Friday, February 02, 2007

Coffee Break 3

Word Count: 31,148

Today I am drinking a flavoured Nespresso coffee, as recommended by official Nespresso Ambassador George Clooney. Is there no end to the human rights causes that this hunk is willing to endorse?

So that was did you get on? I am pretty chuffed at my progress, and at this rate I wonder whether I can aim for 60,000 words in the can before the end of Feb - though that seems a bit crazy. I have college teaching again this month, plus a heap of assignment marking, which is bound to eat into writing time. Maybe I should aim for 50,000 and then hope I can exceed it.

What are YOU aiming at during February?

And what are you reading? I asked this question at the first Uni seminars as I love hearing recommendations. I really enjoyed Tom Perrotta's Little Children, and am now moving onto the set book I am teaching on the seminars, Crawling at Night by Nani Power which is not a book I would ever have bought, but it's probably good to be made to read stuff outside your comfort zone. We shall see...

Oh, and if you're new, don't be shy. I will be adding a couple of newbies later but if you haven't appeared yet, still feel free to add your hello!

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Anonymous Dave Hill said...

Just dropping in the (extremely) vain hope of being first this week. Have I done any more words since this time last Friday? No, of course not, silly! But by five o'clock this afternoon I might have. Dunk a shortbread for me, someone....

10:38 am  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

Monring Kate. I want a double expresso but will stick with a green tea.....

I am really pleased too with my January progress. Thanks for enabling the race:-)

My goal for February, hmmmm, I have one week of kids half term which cuts into the short month put I will guess that I will reach 40,000- not quite half way. I have to finsih the first draft by end of March as the long Easter break starts...

On the reading front, I am still wrestling with the book club selection Night Watch by Sarah Waters. Its a good book but not my cup of tea so I sneaking in The biography of the Prophet M by Barnaby Rogerson and Phillipa Ashley's Decent Exposure to keep things balanced!

Will pop in later when to see how everyone else is getting on.

Hi Dave. Don't knick mine!

10:42 am  
Blogger Jessica said...

I've stalled temporarily on the novel, and am still at around 23,000 words. However I'm really pleased that I've done that much so far, I feel properly into it now, and am about to print out everything I've done so far so I can read it through and work out my scene plan for the next chunk. As having taken a few days off from it and worked on other stuff, as well as having been ill and not working on it much last week, I've lost my sense of direction a bit.
Also the husband has been around quite a bit, and he is distracting and noisy. Humph, Boys.

But I have written a proposal for a non-fiction book, which I am really quite excited about, and about to send out to an agent. It's something I've had in the back of my mind for ages, and something spurred me on to start playing with it this week, and once I started writing it up it all seemed to take shape in a rather fab way. So any fingers you have spare to cross on that would be much appreciated.

Plans for February. Erk. Make a proper start on charity book.

Do at least as many words on novel again.

Sit at home biting nails hoping for good reaction to proposal.

Oh, and I am starting the last psychology module of my OU degree. It looks interesting but a bit scary, with piles of stats and graphs and stuff. Ho hum.

That reminds me, Kate are you teaching the OU Creative Writing course? I'll still have some points to make up from wherever I like when I've finished the psych bit and I thought I might do that, starting in Sept. Is it fun?

10:43 am  
Blogger Lucy Diamond said...

Hello everyone, cup of char and big fat biscuit for me please,

I've not written a single word on the novel this week. Aaarggh. I've had two invalids to deal with and inbetween administering Calpol and mopping fevered brows etc, I've been writing a new children's book which I need to deliver on the 15th. I've just about finished it, fingers crossed.
Feb is looking a bit of a nightmare for me work-wise, as I have quite a few children's books contracted to deliver, plus half-term, plus house-hunting (maybe). So there are my excuses all dished out! But I will be wildly optimistic as I'm that kind of girl, and say I'll add another 15,000 words this month which will take me up to 30,000 or so. Here's hoping...

10:59 am  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

Dave and Lucy, you give me hope!

Like Dave I haven't added to my word count this week, but hope to by 3pm when I will have to go on the school run. I am a late starter anyway, as have spent most of Jan finishing the edits on my first book and doing editorial work.

BUT - I have managed to get a detailed synopsis put together so I feel I can at least get going on chapter 1 now. My deadline is ages away as well, so I can sort of afford to relax...

except I can't because like Liz and Lucy I have half term the week after next, and I have had two sickies this week too. One is currently residing in my bedroom watching CBBC next door to my office. Thank god for digital tv...

SO must go as am checking proofs too. HOpe that I will have at least made a start on chapter one by the end of the day.

I should really be detoxing and drinking green tea, but weather is turnign me into a chocoholic, so choccie biscuit and a cup of char for me!!

