Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Reporting back

A few blogs ago, I promised to report on Jacqui Lofthouse's 'The Writing Coach' programme, so here I am doing just that. For those of you who missed my earlier blog about this, Jacqui is a published novelist, teacher and writing coach who is planning to publish an e-book entitled '30 Days to Conquer Your Self Doubt and Procrastination and Have 30,000 Words Under Your Belt'. Jacqui drafted the book on her blog and invited writers to work through it with her, writing 1000 words every day for 30 days, whilst commenting on the programme generally.

Well, the 30 days are now over and I'm pleased to say I did write 1000 words a day, sometimes more. To be honest, I probably would have done this anyway. However, what I wouldn't have done was had the benefit of using Jacqui's exercises, which she included every day as an alternative to progressing a wip and which I found very helpful if stuck with my own writing. By taking one of my characters and putting them in the scene that Jacqui had set up, I found that, even though I would probably not use the scene within my book, it kept the flow of writing going and also helped me to get to know my characters better.

One other thing I learned (which I should probably already have known after 7 years of writing!), was that it's not necessary to plan the whole book in advance. Of course you can if you want to and undoubtedly you need to have some idea of where it's heading - but alternatively (or as well as) you can plan one chapter or scene at a time - each time asking yourself what is the point of the scene, how will it progress the story, what will your characters learn and/or how will they change? As someone who hates planning anything, cutting it down into 'bite-sized' pieces, has given me much solace in my non-planning world.

And that's it. Now I must motivate myself once more and plan each scene as I go. As for Jacqui's e-book, I would recommend it to anyone who seeks one-to-one coaching, inspiration and motivation.

Next blog I post will be my report on the RNA conference this weekend - see you then green buddies!



Blogger Eva said...

Thanks for the report, Annie. It sounds like a positive experience.

I don't plan my novels either and I'm a definite plodder. My synopsis, usually written around Chapter 3 or 4, is the only plan I try to adhere to and I also concentrate on one scene at a time. I find my characters have a mind of their own and often steer me from an attempt to lay a set course. I rather like it when they exert their independence.

10:03 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said...

Yes, I enjoyed her course too and came out better for it.

3:56 pm  
Blogger Liz Fielding said...

Hope you have a great time at the conference, Annie!

7:00 am  
Blogger Annie said...

Thank you, Liz and thanks for visiting our blog. I just popped over to yours and saw a mouthwatering picture of hot buttered toast, so I'm off to make myself some right now!

Nice to hear from you Stacy Dawn - or 'Holmes' as we think of you here. Love your new blog look by the way and congrats on all your recent successes!

I'm with you, Eva - I love it when my characters take over and they take me on a journey that I hadn't expected and use words I never even knew I knew. Who needs a plan? A psychiatrist would be far more helpful!

Now, where's that toaster?

7:34 am  
Blogger Kate Walker said...

See you soon Annie

Don't forget to come and say hello

8:48 am  
Blogger India said...

Just popping in while I wait for the 600th batch of summer fair fairy cakes to cool to say have a lovely time, Annie. Am now going to whisk my broom around the kitchen and trill 'Someday my prince will come...' while bluebirds hold onto my apron strings.

(Have been to Sainsburys and purchased a giant pumpkin, just in case my fairy godmother should show up. She's been conspicuous by her absence for the last 36 years though so am not optimistic.)

12:49 pm  

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