The NaNoRebel Diaries – Week One

So here we are. 8th November. A whole week of NaNo lies behind me. And how many words have I written? *Cue drumroll* Tadadadadadadadada!!!!…..


Oh yeah. I rock…. sigh.

I always knew NaNoWriMo would be tough this year. Especially as it got closer and it became obvious that even though I’d got ahead with my degree, I was never going to finish my essay (due today) before November. And that I have several courses, extra sessions of work and meetings to go to – amazing how these things only come out of the woodwork in such quantity in November! Any other month, it’s a tiny single line formation of downtrodden woodlice waving banners that say ‘you might have to do a few extra hours this month’. But as soon as November comes into view it’s the Peabug Rebel Army: marching in multiple columns, wearing flak jackets and bellowing ‘Abandon All Hope! All The Free Time That You Clung To Has Gone!’ through a loud-hailer.

In true rebel style, none of those 3855 words are from a new novel started just for NaNo. 1665 of them are a story written by twisting an idea I used for a story in the first year of my Creative Writing Diploma. It’s no longer about the leading lady’s father, but her husband instead. Even worse, shock horror, it needs editing and polishing during NaNo because I want to send it off to Writing Magazine’s Marriage theme comp for the 15th.

247 words of them are a Flash Fiction story called My Medicine that I’m sending off  to another WM comp before January, in hopes of winning a book. 1210 are from the serial I’m writing to submit to JukePop Serials – the working title is The Box but I think that will change! 259 words are another Flash about Chocolate for another book-winning WM comp – that will need a major revise after November. And only 474 words, so far, are towards the 50k novella I started during the last NaNo and am determined to finish in this one, ready to be revised, polished and sent off to Maggie Seed at Easy Reads by the end of the year.

Today is my day off but of course I have that pesky essay to write (on Othello, in case you’re vaguely interested. Ok, stop snoring…)

The plan is to get the essay pinned down and begging for mercy by 1 pm, grab a celebratory lunch and then crack on with some writing. So why am I here? *shuffles feet* Good question. Off to the essay…

SUNDAY SITE SWEEP: Five Fab Sites for Beating Writer’s Block

This week, sites to generate ideas and spark creative thinking. Are you champing at the bit, ready to start a new project, but can’t fix on a starting point? Or perhaps you’ve come to a sticky patch in something you already have on the go? Whichever it is, hopefully one of these sites will provide the inspiration you need….and an ancient post of mine, A Walk Round The (Writer’s) Block, might prove useful too.

Plinky Prompts

Plinky: ‘because sometimes you need a push’. Plinky prompts can be sent to you via email, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr and there is a new one every day. They used to do specific creative writing prompts but as far as I can tell these are a thing of the past (they used to include prompts such as ‘write the dialogue between a cop and the mother of a lost child’).  Also, overall the prompts seem to require less soul searching than they used to – describing the worst day in your life is very powerful, but describing your three most hated Facebook statuses, perhaps less so. Despite that, they are still very useful and it amazes me that so many writers are still ignorant of Plinky; there will be something to get you thinking at least a few days a week. You get a recap of the week’s prompts every week by email, and on the website you can access hundreds of old prompts – and perhaps even better, look at other people’s answers. Inspiration gold!

The Scriptorium

This site has a whole host of useful features including some excellent printable worksheets. The whole site is well worth any time you have spare for browsing, but for the purposes of inspiration these pages are the ones to focus on:

Free-writing exercises and scenes to write up

First lines and paragraphs to get your story brain working.

These exercises are in the young writers’ section, but are useful for writers of any age!

Errant Dreams

Scroll down the page until you see category listings. Category 1 is Images – visual prompts; anything from ‘a car with a web of cracks on a side window’ to ‘a star was tattooed on his brow’. Other categories are phrases, concepts and techniques.


‘PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.’ I think this mission statement – or perhaps it’s more of a raison d’etre – tells you why it is a great place for story and character ideas.

The Seventh Sanctum

This novel site has a random story generator and, in the left hand side bar, a whole host of genres – click on one and you will find lots of info on the chosen genre and links to story generators for that genre. Very…novel!

And as a bonus – I’m not an ipad user, but the apps below were mentioned in Webbo’s Web Watch in the September issue of Writing Magazine. Thanks, Webbo 🙂 I’ve added the links so you can investigate for yourself.

Flash Fiction Prompter

iDeas for Writing



Woo-hoo! “The man from Del Monte – he say yes!”

OK, it wasn’t exactly the man from Del Monte, it was whoever it is that looks at the submissions for the WiseWords page in Prima.

So now I have proof for myself that, as other writers have commented, you never know you’ve been published in WiseWords until you receive the cheque (no letter, just a sheet with in-house codes and a cheque attached at the bottom!).

I’m glad I didn’t know though, because one of the Proper Jobs has been pretty stressful over the last couple of days, and when I got in at 3.30 pm it was the nicest kind of surprise to find a cheque waiting for me 🙂

Right, need to go and finish a poem for a Writers’ News competition – it has to be posted tomorrow. I never really think of myself as a poet – but of the two poetry comps I’ve entered, one was tiny with no shortlist or even runner-up, the other was a standard Writing Magazine competition and I made the short-list. So I must sometimes have it in me to Rite a decent Rime 😉 – I’ll give it a go.