I read your bit on the romancing blog Kate and laughed at your description of your slightly strange fellow racers. But it's a nice parallel universe you've created for us, and I quite like it here!!!

love Janex

11:08 am  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

Oh sorry -forgot to say have just read a kid's book called Fur by Meg Harper, which was really brilliant, and am in the middle of Annie Groves' Goodnight Sweetheart. Not my usual cup of tea, but I know Annie and I love her writing. Am also enjoying descriptions of Liverpool as I was there as a student.
Am also dipping into Antonia Fraser's book about Louis XIV's mistresses and realising how little I learnt about the Sun King doing history A level!

11:10 am  
Blogger Hera said...

Hey. I'm tempted to cheat and say I've written half a book, but I'd only be cheating myself. Fellow racers can look at me and feel better, so at least I serve a purpose. I went away, which was supposed to be my secret weapon, but was too concerned with drinking rose and stuffing myself with tapas to concentrate. I am currently reading Paul McK's 'I can make you thin' which should be renamed 'I can make you even more obsessed with food than you already are', but I'm also looking for great memoirs & autobiographies as I'm pulling together ideas for 'a space' to get young women writing about their personal experiences...Any rec's?

11:18 am  
Blogger Kate said...

Now, now. I didn't say we were strange. I said we were UNHINGED fiction addicts. Much more flattering, in my opinion. I think all fiction writers are unhinged.

Jessica, I did teach A215 last year but haven't done it this year as I found it very time-consuming for the renumeration. But from a student's POV, I think it's a very well-designed course - and good value for money as you get effectively five critiques from an experienced writer/tutor, plus an online area for critiquing other students' work. The only caveat would be that you do have to do some poetry, so if you're more of a prose person, that might be hard going.

11:21 am  
Blogger Sezzie said...

Morning all...

I have a luke warm cuppa on my desk.
What I'd really like is a Hot Choccie and a choccie biscuit to dip in it, but I am trying to be healthy....I will check in again later when I have given in to temptation...:-)

Not a staggeringly productive week for me.....BUT....I have begun writing the last day of the plot, which is hugely exciting!

So - my target for the end of Feb - to have finished the first draft.
Then I can start at the beginning again and work out everything that needs working on!

Keep up the good work everyone!

11:32 am  
Blogger Helen said...

Good morning everyone, This morning I have faffed for ages and not written much yet. I've already had my black coffee and a diet coke and some chocolate buttons...

So, January. Even though I came in lateish to the Race I still feel I have done quite well. Nearly 10,000 words in a week and three quarters. I had a bit of a block on Wednesday so I wrote a short story that had been in my head for some time. This seemed to unblock me and I'm now planning my next chapter, which, once I've finished tapping away here, I'm going to get going with.

My goals for February are:

To write at least 20,000 words. I hope I'm going to do much more than that but as this 'writing routine' is a bit new to me Im going to see what happens.

To do two more assignments for the feature writing course I'm doing at the LSJ.

To send my short story off and see if any magazines want to publish it.

To tout my copywriting skills with businesses in my area so I can get some paid work.

To stop eating chocolate as I write. It is becoming a habit!

I have just finished reading 'But inside I'm screaming' by Elizabeth Flock which I thoroughly enjoyed. And, as I read your Brown Owl book Kate, I thought I'd give another one of yours a go - The Starter Marriage. I have just had a large delivery from Amazon this morning (I'm addicted) with books by Nora Ephron, Kate Holden and a Maggie O'Farrell one I thought I'd try. 'More books?' was my husbands bemused comment - with the emphasis on the 'more'.

11:36 am  
Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks for that Kate, it sounds good. The thought of having a crack at some poetry doesn't put me off, although anything along those lines I've done in the past has been very much along the lines of bits for husband's songs and silly rhymes for friends birthdays...

Forgot to add what I'm reading - loads of biographies as background research for the novel. Have recently read a memoir by someone who grew up around the Playboy Mansion, which was interesting, and added to my current obsession with the fabulous Girls of the Playboy Mansion on E!. Um. Maybe I shouldn't admit to that.

Have just started The Diviners by Rick Moody which is interesting but I haven't got completely into it yet. I've got Norwegian Wood and This Book Will Save Your Life lined up.

11:46 am  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

*drinking thyme tea* (Hot water, sprig of thyme)

I hit 50K and stopped, not because I'm stuck but because I have a huge project on deadline for next Friday that can't be put off. I'm still doing flashes and poems for various weekly websites, though.

