2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Nadolig Llawen

Nadolig Llawen. Dymuniadau gorau ar gyfer y Flwyddyn Newydd. Ffrindiau a chyd-awduron, Mai 2016 yn cael ei llenwi â chyflawniadau rhyfeddol.

Now the greetings are pronounced, no doubt incorrectly, I’m not planning to work on any resolutions – either today or next week, when I may be under the tree. What’s the point if my resolutions get scrubbed out in February.

And it’s likely that my other glaring errors will return somehow. As Billy Liar says, “I turn over a new leaf every day. But the blots show through.” [And if you haven’t read Keith Waterhouse’s novel, add it to your reading list.]

Fortunately, in this digital age I have a backspace key, a delete button, a built-in editor, and a conscience, so I can correct some blots on my landscape before anyone realises what I’ve done. One problem: I struggle with the editing process, and I know that 2016 might mean a lot of that.

So what is the point of this blog? Well to thank everyone for putting up with me for another year – and to repeat my earlier Welsh salutation, but in English this time.

Happy Christmas. Best wishes for the New Year. Friends and fellow writers, may 2016 be filled with wondrous achievements.

I should add my blessings for the Winter Solstice, as we are still at that point on this dark winter evening here in Wales. Spring is approaching, I hear.

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Moving goalposts

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The Rugby World Cup comes to London. The novelty goalposts are immediately declared “tragically kitsch”.

My mind was set on writing about budgeting, but then the goalposts got moved. So blame someone else for this strange post… I just write them. Whether there is any point to them, depends on reader reactions.

Staying with budgeting and money, our personal situation hasn’t changed much since last week when I wrote A Day Late and Dollars Short. My ‘generous’ brother is still remaining silent, no doubt plotting the next excuse for being unable to lend me my own money for our US move.

I call that moving the goalposts, if not changing the rules of the game, maybe even the type of game.

His financial evasion also means that we are having to modify our house requirements, but without really knowing how much we really have to spend. But we do know that the prices of wheelchair homes are rising.

As for the budgeting, I try to manage ours with room for the unexpected. I’ve learnt over the decades that a contingency of a reasonable size is invaluable… or should I say crucial. That is a lesson that too many people learn too late in life. So please, friends, and family, learn how to budget now – and make sure that there is sufficient to cover emergencies. We can’t bail everybody out forever.

I have to admit that I am responsible for moving some goalposts though. Writing ones. Having created a new victim in my WIP, I was forced to change the deadline for when my draft would be completed. This time I blame the devious antics of my antagonist, who manages to charm everyone into seeing only innocence – or at best creates circumstantial evidence that won’t ensure conviction.

[That was impressive – I wrote that without giving any clue to her or his sex. Not bad.]

However, the ending is proving an exciting challenge, and the first version is changing in interesting and unexpected ways.

But none of the above were the goalposts that triggered this post. That was… let’s say somewhat unexpected, or maybe inconsequential in the scheme of world affairs.

Unless those affairs include Middle Earth.

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However, I’m a gamer for my sins, and always will be – even if my characters get killed at periodic intervals. Lately, I seem to have had some issues loading games; first Rift and then SWTOR, which I had been playing without any issue. Anyway, I finally logged on okay, intending to collect my daily rewards from each game… and then it happened.

One game, Defiance had a festival for the holiday season. One that I was looking forward to, as I needed some of the items that the game dropped. Of course, the game developers had introduced yet another synergy – not the one that I needed. So that means abandoning the old weapons, and forging new ones with the new synergy. But that’s typical of all game, I fear.

Goalposts indeed. At least they don’t move them for the World Cup, or the Superbowl – just the pitch for cricket.

Or did I hear a rumour that the media had changed another sport?

 

 

A Day Late and Dollars Short

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This should have been posted yesterday, but I forgot what day it was. In fact, on Sunday I still thought it was Saturday. So, I lost a day somewhere.

If you find that missing day, please let me have it back. I’m missing it terribly. 😉

As for the mislaid dollars, well my brother did give me some money. However, his version of money is limited – by some camel with a needle aversion. I can’t really complain as I got enough to cover Christmas, or whatever holiday we choose to celebrate in wet and windy Wales.

As I warned my not-so-wise sibling, the price of everything is going up, and January will probably bring bigger price-hikes. Meridian, the place we are trying to move to, just got voted the Best Place to Live in America,  by 24/7 Wall St., an online financial news corporation. Already, suitable wheelchair-accessible houses are selling within 48 hours of going on the market. And the price will have a knock-on effect in the Treasure Valley area.

