20 June 2014

Spring Round-Up - Writers Group, Zombie Apocalypse, Finished MS!

YIKES to the MAX, reader, I haven't updated me blog for - what - 3 months? That's a quarter of a year.  I've just committed an 'unforgivable' in the world of blogging, methinks - as in an unforgivable curse in Harry Potter-dom. I wonder what the other two are?

Ok, so without further ado-es, a quickety-quick round up of what's gone down over April, May etc.

1. I took my annual trip to Paris with mumsy and this time we only did the day rather than the weekend. Twas lovely but nous some tres fatigues, reader.
2. I went to my first London Writers Cafe meet up - a talk about self-publishing and followed that by attending the groups 8th anniversary party recently.
3. I completed 2.8 Hours Later - a zombie apocalypse role play/immersive experience. You are running away from zombies. For. your. life.
4. I attended a supremely cool masterclass on Writing Historical Fiction with speakers Sarah Dunant and Celia Brayfield at Bloomsbury Publishing having finished 'Blood and Beauty' by Sarah Dunant shortly before.
5. I *AHEM* finished writing the MS for my latest novel. *Long, triumphant exhalation*

Ok so, I'll drill down on some o the more writerly points above.

MEET-UP and London Writers Cafe

I confess, reader, while I am thrilled that I've started to engage in the world of writers etc, I'm still aware that I haven't put any of my own work out there yet to be reviewed and critiqued by my wordsmithy peers. That's the next step, after I attend a class on 'building a community around your writing.' If you're in the London area and you fancy joining a writers' group, please check London Writers Cafe out - when I went to the anniversary party I chatted to a lot of cool and friendly people and the fab lady who runs it, Lisa, is just lovely and adorbs.

2.8 Hours Later

Oh, my days, reader. Before I launch into 'this was by far and away one of the scariest things I've done' spiel, lemme explain. Essentially this event involves going to a particular area of London (or whatever city it's being hosted in - these folks travel all around) - for us, it was spread out around Wembley Park. You enter this area with a team of several others (whoever you end up in the queue with while lining to get in) and your mission is to go get some fresh water and bring it back to camp. You have a map and you have certain locations to get to, where you type in a code into a computer terminal to get the co-ordinates for the next location. The scenario is an apocalyptic world and the 'asylum' needs resources - so you're venturing out into the zombie infested area to get them. You get tagged by any of the zombies, you're 'infected' and when you return to base at the end of the game and get made up into a zombie.

I kid you not, reader, these zombies proper run after you. I mean in one corridor we had to run past one zombie who crawled on the floor but the others came for you. and their make up and acting - well good enough for you to having a heart attack and running for your life. It was brutal. There were some areas where you had to run so much and more zombies would just come.

I don't why I did it - it's not my thing at all. I don't even like zombie movies! But my cousin was convinced it was an experience not to miss out on. But when we were crouching behind these banged up cars, waiting for a signal that the area was clear, even though we could hear zombies making noises around the corner, I kid you not, every single one of us were scared. I wondered what the hell I was doing there.

But we totes made it and the zombie disco afterwards was fun! Would I do it again? Hell, no. But I would recommend it. I'm kinda proud of myself too - if I was a sim character in a video game, I would have just contributed to my 'Overcome Fears' mission: '2014 Fear Quest - Objective achieved!'

The finished MS

Well, I'm pretty darn over the moon about this one. I set myself a target and well, I've also achieved this particular objective. Yes, yes, I still need to do a rewrite but I'm going to not look at for 10 days at least and then tackle it once more.

Furthermore, I'm pretty impressed with the word output in the last 3 months. In March we  were looking at 60,000 words. Now it's *ahem*, 120,000! So I doubled it, which surprised me because this story isn't hugely plot driven, or there aren't lots of event like instances but the last act, as it were, seemed to really gain pace. A lot more goes on then I realised in terms of how much words need to take to tell it. And reader, I know I'm getting ahead of myself because I'm still enamoured with the idea that this novel is a stand-alone but I don't want to leave Ancient Greece ever just yet, so I'm excited about the follow-up.

Now, I need to look out at the publishing options. On that note, some of the pointers I picked up from the self-publishing talk, hosted by London Writers Cafe.

- There's quite a spectrum for SP(self publishing). You can choose to do it ALL yourself - DIY SP (like speaker Ben Galley, who also does bake loads of consulting on the subject) - or have another publishing house to do some of the work for you. e.g. Matador Publishing.
- Polly Courtney, one of the speakers, listed her reasons why SP is done badly:

    1. Bad cover design
    2. No professional edit - you rely on beta readers, aka 'friends and family' and not someone who has an editing eye. She argued you can't really edit your own work alone, you need fresh eyes and there's nothing worse than seeing a line or phrase in the final print that you know could have been edited but wouldn't have picked up when doing it yourself. True dat.
Darn it, I knew I shouldn't have any of my characters reply with "Safe."
Totes takes you out of the mo!

So now to decide what is best for the novel nearly finished...I keep thinking that having to decide between trad publishing or SP means I might make the wrong decision.

Worse still, there's the nagging worry that I don't know who the book is really aimed for - partly because I wrote it for me. It will appeal to historical fiction readers or those who like mythology (I hope). So I'm clear on the genre, just not so much the audience? And I think that's the worse mistake, so I want to get sure on that, erm, for sure.

I think a robust brew is deserved as a mark of the triumph crossing the metaphoric 'finish line', reader. So I will settle on recommending 'Chai Red' because Yumchaa says 'Tastes like: Important work 
Drink When: You feel like a winner.' Shazam!

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