Currently reading "Standish" by Erastes and "The Arte of Duelling" by Capo Ferro (non fiction)

12:11 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

Hello, all, from the rainy coast of North Carolina, USA. Sitting in a Port City Java coffee shop watching 8:AM rush hour along Shipyard Boulevard slog through a steady soak two degrees (F) too warm to freeze. Just called the office and told them I'd be about an hour late. This shop has a fireplace. (I'm not completely abandoning my day job. My first call of the day is on this side of town and there's no good reason to make the round trip to my cubicle.)

My name is KeVin Killiany, and I found this little community though Romancing the Blog. I introduced myself in the comments section of the original entry about this race, which was -- what? -- January 2nd's entry, I think. The internet makes even time travel possible.

At the moment, between sips of cooling organic Tanzanian, I'm procrastinating. I owe my editor a 5-7k chapter-fied outline. Sent her 1500 words of character bios last night (she's in Seattle, so it was by end of business day her time) to prove I'm on the job. My novel has an A and a B plot that drive it forward and C, D, E, and F plots that wind through and between them, sort of netting the whole together. I've plotted out each narrative thread individually, and I know where/how the novel ends, but I can't quite envision how they all fit together chapter by chapter as a unified whole. If I don't have a tapestry I'm happy with by 5:PM her time -- 8:PM my time -- I'm sending the editor the six plot synopses and saying "These will weave together to this exciting conclusion." Hopefully that will be enough to get the go-ahead. (I'll work this weekend as though it is. Hopefully on Monday I'll discover I can keep my words.)

My goal for this project is 80,000-word first draft e-mailed to my editor on Monday, March 26. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I think I'll get another cup of coffee for the road and head out into the dismal world of my day job.

1:28 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hello hello hello.
I am hiding in the corner having not written a word for two weeks now! I have half a chocolate orange ... if anyone wants it.

I am bogged down with awful marking deadlines and I've another ten days of it. Then I'm back in the race and I am so so so needing to write again. I hate not writing, but January is a moneywork month and it has to be done.

I've just finished Tanglewreck by J. Winterson and I really enjoyed it. I'm also reading Rupert Everett's Red Carpets And Other Banana Skins for my book club. It's an easy and interesting read.

Is there a booby prize for this race???? I fear that I may be heading towards it.

See you all next week.

2:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to report that since the last time I dropped by, not much has been done, owing to work and lots of snuggling last weekend.
I'm planning on completing work on chapter 1/last chapter and making a start on one of the others. I'll be duly updating on my progress on my Myspaz too.

Ohhh. All this talk of biscuits is making me daydream of Custard Creams! :-D

2:19 pm  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Am a newbie, so: 'hello'. This morning I finished the new writing part of the second draft of what I hope will be my first novel - first draft was 60,000 words but started a quarter of the way in, am now up to 80,000 words and about to start rewriting (well after a weekend off). My aim for Feb is to make some serious progress with this. Not sure what 'serious progress' means, or how to assess it without a word count to guide me, but I expect I'll find out. Am feeling v virtuous right now and indulging in some luxurious blogging. Am currently between books, but my last was Liars And Saints by Maille Meloy which was excellent. And I'm drinking camomile tea, but later it will be red wine!

2:58 pm  
Blogger leatherdykeuk said...

Dropping in again, having reached today's target of one chapter at a shade over 4K.

I'm having a break, as I feel I might go wordblind if I don't. Currently drinking standard tea.

3:02 pm  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Sorry I missed last week. Stupid moneywork. Plus if I don't get here by noon my time, it's Friday night for most of you by the time I get here.

Caroline, I have a half dark chocolate orange, if you wanna swap.

I've been very slow recently. Although I am too prideful to reflect this on my blog, I actually lost 2000 words this last week. In doing so, however, I cleared out a huge part of the reason I wasn't moving forward as I'd have liked.

My nights get less complicated in a week or two, and I'm aiming to be back up around 25,000 by the end of February.

Have gathered some new reading material with the help of my credit card and am looking forward to doing some quality reading this month as well. Some promising titles, and I'll let you know if any of them are any good.

3:19 pm  
Blogger sheepish said...

Afternoon everyone, I feel like a bib mug of hot chocolate but probably look more like weak tea!!

I have added 1250 words this week which for me is quite good. I found January very hard going as a month but feel magically better now it's feb. No idea why but I'm not complaining. I am just about managing 2 blog posts a week and I hope they are getting a bit more interesting now.

I am attempting to read Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd but I am finding the language of 18th century London pretty hard going. Have just finished The Naming of Eliza Quinn by Carol Birch,an excellent novel about the Irish Potatoe Famine from an interesting viewpoint.

I am hoping to up the word count for February to 3k per week.
I am really finding it good for my morale to share with other "unhinged fiction addicts" Thanks Kate.

By the way I do seem to have trouble logging in sometimes do you have to log in before posting a comment?

