Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013 — What’s Next?


Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013 ended today with the advent of the Vernal Equinox (just couldn’t resist replacing the word Spring, with its posh relative Vernal). I’m not sure whether all the people who registered an interest in NWW are still on board, but I know of some who’ve stayed the course. From the feedback I’ve had, nobody has yet finished their project, which is why I’ve decided to start a new page titled “Novel Writing Spring, 2013 ( Forum)” — link below. On the NWS page, you’ll also find a new image to paste in your sidebar, to replace the NWW one.

For me, January 1st heralded a change in direction for my writing — different style, more literary than before, and speculative. At first, my head could only deal with writing 250-500 words per session, or I would end up with one of my “school algebra” headaches, which is my name for anything that taxes my head to exploding point. Once I’d written the first 10,000 words and sketched out a complicated family tree for my incestuous cast of characters, things started taking off for real, and it was time to throw away the paracetomol. This week, I’ve reached the point when I’m breathless with excitement, so it’s on to the tranquillizers (only joking!).

Yesterday, in anticipation of the Vernal happening, I wrote an explosive and passionate chapter that’s pivotal to my whole novel.  Approximately 20,000 words in, here’s a small tease of a paragraph. Publication of anything else from the chapter would require me to slap an adult rating on to this post, so anyone interested to read on will have to hope, with me, that the novel ends up published.

  • But there she is, standing there in the middle of the room, tears rolling down her speckled cheeks, her tawny irises swimming in a sea of pink. Alone. Adrift. And it’s my duty to rescue her before she runs aground, splinters, and drowns in her own desolation.

Does anyone else want to celebrate the start of spring, by sharing a paragraph of their Work in Progress?

“Best Moment Award” for a Novel Writing Winter post!

Best Moment Award, web awards, blogging awards, winners, nominations

Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the experience of quality time.


Winners re-post this completely with their acceptance speech. This could be written or video recorded.

Winners have the privilege of awarding the next awardees! The re-post should include a NEW set of people/blogs worthy of the award; and winners notify them of the great news.


  • What makes a good acceptance speech?
    • Gratitude. Thank the people who helped you along the way
    • Humor. Keep us entertained and smiling
    • Inspiration. Make your story touch our lives
  • Get an idea from the great acceptance speeches, compiled in
  • Display the award’s badge on your blog/website, downloadable in


I’m overwhelmed. This is my eighth award, including my four stars for Blog of the Year Award, 2012. Before starting my blog in December 2011, I’d never received an award for anything other than one music medal at school for my piano playing, so I’m really touched by my fellow bloggers’ generosity.

This is my first speech ever, other than the ones delivered over the morning tea when my husband is too tired to knock me off my soap box. My areas of shyness are patchy. Yes, I can sing in front of people, but, no, I won’t talk to the audience about the music I’m performing. This is my husband’s job, as he loves giving speeches. In fact, the first time I saw him, he was giving an impromptu speech, and I thought, that man is really eccentric and funny. Little did I know he’d end up capturing my heart!

Although my biggest dream is to find a traditional publisher for my novels — especially my work-in-progress — sending out typescripts these days can be like casting them into a vacuüm. Publishers used to give feedback and encouragement. Nowadays, they send out standard rejections. This is most soul-destroying for a writer who’s had so many near misses in the past, with calls for full typescripts, followed by a 3-6 month wait, ending in rejection.  The wonderful thing about blogging is its community spirit and responsiveness. When you post something, there’s feedback within minutes. Everybody needs encouragement to follow their dream. So I thank all of you for the love, support, and recognition you’ve given me.

I have chosen to break the rules and nominate sixteen bloggers for their exceptional posts, rather than fifteen. Some of these wonderful pieces of writing are fresh off the blogging press, and others are older, but have stuck in my mind.


  1. Boneland for “Wind Chill
  2. Charlotte’s Web for “7 Things That Make me Happy on International Women’s Day
  3. Shannon A Thompson for “To My Mother
  4. Shifting Shades for “Rest in Peace, Mama.”
  5. allaboutlemon – All Around, In And Out Of My Own Universe for “The Seasons of Love
  6. Crowing Crone Joss for “Being a Woman
  7. Lead.Learn.Live for “When it comes, I’ll be fine, calm.
  8. Rescuing Little L for “my shattered voice mends slowly ….
  9. the kitchens garden for “So lucky that my work is what I love to do the most!
  10. TheWhyAboutThis for “Bloggaria – A fairy tale of bloggers! Introduction
  11. Angel Manna for “The Great Yearning For Meaning
  12. Call2Read for “Spain – The Land of Intrigue
  13. Graphite Bunny for “A Girl Not Reading a Book
  14. Jaycee68 for “Too many things
  15. alarmingman for “Homeless 18
  16. Writing between the lines for “Jack Shit: Just Say Yes

Don’t forget to celebrate with your followers! Tweet your success with hashtag #MomentMatters. Congratulations, winners!

