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Reflections on #AtoZChallenge 2012

Well it’s pretty late on May 7th – reflections day and my overwhelming reflection is that I’m tired.

26 posts in 30 days is a bit of a feat (even though I did it last year), and doing that on top of my daily photo and small stone challenge (not to mention all the work related stuff) – phew. Who says I take on too much?

It all started well; I was on leave for the first week so managed to get a full week’s posts scheduled for 9am (often they posted before I was even up!). I had also pretty much noted down what I wanted to write about for each letter. Having a theme this year (of my Work In Progress) I think made things a lot easier and also gave me the motivation to keep going.
But then I went back to work – sometimes I still managed to get a little ahead and schedule for the morning but a few times the posts ended up hastily written and posted just before midnight. One embarrassing day, despite pushing back the scheduled template it posted itself empty – whoops.

The first week with my posts written I managed to do my commenting duties commenting on 5+ blogs a day but this slipped too (sorry). I read some excellent blogs and most of us seemed to reciprocate and visit back. A few I returned to for repeat visits and I’ve ‘followed’ through Blogger/Wordpress/Twitter many to return to when my energy returns. I did give up on commenting on some (I hate captcha – can’t read it) and although I’m following some on Blogger I don’t have a Blogger blog and consequentially I don’t really see them. The WordPress bloggers fared better mainly because I can get an e-mail of their blog post (which I do see).

I definitely seemed to gain a few followers – thanks guys – hope you are happy with slightly less posting now and I also feel like I engaged more with the people who were already following me (whether it was via the blog, twitter or facebook).

I’d like to give a shout out to a couple of my real life besties who were also taking part – Stacey and Jay  (I always read their posts) and Catherine for commenting (although she wasn’t taking part this year wrote a fantastic A to Z of crafting last year).  Also I’d like to thank Emma Maree  for commenting on lots of my posts – she’s a lovely fellow writer I ‘met’ on Nicola Morgan’s blog just before the challenge started.

My funniest moment was meeting fellow AtoZer J.C.Martin – for some reason we both seemed to think that each other was in America even though we both live in the South of England. Her A to Z of Crime Fiction will be a useful reference source for my WIP (so thanks).

There was a plethora of subjects to enjoy – lots on Writing, Travel, Life in general, films, books, Buffy, Death. Something to suit everyone really. I’m not going to list all of the blogs I enjoyed but if you decide to check out any of my posts please do visit those who left me comments – they were all fantastic. You can also find the full list of participants here and those of us reflecting are linking up here. A big shout out to the organisers too – thanks for an exhilarating April.

Finally, I did learn more about my WIP – I have received some really useful feedback and it generally just got me thinking again. Now I just need to get some energy back and start writing it again. I’ll think about whether I’m going to take part in the challenge again next year though if I can get ahead in March I probably will.

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Z is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012)


Z is for Zzzz

(Post 26 on my WIP)

Off to the land of sleep and dreams
I fly on a horse with feathered wings
I sigh as the journey for today is done
Look forward to another yet to come

It’s here – the last letter post of April’s A to Z Challenge 2012. There will one more post – a reflection post on May 7th.

I started this challenge when I had a week’s leave from work and got ahead with scheduled posts – and then I went back to work and ended up losing out on sleep to write and stay on target (and keep up with everything else I needed to). Unfortunately because I really couldn’t give up on sleep all together (funny that!) I had to let go of commenting on as many blogs as I managed to do to start with. This was a shame because I did find some excellent posts and people to connect with. Hopefully the list will remain so I can continue exploring at a more leisurely pace.

Now, as we all know, but often forget, sleep is a very important occupation. One I love. As a night owl I think I produce my best work at night and then I prefer to sleep in later in the day – but often day to day jobs are not conducive to this pattern of living. One of my wishes for the post A-Z lull is to catch up on sleep and try and work on developing a better sleep routine (any hints and tips on doing this welcome).

In my book Jane has a number of dreams which I see as being her subconscious guiding her to consider what is important. This is because during waking hours she often isn’t that aware of what it is she does want, just managing to deal with the day to day routine of life.

I used to spend lots of time daydreaming but am finding that is happening less as my head gets filled with other things. Now writing these posts about my WIP have been all well and good but they haven’t been writing my WIP. Nicola Morgan wrote a post last week about Writer’s Block that I really empathised with. As a result I am going to try and banish some stuff, get some sleep, start daydreaming again and hopefully come back to Training Time feeling refreshed and ready to finish that full first draft.

Happy snoozing fellow A-Zers – look forward to catching up on your reflections. Other than sleep what do you plan to catch up on now the challenge is over?

Y is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012)

Y is for You

(Post 25 on my WIP)

To be ‘successful’ writers need readers and I’m hoping that means you.

As readers I believe we are jointly responsible for creating the story, we filter it through our own personal lens and analyse the work through our own experience. A book will be read in a different way by everyone who reads it and in a different way again on repeat readings.

I think I have learnt an important lesson for me and I think that is that I would prefer to share my work when it is more complete – where I have at least a complete outline and a fuller understanding of my characters if not a full first draft. I find I can get easily confused if too many filters are used and find it hard to back track to the original view. That is not to say the views of others aren’t or won’t be important – I think I would just be able to be clearer about what can be re-filtered and what I want/need to stay raw.

What I’d like to know today though is all about you and your reading habits – feel free to tell me anything but I’m particularly interested in the following questions (feel free to answer as many or as few as you like):
Where do you like a story to start?
What traits do you look for in a main character?
What do you look for in an ending?
If a series is planned do you like cliffhangers or prefer each book to be rounded off?
Where do you read?
E or paper or both?
Binger or snacker? (i.e. Do you prefer to read books as quickly as possible, sometimes in one go or one chapter at a time, making the ‘flavour last’)
Do you read books more than once? Why? What happens in a repeat reading?
To you what makes a good book?

I look forward to reading all about you and eventually I’d really love to be able to give you my interpretation of Training Time for you to filter in your way.

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