Counting down the minutes till Nano…

After a hectic week that had me fly over to the other side of the country for a funeral, I’m home again, just in time for Nano!

My story this year is partly planned, a sequel to the novella I wrote during Camp Nano in June, a novella I have literally this minute submitted to a competition, after spending every squeezable moment of free time this last few weeks polishing it to perfection (or as close as I can get it for now!).

And checking the clock I realise I have 26 minutes until midnight. Should I stay up, and start writing at midnight? I’ve never done it before – and to be honest I’m not really sure it’s a good idea to do it tonight. A red eye flight home has meant little sleep in the last 48 hours, though I’m not tired – I’m still operating on another time zone, 3 hours behind the time now. And perhaps I should give my mind a rest, so I can start fresh tomorrow.

I also have other news! When I get myself organised I have a several copies of an unproofed edition of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton to give away!! It looks like a brilliant story, though I doubt I’ll get to read it before December. More details on how you can win yourself a copy coming soon!!! 😀

Six Sentence Sunday – Published Stories #4

The final story of this series is ‘The Harpist’. This story probably shocked me the most – I submitted it one night for publication on the 1000words blog, and when I awoke the next morning it had been published!

Hannah listened in awe as the harpist before her set his fingers to the strings and began to play. She knew Emmanuel had skill, but his performance today far surpassed any she had heard from him before. This lad was her greatest rival, and yet on the odd times they had spoken she had found him funny, off-beat, cute. And though she would never admit it, whenever she looked into his deep blue eyes her heart skipped a beat.

As the cascading notes came to an end and the roar of applause filled the auditorium Hannah felt a gentle push between her shoulder blades.

“Your turn.”

This is one of my favourite stories so far, alongside Ermaline’s Feast.

To see what happens next check out the 1000words blog http://1000words.org.uk/the-harpist/

Six Sentence Sunday – Published Stories #3

My third story for this series is called ‘One’ and was published on Free Flash Fiction’s website in August of this year.

Freya watched as they slept. Their bodies moving as muscles stretched and relaxed, rolling and turning to shift their weight from one side to another, always in the other’s embrace.

“They move together,” she whispered to no one in particular.

“I see.”

She turned; surprised another should be so near. “Father, I…”

 

‘One’ is a fantasy flash fiction, about the Norse Gods and their decision to end the world.

To see how this story ends visit: http://www.freeflashfiction.com/index.php/stories/science-fiction-and-fantasy/one-by-heather-jensen/

Young Writer’s Program

 

I am thrilled to say that my 6 year old son is joining in the Young Writer’s Program this year. (http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/)

We signed him up on the site, and checked out the Word-Count Goal Calculator, a brilliant device to help Young Writer’s set a word goal for themselves. He typed away for 10 minutes, with lots of distractions, and ended up with 30 words. Focus is not really one of his strong points at the moment – his world is far too full of excitement to concentrate on any one thing for too long, so we’ve set him a daily goal of 50 words, 1500 words for the month. Personally, I think he’ll get that easily, but I wanted something small for him to aim for, in his first year.

Then we downloaded the Young Writer’s Program workbook for Elementary Students. It is brilliant! It asks him to think about novels that he likes and doesn’t like, and what it is he likes or not about them. Then he begins the planning for his own novel. So far we have a character, whose name he picked out from a baby name website after searching for a name that means warrior or fighter (it’s going to be an adventure story), and the character has now been fleshed out with likes/dislikes, where he lives, what he looks like, and what he does best.

Best of all is that my son is so keen to work on it. He is so excited about his story, he’s been bragging to all who will listen about how next month he’ll be doing the Young Writer’s Program.

And we’ve already discussed his prize should he succeed, a YWP “Nanowrimo Brain” t-shirt.

Looking forward to next month, novelling away with my boy!! 😀

Six Sentence Sunday – Published Stories Series #2

The next story I had published this year was also thanks to Five Stop Story. My story ‘Sanctuary’ also received an Honorary Mention in their June Competition.

This was her sanctuary. Her place of rebirth, from a life of surviving to a life of living. It was the place that taught her beautiful places could be visited, and peace obtained, without the exorbitant prices that so often seemed to go along with the island get-a-ways and rainforest eco-resorts. She had soon stopped watching the travel programs, those which inspired the mind to dream and then disappointed the heart with a price unacheivable in any foreseeable future.

She had never really thought about the holidays that could be taken in her own ‘backyard’. There were always the advertisements and promotions for the beautiful national parks in the area, but she didn’t know how to camp.

This story was written several years ago, though to be honest I have no recollection now of what triggered it. A warning though – it does contain references to death, specifically euthenasia, so if that sort of things upsets you, don’t read any further.

http://www.fivestopstory.com/read/story.php?storyId=3157

20 Days to go….

It’s almost that time again!! Time for what you ask? NANOWRIMO of course!

I love it! I’ve been checking out the website today – there’s the Nano Video which has that awesome soundbite at the beginning and end. Let me tell you – that sound is one of my favourite sounds ever. Whenever I hear it I get so excited!!