3:23 pm  
Anonymous Jen said...

Ugh... swigging a cuppa. Kids have eaten all the biccies so am having to have Tetleys with a slice of Serrano Ham. 'Tis a bit of a gross comination, to be honest.

Have just scraped past the 10k mark and still getting up at 5.45 to get my hour in before the days starts.

Reading 'The Sex Life of My Aunt' by Mavis Cheek - thought I'd gorge myself on different sorts of so-called chick lit (as research, you understand) but it's not really my bag.

A work free weekend and boys away so will attempt some decent increase in wordcount. And drink some wine. Well, don't want to dehydrate, eh?

4:23 pm  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

Just dropping by again to say that ta-da!! I have finally written the magic words, Chapter One and got 1122 words into it. All crap probably, but it's a start... I know I don't stand a hope of winning, but as I always tell my children it's the taking part wot counts.

Kate - unhinged is a much better word then strange. And so true. I was at tennis with the kids yesterday and explaining to two other mums how characters arrive out of nowhere in my head and then walk around like they own the place, and they both looked at me as if I was barking. Which I probably am. But I quite like being barking if I get to rub shoulders with people who only exist in my imagination. I have a character for my next book who jumped in ahead of her turn and refuses to budge, though I keep telling her to butt out and wait till I've finished the wip, but she refuses to. By the time I get to her, I expect someone else will have muscled in...

hope y'all have a good weekend...

6:01 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Oooh, three new people added to the sidebar: official welcomes to Kevin, Zinnia and JJ.

Now we are 20!

7:01 pm  
Anonymous sarah said...

Wow - there's loads of us...your message box is full kate!

Well this is me below,its quite basic but I'll update it tommorow, and add everyone on etc...

Cant wait to start tracking my word count think it's just what I need!

7:24 pm  
Blogger Cathy said...

I know I chickened out of joining your novel race,however, could I just butt in here with a comment for Jessica on the OU A215 course?

I totally agree with what Kate said about the poetry...its only compulsory for one TMA but I have to say I couldn't engage with the poetry course material at all, even though I had previously done the level one poetry course. Also the workload is very heavily weighted towards the last 2-3 months of the course. Overall though it was a really enjoyable experience and I think one on which you can really get back what you put in if you keep up the writing practice (I sadly didn't manage to write as much as I should have, due to a family crisis, but was still quite pleased with my grade). It also convinced me to take my writing seriously.

Go for it! There is also a level three planned for Oct 08 if you can wait that long.

7:29 pm  
Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks for that Cathy. To be honest part of the appeal for me is that the course starts in Sept 07 - I am seriously getting to the end of my tether with this degree and a course with an autumn start date will make it all be over that much quicker...

To be honest, having done Social Psych last year which was an entire 60 point module full of the theory of the nature of social psychological knowledge, and epistomology (I'm still not really sure what that means) and an amazing amount of waffle, I'm sure I can cope with some poetry, even if I'm not desperately keen.

12:12 am  
Blogger Kevin said...

Just dropping by to say I went with the "and all these threads weave together for this great ending" method. I did this with my last novel -- which had even more divergent subplots -- and it worked out fine, so it should work this time.

Working now on set pieces -- descriptions of setting and character which I know will fit whatever direction the novel itself takes. I'm betting the central core story will go through as I've written it, so I'm treating it like a novella and writing it first. Then I'll braid the subplots in.

(btw: Anyone get bothered by the wavy letters in the word verification process? This time around I got "necqwzd" and no I'm stuck wondering what exactly a "Neck Wizard" would do. Chiropractic sorcery?)

7:31 pm  
Blogger mad muthas said...

hello - just dropping by to say how luverly it was to see you yesterday, kate. although i'm at the start of the latest novel, i'm very deliberately not signing up for this 'race' thingy, because of the transgressive nature of my work ethic. but i think it's a bloody good idea! (for people who aren't nuts, that it)

8:04 pm  
Blogger Lesley Cookman said...

Coming in on Monday morning to confess I didn't do a word on current book last week, as the rewrites cam in on the last one. How did we ever manage before email and attachments?

However, have managed to up the total to 14058 today from 12505 this morning, and that's with doctor visits and shopping.

And 80000 by the end of March AND with a day job? My mind is boggling.

4:08 pm  
Blogger Kevin said...

"And 80000 by the end of March AND with a day job? My mind is boggling."

Mine is, too, just a bit.

Received the go-ahead in this morning's e-mails.

Need to average about 1,650 words a day to hit my mark. Saturdays are usually good for 3,000 and Sundays for 2,000 -- but I can't rely on those.

I'll be blogging about the process on my live journal, but I'll keep y'all posted here every Friday as well.

5:02 pm  

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