Monday, 5 November 2012

Goal List Week Commencing 4th November 2012

Yesterday, I escaped to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire for an hour. It not too far, only a short thirty minute journey in the car. Why? I wanted to see how the seasons have left the park since my last visit in September. 

It was also the last day the house and gardens will open until March next year. I didn't go in, I've been around the house many times. Instead I walked up to the gardens, and looked back over my shoulder at the Abbey, its one of my my favourite spots, and I've taken a picture each time I've visited this year, so I've almost got a set now - one for each season.

Calke Abbey in Autumn 2012 - Maria A Smith
Last week passed in a flash, I haven't felt at all well. As October came to a close I found myself running around like a headless chicken at work trying to get everything done.

At home, I cleared the decks ready to start in earnest on my novel re-write/mega edit. I even managed to get to Staples for new stationary. Coloured index cards, reporters note pads, and a good supply of decent pens.

I set to, printed my manuscript, and wrote each scene onto a card, and clipped it to the corresponding  chapter. This is good for me, I'm not a planner, yet here I was doing something which passed as a plan of sorts.

I took one of the chapters along to my critique group to read out and receive feedback. I wasn't disappointed, I got encouraging comments, as well as sound advice on the errors I'd made. Its good to have other writers opinions. As  I read aloud, I could hear where it jarred, where it wasn't working, and what I needed to fix!

For those of you who like competitions, here are details of two closing soon.

The Word Hut Short Story Writing Competition

Closing November 18th 2012
First Prize £60.00, Second £30.00, Third £15.00
The winning story will be published on the website.
Entry Fee £4.00
Short stories up to 1000 words on any theme, or in any genre. More details here.

Almond Press Short Story Competition

Closing date November 30th 2012
First Prize £100
Entry FREE
Short stories between 3000 and 5000 on the theme of 'Fall' (in all the meanings of the word)
Read the rules here

I'd better get on now. How was your week?


  1. I had a great week Maria, thanks for asking!
    The autumn/winter illness is creeping in already huh? Hope you are well soon!

    1. Hi Duncan, I feel weary, I'm hoping it will clear soon. Glad to hear your week was good and happy.

  2. I'm not a planner either but I like the sound of coloured index cards - any excuse to head to Staples!! And it's a great idea to go back to the same place in each season and see how it changes or what changes there are around it - really useful when you're writing about a place over any timeframe too. Are you going to post all the pictures together in one post?

    I've had a good week, thanks for asking. NaNoWriMo started and it's helped me keep my resolution to make it all about the writing this winter.

    1. Hello Kath, good to hear you're on track with your writing. Any tips you can pass on would be most welcome today.

      Regards the images, I did think about putting all of them on the blog so that folks can see the changes. I'm hoping to get a snowy picture in winter to complete the seasons. It could prove difficult now the gardens have closed, although I was tipped off they are going to open up a couple of times in December.

      As you say its good watching the seasons change if the place features in your writing. We often miss the details as we hurtle through everyday life.

    2. Yep, it's good to stop and take notice of the world around us every so often. I hope you make it to Calke Abbey next month.

      Erm, well, I'm currently a bit behind on NaNo word count so maybe not the best person to ask but basically I've started saying No when people ask me to do stuff for them or, if I'm still saying yes to some things, I'm trying to put a more realistic timeframe on it, so that it doesn't eat into my writing time. And, so far, that seems to be working and I'm safeguarding my writing time - which has often been sacrificed in the past. Plus, I'm trying to break the writing down into smaller (500-word) chunks which is more doable and less daunting than worrying about how many thousands of words I have left to do.

      Good luck with your own re-writing/mega editing project, Maria!

    3. Thanks Kath, I'm going t say NO to th next thing I'm asked to do now, as long as its not an invitation to go out for tea and cake!

  3. Hi Maria.
    Calke Abbey looks wonderful; it's not somewhere I've visited yet.
    I emailed my edited MS to my agent last week so I'm crossing everything and looking out for her comments. She was going to read it yesterday on a long train journey!
    I too find it really helpful to read chapters for critiquing at a writers' group. I'm sure that my novel improved by listening to and acting on feed-back.
    Hope work eases up a bit and you're feeling tip-top again!!
    Love Ange xx

    1. Hi Ange,

      Fingers and toes crossed for your latest novel! Good to hear from you.

  4. I love stationery shopping. I can spend hours just browsing the shelves - but buying is even better! Good luck with the revisions.

    1. Yes, I think a lot of us are addicted to buying notebooks too. I've noticed when out wit other writerly types, we tend to linger around the stationary counters.

  5. That is a lovely picture - what an inspiring place! Coloured index cards? I didn't know you could get coloured ones - hm, I think I shall have to check it out :-)
    Thank you for the links x

  6. Another good pic Maria with depth, composition and interest. Excellent one for a short story I thought. Keep battling away, you will win the day. I always feel refreshed with a new set of pens and stationery. Gives you a crisp edge with which to forge on. Still hacking my way through the jungle here - another 1300 words on the book, this week's blog post is out and now its time for the 200 worder for tomorrow's writing group and then another 1000 words on the book. Will juggle it in somehow with the rest of the balls. Some people think that writers rise about ten, have salmon and scrambled eggs for breakfast then the blokes wander about in the study with their smoking jackets on before rolling out 2,000 words and the women slip into something loose and comfortable and stare out of the window until the inspiration hits them. The stick I've taken from some non writing friends. Have tried to put them right, but when they still say 'haven't you finished that book yet?' - you know its better to get back to the plot you're working on in your head and hope you just say 'yes' and 'no' in the right places.

  7. Hi Keith,
    I'm making steady progress, this last week has been more about re-arranging chapter, and re-thinking stuff to do with the plot. I'm also conscious I'm lacking a decent sub plot, so the brain is working on that one too!

    Good luck with your huge list...


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