Wednesday, 17 July 2013

2,000 Page Views and a Finished Book!

I'm having a double celebration this week for the above reason. The page views thing is a pleasant surprise but I've been buzzing since Monday night over finishing the sixth draft of my book. Since the fourth draft I've edited out over 12,200 words (approx 14.5%) and I'm as happy with it as I can be with anything I've written (which is never 100%). So, I've handed it over to my trusty 'proofers' to check for typos and ambiguities. I hope they don't suggest too many changes!
It was only June last year that I finished the first draft. In early January I finished the third. Then I sent it to a couple of agents and a competition. The MS had started in the third person, was converted to first and then changed back to the third again on the advice of one of the agents - hence so many drafts!
Unfortunately I finished the MS too late in the day to call or text anyone so had to be content with email and FB and waking up B instead. He told me to calm down and go to sleep (which was fair as it was late) but I was buzzing so much that I had to do a chill-out yoga session and then read (a lot) until I eventually dropped off. I was still buzzing the next day - even my daughter waking me up at 5.30am did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm.
It's been pretty hard getting to this point though as our family have had to face a series of 'challenges' not including the fact I can only work when R is asleep - so that's VERY early in the morning or late in the evening. I've found that mornings work best for me (pre-7am) but it's always a struggle to tear myself from my MS to get ready for work and get R up and out too. And the last couple of days have seemed weird as I've been 'having a break' from writing/editing, something which I rarely do. And now I'm concerned that I better start working on something else soon or I might never start again.

Question: What obstacles have you faced when writing your MS? When do you like to write or, like me, is it dictated to you by circumstance? Do you think writing in short bursts is best or do you prefer to take it at a more leisurely pace? How long did it take you to complete the final draft of your MS?. How much of a break did you have after finishing your MS? Please tell, I'd love to know!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Endless Editing, Hiking in the Heat and the Quest for MG Fantasy Fiction Titles

I've spent most of the last 12 months revising and editing what was my first draft and think I'm almost there! As I'm writing middle grade fiction, one of the biggest challenges has been the wordcount. So far I've cut several thousand words but am concerned it might still be too long! MG fantasy fiction is generally longer than regular MG fiction but I still think I may be pushing it. P and K at my writers' group think I should stop worrying about the wordcount and they are probably right. So, I've promised myself this WILL be the final draft before I resubmit it to that agent who has agreed to read it again. Otherwise I will go mad!
Also it would be nice to work on something else and have something new to share with my writers' group, who I'm sure are bored senseless by me moaning on about the latest draft of the same story!
*Takes short break to eat dinner*
Right I'm back and feeling better for some food. We had a work day out in the Dales today - a 6 mile walk in 31 degrees celsius - far too hot to be doing anything, least of all hiking, but it was good to get out of the office. It was a bit like a school trip except no one got told off and a few people went (temporarily) missing! One of my colleagues has an 11-year-old daughter who likes fantasy/adventure fiction and wanted some recommendations. I suggested the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver and His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman.
This got me thinking - what ARE the best / most popular middle grade fantasy fiction books right now? Whenever I try to google a list of top MG fantasy fiction I end up with a mixture of genres / ages with loads of YA titles.
I would love to compile a list for reference, reading and recommendation and so, please tell me what you / your children's favourite middle grade fantasy reads are. (Middle grade is generally classed as 8-12 years but I'm particularly focused on 9-11).
Hope you can help!