Writing Targets

I’m a target-driven writier.  I guess this comes from the years of writing assignments, reports and theses (well, OK, one dissertation and one thesis) more or less continuously from 1992 through to 2014, that’s 22 years of part time study.

Now I’m deep in the nitty gritty of my novel writing, I set myself two deadlines, both a daily writing target and a lone-term deadline to get the first draft completed.  I remembered that the late, very great Iain Banks used to set himself a target of writing 1,000 words a day, and completed most of his books within three months within that target, of course some of the Culture novels became epics in themselves, so were probably longer than that.  I also suspect he sat down with a good structure in mind, similar to what I achieved recently on my writing retreat to Malta.

One of my favourite authors at the moment, Ben Aaronovitch tweets his daily witing word count, and this seems to hover around the 500 to 1000 word a day target.  He also seems to write most days.  Now that I am part time, in theory I have four days a week when I should be able to write.  Assuming life doesn’t get in the way of course.

Everyone knows I love Scrivener, and despite the steep learning curve, which I’m still on I would advocate it for any serious writing. I wish I’d written my thesis in it rather than the monster that was Microsoft Word, towards the end I felt I was wrestling, rather than using the product.

Scrivener has a really neat writing target mode, and what I didn’t realise until recently is that the target can adapt on a day by day basis.

So I’ve put the numbers in, and I get the following.

Screenshot 2019-04-15 11.27.06

Pretty neat eh?  I remember I did something like this with my PhD through a spreadsheet.

Well having spent 2/3 of my daily target writing this post I’d better go and do some actual, you know writing.


The suspense is killing me!

Ironic really, as I’m writing crime fiction.

I’m sitting on some exciting news, which I am so looking forward to sharing. I hoped by this weekend the embargo would be lifted. But it’s taking a while to get the ducks lined up I guess.

What I can confirm that it’s not a three book deal with a publisher. Wouldn’t that be amazing! And scary too.

Hopefully in the next week the cloud of secrecy will be lifted, and I can at last share. But in the meanwhile one thing I’ve discovered, I’m no good at keeping secrets!

Meanwhile, the actual putting finger to keyboard has stalled somewhat, after a really good writing retreat a couple of weeks ago where I got lots of words and a really sound structure for my long-term project in place. In my defence, I am working full-time for the next couple of weeks, but I had a free evening on Monday and I collapsed in a heap and watched crap TV rather than firing up Scrivener.

It’s not been a complete writing drought, I’ve got a few words hand-written that I need to transcribe, and my protagonist Jack Appleyard is never far from my mind.

I have a full day tomorrow (Saturday) to work on the story. Let’s see how much progress I make.

A pseudonym to fool him

I had to make a decision when I started making my writing available on the web, started entering competitions and then most recently receiving payment for my scribblings. What name should I use?

Pen names have been used by authors throughout history to protect their reputation. Eric Arthur Blair is a pretty unique name, so why he decided to write under the much more mundane George Orwell is beyond me.

Looking for other examples I’ve just come across this list .

Before I signed the contract for my short story with manifold press I debated whether I should use a variation on a name for my LGBT+ writing. After all I had written about two young men, and their developing relationship. This story wasn’t about two people who happened to be gay. It was about two young men who over a period of time developed a relationship. How much of ‘me’ would people think was in the story (fact, not much at all, I wrote a lot to my former sixth form friends but I never sent polaroids).

I toyed with names, Drew Hollyhead, Andrew Holly (Andrew is actually a good pseudonym for me, as I am hardly known by that name). But in the end I’ve decided to stick with my ‘real’ name, and as my writing moves forward I will stick with it, for good or bad.

Manifold Press

A quick shoutout to Manifold Press, the first people to pay me for my creative writing efforts, the money is still sitting in my bank account for ‘the right time’.

Manifold Press publish – in their words-

We seek fiction in a range of genres grounded in historical realities that finds space for LGBTQ+ and non-traditional protagonists (we will consider historical fantasy set in this world, but we are not at this stage taking fiction set in fantastical worlds).We are actively committed to Diverse Publishing.

I submitted a story for their Valentine’s collection, but was told that the story may be ‘too dark’.  Hmmm, but they were interested in publishing the story, not in an anthology but as their ‘short story of the month’ wihtin their newsletter.  They also asked for a few ‘notes’ to be taken into consideration, and sent v 2.0 off to them.

It won’t be a surprise that it won’t be a traditional ‘boy meets girl’ story that I wrote.  Set in the late 1980s, the time when all my friends were heading off to University, and I was writing very long letters to some of my former sixth form friends.  I had decided at the time that instead of studying I would earn some cash, so that I could get out from under my parents feet, and took on a massive mortgage of £12,384 to purchase my first flat.

Anyhow, It was very exciting, receiving my first literary contract, and also my first direct payment for words that had come out of this brain.

If you’re reading this fairly soon after I hit publish, you may yet be able to sign up for the newsletter by clicking on this link, and the first paid-for prose by yours truly could yet land into your inbox.

Hello World!

This is the first post of a new blog for me.  Those who want to read my more techie and educationally focused blog can look at the archive here.  Those who are interested in my PhD experience can find more about that journey here.

This site will be focused on my writing and writing experiences.  Some of it will be historical, I’ve been writing away for over ten years, but there are some interesting changes afoot.

You can find out a little more about me here.  And if you want to Contact Me, well I bet you can work out which button to press for that.

See you all very soon!