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momentous events More about me my novel-in-progress

Hamster wheel spinning time!

So… I did it!

Not quite on the 16th, admittedly, but on the 25th. And that was pretty much all because I was directing a production of The Velveteen Rabbit, whose opening night was the 16th. Yeh, I didn’t particularly time that one very well, did I…

Still, the querying started on the 25th, and I’ve averaged 2-3 queries per day since then. So I’m happy with that. Some fairly immediate form rejections, which is sad but par for the course, I know.

And I’m enjoying learning LOTS. Last time I queried (years ago now) it was *way* too early. Now I’m feeling a lot more ready, but I’ve revised my query letter twice, my biography about five times, and I’m not even going to mention the numbers of times I’ve reworded my answers to the ‘target audience’ and ‘similar works’ questions! Hence the spinning hamster wheel. Am I doing this right? Should I be writing this? Or this? Or even… this?

I’m quite liking the Query Manager / Query Tracker side of things though. It’s a very impressive site! And researching agents and agencies is also fun. I’m constantly wondering ‘who will I be lucky enough to end up working with’?

So that’s my “Ceridwyn is now an #amquerying writer” story. It took a while to actually happen, but it’s happening now! Praise God 🙂

And speaking of God, have brilliant Easter weekends, dear Readers!

Yours,

KRidwyn

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Life my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Work

Off and running…

So how’s your 2023 shaping up, dear Reader? Mine has been a whirlwind! Although it feels a tiny bit more relaxed, incrementally a little less hectic, than last year.

I’ve added some ‘physical health awareness’ time into my routine this year, and having one child fewer at school has given me a LOT more head-space, for which I’m grateful! And I’ve filled it (but of course) with other things… I’ve paid the Term 1 school fees, closed (and opened) a couple of bank accounts, sold then collected some budgies, had a vegetarian best friend stay for a week, processed a lot of books and kept on top of my ordering, and also done some gardening in there – as evidenced by my aching and stiff lower back as I type.

Oh, and add into the the time spent night driving with my eldest; an extra church activity or two, and more writing this year than any other year I can remember to date… and 2023 is looking good so far!

And the fact I wrote in my last blog post that I’d be querying by mid-March is still front-and-centre of my ‘not just important but urgent’ mental list. Truth be told, it might actually BE the whole list. I’m on track for that still. Kinda…

Speaking of which, I should probably get going now. There’s editing to do. I’ll leave you with this inspirational new(ish) writing from Veronica Roth, shall I?

See you next time!

  • KRidwyn
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my novel-in-progress Reading Work Writing

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know, it’s been 7 days already. But hey; I’ve been having a good holiday, okay?

Speaking of holidays, it’s been more of a ‘hiatus’ from this blog, hasn’t it (insert sheepish expression here). What a lovely word that is too, by the way. According to my Apple dictionary:

Hiatus, as in a ‘physical gap’, or ‘to gape’. Well, there certainly is a gaping hole in the timeline of posts on this blog! But as much as I’d like there not to be, I can’t change the past, so here’s hoping 2023 fares better for blogposts. Once a month even, perhaps?

Looking ahead, I’m also looking forward to querying again, probably around mid-March. It’s been years since dipping my toes in the querying waters, so I’m apprehensive. Well… downright terrified, truth be told. But now I’ve posted this – even if only on a sporadic blog such as this! – my brain is telling me it’s a commitment I’ll be unwilling to break. I hope…

On the reading front, I’ve challenged myself to anther 104 books this year. I absolutely LOVE that Goodreads has their ‘Reading Challenge’ function, where I can track my reading year by year. I recorded just over 110 in 2022, which I was pretty happy with. In 2023, I’m planning on the majority of those being YA, followed by MG and a smattering of adult and also non-fiction in there. Not only because those are my faves, in order, but also that’s where I’m at with the Library collection I’m trying to forge my way through at work. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned how BRILLIANT my job is, yes? Teacher Librarian for a K – 12 private school, where I get to spend the school’s money on books I know the kids will love? What can be better than that? (Well, writing full time perhaps, but that’s a scary thought right there…)

Anyway, here’s hoping all this reading I’ll be doing will help the writing some. And between the writing, the reading and the job, plus a newly-graduated daughter to help negotiate the big wide world of work and university, and two younger children completing Year 11 and Year 9 in 2023… this year’s ending will probably come around quicker than even I’m expecting! I wonder what my life will look like by then?

Well, that’s it from me, dear Reader. Have a great January and “see” you in a month!

