Monday, 15 August 2016

First 5,000

After more than a month of researching, reading, planning, and outlining, I finally started writing the first book in my new series today. At first, time slowed to a crawl and every word seemed like an effort. After an hour with almost nothing to show for it, I started to panic.

I’d forgotten how to write!

Now, having put in my hours and produced over five thousand words, I feel a little bit more comfortable. They may not be the right words but at least they’re on the page.

By the end of the day it was even starting to become fun. No matter how much I outline, no matter what backstory elements I fill in for my characters, no matter how well I know their history – better than the closest friends I’ve ever had – it’s not until I start to write that they actually fill out.

When my little chalk lines get into a room with the other chalk lines and start to have a conversation, that’s when they grow flesh and turn into people. Stiff at first, awkward. But at the end of the day I can see how well they’re fitting into their new skins. I start to know them so well I can see what they’re thinking.

They’ll have a few surprises in store, and I’m sure at some point my carefully structured outline will be grossly and unexpectedly departed from, but for the time being they’re well behaved characters doing pretty much what they should. Long may it last.

Here’s to tomorrow and the next five thousand.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Busy month accomplishing nothing

For the past month I’ve been busy getting a few things sorted.

Number One: leaving paid employment. Something that caused me to sit bolt upright every weeknight for a fortnight with “What have I done?” running through my brain at full volume.

The alternating attitude was to spend all of my remaining work days smiling with glee that everything I was doing was going to be over soon and would never have to be done again. By me, at least. I presume the jobs that I had to perform still need to be performed by someone who resents doing them as much as I did.

Number Two: getting my second Ngaire Blakes Mystery published.

Still not sure if this is happening or not. I did submit directly to Kindle Press (who were kind enough to publish the previous one) but after not hearing anything in response for a month, I succumbed to their process and put it on the Kindle Scout website for a thirty day campaign. Boy, had I forgotten how long thirty days is. The first few days were quite exciting in a familiar “I’ve been here before” kind of way. But the first few days only used up the first few days and the latter twenty-eight have stretched in front of me like a widening gulf.

To be honest, I haven’t actually ticked this one off the list because the campaign has another five days to run. Something that Kindle Scout insist on calling four days, because the last day of the campaign is called the last day rather than one day to go. IDK. At least this time around I won’t be caught out. If I make it to the last day. That point is still in question.

If you’ve missed the opportunity to nominate me (or chore, depending on your mindset) then you can do so on the following link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/CB9NSW95GX1U

Click the link, sign-in to Amazon using your usual Amazon sign-in details, then click on a blue nominate button. This will ensure that if I’m embarrassingly passed over for publication this time around, you’ll be the first to hear about it. And if I’m not, then you’ll get a free Kindle copy. What a deal!

Number Three: preparing for a new series that I’ll be launching next year.

This has been the most time-consuming activity of the lot, in mind power if not in physical hours spent. I’m following a new apprenticeship program that is taking me through a different (for me, anyway) system of book writing. It involves a lot of preproduction and planning (oddly similar to the work that I gleefully departed from) and will hopefully allow me to write a lot more quickly and a lot more easily when it gets to that bit.

In the meantime, I’ve taken a leap of faith and organised all the standard trimmings that go along with book publishing in advance. I have editing booked in for manuscripts that haven’t yet been written and I’ve set up a brilliant book cover designer to design six covers for books that don’t yet have insides for the cover to cover.

Another reason I’m jolting wide-awake at night thinking “What have I done?”

Still, having taken the leap of faith that the six books I’ve commissioned covers for and arranged editing of will manifest themselves in time, the process has become very exciting. This time, in the good way. I’ve even gone so far as to create a separate page on my website to highlight that this series is coming. Definitely. I’ve committed to a date! If, February 2017 can be called a date.

So yes, I’ve been busy.

Unemployed, unpublished, unwritten.

Busy, busy, busy.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Bugs

Atlas Obscura has been having bug week this past week.

I don’t know if that’s a recognised phenomenon, like shark week, or if it’s just something they decided to do because they had a whole lot of random copy about bugs, but it’s been quite interesting.

They’ve covered everything from the pain scale of insect stings through to the hidden bugs sending messages when you retweet that meme. NOTE: it is always perfectly safe to retweet any pictures from MY twitter handle. I know as much about coding secret messages into images as I do about wedding planning and I’m officially an old-age spinster (if you live in a time before woman had occupations to note on their official documentation).

I found it especially comforting to read through these articles when I was struck with my own bug on Wednesday. It made for some nice breaks in between familiarising myself with the toilet bowl from both ends.

One thing I appreciated was the tiny little bugs that were crawling all over the screen while I was reading the articles. I was only fooled twice into thinking they were real and attempting to crush them mercilessly against my laptop screen.

I HAD TO HAVE THEM.

And for once the laborious effort I put into transitioning my website from the delightfully easy Squarespace to the frustratingly multi-optioned WordPress paid off.

Bug! There is a wordpress plugin called bug.

It puts a bug on your screen. Not only that, the bug wanders about a bit.

A miracle of engineering. Now in full view on my website (which you may already know if you’re reading my blog on there, but if you’re not you should immediately visit by clicking this link – http://katherinehayton.com).

They say it’s the little things in life that make you happy and whoever “they” is in this case “they” would be right.