Struggling to keep it together

Depression

I’ve been working on character profiles for my WIP about a school teacher which I’ve been sharing with you. So while I’ve been doing that I haven’t been writing.

So I’m sharing with you something different today. It’s from a story I was working on some years ago, but never finished. It’s a highly personal tale – you could say it’s semi autobiographical. I would like to finish it one day and maybe publish it.

It’s about a girl of about 15 who’s struggling at school.  She has few friends and is very unhappy.  Then a new girl joins the school and she’s kind to my MC.  They become friends.  But unfortunately for my MC it doesn’t last.

I’m sharing with you 23 lines for the 23rd July:

I withdrew into myself, trying to talk to as few people as possible.  If Mum and Dad asked how I was, I put on a brave front, smiling and saying I was fine.  No one guessed how I was feeling.  At school, I tried to stay by myself as much as possible, not wanting to be seen.  At lunchtimes, I didn’t go out, I just stayed in the library, trying to absorb myself in a book, hoping that somehow a good story would make the pain go away.  Christine had been the only friend I had had in as long as I could remember, and now she was dead.  I couldn’t bear it.

   I stopped sleeping.  My nights were ones of restless tossing and turning, throwing the bed covers away from me, and then in turns gathering them towards me.  I was always very quiet, not wanting to wake my parents or Bryony.  Even so, Mum started to notice a change in me.  Whereas before I had answered her questions, be it monosyllabically, now I didn’t say anything.  When I went down to breakfast a couple of days after the announcement of Christine’s death, she was sitting at the breakfast table reading a newspaper.  Looking up at me with a serious expression on her face, she said,

   ‘There was something in the news this morning about a girl from your school who was killed in an accident.  It was Christine, wasn’t it?’

   I didn’t answer.  Mum sighed.

   ‘Kate, why didn’t you tell us?  Your dad and I wondered what was wrong with you.  Lately you haven’t been yourself.  We had no idea of what you were going through,’ she said, coming over to me and laying a hand on my shoulder.  ‘We want to help you in anyway we can,’ she added.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this so please comment. :)  And if you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post some of your writing (old or new) on your blog.  It should (ideally!) relate to the date.  Once you’ve posted it, add your details to this linky.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

A quick WIPpet for Wednesday

Hey!  I thought I’d do a quick post today as I’m quite tired and rather busy.  So I’m gonna share with you 7 sentences for the 7th month from my current WIP.  It still doesn’t have a title yet lol.  I’ll get there in the end.

To give you a bit of background to the scene my MC Rebecca, a new teacher, has been working at the secondary school (11-16 yr olds) for a few weeks.  In this scene she’s surprised to see a pupil she hasn’t seen for a while…

Looking up from her desk, Rebecca was surprised and pleased to see Melanie Bailey standing beside it, an uncertain expression on her face.  She’d barely seen the girl since she started but Rebecca was still grateful to her for her concern when she’d nearly been hit by that awful man’s car.  But Melanie hadn’t been in any of her classes so far.  She wondered what she was doing here now, during lunch break when all the pupils would be either in the cafeteria or skulking around the school grounds.

‘Can I help you, Melanie?’ Rebecca asked her.

‘You remembered my name,’ she smiled, her features brightening a little.  Then she lowered her eyes as if embarrassed by her statement. 

So that’s it from me!  If you want to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post an excerpt on your blog of whatever your working on currently writing-wise.  The general rule is that it relates in some way to the date. Then add your name here.

Thanks once again to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :)

 

Feeling misunderstood

Misunderstood

Hello one and all and welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday here on my blog. Well technically it’s still Tuesday here, but I’m posting early again. :) My apologies for being absent last week – though I did manage to comment on a few WIPpeteers’ posts, I didn’t do my own.

This was down to fatigue – I’m working quite hard at my day job and sometimes I just don’t have the energy for extras (for want of a better word), such as WIPpet Wednesday.

Anyway I read some good excerpts last week and I’m glad you’re all keeping up with your writing.  Which I am with mine, though not quite every day.  I did manage over 600 words on my WIP last night despite feeling shattered so I was happy with that.

For this week’s WIPpet,  I thought I’d share with you 11 sentences (9 for the day + 2 from 2014)  from my current WIP.  (I’m definitely gonna need to think of a title soon – I’ve done over 11,000 words now!) In this scene my MC Rebecca, a teacher, is talking with a colleague about the way her family and friends don’t seem to be able to understand the pressures of her new job:

‘That badly, eh?’ Jenny’s sympathetic tone forced Rebecca to be brighter.  She wasn’t going to have anyone feeling sorry for her.  That was one thing she wouldn’t be able to stand.

