Update n°7

As I mentioned in my last update, I’ve started at the beginning of February a 10 weeks children’s fiction course run by Jane Mitchell.

I love it and it makes me feel better with all these things that are going on around me. I’m not in a happy mood lately for a series of problems but writing is my personal lifejacket so I’ll grab it and I won’t let it go! I don’t want even to think about what I could do without writing.

Let’s talk about the course! During the first lesson we introduced ourselves and then Jane explained how the course works. All the most important novel topics will be touched and ideally by the end of the course we should have a 5 chapter’s book draft. This is amazing! If this comes true I’ll have three drafts in my computer, one of them finished at least!

The story is about my fantasy world, Sonrisa, once again, but it is set many years before the event of the first book I wrote took place. I don’t say anything more for the moment!

We had homework to do for the following lesson: we had to jot down the writing project and also read a book. I didn’t think I could read a book in one week. Ok, it wasn’t The Lord of the Rings (something that I’m still reading…yes I’m still at the first book since last year…I won’t say it defeated me though! At least so far!) but fairy long: House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones. She’s the English queen of fantasy, full stop and I’m not going to spoil a single word out of the book, you just have to read it! I wish I’ll have such fantasy and ability sooner or later!

I feel proud anyway I managed to reach the goal although at least a couple of people in the group read two or even three books. This is something it’s not likely to happen until I’ll retire! Or until I’ll be a writer able to live of my writing!

The second lesson, we had last week, was about characters. Nice challenge I’d say. The small exercise we did in class was about finding a coat owned by  our character and telling five objects we find inside it, in order to describe who he/she is without give any other information. The homework was describing our character eating something, using only food, tools and custom. I’d never tried to think in this way. And, believe me, it was harder than just describe your character in the “standard way”!

I suppose that the rule “show don’t tell” is a bit clearer in my head, but still difficult to apply.

To add some notions more I read chapters about character from Fantasy and Science Fiction by Philip Athans. The odd and nice thing was discovering I was doing some of the right things without knowing I was doing them! Although I know I need a lot of hard work to do I feel good for the find.

Another nice thing about last week. I was home sick, I then decided to follow my partner’s advice and stay in bed at least for one day. At the end of the afternoon I finished to read one whole book. Nothing big, fantasy book for young adults, but still I remember that I was in high school the last time I did that! I felt good!

Finally on Tuesday I went to the third lesson. We touched the setting and its influence on the character. How the character perceive the setting according to his/her emotions. As homework we have to write about the perception of the same environment by a character in two opposite situations! That will be fun!

I love Jane’s style of teaching. Every time I attend a different course I learn something more and something different. I just feel awkward at times, because I’m the only non-English speaker but this is the path I’ve chosen so I have to live with it and give my best!!!

 

Talk to you soon!

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Update n°6

Here we are again for a new update.

I wrote my January issue telling you what I wanted to do and now I think it’s right telling you what I managed to do so far. I know January hasn’t finished yet but I also say that it’s better start from the very beginning. In this way I’ll also keep track of my personal improvement.

What I’ve done so far was drawing again the map of Sonrisa with A.’s help. Now, it’s tidier but still it’s full of stuff. I think that, when I’ll end up with the main project, I’ll have a couple of spare ideas to write about! After all it’s an entire world I’m building up, so I suppose there will be loads of stories to tell!

I drew in 10 sheets of paper the races that live in my world and they’re attached on the wall in the kitchen (believe it or not, my partner hasn’t killed me yet!) so I have a general idea of the whole and it’s easier for me pick up a race and invent  new characters.

Also that helps me with a top secret project I’ve started, still set in Sonrisa, but detached from the main one. I cannot speak about that right now but I will sooner or later!

I also gathered a few encyclopaedias about history, geography and other topics, but I’ll tell you about them little by little.

The one I’m studying for the moment is human geography. I started history of the world and crimes against humanity too, but I think it’s better I concentrate on one per time. I knew already I needed time, so no rush, Franny!!! (Ah ah ah…Franny’s brain’s laughing!)

What I’m not doing and I hoped I could improve a bit it’s reading. I’ve finished a couple of books I dragged with me from 2010 and also I’ve started a new one, a fantasy, although I still have some unfinished waiting on the bedside table!

