Aimee Horton

Happy GIN Day!

Jun
11

What a gin day it has been, I may have had a glass of gin after my brunch this morning (Williams Chase GB Extra Dry in case you were wondering) and then after a fab night at Elton John last night, we went to collect the boys from my mum and then it was straight off to a party with Iron Man.

As an aside, why do we stand behind our children while they’re eating at birthday parties? I have never understood this, I just go along with the flow and stand behind my child as he ignores me, or tells me that he’s had enough and can he go and play.

Then I came home and dumped the boys are Matt so I could do one thing, and one thing only. FINISH DOTTIE.

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Technically I finished it yesterday, bar about 500 words, which at the time I wrote “BLAH BLAH BLAH fill in some crap here” but that’s not really good enough is it?

So I changed “some crap” for “something” and added “The End” and sent Mr Aimee into Sainsbogs for gin. Unfortunately he didn’t have any ID so they wouldn’t serve him, so I had to go in myself.

I had no such problem.

If truth be told this draft is a bit of a mess. Well, a lot of a mess. I spent a lot of time trying to be a grown up proper author and write a plot and an outline, and break it down by chapter etc. However, I should know by now that I just need to wing it with the first draft. Luckily by the time I got to the 30k mark (!) I realised that and the second half of the story came a lot more smoothly, and now I’m done, now I’ve written the majority of THE END I can start from the beginning and go back and make things right.

I’m actually rather excited.

So with that in mind, I’m raising a glass of my new gin Whitley Neill and enjoying the rest of the weekend before I crack on with the hard work.

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Because not only do I need to get cracking with making Dottie work for you guys, but I also need to get cracking with this lot.

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Yes, that’s right, that’s two baskets worth of laundry that needs ironing/putting away (this is why we all look like tramps right now). But it’s ok, that’s just what happens when you focus all your attention on writing a book.

ISN’T IT? TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!

Anyway. HAPPY GIN DAY! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of my second draft!

x

PS. If you’ve read and enjoyed any or all of my books and haven’t had chance to leave a review yet, I would really appreciate it if you clicked here for Amazon.com and here for Amazon.co.uk and just left a few words. Reviews could be the difference between somebody buying or not buying a book so I WOULD LOVE YOU FOREVER if you helped people decide to buy. x

 

#WriteThinking – Amanda Jennings

Jan
18
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Amanda Jennings.

This week I am BEYOND excited that Amanda Jennings has written a guest post. I found (stalked) Amanda on Twitter in 2012 before her first book Sworn Secret was released in August that year. She is what I see as a proper grown up author, who I would like to be one day when I grow up. Not only are her books AMAZING (if you haven’t read them, GO AND DO IT NOW), but she’s funny, honest, and just down right lovely. Today her post is just absolute genius.


 

Write the draft. Write The End.

Writing is a tricky business. It requires determination, a thick skin, and the ability to block your ears to the nagging sound of the Beast of Self-Doubt who loiters, ever-present, on your shoulder. You write words you think are ok, and then when you read them through the next day, you realise every single one is horrific. How did you write them? What were you thinking? Who in their right minds is going to want to read them? Let alone pay for them? And then, in a cold sweat, your hand hovers over the delete button. Or you spend three hours polishing a single sentence, moving commas, adding a word, deleting the word, reinstating the word…

So many writers don’t ever complete a first draft. But if you want to be a published writer you need to write The End. It’s the one piece of advice I’d give any writer starting out. Get the first draft written. Before you start tinkering and panicking, deleting and tearing your hair out, get to The End. You could spend hours, days, weeks or months or even years, rewriting the first few chapters of your book. Searching for perfection. It’s the kiss of death. A first draft will never be perfect. A few writers might be able to produce a perfect first draft, but not many. And anyway, a first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect because nobody but you needs to see it. Your novel will take shape during the rewrites. Writing a book is like sculpture. Before you can create anything beautiful you need to start with a lump of clay. The first draft is your clay. Yours to shape and refine. As you edit, your story will change. Some characters will grow in importance. Others will lose significance. New characters, plot twists, and ideas will emerge. This is part of the process. It’s the good bit.

But it’s not that easy, is it? There are so many windows that need to be stared out of. So many unimportant chores that suddenly become vital. So often my days can be swamped by procrastination, by making endless cups of tea, Googling the weather forecast, sorting out my odd socks, checking Twitter, checking Facebook, looking at pictures of otters holding paws while sleeping (this is one of my biggest time-sucks. They actually hold paws!) listening to Space Oddity and sobbing a bit… To keep myself on track on days like this, I reread the quote I have pinned to the wall above my computer. It reads: When asked the secret to finishing his 500 page masterpiece, The Power of One, author Bryce Courtney growled, ‘Bum Glue’.