‘Actually no,’ she replied turning to Jenny and smiling with an effort.  ‘It’s just that teaching is a lot of hard work.  I knew it would be when I decided to train, but it’s made harder by my family and friends not really understanding that.’ She looked away again, remembering her spat with Michelle which she still hadn’t resolved.

Jenny was nodding.  ‘I completely understand.  When I first began teaching – well to be honest with you it led in part to the breakup of my marriage.’

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your writing on your blog.  Only stipulation is that it must relate to the date in some way.  Then add your name here.

Thank you to the wonderful K. L. Schwengel for being our hostess with the mostess!

Unsure

Unsure

This is going to be a quick post as I haven’t got a lot of time this evening. But I just wanted to share with you a little about what’s been on my mind today.

As with many of my thoughts it’s to do with my writing and how it’s going.  To update you, I’m about to send my upcoming novel Reunion of the Heart to my proofreader. Once I have it back from her, I’ll start making the final preparations to publish it – hopefully by the end of the summer.

But it’s not Reunion of the Heart I’m stressing over – well not much anyway! ;)  It’s actually my new WIP, as yet untitled.  I’ve shared bits of it on WIPpet Wednesday; you can read this week’s excerpt here.

What I’m unsure about is the fact that it’s about a teacher (it’s a romance), a young woman, who works in a secondary school (11-16 yr olds), but I don’t know a huge amount about secondary schools in the 21st century – I haven’t been at a secondary school for the best part of 20 years.  I’m kind of feeling that I may be out of my depth.  I just don’t know enough about, for example, how technology is used in schools nowadays.  I’m sure it’s light years away from when I was there.

Also, although I’ve planned quite a lot for this story (I am DEFINITELY a plotter not a pantser!!), I feel that it’s still not clear in my head the way it should go in the middle.  I know the beginning and the end, I even know part of the middle, but it’s the in between scenes I’m trying to create now which are wearing me down.

So I was wondering… what do you guys do when you’re in a similar position to me?  Do you keep going and plugging away at it?  Or do you think ‘I’ll stop and do something else, or go back to the drawing board’?  And have you ever been writing something where you’re unsure you know enough about it?  If so, what do you do?

It’s  a lot of questions, I know.  But as always your thoughts are welcome. :)

A chance encounter in a cafe

Costa cafe

Hello one and all and welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday.  I hope you’re all well and, for those of you that are in the UK or anywhere else that’s sunny right now, I hope you’re making the most of the weather!

Anyway as the title of this post suggests, today’s WIPpet that I’m sharing takes place in a cafe.  It’s from my as-yet-untitled WIP romance about a school teacher.  In this scene it’s the weekend and my MC Rebecca has cycled into the centre of the city where she lives for some R&R.

While she’s there, she sees someone she knows and what follows is their encounter.  I’m sharing with you just over 25 lines for the 25th June, which I think is generous seeing as I haven’t written much yet!

Rebecca headed across the pedestrianized area towards the large Next store.  She needed a new belt; her current one had seen better days.  But as she approached the store, the smell of fresh coffee brewing washed over her.  Led astray, she followed her nose to its source: the nearby Costa.  There were only three other customers in the café, a man and two young women chatting together. 

Still feeling the effects of her lie in, Rebecca ordered an espresso and sank down onto a large leather sofa facing a low table.  She picked up the crumpled copy of the previous day’s Times, and became engrossed in an article in the culture section on the newest book by one of her favourite authors.  She was so absorbed in what she was reading that when someone cleared their throat, seemingly right by her ear, she jolted upwards in her seat, nearly spilling her espresso all over her pale blouse.

Her brow furrowed as she looked up, and then un-furrowed itself as she saw Nick’s friendly face smiling down at her.

‘Interesting article?’ he asked her.

‘Yes actually,’ she replied smiling back.  Seeing that he was hovering with a drink in his hand, she added, ‘You can join me if you want.’

‘Thanks, that’d be great.’ He sat down opposite her, crossing his long legs in front of him underneath the table.

Rebecca took another sip of her espresso, determined not to be awkward with Nick.  He’s just a member of staff, she told herself.  A very cute member of staff, but a member of staff none the less.

‘So, Rebecca, how’s your first couple of weeks been?  I bet it’s a lot to get used to.’

She nodded. 

And there you have it.  If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of whatever you’re working on writing-wise at the moment and post it on your blog.  Ideally it should relate in some way to the date.  Then post your details here.

Thank you our lovely K. L. Schwengel for being our marvellous hostess!

