Sunday 13 December 2015

Happy Christmas One and All
This will be my last blog for 2015 and I'm sure like me you wonder where the last twelve months have gone. This year for the first time in many years we shall be spending it away from our own house and will be staying in Manchester with our daughter who lives about five minutes away from our son, daughter-in-law and our two grandsons. 

The week is ending on a high for me with two new stories published on Alfie Dog Fiction.

On Wednesday, my story, 'Whispers in the Olive Trees', was published. It is set in one of my favourite parts of the world, a region of Greece where I often visited my aunt and Greek uncle. Following in her mother’s footsteps a generation before, Alex travels to the Peloponnese region of Greece searching for answers. What changed Elin’s life forever in the summer of ‘69? Will Alex find out who the mysterious C. is? Why does an old lady verbally attack her on the beach?

To put you in the festive mood, why not download a Christmas story from Alfie Dog? Mine is entitled 'Santa Calls' and is one of the new stories that went live today. It's a feel good story that I hope will make you feel warm and Christmassy. The festive season is in full swing but Mary's heart is not in it this year. She goes through the motions of buying a tree and decorating the house but memories of happy Christmases past reinforce the fact that this one will be different. How can Steve help lift her mood?

I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas. What are your plans this year? Are you staying at home or like me spending it away? I look forward to hearing how you'll be spending your Christmases, whether you'll be writing or not and whether you'll be carrying out any family traditions as part of your celebrations.

As the year comes to a close in a couple of weeks, I'd like to thank you all for supporting the blog. It's two years old in January and I have my very loyal readers who read and comment - you know who you are! :-) but the 'stats' also show how many more people read the blog without leaving a comment. 

Thank you for reading and I'll see you all again in 2016.

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer page.

Thursday 3 December 2015

The End... Or is it?
On Sunday 29th November at 4.34pm precisely, I did what I'd planned to do when taking part in NaNoWriMo 2015 and that was to complete the first draft of my novel. It had taken almost 35,000 words to do that. I changed the font to 36 and typed those two words 'THE END' in large letters across the page. It was a great feeling and it has been a long time coming!
Once I came down off cloud nine and reflected on what I'd done, I knew that this was not the end but really the beginning of another journey that I hadn't ventured along before - the editing and the rewrites.

So what have I achieved so far?
- I've completed a first draft of a dual narrative story, set in two separate decades.
- I've told Clara's story set in 1965 and Rose's story set mainly in 1947 and allowed them to come to a conclusion, the two stories interlinking at the end. Both characters had to overcome obstacles on their journey through their stories and these have been resolved to a satisfactory conclusion. (Well, I hope so!) 
- I've managed to sustain a very long piece of fiction, explore characters in depth and develop plots and subplots.
- I've created a story that I'm proud of, albeit in its very raw state.
- Above all, I have learned so much about novel writing.

Where next?
- I've taken advice and I'm not going to look at the manuscript until the New Year. That way, it will serve to put some distance between me and the novel and hopefully when I next read it, I will be able to see its flaws more objectively. And I know there are flaws, lots of them! Here it is in a box file. I'm not going to open it no matter how tempting that will be.
- As I was writing, especially during NaNo, I didn't stop to sort out things but inserted comments with reminders of what I needed to check or find out. That will be the first thing I'll do. I'll go through each of those comments or queries and try to rectify them. It may be something as simple as checking that names are consistent or finding out details about an event that happened at that time in history.

Look out for my blog series early in 2016 when I'll be tracing the next stage of my journey as a writer and hopefully enlisting your help with recommended tips and advice.

How did you feel when you completed your first ever draft of a novel? Did you manage to leave it for a while or were you tempted to start the re-drafting straight away? 

Alfie Dog Fiction Short Story Competition Results

These were announced last Monday and huge congratulations are due to Linda Daunter who won the first prize with her story 'Forever'. Linda regularly reads this blog and leaves a comment. I'm thrilled for her and I look forward to reading her story. On a personal note, I was pleased to make the long-list again this year, this time with my story, 'Smashing the Mask'.

Thank you for reading my blog. You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.