May Update

Mariajauthor/ May 4, 2020/ Author Journey/ 1 comments

It’s been a while since I last blogged, again! I think everything with the virus has made routines difficult, as I’m sure it has for all of us. I hope you are coping with lockdown okay and staying safe and well.

It’s been very helpful for me to have the distraction of Camp NaNoWrimo. It’s the more flexible version of the main NaNoWriMo event that happens in November (with participants writing 1,667 words a day and aiming to have a 50K novel by the end of the month).

Camp Nano happens in April and in July and rather than everyone trying to get to the same goal of 50K with a new project, participants can continue a new project if they wish and everyone has their own individual goals. People can count words they write, pages they edit or even track how many minutes or hours they write in a day.

As for me, I mostly started a brand-new project (I maybe had a chapter of it typed up, with quite a few pages written in my notebook too), a mystery thriller I’ve had in my mind since last November. I actually came up with the idea during NaNoWriMo, after falling a bit out of love with the project I was meant to be writing. I wrote a scene in my notebook about a guy walking into his village and then the whole premise of the novel grew from there! Here’s a blurb if you’re interested:

Brian is struggling with a pain he cannot speak about, even to himself – he only refers to it as ‘that day’. After hearing about a retreat centre that seeks to provide ‘healing for the soul’, Brian reluctantly agrees to go.

At the centre, at first Brian does find peace in the idyllic, quiet surroundings. However, it’s not long before he notices the other residents are acting very strangely. What’s more, they all seem to be exhibiting the same behaviours, almost like clockwork.

His new friend, Robyn, seems to be the only other person who has noticed it. What might Brian and Robyn discover? What happened to him ‘that day’? Can Brian confront his horrors, past and present, in order to leave the retreat centre alive?

I set myself the goal of writing 30K during the month of April, working out to 1000 a day. The first step was to type up the scenes written in my notebook (I counted these, as it still involved time to write them electronically). It took a bit more time to write fresh words from scratch, but I really enjoyed this project and seeing how each scene came together.

As I neared the end of the month, I wasn’t sure whether I would achieve my goal. On Thursday the 30th April, I had 26,350 words, with the ending left to write. I didn’t know how long the ending would be, but I sat down at my desk at around 9:30am. By 1:50pm, I had somehow managed to write 5,850 words, surpassing my target and reaching 32,200 words! With the words I had written beforehand, it brought my project to around 40K.

I was incredibly excited to reach this goal. The hubby and I celebrated with a Chinese takeaway (we could also order a bottle of wine from them – bonus!) and as I was a little tired by this point, decided to take a break for the whole weekend.

So now, it’s Monday 4th May and you might be wondering what’s next – apart from watching a Star Wars movie or two!

Well, there’s been another exciting bit of progress this month, in that my lovely publishers Olympia have been in touch to give me back my manuscript for my children’s novel Lottie’s Locket, after doing their initial round of editing/proofreading. They haven’t actually made any changes yet, but through tracked changes in Word they have underlined stuff and commented on things (mostly grammatical) they would like to edit. I’ve been going through some of their suggested changes this month, but Camp Nano has also been distracted me a bit. Now April is behind me, I’m hoping to crack on and finish looking through the manuscript, hopefully by the end of the week.

After that, well, it might then be enough space away from my third novel in my historical fiction series. Not long before Camp Nano started, I finally finished the first major edit. Much more editing and proofreading needs to be done before I pass it onto my publishers for submission and hopeful publication – but hopefully it won’t take me as long this time to go through it!

Till next time,


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  1. Pingback: 2020 Goals - Maria Johnson, Author

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