Technology Issues

Ever since I bought my latest laptop in December last year, I’ve been having problems with the power and the fan. Two people who know much more about computing than I do advised me NOT to get an Acer. Which is exactly what I then went and did.

Apparently, Acer are renowned for overheating problems.

Anyway, the specs for this laptop are very impressive, especially when compared to my last one, which was about 5 years old. The problems I’ve been encountering with this Acer are that the fan seems to do little or nothing to cool the laptop down. So now and then, and particularly during Summer, it just overheats and then cuts out. No warning, nothing to say, I’m getting too hot, maybe do something about it.

Just completely cuts out. Needless to say, this got very old very quickly, particularly when I was in the middle of writing.

These power losses eventually resulted in some sort of problem with microsoft word as well, which now refuses to open without telling me it has a fault in the archives or something like that, and doesn’t work at all sometimes. Thank God Open Office is free software.

So I decided that enough is enough. I’m sending it to Acer to try and see if they can sort it out for me or replace the laptop. I bought myself a 500gb external harddrive to back up all my files on. I then bought myself a brand spanking new Asus tablet, so that I can continue with my writing coursework while my laptop is away.

Here comes the fun part.

My tablet refuses to recognise Open Office files, and won’t sync any word documents from my laptop when I plugged it in. There’s also nowhere on the tablet to hook it up to my 500gb harddrive. So what I’m now having to do is:

– save all my files from Open Office into .doc Word files
– upload the above files onto dropbox
Then on my tablet:
– download all of the above files
– open them in the android standard word document editor, Polaris, and work that way.

As soon as University is finished and I move home, I’m buying myself a desktop computer. No more fussing about with laptops overheating or tablets not running the same operation system.

I’m already looking forward to the return of my laptop, because trying to type at the same speed I usually do with a keyboard is just impossible on a touchscreen.

In other news, I’m keeping up with my word count for my project.
After talking to my tutor, we agreed that I should make the swap from my science fiction piece to my fantasy piece which I was already writing for my Commercial Fiction module.

It’s been three weeks since I started working on it and I’ve written 12,000 words as of tonight, so thus far I’m managing my 4,000 words per week.

This will probably become more challenging from this week onwards however, due to my first coursework deadlines looming and trips home for family events in November.

Heres to hoping my next blog entry will contain more good news.

NK

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Project Problems

So I said that I’d blog about my third year writing project, and here’s my first real problem.

I’ve written 6 chapters. They’re pretty average if I’m being honest, and not particularly well written.
My real problem is this –

I don’t know what to write next.

And this isn’t to do with bad plotting, because I’ve known for months what the whole plot is. I’ve planned the whole novel out, I know when characters are supposed to meet and interact, I know when certain things are supposed to happen. But here I am, and my main character is stuck in a room. She has no way of getting out. She has nobody to talk to. She has nothing to do. I’ve already described the room in my first chapter, as it’s one of the main locations.

I was essentially writing a chapter of exposition, just to boost my word count, even though it needed to be written, because the previous chapter from her POV had ended on a bit of a cliff hanger and with some character development.

I think my main problem is that I’ve completely lost interest in the story, which is a shame, because I think it’s quite a good one. I just don’t have the passion for it any longer, and the characters and setting don’t feel real or interesting enough to me any more to be able to write convincingly about them.

I’ve had to start writing 3 chapters of a different novel for my Commerical Fiction coursework, due in for November, and I’ve already written a prologue (just as an excuse to write some backstory out, whether I use it or not) a full first chapter and am about halfway through chapter 2. This story has much more going for it as well – the main character has freedom of movement, so he doesn’t have to stay in one room and try to think of things to do there. He has people to talk to and interact with, which helps his development and keeps the reader’s interest. The plot itself is much more interesting, because it isn’t so convoluted. And best of all? I’m interested in it.

It might just be because it’s new and shiney, so to speak, but the character interests me, and so does his interaction with the others. He feels more realistic, the story is MUCH more the sort of thing I love reading than my original project, and I’m already enjoying writing it.

Here’s another plus point. If I choose to write this new story completely, then I’m only two weeks behind my original schedule for word count at this point, and I can still have 80,000 words written before my project deadline in March.

One of my main worries about changing novels though, is a piece of advice I read on an author’s website.
Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series (one of my favourites) writes –

“Finally, don’t get discouraged! Writing a book is always hard work. It’s much easier to think of new ideas. You’ll get to the middle of the manuscript and you’ll think, “Oh, this is too hard. I think I’ll start another book instead and that will be easier.” DON’T! That new book won’t be any easier. Soldier through and finish.”

Who better to advise on writing process than a published novelist of at least 10 titles?

I’ve yet to go through this with my tutor, so I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing. I have to continue with both projects for the time being, just in case. But if I do decide to drop my original idea – Io, then that means I’ll only have one project to focus on, which will save time and effort, and I’ll already have written the first three chapters and a book proposal for a piece of coursework, so I have less work to do already my for deadlines.

Procrastination

I’m sure many people have battled this fiend at some point or another, particularly when something important needs doing. In an effort to be more social as a house this year, my housemates and I decided that we would compete in our own version of The Great British Bake off every Sunday. This week, we made pasties.

All very well and good, until I realised at around 5pm that I’d done minimal writing today and really needed to crack on. So I sat down at my computer, turned it on and checked my emails. Immediately found several important ones which needed replying to ASAP. Twenty minutes and several emails later, I checked the BBC website for the latest news and realised I was missing the Cricket World T20 Final commentary, so I started listening to that.

Dinner time came and went.

Offers of a film being watched in a housemates room were extended. (Thankfully I managed to impose the need to work upon myself at this point!)

And now at 1.40am I’ve finally found the feeling of having been productive today – I completed something I started work on yesterday, and sorted out some plot details for a piece of coursework.

Admittedly this has no bearing on an 80,000 word novel, but here comes the brilliant news. Without realising it, I’ve already written 10,800 words of my novel over the past few months! While obviously this is only a small part of the whole project, and I’m hoping that I won’t allow myself to become complacent because of it, 10,800 words is about 4000 more than I’d expected.

Here’s hoping for a more productive next week.

Sleep well!
NK

Greetings

Hello to everybody reading this, and thank you in advance for showing interest.

As the tagline states, this is my first experience of blogging, and, with my final year of a university writing course just getting underway, I thought this would be a great way for me to set myself up with an online presence for the future.

Whether I manage to keep this regularly updated or not, I’m aiming to use the blog for a number of things.

1 – to record my writing experiences throughout my year long writing project. I’ve chosen to write a novel, so all the ups, downs, problems and general thoughts should be on here at some point.

2 – to share my thoughts on any books I’ve read recently or my favourites which I think people should know about.

3 – I’ll include details about my writing process, environment and inspirations which people can compare their own against.

I hope you all enjoy sharing these first steps into (I hope) proper authorship with me!

 

NK