– KRidwyn

Categories
Life Random thoughts

Eye sight

Eye sight: mine’s deteriorating. Rapidly. I’m quite sad about it actually; I’d thought I was different from everyone else and my body wouldn’t succumb to this ageing process. Guess I was wrong.

You’d think failing eyesight would be my cue to get a move-along with this whole ‘finishing my novel’ bit, wouldn’t you. Huh. Again, something to regret.

It’s a bit of a maudlin one this morning, I’m afraid, dear Reader. Sorry about that. Here’s hoping you retain your eyesight for much, much longer!

Have a vision-filled day,

KRidwyn

Categories
Scribblings teaching Work Writing

Flash fiction – 4 prompt words

Last term, I started a “Writer’s Group” at my school. Interested students – only girls so far! – meet each morning and practise various activities to improve their writing skills.

One such activity was “write a 100-word flash fiction story which must include random prompt words”. My favourite story used the words: Fate; Find; Potential; Fiendish. Below is what I came up with:

It’s fate, I knew it! Jane thought. I knew I’d find him – the stars aligned perfectly this month!

She stared dreamily out the window, remembering last night. Their eyes had met across the crowded bar. Excusing himself from his friends, he’d moved toward her, his eyes – mesmerising! – locked with hers. Other girls, appraising his potential, tried flirting as he passed; he ignored them. He only had eyes for her! And they had a tete-a-tete tonight!

Ma cherie, he murmured into her neck later that evening. Her eyes closed, she didn’t notice his enlarged canines behind his fiendish smile.

I quite liked writing it! Never written a vampire character before. I’m thinking it’s all the manga I’ve been reading for work this year…

Anyway, here’s wishing you a story-filled day today yourself, dear Reader!

  • KRidwyn

 

 

Categories
Writing

12/52

Meet Xaf.

She’s the dragon keeping me company while I write.

Cute, yes? I think so! She always makes me smile 🙂

Have a smile-y week yourself, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

Categories
my novel-in-progress Random thoughts Writing

1/52

I’ve decided, instead of New Year’s resolutions for 2019, to try implementing two pieces of advice I’ve been given in the past several years.

The first was from a nurse helping me through depression following the birth of child number 2. Her piece of advice (among many others, most of which I use regularly) was to have realistic expectations – for myself, as well as for others. That’s a tricky one for me – but one I’m going to try to remember in 2019.

The second was a few years ago, from New York literary agent extraordinaire, Janet Reid. She wrote a blogpost responding to a question I’d sent her; the gist of her answer was for me ‘to focus’. Again, something which is going to require more than a little training, for those of you who know me IRL… but something that’s worthwhile, I think.

So in 2019 I plan to ‘focus’ on my writing. The novel-in-progress, that is, not my blog. Hence the plan to post photos each week. Starting with this:

 

The view from one of my early-morning writing spots. Peaceful. Quiet.

Amazing, hey!

Anyway, here’s wishing you a wonderful week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

Categories
random scribblings Scribblings Writing

What would you do?

I was given a progressive story to finish recently. This is what I had to work with:

  • 2 love-struck teachers, John and Angela. They’d been kissing for the first time, in the school break-room, when
  • an explosion had occurred and they’d been knocked to the ground. Angela had been impaled, and John was also much the worse for wear.
  • Enter cleaner, George. He tells them he’s called the ambulance and encourages the two teachers to talk to each other. They declare their undying love (yeh, I added the adjective here because hey! irony!)
  • explosion number 2.

Oh – and finish the story in just 300 words.

So now what? What would YOU do?

If you’re interested in my take on the story, read on below. If not, that’s fine! Have yourself a fantastic week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn

*****

Now it was George’s turn to be thrown to the ground. He landed heavily on his vacuum cleaner. John, who’d finally managed to stagger upright, was blasted down again. This time, his temple hit the corner of the lunch table. He’d never rise again.

Angela, disoriented, bleeding profusely from multitudes of cuts, tried to rise but couldn’t. Her legs wouldn’t support her. She could feel her body growing weaker. In her pain, she didn’t notice a man stride into the destroyed room, gas mask covering his head and a thick black coat disguising the rest of his muscular body. He kicked John’s body out of his way.

George, regaining consciousness, groaned loudly. Leaning over, the man hauled him to his feet. “Leave.” George, spluttering, quickly decided this was not a man to trifle with. Eyes wide, he took the stranger’s advice and fled.

Not even bothering to watch, the stranger had calmly sauntered over to Angela’s broken body. He removed his mask, his face flushed with hatred. “I told you,” he spat.

“Henry?” Angela’s whisper held pain and confusion. “What…? Why?”

