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August & September 2021 Update: Novel-In-Progress & Writer's Block , The curious case of Mister Big Man, Writing Courses & Conferences : FREE ProWriting Aid Romance Week

 Novel-In-Progress & Writer's Block

car lights

I'm now writing the final 25% part of the novel-in-progress draft. I've done one outline and why I thought it would be easy escapes me when this process has nearly taken me two years to get here. Actually, nearly two and half if you count the dithering about. 

And a small fortune if you think of the editing courses, from Holly Lisle's  Edit Your Novel, Faber Academy's version of Edit Your Novel and finally Jericho's Writer's version of  Edit Your Novel. I guess I was looking for a simple solution and in the end I had to to what I was avoiding, and rewrite the story from scratch, and this I started in January 2020. 

It was my mother who suggested, I actually had writer's block with this novel, and I agreed. I realised that during the Faber Academy course but I'd always wanted to go on the Jericho Writer's one so I signed up. 

Writing though writing block has been a tough and boring and tedious process. However along the way, I picked up news skills. For me writer's block means a lack of imagination, spontaneity and just writing. It's arduous because I had to rely on other skills and writing strategies. Nothing just came to me. Most things were laboured. 

How do I manage Writer's Block?

Plotting and making lists, so it is less organic than my normal process. In my normal writing process, I tend to write the events and story organically. With Writer Block the process feels a little more laboured. 

 The curious case of Mister Big Man

dog in bed

Mister Big Man is such an intriguing character, and I think perhaps deserves a blog post of his own. There are ethical issues involved but what a character. Let's move on, so now Mister Big Man has officially put is Very Important Project that would take the world by storm on ice and has started to proceed with another Very Important Project 0 .2.

This time Mister Big Man is saying he will apply the lessons learned from Very Important Project 0.1 - which to be fair could have had a chance of success if Mister Big Man listened to others and wasn't a law to himself.  I LOVE observing Mister Big Man because he reflects my inner nature of wanting  success, and the frustration and the desperation wrapped in it, yet with a strong ego.  Oh, yes, I have a large ego and I don't take criticism very well, especially 'personal criticism' but seeing Mister Big Man in action is a reminder to myself so be open and listen. 

I probably should write it on a note, because one in a while my ego flares up! 

Let's not digress because this is about  Mister Big Man. It appears with Very Important Project 0.2 he seems to be making all the mistakes of Very Important Project 0.1. Bu with life and projects it is hard to be prescriptive to what will succeed or fail. After all Mister Big Man is a very skilled individual and despite being egotistical and a law unto himself. So I will be updating if anything interesting happens. I just find Mister Big Man intriguing, perhaps because he keeps me on my toes, he's a bit of a pacemaker so can't really discard him, just need to keep an eye out but stay in own lane.

Of course, we next need to talk about Madam Knowledge, not me...but that is for another time. 

Other stuff

Writing Conferences and Courses

Jericho Writers Festival of Writing 2021

I went last year and thought it was great, this year was more pared down but it was very useful too. I liked listening to the craft classes but more useful was listening to the different published authors' interviews and their paths and thoughts on publishing. Craftwise, was great as well, but normally the same tips in different ways, so I found the industry talk more useful this time. I skipped some talks and panels based on my last experience but overall I enjoyed it. You can always get it on playback for about £30 for the month. You just need to be super organised.  They had about 35 events, including showcases. 

Faber Writing Courses 

I used to be pulled into courses just by the titles and content and brand. So I love Faber Academy courses and I didn't finish one course because it was a beginners level and I found the material too basic. Someone recommended it so I went and it wasn't all that, apart from that, I've enjoyed their other courses. 

However Richard Skinner, Faber Academy's Director of Fiction, is doing series of masterclasses and they £75 which is comes up to £750 in total for all classes. So I was highly tempted, very tempted because it was like doing a course but in increments.

 So I booked for the first course, and was super excited but somehow I was underwhelmed with the material in a way. I expected a little more, and he was very strict with what could asked, fair enough since he has a series of ten master classes to cover. 

However I was still tempted so I went back to my list of all the other Richard Skinner, Faber Academy's masterclasses which I wanted to go, and I prioritised which ones I really wanted to go on, and I reduced it from nine to about five.

The descriptions were so good that I felt I put doubts aside, and take a risk. Then I remembered he had a book out, called Writing A Novel. So I decided the best thing was to buy the book for £10, and then decide based on that. 

The book had the same content as the class, apart from a Q&A discussion. Then I went through most of the master class descriptions and got the same feeling, it was mostly in the book. So I thought no. I need to  study the book first and then decide. As of now I've saved from three sessions £225 at £75 a session.  I guess if I had read the book and had extra questions for Richard Skinner it would have been worth it. I still haven't read the book so there was no point going for the classes. 

Other Courses 

There were two other courses with gripping titles that made my credit itch in my hands. I was so tempted. If you follow my blog you know I am a writing-course-aholic, I'm addicted to courses but there comes a time when some courses don't hit the spot. One gets immune to the effect, so the rush is just buying the course in hope of the delivery. I learnt that with the Holly Lisle Edit Your Novel course. It was very good, and I loved the outline but it wasn't for draft-in-progress. And it was expensive - it was about £300-£400 pounds. At some point the material may come in useful, but not at this point. To be honest, I think for me, her material is better used in planning a novel than editing. Maybe I can do that experiment at some point.

Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, looking back I should have read her fiction books first. I know it seems simple and obvious thing to do but I was swayed by the course content and reviews. 

Anyway, let's not digress, I found two courses which I really wanted to do....I still do but I decided to read the books of the instructors and I was underwhelmed. I get people can be way better teachers than applying to their own work but being a writing-course-addict I didn't want to go and end up being disappointed because it would have been material I covered in another course. 

Other Conferences and Events.

RNA are having a Winter party and I might crash their event for £69 - non members. I'm not sure....I'll think about  it and take Big Ma, if I go, so basically £138 then a new dress and taxi etc. 

And I've booked for another romance conference. Actually if you are interested this is a free one. 

FREE ProWriting Aid Romance Week

ProWritingAid  is hosting their first ever Romance Writers' Week in October. 
You'll join hundreds of other romance writers to learn what makes a romance novel swoon-worthy. Whether you're writing contemporary, paranormal, historical, or speculative romance (or something in between), you'll find practical, actionable sessions to help you plan, write, and market your romance story.

So if you are an aspiring novelist, this is it. Note -most may be glorified sales pitches but there are always gems and it is FREE......


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