I’m so happy to see Chris Baty will be back to give a Pep Talk this year! For those of you new to Nano, Chris Baty was actually the founder of Nanowrimo, as he and his friends decided to try and write a novel in 30 days, way back in 2000! I have been watching (via Nano Video) and reading all of Chris’s encouragement and motivation over the last 4 years of Nano. He retired at the end of last year to become a full-time writer, making millions of wrimos around the world very very sad. How could we possibly get through Nano, without him!!?? Thankfully we don’t need to, as he’ll be one of the authors sending wrimo participants a bit of pep throughout the month.

But probably my most favourite thing on this years website is something new. A list of all the authors whose published work began as a Nanowrimo novel. That’s right, Nanowrimo CAN lead to publication. I’ve been waiting and wishing for such a list ever since I learnt that Nano novels had been published. It’s a big list, and I want to print it out and show it to all those people who said writing a novel in 30 days was a waste of time and would never lead to anything! (Except, I didn’t have any of those people say that to me – but I think that’s just because I knew they would say it, so I never ever told them about Nano, because I didn’t want to hear it.)

My Nano planning has began, and I’m so excited about it this year.

Is anyone joining me? What do you like about the new website? And are you planning your novel or will you sit down on Nov 1 and just see what appears on the page?

Six Sentence Sunday – Published Stories Series #1

I thought I’d start a series for Six Sentence Sunday of the  first six lines from the stories I’ve had published this year.

The first is from Ermaline’s Feast. This story received an honorary mention in Five Stop Story’s April Competition

As her wings shifted ever so slightly, the great beast turned, heading for the sun. Ermaline looked down on the people miles below and wondered that something so small and insignificant could be so tasty. Damn shame they fight back, she thought, wincing at the fresh scar on her side that had blistered from the heat of their torches. It was a bad burn, and not for the first time did she wonder why she was not fire proof outside as well as in. But it would heal, and she would be back, these humans were too good to resist.

***

It was a month before Ermaline had the chance to return to the village.

Want to read more? Check out the rest of the story here – http://www.fivestopstory.com/read/story.php?storyId=2539

The Next Big Thing – Blog Hop

Wow! I’ve just been tagged in my very first blog hop!!  Thanks so much to LaVerne Clark for tagging me!

LaVerne writes Romance and has two brilliant e-books published. You can find more information about her and her books at her blog: http://www.laverneclark.blogspot.com.au/

 

There are blog hop rules:

****Give credit to the person/blog that tagged you

**** Post the rules for the blog hop

****Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog

****Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

 

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?  Red Sky

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I had committed to participate in Camp Nano, in June of this year, and was desperately searching for something to write about. There was a red sky one night, and the old phrase “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight” came to me, and instantly I had a flash of inspiration – a group of characters and their history, and a vague idea of where they were headed.

What genre does your book fall under?  Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Honestly I have not even thought that far ahead? That will need some more thought…
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  One sentence synopsis… haven’t written one yet, so lets see what I come up with: How about. “As the only female Pirate Captain in the whole of the nine seas Morgan has had more struggles than most, but can she cope when weakling James is thrust into her crew as they set off in search of the Greybeard’s legendary treasure – their most dangerous adventure yet?” Does that make it sound like a children’s book? It’s not supposed to be a children’s book…
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  I’m not sure I’m confident enough to self-publish just yet. This story is aimed for a novella competition coming up very soon, otherwise I will find somewhere else to submit it…

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  19 days to write just over 50,000 words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’m no good at comparing my work with others.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Another tricky question! The inspiration just struck me, a few days before Nano started in June. I had been dreaming about mermaids a lot before hand, and knew my story should be about the sea, so when the pirate story idea came I knew I had to run with it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  The story features not only pirates and treasure, but also mermaids and to a lesser degree, magic.

 Thanks LaVerne for tagging me! 😀

Now – this is the point where I am supposed to tag 5 other bloggers – but most of the bloggers I know have already been tagged!! If you would like to join in let me know and I’ll tag you here! It’s a lot of fun!

NanoWrimo 2012 – who’s with me?

The people at National Novel Writing Month have released the Nanowrimo 2012 website today!!

Nanowrimo is brilliant, and this will be the third time this year I have participated – having joined in the June and August Camp Nano sessions.

If you’re thinking about Nano but not sure if you really want to commit to writing 50,ooo words in 30 days: check out these 10 reasons you should sign up!! (taken straight from the Office of Letters and Light’s blog (OLL are Nanowrimo’s parent company…) (http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/32671611607/10-reasons-you-should-do-nanowrimo)

1. Because you get this deep down feeling in your bones after you read an amazing story; a need to drop everything right then and write something, too. Because every once in a while, while riding your bike, you mull over the dream you had last night and suddenly wish you were being chauffeured so you could whip out a pen and jot that bit of dialogue down and see where it takes you.

