Milestones, Novellas and Ravens

Hello, Everyone! I imagine you were probably expecting another month’s worth of answers to the #AcresofInk Writing Challenge.

Surprise! It’s not… Sorry about that.

I confess I’ve been rather amiss with my blogging of late. It’s my aim to catch up eventually, but these last couple of months have been an absolute whirlwind of activity and, much to my chagrin, June looks even worse. So, without further ado…

I’m just stopping by the officially announce…

~*~ I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF THE MAYOR ~*~

Huzzah

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!

Yes my friends, it has been A Struggle. After many, many years of trials, tribulations and tears, I finally have done it. I have written A Book. I’m so, so happy.

So what’s next?

Well, for the time being, I’ve put myself on an Enforced Break, fully endorsed by my writing partner K.F. Goodacre. This means I’m not even looking at my novel and actively trying not to think about it… which is much harder than it sounds. In the meantime, K.F. Goodacre has taken my book off my hands and is going to spend the next two months doing an initial edit for me. What a brave soul she is…

RavensTo distract myself, I’ve been catching up on some TV (Black Sails anyone?), reading 18th century books that aren’t mine (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee) and keeping myself away from computer screens as much as possible. A couple of weekends ago my work colleague and friend from Latvia visited, and we went to the Tower of London to see the ravens ♥ This weekend just gone, I pampered myself with various lotions and potions (‘Drops Of Light’ facial peel from The Body Shop), enjoyed the warm weather and spent quality time with my boyfriend and his family. Self-care and socialising was something I seriously neglected during the months of March and April, so it feels good to be connecting with myself and the world again.

I’ve also started outlining a novella about my character, Jonathan Carson, which I’m hoping will inform my writing for Book 2 and also serve as a nice way to blow off steam when I eventually get round to editing my book. It is an absolute monster of a novel, standing at well over 200,000 words. I need to get it down to somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 plus sort out the worldbuilding, plus tighten up the plot, plus build on certain characters, plus cut others completely, plus

What was that? Oh yes, sorry, I’m not meant to be thinking about this stuff at the moment.

Until next time, Lovelies x

Take care,

S.E. Berrow

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Writerly Navel-Gazing ~ Week 7: Questions 7

Part of the 30 Week Writing Challenge. Click here to view all questions.

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

No. I generally cannot concentrate on my writing — or anything that requires dedicated brain power — with music playing in the background. No, not even classical music. Have you ever listened to Vivaldi’s ‘Presto in G Minor‘? I don’t know how anyone can zone out something as powerful and rousing as that. I am even distracted by relatively mute instrumental pieces, like Emilie Autumn’s ‘Willow‘, simply because I find myself getting swept up in all the lovely mournful peaks and troughs of the melody.

I like to work in the peace and quiet that silence brings or (because there’s no such thing as true silence) some kind of background noise that can be easily zoned out e.g. faint chatter, passing cars, humming fridges. The only kind of music I might stretch to during a writing session is the bland spa-music on my Omm Writer, and even that can prove too distracting sometimes. When I really need to concentrate on a difficult scene (which, as I near the end of my first draft, is often these days), I end up having to switch it off.

As for songs that I relate to my characters, I have written a blog post on this before (click here) and I also have a dedicated Playlist for The Mayor (click here).

To summarise, below are what I like to call my characters’ ‘theme’ songs:

Nell does not have theme song sadly. I have yet to find songs that I specifically associate with her!

S.E. Berrow


Disclaimer: I did try to link to official YouTube channels where possible… but this proved largely impossible. As such, the links to the videos are likely to break — I’ll try to keep them as updated as I can.

Productivity Update (don’t get excited…) and HAMILTON!

Good afternoon, Dear Followers. I hope you’re all keeping well.