It’s OK now cos I’m back!!!

I'm back no 2

My apologies for missing last week’s WIPpet Wednesday. I’d been very busy with work and I was also really tired. But now I’m back! And I’ve actually written some more on my WIP – finally after months. So I’m happy about that.

If you follow my blog, you may have seen that I’ve been thinking about how to increase my presence online, particularly with this blog.  You can read about that here.  This is with the ultimate aim of publicising my writing.  I guess that’s fairly obvious, but I find it amazing how the whole purpose of social networking i.e. to promote our writing can become obscured until we have less and less time to spend on the writing which is what it was all about in the first place.

That’s how I see it anyway.  I certainly find it to be true of me.  I’m finding it hard to keep up with everything, what with work and blogging, tweeting and most importantly writing.  I feel that I maybe need to scale back what I do on social media a little to focus more on my writing.

Anyway for this week’s WIPpet Wednesday post, I’m sharing with you 4 short paragraphs from my current WIP.  My maths goes like this: 6 for the month – 2 from 2014.  Not great but I couldn’t see another way to do it.  In this scene, my MC Rebecca, who is an English teacher at a secondary school (11-16 yr olds), is teaching her class of fifth formers (15-16 yr olds).  Some of the boys are mucking around.  She’s determined to maintain control over the class…

‘Daniel Leavis, what do you think you’re doing?’ Rebecca said sternly.  She was teaching the fifth formers’ English class.  It was two thirty on a Friday afternoon, the end of a busy and stressful two weeks for her – and they were only the first two weeks into her job.

Daniel looked up at her, smirking.  She saw a bit of folded paper in his hand that he was attempting to conceal.  Feeling her patience wearing thin, Rebecca stalked up to him.

‘Whatever that is in your hand, you can give it to me.’

‘Ooh give it to you, yes please,’ Daniel’s sidekick Richard snickered under his breath.

That’s it from me this week.  If you’d like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday but are unsure how, all you have to do is post on your blog something that you’ve written recently.  Make sure it relates in some way to the date.  Then add your name here.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :)

An update on how things are right now

Well I didn’t make WIPpet Wednesday this week.  Truth be told I didn’t have anything new that I’d written to share.  I’ve been busy and Wednesday just crept up on me so quickly.  I kept umming and ahhing over whether to write something at the last minute to share, but in the end I decided not to.  I was so tired I couldn’t face it.

Anyway the reason I’m busy and tired is that a couple of weeks ago I started another work placement with Bristol City Council (UK). Reason being that after I left the paid job I was doing, I decided rather than spend a lot of time on my own with only a bit of job hunting to do, I would do something constructive with my time, put the job hunting on hold and go back to the council.

I’m with a different team this time, but they’re just as lovely as the first team and I’m really enjoying it.  I felt I needed the experience and confidence boosting that the placement at the council would give me. I’m not that accustomed to the world of work due to illness over the years, so doing things this way gives me time to increase my skills and confidence.

I’m doing admin with the aim of being able to get a job in that field later on.  I enjoy working as part of a team with all the camaraderie that entails.  It’s good for me – I couldn’t have coped working alone in the job I left which you can read about here.

So what about my writing?  Well today I finished my editing of Reunion of the Heart (yay!) and I’m going to send my manuscript (via email of course) to my mum for proofreading.  The catch is that I haven’t timed things very well – she and my dad are off walking the Camino (the pilgrims’ trail in Spain) and won’t be back for another couple of weeks at the earliest!

Oh well.  That gives me time to go back to my WIP which I began working on before I started editing Reunion of the Heart.  Apart from all this I’m trying to blog as much as I can and follow as many blogs as I can.  I’m failing miserably at keeping up with all the emails of blog posts I’m getting – but hey I’m only human and I can’t look at everything.  So I’m picking and choosing, trying at least to comment on those blogs of people who’ve done me the courtesy of commenting on mine.

Talking of blogging, I’ve linked my blog to Facebook and Twitter (and then got really surprised when the number of my blog followers leapt from 181 to over 2200 lol!!).  So I’m hoping that’ll help me to give it a bit more exposure.  I also want to link up to some more social media sites – but all in good time.  At the moment I’m finding it hard to keep up with life – though things are good they’re busy and a little bit hectic. By my standards anyway!

So hopefully I can get Reunion of the Heart published by the end of the summer (hopefully being the operative word!!).  I’ll keep you posted as and when that happens.

How is your writing going at the moment?

An interview with my character Michelle

Hi all.  Seeing as I didn’t have anything else to share with you this week, I thought I’d do another character interview.  This time, however, it’s with a character from my new as-yet-untitled WIP, which is a romance about a young woman working as a teacher in a secondary school (11 to 16 yr olds).

