bit less serious and more fun to write at the moment), and a play as well. Former actor, so the play might come first.

I'm expecting next week's word count to be a bit sluggish, as I try to acclimate to rising in the morning. Also due to the story problems indicated earlier.

But I should have it all sorted out and be back in the race shortly.

I hope you all have a tremendously productive time until we next meet for coffee/tea.

2:15 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Popping back word count for today was 2,500. Not bad. So for the week I think it was about 7,500.

I feel I pushing ahead madly not really sure where the next major crunch comers. i just know in my gut it must be soon.

I haven't found the pace of the novel yet? Anyone else having that problem?

4:01 pm  
Anonymous Jen said...

Helloooo... straggling in late as usual but Extra-Strong Tetleys in hand. So sophisticated!

I'm up to 6,200 words which I feel strangely pleased about. Not as many as I'd have liked, but I do feel massively enthusiastic thanks to you guys. I think finding the motivation without a deadline is one of the hardest struggles, so this helps hugely.

My other consistent hurdle is trying not to worry too much about WHAT I'm writing at this stage. I keep telling myself that now is not the time to edit but that horrid, sodding nagging feeling that it's all tripe is really hard to ignore. Does anyone else find that?

Kind of looking forward to it being Spring - early morning's fab for writing but not when it's pitch dark and icy-cold :( Need to find time, like everyone else, to fit in the children and dog and bf and shopping and day job... we're amazing, really, aren't we??!

Interesting that we all seem to be writing quite different stuff...

4:25 pm  
Blogger Hera said...

How do you find the pace of a novel?? I sometimes find that things are moving too fast so it seems a bit jumpy. So then I go back to pad things out and that seems like ..padding.

4:25 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Hera, at 11,000 words I still haven't found the pace for this one. The last one I had three different perspectives which kept things moving along at a cracking pace. This one only has the two voices and I am finding it difficult to judge. However I am just pushing forward and hoping for a miracle and if not that then some serious edits!

4:52 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Hello again everyone. Just bought myself a celebratory coat in the sales as the book is being reprinted again for about the 6th or 7th time and apparently the warehouse is empty! Which is good news...though the coat isn't as far as bank balance concerned as it came from Coast. on the Diet Coke now. Planning to do some work this evening - yeah, what a way to spend a Friday night, but having been walking and lunching with a writer friend, and then shopping in Richmond (actually, part of this was research as my central character lives there), I reckon I have had more than enough leisure time today. And the boyf is out later.

I actually wrote my first novel in 3 months and have been slowing down with each book that I write, so this is intended to get me back to 'peak writing fitness.' And I am so pleased we've all found each other as a community of racers. Lots of fun!

5:05 pm  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

Finished for the day, now 2150 words made up Chater 2.

Goodnight, all.

10:39 pm  
Anonymous Dave Hill said...

I'm very sorry I was a miserable git and failed to turn up. I'm afraid I was preoccupied with being nice to David Beckham at Comment Is Free. Next week I'll bring some bourbon biscuits and a nice Victoria sponge - if any of you still like me, that is.

8:55 pm  
Blogger Sezzie said...

Thanks for the welcome Kate.
I have written another 5,000 words since emailing you, bringing me up to 75,000. Very excited! And I have even managed to find time to actually put something on my Blog. There’s just no stopping me!
Looking forward to chatting with everyone at the next coffee break...

10:32 am  
Blogger Jessica said...

Hello, a late entry here and Kate's kindly let me join you. I've started a new blog for writing chat on where I can keep track of my word count etc so do pop over and say hello! I've broken the 15,000 word mark which is good and am just plugging away trying to keep pushing forward at the moment, and not worry too much about scenes with bad dialogue and stuff and this stage. And while the rest of my life work wise is pretty quiet, really take the opportunity to push the word count up. My biggest problem is not thinking too far ahead and creating problems before they've arisen, and then letting those paralyse me ('what if', 'what if' kind of thing...).
Distractions - oh, anything and everything. Husband, the Jeremy Kyle Show, Grazia magazine, cooking, making a cup of tea...
Goal for this week? I'd love to get to 30,000, but would be happy with 25,000. Structure-wise I want to finish Part 1 of my novel which currently has 6 planned parts and I am aiming for 120,000 overall. I also need to do various bits and bobs of research and planning. And decide what OU course to do next which I am currently procrastinating about. Oh, and I have another book which I have to deliver in end of March but that is a non-fiction thing, so I may post progress on that on the blog as well to spur me on to get on with that. Hope everyone has a productive week.

12:54 pm  

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