That feeling isn’t going away, is it? It’s because your spark of inspiration feeds off an inexhaustible fuel. There are people out there who think, ‘That would make a decent story,’ and then never bother themselves about it again. They are a credit to their parents in many other ways, but they don’t have the particular fire that burns in you. Don’t waste your light.

2. You’re afraid to try. Here’s the thing, ‘afraid to try’ is, like, the next-door neighbor of ‘want to try’. Heck, they’re basically roommates. ’Don’t want to try’ is actually four counties over.

As much as we talk about the guilt monkeys that will plague you during the month when you let your word count languish, if December 1 rolls around and you haven’t reached 50,000 words, they are surprisingly compassionate. They will pat you on the shoulder. They will point out that you’ve written 100 words more than you would have if you hadn’t bothered. They will stroke your hair.

That last one isn’t out of compassion, but hunger. Still, it’s nice.

3. You have an idea.

4. Everyone agrees that November is a totally boring month; worse than August. Mostly, there is absolutely nothing of worth happening. “What about Thanksgiving?” I hear many of you asking. Fun fact: the only other country that even celebrates Thanksgiving is Canada, and theirs is in October.

“But I’m so busy with school/work/other!” others of you cry out. I, too, used this reasoning once, to convince my mom that I had absolutely no spare time to play the piano at her dance class’ rehearsals.

Her reply? “Let’s talk about how little time you’d have if we sent you out to your cousins in Korea, and you were engaged in rigorous academic study from seven in the morning to nine at night.” Turns out I had a couple hours, actually, to plunk out waltzing triplets.

All joking aside, November can be a tough month to find the time to write, but the only way to guarantee that you will not have time to write a novel is to make no attempt to look for it.

5. You love writers. NaNoWriMo comes with a community of a quarter million creators like you, who will be breathing life into their characters by your side. On October 31, you can feel a collective inhale starting in New Zealand, and traveling west across the globe, and then a whoosh when November 1 hits. It is epic. It is awesome.

When I spend a lot of time with bro-ier friends, I start speaking the language, complete with a strong peppering of ‘dude’, ‘sick’, ‘swole’, etc. We are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Sometimes, this doesn’t work out for the better (as my example could demonstrate; your mileage may vary). With the right people, though, it can be very real and uniquely human magic power to compile individual resources of will into one giant pool to push each other to achieve the improbable.

6. Do you hate pep? Are encouragement and optimism and persistence distasteful to you? Do you wrinkle your nose at can-do spirit? Good news! We have a place for you over here in the quiet corner, where you can steadily write, consult your stats, and self-motivate to your heart’s content.

Everyone else, brace yourself for advice from published authors, tips and relevant anecdotes from NaNo HQ, word sprints run by your MLs, and pop culture references galore. (We cannot promise these references will be either up-to-date or cool. I will, however, spare you the rendition of ‘Write Me Maybe’ that we belt in the office.)

7. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, and are hoping to avoid sunburn and the possibility of skin cancer, let me introduce you to the indoor sport we call NaNoWriMo!

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, and hoping to avoid snow, rain, general chilliness, haaave you met NaNo?

8. There are people out there who will say, “NaNoWriMo is a waste of your time.” Sometimes, they will go on to say, “You cannot write a novel in a month, and any first draft that comes out of a rush to pen it in 30 days will be completely useless to you.”

If you are a patient person who would like to engage these naysayers, there are two responses to this sort of person, which depends on how they answer the question: “Have you ever written a novel?”

  • If they say, “No, I have not completed a novel,” you are allowed, even encouraged, to pause, smile kindly and say, simply, “Interesting.”
  • If they say, “Yes, I have completed a novel,” you might say, “That’s fantastic. High five—come on, up top! I think this is how I’m going to push myself to do something I’ve always wanted to do, like you did. I don’t know if I’ll end up trying to publish a novel, but if I do, I know writing one is the first step towards doing that.”

If you are not patient, a pretty solid response is, “Cool, I think I’m going to do it anyway.” There’s a decent amount of satisfaction to be found in openly disregarding the haters.

9. Because you have a story worth telling. First, here is what we’re not entitled to: being listened to by the masses. The honest truth is that attention is earned. But there can be incredible epiphanies that come from telling yourself your story. There are so many possibilities inside you. It’s a worthy thing you do, exploring those paths.

Everybody starts with an audience of one, and nobody has the right to silence you, not even your own inner editor.

10. You love to write.

And I would add my own reasons: Because by trying something that seems completely insane you learn that you can, in fact, achieve the impossible, and upon achieving the impossible, that sense of satisfaction is absolutely brilliant! There is also the sense of community if you take an active part of the forums – even though you may be typing away all by yourself in your own little room, there are thousands of writers to chat to at the drop of a hat – so many people experiencing the same issues with their stories, or ready with advice and motivation to keep you on track!

(And I forgot to say – if you’re under 18, and would love to try this but don’t think you can make 50k there is always the Young Writer’s Program – Nano for youngsters! – where you can set your own word goal! Check it out here: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/)