What I haven’t started again is writing seriously after the NaNoWriMo effort! I’m lost among the planning of the world, the planning for the main project, blogging and writing the top secret thing… there is no time left for my good old routine. Or so it seems!

I suppose that once I’ll finish planning at least I’d be able to resume the morning pleasure. Let’s hope for February!

Also in February I’ll start a new 10 weeks writing course at the Irish Writers’ Centre. I hope I can go a step forward in my planning and writing. I’ll keep you updated on that too, no worries!

On the top of it I keep working full time and I’m more tired than ever, but I’ll go on. Until my body will decided to stop me in one of its genus way, like a cold or something alike, I’ll go ahead!

For the moment that’s that!

Talk to you soon.

January Issue

I’ve just bought the January issue of the two writing magazines I follow and I’ve decided to write my January issue too! I’m going to tell you what is coming next or at least what I’ll try to write or do in the year to come.

What did convince me that this was the right thing to do? And why does the following plan seem to be right?

1.     After the concentrate month of November, all the ideas and projects piled up in a corner of my brain, fell down on the floor and now they’re all confused on the ground. I hope that doing that would help to tidy up at least a bit.

2.     I’ve found on the web a very nice blog, Gamberi Fantasy. It’s a really good and useful blog, but just if you’re Italian speaker! This blogger, tells you in a simple, direct (sometimes rather offensive way, but it’s effective!) what she thinks about fantasy in general. Gamberetta, the webmaster, has a really bad opinion about Italian fantasy. She tells us also some tips about writing, quoting manuals and underlining the most frequent errors in the books she reviews. They’re really accurate and you can learn a lot. The most important thing that got my attention is: do your research. Usually I do, but I have to admit not so accurately! Also I don’t want that someone could think such things about my stuff which is really important to me, so I’ll try to do my best!

3.     I want to be the kind of reader I saw once on the plane. He was next to me and started immediately to read after he took his place. He finished the book during the landing, he put it away and started a new one. When the crew opened the doors he was still reading. Queuing to exit he was still reading. He put away the volume when he reached the stairs. That’s the kind of reader I want to be. Let’s admit that, I suck as reader at the moment!

The three points I’ve just told you were the triggers that helped me to plan what I’m writing next, what I’m doing from January.

First of all, for the few of you who were following “Arilla”, I’m going to upload the last chapters.

I’ll try to translate then “Captain’s log” and put on the blog the journal entries one by one. “Captain’s log” is my Italian book about pirates, but as Arilla isn’t ready yet to pitch an editor, although the story is a bit more complex and better structured than “Arilla”.

What I want to concentrate on next year will be:

1.     Sonrisa. So I’ll write everything concerning the main books. I realized that the project is too wide to try to write single books. Everything should be studied from the beginning till the end, and that’s what I have to do.

2.     Research. Before I try to pitch an editor I need to complete some parts of my fantasy world, but in order to do so I need to study the geography and the history and the folklore at an acceptable level. Once I’ll finish that it would be maybe possible that some parts of the story will change. You’ll follow the researches though.

3.     Read. Everything from writing manual to fantasy book and young adults’ books. Basically books that I need to write better. You’ll be updated on those too.

So what you’ll see here on the blog will be mainly the update of the researching job I’m doing. Maybe I’ll post some short stories here and there, chiefly written for blog games and competitions; or else I’ll try to fill the “Sonrisa” page with a surprise for you!

Also you’ll have a few “nonsense” posts, to have a glimpse of my strange life.

For the moment that’s it.

Talk to you soon.

Post-Nano and Post-TGIO

What the NaNoWriMo experience left me other than personal satisfaction, useful contacts, a second unfinished manuscript and a kilo more?

A very nice and pleasant memory.

Last Sunday (yes, I know this post is late…a lot…but that’s that at the moment, I’m afraid!) I had my first TGIO lunch.

Some of the NaNos from Dublin area met in Yamamori, one of the Japanese restaurants, to celebrate the end of the past tiring month.

After a brief taste of the atmosphere I had last time (the only one actually) I went to a meet-up, I had a pleasant full immersion in what is a place I was looking for.

