New Prompts & Tips

Learning the writers craft, with Tracey Ambrose..

Click over to my blog for new writing prompts and some great links on writing body language.

How’s everyone else doing in the preparation for NaNoWriMo?



That’s right folks, I just hit my camp nanowrimo goal. The story is still unfinished, I suspect it may remain so for a long while as I’ve decided that I really don’t like it. It has been a real hard slog to churn out enthusiasm to keep going, the story doesn’t inspire and excite me, and to be honest, it never really did.

As I’ve said before, I wrote this novel as a way to push myself just to write something, to develop a plot arc from start to finish, set word count goals and work towards them. I’ve done those things and I’m happy with that. I just don’t see the point in continuing to force myself to keep writing something that I don’t enjoy. I have so many other ideas that I’m fired up about, I spent an hour and half this morning writing a bunch of new stuff for a sci-fi short story I started a little while back and I’d just rather put my energy and enthusiasm into those things.

I’ve decided to spend the next few months (also hopefully including next camp) writing short stories of around 5-7.5k each, perhaps create my own little anthology. I’m then going to work on editing and polishing those stories and perhaps look at getting them published, recording podcast versions of them for shows like escape pod, podcastle, rompod and countless others.

I’ve got the writing bug back and I want to nurture it.

I hope to start back on publishing a piece of flash fiction on Thursday’s plus a few other smaller wordcount challenges (like Unusual Stretches in under 100 words) and anything else I work on and feel proud enough of to publish.

Hope others are reaching their goals this month too.

Under 5000 to go

so close

so close

That’s right folks, I have under 5,000 words left to write before I reach my first ever camp nanowrimo goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. I could sit back and write a poultry 284 words a day and still finish camp on time, stick to my current writing schedule and write all 50,000 words in the next two days or less or try a valiant attempt to finish them all before I go to bed tonight – what will happen? Who knows, it’s a mystery.

Does this mean that I will have finished my novel? No. I will still have around 30,000 words to write before I finish this particular story arc. I am not going to alter my goal to reflect that figure because I would like to reward myself for succeeding with my original goal for the month and would rather not undermine that success if I don’t manage to finish the extra 30k.

I may update my snazzy new ticker on the side of this blog that currently states my camp goal, to reflect my novel goal instead.

Other thoughts, I’m getting a little excited about studying the process of editing and revising my own work but at the same time I’m not hugely interested in doing it for this particular novel. Why? Because I started this novel as an experiment in writing. I wanted to complete a novel, fully planned, from beginning to end. Realise the entire plot and teas out a few subplots. I don’t feel like this story is my own, exactly, the world is mine, the characters are mostly mine, but a great deal of the plot outline, the story arc and progression is inspired by Dragonflight. That was my intention to begin with. I wanted to see if I could follow a precise outline, to create a unique world and fill it with my own words and ideas without having to think too hard about it. I’ve done that. I believe I’ve strayed a great deal from the original inspiration (there are no dragons in my story for one). The reason I chose Dragonflight is that I wanted the “enemy” to be similar to “Thread” an environmental threat as apposed to a flesh and blood one. I do think my story is unique but I, at least, can clearly see the influences behind it.

That is part of the reason why I don’t know if I want to go through the hard yakka of editing this novel. It’s an experiment, not a piece I intend to publish. A practice run, if you will. And thus part of me says that it’s not over until I edit edit edit to a polished state, that that is all part of the practice.

All I know for sure, well mostly sure, at least… what I think I’ll do is put the novel aside for a while after camp is over, play around with the other half dozen original ideas that have been crowding my mind of late and then when I may, maybe, probably will, come back to The Magician’s of Khora for another pass.

I do know for certain that I have to finish this novel. I have to churn out the full 30,000 words I need to finish it, just so I can say to myself that I do just that, I finished something.

I’m feeling good about what I’ve achieved in week 2. Did this post ramble? It felt like it rambled.

Not a total waste

So I may not have churned out thousands of words yesterday, and I probably wont do many today either, but on the bright side I’ve pulled out a few weeds (grammatically/spelling related ones) and identified a bunch more.

I quick search through the current manuscript revealed the use of these words an inordinate number of times:

Felt = 59 times

Feeling = 25 times

Said = 48 times

Thought = 68 times

Eye = 81 times – yeah I really need to find some other feature to highlight here


That’s not to mention the multiple “your” to “you are” I also had to make and one or two other gems I picked up from all my googling on homophones I did. There are probably a great deal more easily missed grammar and spelling errors but I’ll get to those ones after I finish my first draft. I also need to work on where I place ‘.’ and ‘,’s along with paragraph structure. I really wish I’d pay more attention to this sort of thing in school.

Not the best of days

I’m not having a great health day to day so not a great deal of writing happening. Yesterday I did manage to reach (and surpass) my word count goal which is great. But the lovely spontaneity of the day has caused a “crash” day for me today.

What I’ve decided to do when the writing just wasn’t happening, other then surfing the nanowrimo forum and twitter, is to study up on common mistakes made in the english language. Well, that’s if my brain will cooperate with reading – posting this is a struggle on its own.

My husband likes to tease me when I use “bought” when I mean “brought”, I trained myself out of that by asking myself “did I buy it or bring it”, bring and brought are the correct match (they both have ‘r’ in them).

I make these kinds of mistakes a lot in writing, which makes it hard for people to read my first drafts (or at least it makes it hard for hubby to read them). Regardless of if anyone is reading my work or not, I hate knowing that I’m making basic errors that could be avoided. My biggest problem in my attempt to research and correct this error, is that I don’t actually know which words I’m getting wrong. I’m pretty sure they are all homophones, words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. I’m yet to find a good resource to help with this.

The only websites I’ve found, so far, that might be of us is Which has a list of common mistakes including:

Also, The Oatmeal has another fun looking cartoon list of 10 words they say we need to stop misspelling.

(note: I do not condone dolphin bashing)

Here I go to research more on homophones 😦

Here’s 200 more:

Week one done & dusted

Most exciting news for me is that I’ve just tipped passed the half way mark at the end of the first week of camp! That’s 25,000 words!

I’ve also achieved the following badges this week:

Chatty and nosey

Swimming Lessons

Written 10,000 words

5,000 words in one day

Non stop for 1 hour

Earn this one for writing during a break (I did it by working around playing with my son)

I did finally put down the laptop (then promptly picked it up again a few minutes later)

Average 1667 words a day, I’m hitting over 3.5k

I’m assuming sending 10 encouraging postcards counts

Pretty much everything I write is on the computer

Not telling :p

Don’t tell anyone, but I do my best writing in bed, or on the bed, for some reason I think better with blankets on my lap and pillows behind my head.

This one was actually really hard at times. At one point I decided to take a 20 minute meditation break, only to stop halfway through when inspiration struck!

Phew! And so endeth week one of camp. Lets go week 2!

Camp Stats for Sunday 7th April

Your Average Words Per Day: 3,575
Total Words Written: 25,030
Words written today: 6,159
Total Words Remaining: 24,970
Current Day: 7
Days Remaining: 24
At This Rate You Will Finish On: April 15, 2013