My 2017 has gotten off to a rather rocky start. After a wonderfully productive first week where I wrote something nearly every day, took up my Outlander colouring again and qualified as a First Aider for my workplace, I was then struck down by a viral infection on January 7th and have been off work since the 10th. To say I’ve had a nasty cough doesn’t quite do said cough justice. Cough Version 2.0 perhaps? Coughzilla? Regardless, it’s the kind of cough that racks your whole body, saps all your energy and drives other people as far away from you as possible. I have coughed so much that I have been sick. There were no less than three days last week where I was completely unable to leave my bed, let alone the house. I haven’t been able to read, write, or do anything much that requires movement or long periods of concentration. Throw insomnia, cabin fever, loneliness and intense boredom into the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a pretty miserable human being. I am eternally grateful to my boyfriend Mark and my wonderful mother who have been looking after me the whole time, bringing me food, medicine, changes of scenery and being on the other end of the phone for me to cry and splutter at.

Fortunately, I’ve been slowly on the mend since Monday and am feeling much better.The doctor signed me off for another week to recover, so all I can do is rest and recuperate. I’m still coughing like crazy, but today I left the house for the first time to buy myself food and I actually managed to make it all the way back to my house to cook it! A truly monumental achievement! Also, when I got back, I found that work had sent me some beautiful flowers, a Get Well Soon card, and a teddy bear. I was so moved that I cried. That’s how emotionally pathetic I am right now.

get-well-soon

So, very sadly, there hasn’t been much writing progress since that glorious first week in January, but I hope to begin again in earnest once I am fully recovered from Coughzilla.

Plus… it hasn’t all been bad! On Monday, despite completely forgetting and signing on to the internet a full two hours after they went on sale, I managed to secure the hottest tickets of the decade… Hamilton on the West End!

hamilton

Hamilton, for those of you who do not know, is a relatively new musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda that’s been blowing up Broadway since its release in 2015, and was inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Rob Chernow. Alexander Hamilton was one of America’s Founding Fathers and also one of the most mysterious, largely due to his premature death at the hands of Vice President Aaron Burr in a deadly duel. Despite this he still managed to achieve an awful lot during his lifetime by helping to promote the Constitution, create the US financial system and write his way out of a salacious sex-scandal.

Because I am writing a book set during the 18th century (The Mayor), I am immediately drawn to anything related to the period. American history is of a particular fascination to me because I hear about it all the time through the medium of American television and books, but I have never been taught it formally, being English. Thus, when I learned from my friend Sophie that she had recently become obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack, I asked her to send it to me so that I could listen and become obsessed too… which I did. Immediately.

The musical-style of Hamilton leans heavily — but not exclusively — on rap and hip-hop which, when combined with 18th century themes of clever writing and political spin, works supremely well! Check out this little trailer below that gives you a rough idea of what it’s all about:

Where was I? Oh yes! I managed to get tickets for myself and Mark to see Hamilton on the West End in London on my birthday next year!

OK, so it’s quite some time away — it hasn’t even been my birthday this year yet — but I’m sooooooo excited! Consequently, even if things all go pear-shaped this year, at least I can say I managed to get my paws on a pair of Hamilton tickets ♥

Here’s to a happy, healthy rest-of-2017!

Lots of love,

S.E. Berrow


For more information on Hamilton and 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda, please visit the below:

http://www.hamiltonbroadway.com/ (Broadway)
http://www.hamiltonthemusical.co.uk/ (West End)
http://www.linmanuel.com/

Bonus! Tweet from the Hamilton cast (because Trump-bothering is always fun):

 

Falling Behind

It’s all been a bit quiet here on the blogging front at seberrow.com. With Christmas and the end of the year rapidly approaching, my spare time has been taken up with extra work, socialising, writing torture scenes (so festive) and baking mini Christmas puddings care of Nigella Lawson. I may also have been drowning in a sea of Fitzy feels whilst reading Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb, watching too much I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! and overindulging in Life Killer 4 (also known as Fallout).

Presently I have no less than 4 outstanding blog posts to write for you all. Come Saturday after the Nightwish gig, that number will creep up to a rather intimidating 5:

  1. My NaNoWriMo experience
  2. Album Review: Innuendo by Amberian Dawn
  3. Book Review: Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  4. My romantic weekend in Leeds Castle
  5. Gig Review: Nightwish, Wembley Arena (19.12.2015)

Fortunately I have some time off over Christmas, so I’m hoping to rectify all this soon. Until then, many thanks for your patience!

Take care,

S.E. Berrow


ETA (23.12.2015): Links will added as each planned blog post is written.