I love it.

I love the ‘growl’. Writing can be a battle, drawing out sentences, bending them into shape, searching for the ideal turn of phrase, avoiding clichés, killing unnecessary words. And though I’m not proud of this, most of the time, when someone tries to speak to me while I’m writing, I growl in reply.

“Mummy, where’s my history book?” In your room, I growl.

“Would you like me to lay the table for supper?” Yes, I growl. Of course I would.

The phone rings. “For crying out loud, what do you want?” I growl.

You get the picture.

I also love the ‘bum glue’. I love the imagery, the idea of not being able to get to the kitchen to put the kettle on for the fifth time in an hour because I’m literally stuck to my chair with bum glue. We all need bum glue. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just begun writing your first ever book or if you’re the seasoned author of ten, if you want to finish a novel, you need to sit down, stay seated, and apply fingers to keyboard or pen to paper.

So write the draft. Write The End. Don’t worry about dreadful prose, about the boring bits, about the descriptions that don’t quite work. All of it can be fixed. You need your lump of clay. Write, forge onwards, get those words down. And when you’re finding it hard?

Well, just apply the bum glue…

Amanda’s latest book In Her Wake is available for pre-order HERE.

You can also catch up with Amanda on her website, her Facebook page, and Twitter.

Just Keep Swimming.

Feb
03

I don’t know about you, but the beginning of the book is probably when I’m at my most EEKY. That is totally a word by the way.

It’s understandable, after all, the first few chapters…or even pages can make or break it for a reader. So while I do try my hardest to write a first draft taking Hemmingway’s advice, I can’t help but wobble, and not just because I’ve had a lot of pizza.

Last week I managed to write six thousand words. Which, while is not as many as I wanted to write (10k a week would be good), I am still pleased with. After all, with the exception of a couple of hours on Friday morning, it was all done on the iPad in the kitchen while I was cooking dinner.

My new Bluetooth keyboard has turned into a godsend. I used to use scrivener, but as they still haven’t managed to produce an app, I’ve had to put it to one side, at least until draft 2, or even draft 3.

Instead I am using word and Dropbox. It’s working surprisingly well. I can work on either device whenever I have 10 minutes to sprint and be up-to-date. There’s no messing and it feels good.

It feels good to have a new routine. It feels exciting to feel my fingers clunk on the keyboard and the words fill up the page, the story becoming more than the rough outline I started with.

I love that people love Dottie, I really do. My grumpiest mood can be turned upside down in a second when somebody happens to tell me they really enjoyed a part of the story, or that she made them laugh or think. I’m excited that readers are excited about the next story. What started off as me indulging my own need to write, has ended up with people asking when the next one is coming. This is amazing. However, here’s the thing, and don’t roll your eyes. As exciting as I’m finding writing her new story, I can’t help but thinking,…

What if I let you down?

What if you hate Dottie as she gets into more scrapes? What if she’s tired and boring? The list is endless, and you just have to keep plodding on. THE FIRST DRAFT IS SHIT AIMEE!

This is true. But a book isn’t like a painting or a song. It’s not there in front of you, to listen or see. You have to commit, and what if I don’t produce something you want to commit to?

This is something I can imagine all writers feel. After all, what can be worse than bearing your heart and soul and nobody taking any notice?

So I’ve turned, a little earlier than usual, to a few beta readers. Some who kindly dealt with the full first draft of Mothers Ruined, and a couple who have read the books as a reader, not seeing the mess of drafting.

This has been amazing, they’ve come back with feedback “I’m not sure I’d expect Dottie to do that?” “Would that be happen?” and a couple of suggestions on areas I’ve put >MUST FIND OUT MORE INFO HERE<.

So what next? Well this week I write another 6-10k worth of words. I keep going, and before I know it my book will be a quarter of the way through, then a half, then three quarters. It’s easy when you write it like that!

I will reward myself with cups of tea, and sneaky Reese’s mini cups, and a catch up of Series 5 of The Good Wife while I’m emptying the dishwasher. I will just keep swimming. I hope. Either that or I will go to the gym and stick my head in the sand.

How about you? How do you keep swimming when you’re starting to dawdle?

Muddled Manuscript