Clackety clack, the keyboard talks back

Once Upon A Time writing

Well, we’re getting there. Or somewhere. We’re definitely going to a place called ‘there’. This has mostly because I haven’t been going anywhere. If you know what I mean.

This weekend I’ll stop the keyboard at 30,000 words. This is quite an achievement for me and the most I have ever written in one go. Importantly, it’s flowing and I’ve really enjoyed the writing part, which is what you would hope for, if you want to be a writer I guess.

I didn’t feel ready to start writing at the beginning of May, but after meeting Gareth Yore who wrote the original story the novel is based on and visiting the setting of the first part of my book, I felt really inspired and just want wanted to start. I’ve discovered that I can write really easily when I’ve been to a place or met someone to talk about it, so I’m trying to do that for most sections of the book.

My favourite time to write is in the evening, when the little missus has gone to bed. Now that’s she’s teething and playing all sorts of ‘guess what time I’m gonna waken at’ games with Mammy and Daddy, I’ve had to try and squeeze in writing whenever and wherever I can. I’ve considered bringing the laptop and writing on my lunch hour in the van. But then I’d probably end up with crumbs on the keyboard. Or soup.

Looking back on the past month or so I can see there’s been great progress in lots of different ways. I attended the lovely Sharyn Hayden’s book launch of I Forgot To Take My Pill and got to see and enjoy the fruits of producing a book. There I met Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin who runs www.writing.ie and the Inkwell Group. We had a quick chat and when she asked me what my book was about, I had no idea what to say to her. I’ve since realised that I need a blurb, a sales pitch, a synopsis that sells. So despite my mumblings she gave me some really good advice and I hope to contact her again at the start of the Autumn when the first drafts are done to look at the editing process and pitching to agents.

I really like the writing.ie website and signed up as an emerging writer. I’ve no idea if anyone will ever see my profile, but it did allow me a chance to write that little spiel. You can see my profile here. There’s a writer’s conference taking place from 27-29 June in the Irish Writer’s Centre and if himself and herself let me go, I’ll be there to network and learn, learn, learn.

I’m been a bit of a Twitter ho and have been following all the accounts I can find that mention historical fiction or ‘follow me and I’ll get your book published’. (Not, don’t follow them, they will spam you). The followers are building. What’s worrying is the millions of people out there who are trying to get a book published. It’s like staring into a grand canyon of lemmings, joining in the race and jumping into the abyss. Only a few will get picked. Only a few lemmings will live.

In the recent switch over back to WordPress for this blog, I’ve been left with paid up hosting for the year with Wix. So, rather than get into a battle over unused fees, I’ve created a website for myself and the book and am working behind the scenes on it. It does feel a little ‘cart before the horse’, but I enjoy the creative process of it and sure so what. If I go down the route of self-publishing at any stage; job done.

The reading has pretty much stopped as I have been writing so much, but I did get to finish the fantastic ‘How to be a Victorian’ by Ruth Goodman this week. It’s one of the best non-fiction historical books I’ve ever read, it’s so well-written and unbelievably informative. It’s allowed me to add details to the book that I would never have found out in a museum.

Speaking of museums, I visited Drogheda Millmount Museum and got some interesting information on the Boyne Regatta which features in the novel. Who knew we were such posh heads giving Cambridge and Oxford a run for their money back in the day. I also found that Drogheda employed ‘Night Watchmen’ in the 19th century. As a Game of Thrones fan this pleases me very much!

My final research trip was to Townley Hall House open day last weekend; they were running a series of lectures on the architecture of the house. This 18th century house was designed by Francis Johnson and is considered to be architecturally very important. I was there to get a feel for what it would have been like to live in the house, as a house like it will feature in the book.

Scrivener has been a little gem. I’ll be purchasing it this week as my free trial is running out. Without it, there’s no way I could have achieved the 30,000 words. Which is one third of the way there by the way. At least of the first draft.

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