Being at the table with other ten people or so who love the very same thing I love, who follow me fully in my questions, ideas and considerations, is without prize.

I felt that I was in the right place and that it’s in this kind of environment that I want to be in the years to come, that’s why I have to improve, concentrate and work hard. The enthusiasm showed by those people is exciting and you just want to stay with them.

Special mention to our little NaNo! Seven years old, pure fantasy and great ability. This little one was able to beat the limit of 4,000 words, which is amazing at that age! Plus, a mention to her mother and her family. I maybe sound repetitive and also a bit weird. But is suffered so much when I was the same age and I felt alone looking around me and trying to understand why nobody noticed anything special and ending up to believe that I was wrong.

But now, I’m again on this way! I think it’s the right one and I’m not going back or stop anymore!

Now it’s my turn!

Thanks to all of you NaNo fellows! I’m happy and pleased that you’re out there!

And the winner is…

Franny

And I’m writing here on the 2nd of December to say that yes, I’m one of Winners of NaNoWriMo 2010. With a final count of 54,006 words I completed successfully my task this time. It was my first time, all right, but…was it the typical beginners’ luck?   I don’t know but I’m happy with the result!

The book hasn’t been finished yet, the finale is still in progress but what I’ll do now it’ll be just relax for at least a month. Something that, who knows me even a bit, doesn’t believe at all! I’d say that maybe for a week I’ll try to follow the advice, for the rest I don’t know. I’ve already a list of things to do and things to write and ideas swirling in my head….but mainly I’ll try to read as more as I can, because this year wasn’t really good on that point of view.

What I also want to write in this post is a list of the people whom I want to thank for the marvellous support. To be honest I’ve always thought that saying “Wow, the support of my fan was precious” kind of sentence was stupid, but I had to change my mind. The support of friends and family was not only welcome, but more than useful.

So, here we come. Thank you very much to:

  • My partner. Because he was really sweet all the month long, helping me with the moving house stuff and understanding until the last day how was important to me this challenge. I suppose that live with a writer or an artist in general is not an easy task, but he’s doing great!
  • Nani, Mili and Silvi. My wonderful siblings (for choice and not biology but who cares) for their constant support and advices. They’ve always believed in me and I felt them close to me even if they live in another nation.
  • Dee. I’ve never had a cheerleader before, but despite being only a jumping support, she’s been also a human dictionary at hand and a great helpful reader.
  • Madame_Morphine and Elly. Two bloggers, friends of mine, met on the Libero platform, who encouraged me every step. Now actually I have a fun club as well, thanks Madame!!!!!
  • Helena and Beth who helped me with words and Google search at work.
  • Trish, Shay, Andy, Keith, Nick (with his “Franny do you know that all the sentence must have a sense? You know? You cannot put random words into them”), Rob, Una, Rosemarie, Anne (with her nice exclamation at the 4th week “You look better today, but it was funnier last week to see you in that way!”) and Angelika for their support and comprehension even if I was a bit more weird than usual.
  • Laura. For her constant attempt to convince me to write the same sentence in billion of different ways up to 50,000 words. It made me laugh and relax.
  • Damon. He thought me how to use Twitter so I could stay in touch with other writers.
  • All the Nanos, who supported me and encouraged me without criticise although I was trying to do my NaNo in another language!
  • Virginia. She’s giving life to my mad thoughts, drawing beautifully my characters. I can meet them personally now and I’m so excited for it!
  • Random customers. I spoke to a few of them interested enough in other than “the standard”. They gave me all, full support, and if you find this page and you recognize yourself, a grateful smile to you!

 

I’m probably leaving out someone, and I’m sorry for this, I’ll edit this as soon as I remember who I left behind.

NaNoWriMo was a wonderful experience who made me understand that I’m worth something anyway and there are out there lots of people who care about what I’m doing even if I think the opposite.

The only bitter note comes from my family as they didn’t give me support or understanding at all, but I have to live with it, the show must go on!

I’ll talk to you soon!

 

NaNoWriMo Update 3

No, I’m not disappeared, I was just trying to survive. To be honest I decided today to not post on the blog but I needed a break so here I am! Having a break from writing, doing what? Writing…maybe it is really an addiction!