You can read the post that earned me my nomination at

Novel Writing Winter — weird clothes for weird work!

The French have shown us in S.E. England great generosity, by sending their snow and icy winds our way. Just to look on the positive side of things, this is better than one of the reactors in their nuclear power stations going into meltdown and dosing us with radiation.

This is not the time to think about looking fashionable, unless you have enough money at your disposal to jack up the central heating or to buy all your gear from a designer ski shop and wear it indoors. Poor, environmentally conscious, not-yet-famous writers (note the positive thinking here) must make do with what some snoots might regard as anti-fashion statements. I like to see it as setting a trend, just as I hope to set a trend with my weird novel.

Writer's Cold Weather GearWinter Survival Gear for Writers 

cotton vest top


double-knit three-quarter length, long-sleeved jumper

shorter double-knit tank top



plus essential footwear to set off the outfit (omitted from photo at the photographer’s discretion)

brown Birkenstock unisex sandals worn with black socks

With two weeks to go of Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013, there is no way I’m going to have finished my project. I will probably reach the 20K mark — words, not earnings. This is not a problem, as I think in the past I’ve slammed out novels too fast for their own good. Also, having removed my genre-shackles and ventured down the route of speculative fiction, its taking time to acclimatize to my newfound liberty.

To describe my novel in one sentence: Eulogy To The Last Man is a minimalist yet epic paradox about a family tree littered with anomalies spanning the 31st century.

It’s a useful exercise to think of a one or two-sentence to describe your work, as it will come in useful as a hook when pitching it to publishers or agents, or in writing your own blurb for self-publishing.

Does anyone else feel like writing a pitch for their novel and posting it as a comment here?

Also, who’s willing to describe an outfit they enjoy wearing for writing, even if it’s their birthday suit?

Lucky Seven Time!

I’ve been tagged by Naomi Baltuck of Writing Between the Lines. For those who don’t know Naomi, she’s a most talented storyteller and photographer, and I just love her blog. Do check out her lucky seven post, as well as some of her other awesome words and pictures. 

So what’ s lucky seven you ask?  A chance to show off your writing, with a twist. You have to post it as is at the time of the tagging, warts and all.  Well, I’m posting three weeks after the tagging, but without cheating, as I’ve not edited a word of my work in progress.

Here’s how it works.

  • Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  • Go to line 7
  • Post on your blog the next 7 lines or sentences – as they are!!
  • Tag 7 other people to do the same

I’ve only written 52 pages of my novel begun on January 1st for Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013, so will post from page 7.


Eulogy To The Last Man, set in the 31st century, is speculative fiction. The extract (primarily dialogue) is written from the second-person viewpoint of Morag, who’s one of the three main characters. It’s a flashforward (rather than flashback), but voiced in the present tense. She is talking to Anna, the central character, who, despite the misleading name, is a teenage boy.


“You’ve gone insane.”

“No, it’s you who’s insane for bringing me fish?”

You scowl up at the sky, as if there’s a cruel memory pinned to the stars. I look up. There are no stars. Only the face of a mother—the last mother on earth to have given birth. Your mother.

“She’s dead,” I remind you.

“She lied to me.”


These are the seven lucky bloggers I’ve tagged (all of them participants in NWW!)

Rescuing Little L

Crowing Crone Joss

Graphite Bunny

Tea with a Pirate


Peaceful Partings

This is Me..For All Its Worth..Journal Blog


To read more about Novel Writing Winter, go to

Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013 — quote of the week: “The authorities won’t approve of that!”

The first week in February has got off to a positive start, with me managing to organise myself into a work routine not achievable during the first month of Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013. I’ve written from 11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m every day, only allowing myself to go on-line to check facts relevant to my work in progress.

I’m not going to disclose what my husband was referring to when he said “the authorities won’t approve of that”, other than to say it was one of those “how-to-do” things freely available on the internet. He seemed relieved when I assured him I wasn’t intending to write a step-by-step account of this particular procedure but just needed to get my head around the subject to prevent some smart arse reader accusing me of talking crap.

When I started my latest work, research was far from my mind. Since then, the story has grabbed hold of me and demands I put an end to playing it safe. This is a challenge I can’t afford not to take. A beta reader of my previous novel (and the novel before that) said to me “this is great, but when are you going to write a serious work?” By serious, she didn’t mean a novel devoid of humour, but one that raised the literary stakes and took more risks.

There are lots of “how-to-do” books out there about the writing process. Quite a few of them are written by people who’ve never had a work of fiction published themselves. I think the best way to learn about writing fiction is to read, read, and read an eclectic range of published fiction, and to write, write, and write, all the time raising the bar.

A psychologist friend of mine once remarked, “Skills acquired through trial and error learning were the best remembered, as long as you didn’t kill yourself in the process”.

What risks have you taken this week?

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