Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Yesterday, after another 3,300 words, I got to the end of The Jeweller's Daughter!! Hurray! Couldn't believe it. But it was not exactly as I had planed either. The characters took over and and took it to where it should stop. In fact two of them changed the ending slightly. And I think it is probably right.

Of course this is not really the end. I know that. This is just the end of the first draft. But it is where I take a breather. Where I can do something else. Make bread. Do some gardening. Help out with my favourite charity. Write a short story...something I don't do much of, but should. Or, start on the next book...

Good News!! ...Recently I entered a short story competition and a few days ago I got short listed! That is a first. Will not know for another month how that goes. So that has given me some incentive to do some more short story comps.

The next stage after I put it away for a couple of weeks, will be to start the editing. I am trying to look forward to this part. I need to layer my writing with historical happenings to make sure it looks and sound authentic to its time - 1918-1919 Trinidad.

Must go! Thanks for reading my post. Drop me a comment!

Bye for now
Marilyn x

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Thought about Endings


For the last few weeks I thought that I was close to writing the last scene of The Jeweller's Daughter. Today, I still haven't finished it. And it is not for laziness. I have been writing between 1,500 to 3,000 words a day for 5-6 days a week. What happened, was that I seriously underestimated writing the end.

Some time ago I realised that the last few chapters were probably the most important, and would be the part of the novel that would leave the reader with the biggest impact. I came to this conclusion after reading so many reader reviews on Amazon, and getting the impression that their star ratings were often dependent on what the reader was left with at the end - the feeling, the thoughts, the satisfaction, the turmoil, the disappointment, the joy. When the reader was disappointed at the end, they seemed to give low star ratings.

Whilst beginnings are important for the purchase decision of a book, and the middle is important to keep the reader sustained in anticipation of better things to come, the end is the pinnacle of expectation.

As a reader, I feel that a poor ending, a poor last few chapters causes many poor reviews. Readers don't like writers to rush the end, or to leave it too predictable without enough twists and turns to what is a predictable end. They want the writer to be the writer, and not leave it up to the reader to have to anticipate too much of what is to come. i.e. doing the writer's work for them.

Oddly enough, I think that a slow and disappointing beginning can be changed with a good, and substantial ending. Even a drawn out one where the twists exceed the reader's expectations. And clever. The reader is impressed by the clever writer who writes something they would have never anticipated.

So I have come to the conclusion that when I thought I had come close to the end - another two or three scenes to go, that I was wrong. But learning is lovely! It has taken me weeks of extra writing to come to the point again where I think I have another 2 or 3 scenes. I hope I'm not wrong this time! I thought my novel would end at 70,000 words. But today it is at 105,156 words, and still not finished.

The characters speak. This can be a problem too. Although I like to give them a voice and the freedom of expression, they can take privileges. But in my view, the privilege is theirs. However, when they behave in an unpredictable manner, and I am unable to stop them, all I can do is follow them, which makes the story and the twists even longer.

I hope that my characters have enough life and personality by the end of the book to go the way that will take the reader to places unexpected, as they do to me. And in the last few weeks this has happened many times. I'm hoping it will soon come to an end and the novel will also come to its natural ending. If not, I will have to take a firm hand and put a stop to it.

Now I must get back to work.

Was lovely of you to drop by!

Don't forget to leave me a comment! x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


I feel I have discovered something. That the more I write, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes, the faster I write. And the faster I write, the more I write. And the more I write, the more I enjoy writing.

That is a bit of a circle, but it isn't a vicious one. It is positive.

It may sound very simple, and I'm sure that any good writing textbook will say this somewhere and in some form. But it is like a lightbulb moment when it actually happens and you see it in motion.

So far this year, I have written 51,000 words - since the 4th January...
Which is double what I achieved in the previous 7 months, last year.
That means that I actually wrote in 2 months what I wrote in the previous 7 months.
That means that last year, I wrote an average of 7,300 wds per month,
Whereas this year, I have been writing 25,500 words a month.

That means that I have more than tripled my output in January and February. 
3.5 times to be exact.
Or 349% more.

How did I do that?

I think the factors are these :
1. I had a target per month.
2. I had a goal to finish.
3. I had actually figured out the plot.

That must mean that planning works better, and wastes less time. All you do is write. 

So now I plan to plan as much as is possible, before beginning to write. But I will not let planning to get in the way of writing either. If the planning isn't complete, I will start writing. 

That is my plan for the next book.  TO PLAN. 

Friday, 2 March 2012


Sometimes it is useful to have targets. 

Mostly it is good to always have targets .... 

but sometimes it is more effective. 

How else it is possible to almost double my word count of 7 months, in 2 months?

Here it is -

May - December 2011 = 51,777 wds
January 2012 - February = 95,236 wds total

Here is how I did it - Easy 

Objective - to finish the book. I wanted it to be approx 70,000wds complete. 

1. Target for January - 20,000 wds 
2. That is a break down of approx 5,000 wds a week.
3. I write mainly during the weekdays, so that is a definite 1,000wds per day.
4. Going over the daily target makes up for the days I am not able to achieve the 1,000wd target. 
5.  By the end of January, it was not finished. Characters were taking over...
6. February - I estimated 2 weeks to finish. That meant another 10,000 wds.
7. End of two weeks into Feb - still needed another 10,000 wds in my estimation (wd count = 79,000)
7. Repeat - another two weeks  to end. End of February wordcount = 95,236 wds.

Today, 2nd March 2012 - I am writing the last chapter of The Jeweller's Daughter,
another 3,000 - 4,000 wds.

Targets work. 

Deadlines work. 

The adrenaline to achieve makes it work. 

Competing with oneself works.