“When you broke my heart two years ago, you promised me ‘never again’,” he roared, over the wail of approaching sirens.

He grabbed the piece of window frame embedded in her abdomen and twisted it slowly, painfully. “You lied.”

“But…”

“No,” he snarled. “You’d promised. It was easy enough to get the gas contract for this stupid old school. A piece of cake, letting it leak into this break room over the past several weeks. Just waiting for today. For you. And him!” His eyes glittered crazily; her eyes, tear-filled, lost their sheen of life.

The sirens stopped, replaced by screeching tyres on the gravel outside.

Henry, smiling grimly, surveyed his handiwork, then slipped silently out the back door.

Categories
my novel-in-progress random scribblings Random thoughts Scribblings teaching Technology Work Writing

Moving right along…

So now the musical’s over, I’ve been head down and getting stuck into the work I’d been (of necessity, mind you!) neglecting. Housework, gardening – oh, and my students’ assignment drafts too, don’t forget! I’ve also had enough head-space to actually ponder the commencement of writing again, would you believe? And I also found 15 minutes in there somewhere, last week, to FlowState… although what came out was embarrassingly pitiful and barely worth keeping, but writing is writing and a skill practiced is a skill improving, I always say. (Well, okay. I made that saying up just now. But it sounds significantly better with the word ‘always’ in it, don’t you think?)

What’s FlowState? You ask. Well, it’s a horrific tool which forces you to write by threatening to remove all your words.

Originally, you could set the timer for 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. I preferred that. But with an update a year or so ago, they removed that functionality, leaving users with only a 15 minute option.

And the idea behind it is that you WRITE for 15 minutes. No hesitating, just writing. Adding word after word to the screen. Or else!

If you hesitate for longer than 5 seconds (from memory; I *think* it’s five but I’m too scared to check it and see) the words fade on the screen and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

You’re forced, you see; to write, and write non-stop, until the timer finishes, and the work is saved.

And believe me, you do NOT want to stop at 14 minutes and 55 seconds! I did that before, and lost literally hundreds of words. Yes, I cried. And yes, I also stopped using the app, my own solitary protest, for several months. But returned though, because it’s perfect to get the writing mojo happening (rather than the thinking mojo!) and the threat of losing work is enough to keep the fingers tapping keys 🙂

Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

That, and dreaming about publishing. If only Book 7 of my Justine Browning series would write itself!

 

Have a great week, dear Reader 🙂

– KRidwyn

Categories
Reading Review Writing

Review: WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers

As a Reider – a commenter on (literary agent extraordinaire) Janet Reid’s blog – I was fortunate enough to hear about this book, WRITING WITHOUT RULES by Jeff Somers.

Now, I’ve read numbers of titles on ‘how to write and sell your book’, ranging from Stephen King’s ON WRITING to Chuck Wendig’s THE KICK-ASS WRITER. These particular two have stood out to me as the two ends of a spectrum, and many, many, MANY other titles within that spectrum have inspired me and encouraged me in my whole ‘get-your-butt-in-your-chair-and-get-your-novel-finished’ aspirations.

Not since reading Catherine Deveny’s USE YOUR WORDS though, have I read a more down-to-earth ‘just write, and finish what you write’ philosophy espoused so clearly. And it’s exactly what I (in my current “I can’t do this” frame of mind) needed to hear. And the footnotes! Hilarious!

Jeff’s wit sparkles, and I laughed aloud throughout each of the 20 chapters. The first ten chapters – on writing – were more applicable to me than the second – on selling – however now I’m in the winding down chapters, drafting Book 6 of a 7 book series, I can see that the latter half of his book may indeed become more important to me in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

As Jeff Somers is a client of Janet Reid’s, and as I am an unashamed Reider familiar with her take on literary agenting, it was not only a pleasing confirmation to note that her own views are firmly held by her client, but that the ‘inside jokes’ he made, were ones I am also (partly) familiar with. I smiled, I laughed, I took copious notes, and the fact that emblazoned across the back cover demanded that I:

STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WRITE!

YES, YOU: WRITE!

made me smile every time I picked it up. [Because even though the blurb insisted I write, the premise behind actually being able to read the hard-cover book I’d been given for my birthday (thanks, Mum!) was that I needed to stop what I was doing – even if my current activity were writing – if I was to read the book!]

But it was worth it. Worth missing out on the writing time. Because it’s a great book. And it you’re an unpublished writer – or even a published one, come to that – you’d find this a good read. And if you missed clicking on that link at the top, it’s here again now if you wanted to buy it directly from Jeff Somers’ blog.

And have a great week, dear Reader!

– KRidwyn