The character’s name is Michelle and she’s my MC Rebecca’s closest friend.  However they’ve fallen out because Michelle has complained to Rebecca that she’s never around anymore for her friends.  She’s pretty much told Rebecca that she feels teaching can’t be that much of a tiring job; see here for last week’s WIPpet Wednesday to read Rebecca’ s mother’s attitude.

Needless to say Rebecca isn’t exactly impressed by Michelle’s attitude.  But now, in my interview with her, it’s Michelle’s chance to give her side to the argument.  This doesn’t relate to the date (shock, horror) but I hope you enjoy it!!

Me: Hi Michelle.  Thanks for agreeing to meet with me. 

Michelle: It’s my pleasure.  Anyone who’s a friend of Rebecca is a friend of mine.

Me: Thank you.  Well, as I mentioned in our phone conversation, I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with Rebecca.  I’m particularly interested to learn about how you two have been getting on since she started her teaching job.

Michelle: (sighs and flicks hair back) It’s not been easy.  For either of us.  I know what Rebecca will tell you – if she hasn’t already – that she’s working so hard at her teaching job and none of us understand that.  I’ve had an earful from her already about not appreciating her enough and so on and so on.

Me: So you do understand then, and she’s just making a big deal out of nothing?

Michelle: Yes… um, no that’s not fair.  Look, the thing you’ve got to understand about me and Becs is that we’ve known each other for a long time.  So we’ve had the odd falling out now and then as all friends do.  But this time around it feels different, like Becs is different.  I feel like I’m not allowed to complain about the fact that she’s hardly ever around for her friends.

Me: (nodding) It sounds like you’re no longer on the same page.

Michelle: Exactly.  And I don’t know what to do about it, how to return our friendship to what it was before she started her job.

Me: Maybe Rebecca feels that you’re underestimating all the work that she has to do?  I mean I’ve heard from others in the teaching profession that it’s not a nine to five job, that teachers have to take a load of work home with them…

Michelle: (snaps) Is that what she’s told you then?  That I’m ‘underestimating’ her?  She’s one to talk.  I have a very demanding job myself you know.  But I suppose working day in day out managing a call centre isn’t very demanding by her standards? 

Me: (holds hands up) I’m sorry, Michelle, I meant no offence.  The two of you are obviously at a bad place in your friendship right now and the last thing I want to do is make it worse. (I pause) Maybe you and Rebecca should think about finding a common ground, you know, something you could talk about that’s non work related?

Michelle: (nods) That might be a good idea. (sighs) I would hate to lose my friendship with Becs, you know.  That would just be the worst thing that could happen out of all of this.

Me: I’m sure that won’t happen.  Why don’t you just call her again, maybe invite her out for a coffee and have a proper talk?

Michelle: (doubtfully) I could try.  But I’m not sure she’d be interested, she’d probably just say she was busy or something.

Me: Well you never know until you try.

Michelle: That’s true.

Me: How are Susie and Karen getting on with Rebecca these days?

Michelle: About the same as me I think, although they’re not as close to her as I am.  (pauses) I am quite a demanding person, in that I demand a lot from my friends.  I expect them to be loyal to me and to be there for me when I need them, even if it’s just a quick phone call for advice.  But I do give a lot back; I try to be a loyal friend myself and I care about my friends.  I care about Rebecca – maybe she thinks otherwise, but I do.

Me: (nodding) OK, well I don’t think I had anything else I wanted to talk to you about.  Only, I just want to say again – don’t give up on your friendship with Rebecca.  She needs your friendship; I’ve only known her a little while, but I can tell that from the way she talks about you and your falling out.  It’s like she’s bereft.

Michelle: (reddens a little) Oh.  Well that’s good to know.  I have missed her… I’ll call her again.

Me: You do that.

Michelle: (nods and reaches over to shake my hand) Thank you very much for your advice.  It’s so helpful.  Maybe I’ll see you around.

Me: I’m sure you will.

If you would like to get involved with WIPpet Wednesday, all you need to do is post something writing-related on your blog.  It should ideally relate in some way to the date, but don’t worry if not!  Then add your name to this.

Thanks goes to the Queen of Monkeys herself K. L. Schwengel.

Feeling frazzled

Frazzled

OK it’s not me that’s feeling frazzled, although I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out on occasion!  No, it’s my character in my new WIP, which I haven’t actually done anything with since the end of March.