For the curious I’ll update immediately my word count: 41,330. There are still 6 days to go and I’m over excited because at this stage I cannot stay beyond!

The moving house business is over now, but the new house, my house, is a massive mess. Fine, it can wait till the 1st of December!

The nice thing that happened last week was that I met other NaNoWriMo participants. They are all really nice. I found out there are loads of different people out there, who love the same thing I love!

I thought I could update more often about my adventure but the level of stress was rising constantly in particular in the last few days!

I’ll use, anyway, this post to make some considerations:

1. I found out that it’s not easy bring on three things together, when one of this, is working full time or moving house or writing seriously like it was your real full time job when you don’t have time! BUT I’d do the very same again, because that showed me that I can do that if I want!

2. I realized that coffee have a strange effect on me when I’m under pressure; it is really stimulating but it doesn’t work if I’m too sleepy so the effect is more or less like a yo-yo with its eyes closed!

3. The place where I love most to write is the kitchen. I know that for the moment is the only room with furniture along with the bedroom, but I don’t care, now I have a kitchen and I’m proud of it!

4. I love to know other writers! They don’t care about the fact I’m Italian and I’m writing in English, they just sustain me, which is amazing! Thanks to all of you! If everybody would do the very same in his or her own field there would be less wars in the world!

5. I know words I didn’t know I knew… but most of all I know the meaning and I have to look on the dictionary the meaning in Italian, because I know they’re right but I don’t know how to translate them in case I have to!

 

Said that I’ll copy here, updated, The Other Count not the word count, like it was suggested in one of the forum thread on the website:

Number of the sheets of paper written during work: 19

Number of chocolate bars eaten: 27

Numbers of cups of infuses drunk: 54

Number of real supporters in work: 5

Number of cheerleaders in work: 1

Promise of creating my fan club if I manage to finish the NaNoWriMo successfully: 1

 

Well, that’s that for now. I suppose that next time I’ll update the blog I’ll know if I did it or not, so keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!

NaNoWriMo Update 2

And I’m writing on my blog one week after to tell you my progress.

First of all, the word count at the moment amounts to 20.168, which, according to the stats on the web site, will allow me to finish in time for the 30th of November! I hope so, therefore you just keep your fingers crossed for me…your toes and whatever is crossable!!!

Although I should be on diet the level of sugar, chocolate in particular, to taste immediately after savoury, is hugely increased. All that along with the consume of coffee, my loyal friend of university time. Seriously I’m just missing cheese flavoured chips and my sweet friend Anna and it would be the very same!

The only huge difference is that while I’m doing that I’m moving house, and for all the people who wants to know, no I’m not there yet, it’s freezing, I’m still waiting for my heating working!!! And, of course how do not consider my full time job. I hope my colleagues will excuse me if I’m a bit more weird than usual, but I’m proud to say that at least a good 60% of them are giving to me their full support!

And speaking of which exactly yesterday Dee told me that mine is now an addiction to writing! Maybe she’s right but just to have a little confirmation I had a dream last night at the end of which I saw a white wolf looking at me with his blue eyes! (Now, I don’t know if wolves have blue eyes or not, but that’s that!)

I went on the dream dictionary online once I got up and I got this explanation:

To see a wolf in your dream, symbolizes survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence and pride. (Well…not really!) You are able to keep your composure in a variety of social circumstances and blend into any situation with ease and grace. (I won’t say that, to be honest, I’m the clumsiest person in the world!) Negatively, the wolf represents hostility, aggression, or sneakiness. It may reflect an uncontrollable situation or an all-consuming force in your life. (Consuming force…I can count at least three, so what!?) This could point to an obsession, an addiction or something that is beyond your control. (Oh dear, I suppose Dee was right then!)

To see a white wolf in your dream (here he is!) signifies valour and victory. You have the ability to see the light even in your darkest hours. (What to say on this, I desperately hope they’re right!)”

Now, I’m aware that at least the half of you is trying to get the point of the whole business here, but you won’t because this post has no sense at all and maybe I’m really getting creasy!!!

You’re not envying my partner at all at the moment, right?!!

So happy reading and writing to all!!!