His excuses for not advancing the money to buy, are getting lamer every time we talk. The property to finance this has sold, for a considerable amount – millions – and my share covers my requests, and more. But he can always justify dragging his knuckles.

Maybe, after Christmas, there might be real news – or NOT.

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There are also things missing on the writing front. Not exactly days – although the timeline of the story is a challenge – nor dollars, or pounds; could do with the Royalties though. Instead, having been a 2015 NaNoWriMo winner, the wheels are spinning.

I was working to an outline, but then I killed off a second character. Now, my detectives are all over the place, searching for evidence and scenes. Which means that the outline has to be re-thought before the Chief Constable closes down the investigation, and I’m left with a cold case. Or should that be a cold novel?

So great is my stressed-out confusion, that I’ve even re-installed Scrivener, believing that I missed a trick or two by abandoning it. Well, it did lose another novel – but I had an RTF backup for that.

Rant over. Off to plot another brutal murder – MUAHAHAHAHA.

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http://epicpix.com/brutus-is-at-it-again/

 

 

 

How long was that novel?

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Which novel you ask? That bestseller? My novel? Well, in some ways that’s a general question, but today it’s personal, and my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group day – and my weekly post combined.

As November approached, I was wondering if reaching the NaNoWriMo winning tape was possible, and how I would managed to keep blogging. But now, 70,186 words later and a ‘Winner’, my worry/insecurity is different.

I haven’t finished this re-write of the first draft [Draft 1 Mark 2] of “Fates Maelstrom”, and, looking at where I am in relation to Draft 1 Mark I, there are another 32,000 words to write. Maybe more if I play out my new crazed idea and kill another character.

A crime novel with over 100,000 words, in a highly competitive market, felt wrong. Surely, Agatha Christie had been able to tackle far cleverer mysteries in less words.

It didn’t take me long to find truth in that fear. Agatha Christie’s novels range from 54,000 to 70,000. And looking at two more recent authors that I admire, Ellis Peters and Dick Francis, their books are shorter than some of the current writers that I read, like Linwood Barclay.

But then I looked at Famous Novels and saw the huge range, well-illustrated in word count order, from small gems to mammoth tomes, in this article, and in alphabetical order here.

However, my novel has to fit in with the norm, and current publishing requirements – even if I self-publish, somehow. I began to feel better when I found out that in the genre of ‘Mysteries and Crime Fiction’, the suggested figures are: Cozies 60,000-70,000; all others 80,000-100,000.

For those of you that want more detail, I found the following figures in posts by various people, including Jacqui Murray – Word Count by Genre. The posts also tackle all the key genres. For crime, the figures are:

  • cozy mysteries = 65k to 90k
  • mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction = A newer category of light paranormal mysteries and hobby mysteries clock in at about 75k to 90k. Historical mysteries and noir can be a bit shorter, at 80k to 100k. Most other mystery/thriller/crime fiction falls right around the 90k to 100k mark.

That gives me some leeway, at this stage, as I sense my mystery is veering away from a ‘cozy’, although it isn’t going to be an action-driven thriller.

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Last stop on the research bus was Writers Workshop, and a post by Harry Bingham, a crime novelist and founder of the WW. (I’m slightly apprehensive now, as Harry has written a successful crime series, featuring a strange young female Welsh detective, Fiona Griffiths. And my series features a strange young female Welsh detective, Sparkle Anwyl. Uffern gwaedlyd – the bar has been raised.)

Anyway, Harry Bingham says, “Crime novels usually run a bit longer than women’s fiction, so although 75,000 words is fine as a lower limit, anything up to 130,000 words is pretty standard. Don’t go below 75,000 though.”

His post, not only looks at other genres, but also has links on what to do if your novel is too long. I will be using those suggestions come revision time – even just to remove the weasel words and the padding.

By any of the above measures, my debut novel “Spiral of Hooves” fell just inside the lower limit, coming in at 75,400 words. “Fates Maelstrom” may be nearer the upper end, around 90,000.

Insecurity postponed.

**

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. We post our thoughts on our own blogs. We talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. We discuss our struggles and triumphs. We offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Please visit others in the group and connect with other writers – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

And be sure to check out our Facebook group –https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/

The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Sandra Hoover,Mark Koopmans, Doreen McGettigan, Megan Morgan, and Melodie Campbell! 

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