This is because of work commitments, but also because I’m currently editing Reunion of the Heart, which is going well and hopefully will be finished soon.  At which point I can send it to my mum for proofreading. :)

For today, the 21st May, I’m sharing 21 lines from my as-yet-untitled WIP.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is feeling frazzled.  She’s just started working as a teacher at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 yr olds) and it’s tough going. And now her mum and dad want to come and stay.

Rebecca can’t bear to have them come; she’s too busy and is feeling the strain.  But on the phone to her mum, it’s clear that she just doesn’t understand how stressful teaching can be.  Rebecca gets lots of holiday, as her mum sees it, and doesn’t work weekends, so where’s the problem?

But Rebecca isn’t having it…

‘No, I’m sorry but you can’t.’ Rebecca heard her own voice sounding exasperated and wondered why her mother always had that effect on her.  It was six thirty on a Tuesday evening and Rebecca was a couple of weeks into her new job.  She was feeling crotchety.

‘But you don’t work weekends as a teacher,’ her mother pointed out helpfully.  ‘Surely your dad and I could come and stay.  And anyway if you really needed to work, we could go off and do our own thing.  You’d hardly know we were there.’

If only that were possible, Rebecca thought.  ‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she said, ‘but it’s just not possible.  I’ve got too much to do.  If you were a teacher you’d understand.’

There was silence the other end of the phone.  Rebecca couldn’t help her last barbed comment – her mother never understood.  And she was beginning to think that even if she had chosen the career path her parents had favoured, they would still never understand her.  Finally the pause ended.

‘All right, if that’s the way you feel,’ her mother said stiffly.  ‘I’ll see if Maria’s free.’

Thank you God!  Rebecca mouthed tilting her head up to the ceiling.  Then she thought of her sister.

So that’s Rebecca’s story for the moment, as I haven’t written much beyond this point.  It’s all in here! *taps head*

To join in with WIPpet Wednesday, just post on your blog anything you’ve written lately.  Relate it to the date somehow and then link up with us here.

Thanks K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely host. :D

A new version of an old scene

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday!  I hope you’re all happy and well. :)  I’m OK except my husband has given me a cold – isn’t that nice of him? – and I seem to have it worse than he did. :-S

Anyway I’m not exactly at death’s door and since I’m currently not working – in between jobs, but I am looking for another one, honest! – I’ve had plenty of time to be working on editing Reunion of the Heart.

And all I can say is ‘I get it!’  I finally get what other authors mean when they say they’re so into their stories, it’s all they can think about and the characters are so real to them!  I’m rewriting many of the scenes between my two main protagonists, making it more romantic.  I’m enjoying it so much! :-D

My characters are really coming alive; it’s a cliche but it’s true.  I’m thinking about them a lot, especially the two MCs and imagining exactly what they look like.

As I said I’m rewriting a lot of the scenes between my MC and the guy she ends up with – I’m also cutting scenes and adding them. So it’s not simply editing, it’s rewriting whole passages!!  But yes I’m really enjoying it and – because I’m quite slow at all this – I hope to publish Reunion of the Heart by the autumn at the latest.

It partly depends on work; if I get another job soon, if I have time to work on my writing without being too tired etc.  So we’ll see. But at the moment I’m making the most of the time I’ve got to spend on my writing.

So on to today’s scene.  I may have shared part of this scene in its old version before.  For today’s date, I’m giving you 14 lines .  To give you an idea of what’s going on: my MC Anna is at a party her two friends from her school days have thrown to celebrate the opening of a new shop of theirs.  Anna knows that the guy who bullied her at school, Will, is going to be there, but she’s decided to go anyway.  This is when they see each other there:

‘So we meet again,’ a voice said in her ear. 

Anna turned around.  It was Will.  As she looked up at him, she was struck again by how tall he was and his looks were certainly arresting.  He was dressed simply yet smartly in black trousers and a deep blue shirt.  His clothes accentuated his figure in all the right places.  Annoyed with herself for thinking like this, she saw that he was smiling at her. 

‘I’m here with Melissa,’ she found herself saying.  ‘She said you’d be coming with Cathy.’  She shut her mouth as if to stop it from saying anything else without her volition.

‘So you knew I was coming, but you came anyway?’ Will was looking directly at her, his expression serious but his lips curving upwards slightly in a half smile.  Anna didn’t reply for a moment, feeling her stomach fluttering incomprehensibly.

‘Um… well… yes,’ she said finally.

You too can take part in the wonderful weirdness that is WIPpet Wednesday by posting on your blog anything you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  Then put your details here.  Oh, I should add that your offering needs to relate in some way to the date.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel, Queen of the Flying Monkeys, for being our gracious hostess. ;)