Nanover, it’s a bit like a hangover, but for when you’ve just sprinted to a word count close to 50000 words.
The big question on everyone’s lips (well okay, at least two or three of you I hope) is: ‘Did I finish one time?’ The easy answer is a somber no… However, I feel now that I must leap to my own defence. I tapped out a grand total of 42000 words by the final hours of November, this represents the biggest single contiguous piece of work that I have ever produced. Not only that but in my humble opinion (ghastly punctuation and typos galore aside) the story actually holds water. Of course I am gutted that I didn’t quite make it this year, but I still have an awesome sense of achievement. Not only that but I feel like a better writer for it! And of course I now have the time and space to finish that crucial first draft before I pull it apart, up end the story with a mighty shake and then see what’s left.
All in all a wonderful time was had, and I am mighty glad as Christmas approaches that I now have time back to think about getting ready to be all festive.
Normal Blogging service will now recommence.
I’ve not vanished, however my words have been occupied elsewhere this month as any regular readers will know. This month has been the glorious and annual event that is NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I have attempted once again the challenge that is 50000 words in a month. As I sit here now I am at precisely 36,272 (what can I say, I started a little late this year, the 7th to be exact) and I will not be allowing myself to partake of sleep until I have comfortably surpassed 40000. This allows me a few here and there tomorrow, although he best part of the day will be spent celebrating a belated Thanks Giving (US pals). And thusly I shall be left with a reasonable days work on Saturday with which to limp over the finish line.
I am of course today experiencing my favourite part of the creative process. The part where you think, this is a big pile of shitty shit shit that no one in their right mind would ever enjoy much past the first page should they even deem to pick it up in the first place. And therefore it is with that terrifying thought that I fling myself back the word count tool upon my dear little MacBook Air (thank goodness for the exceptional battery life)… Goodbye! See you at 50000
Quick update on the as yet unnamed draft of, what I like to call, the novelette. It turns out that my usually lack lustre attempts at comedy have given way to the more comforting ground of fantasy fiction this year. And at a stonking 7438 words strong (only 2241 a day to finish on time) I am thus far pleased with the results. Phillip Pullman once wrote in a NanoWriMo pep talk that I mustn’t look back at what I’ve written, no editing, no tweaking, no fiddling. I must only look forward at the goal! A 50000 word strong DRAFT, the skeleton of a book, an outline of an idea.
So wish me luck for the next 7438! I’m gonna need some baked goods for energy! Which reminds me, just found a lovely recipe for Christmas Pudding… No, get out of here you naughty distractions! Back to the novelette!
I shall love him and hug him and call him Cedric!
Today I formed a rather lovely Sourdough Starter, he’s made from a lovely fresh organic apple, grated into roughly 250g of Strong White Bread flour and 250ml of warm/tepid water. Given a little light agitation with a large spoon he was then slopped off into this rather spiffy Kilner Jar. The only requirement is that the jar be airtight.
I shall watch him for bubbles and growth (good signs) and then hopefully in a few days time I will be able to slough off about a third to half the mix and then feed him up with a little more flour and water. If he’s not growing much apparently I should add a little more apple.
Can’t wait to use him and frankly, why would you not make Sourdough when creating the yeast is a super easy task that requires nothing more than a little love and patience!
Is it just me, or is it time for Bobble Hats? Here’s one I knocked up in simple knit stitch, you can more or less guess the size you need assuming you’re making it for your own head. Somewhere in the region of 60 stitches on a size 6 needle will usually do. I then reduced by half once I had reached the desired size, knit another 3 lines, then reduced by half again, knit 2, half again, and then knit 1 and continued down to roughly 6 stitches before tying off, leaving a long piece of yarn to sew the seem. I added the Bobble afterwards, of course I considered knitted ears here, but I felt it was Bobble season. Although the ridicule from my partner was also a factor here, apparently ears aren’t for grown ups!
Hope you like the end results! I’m working the same pattern in blue at the moment and may post a more detailed guide if I am able to replicate my success here.
Just to let you all know, rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated, I am however taking part in NanoWriMo this month, which in short means I am attempting to commit to screen 50,000 words or more of a short novel (or novella as they say) which frankly has been a life long ambition that has never born fruit. I feel like now is as good a time as any however so I am committed and now need to crack on! Wish me luck!
This one’s a little adaptation on a recipe I came across in the Waitrose Weekend paper (you can pick it up for free in any UK Store) and I decided to swap about the type of tea for a subtler flavour, you could use a stronger tea here though, perhaps an Assam or just an English Breakfast for a slightly different flavour.
For this lovely loaf you will need the following.
- 1 Earl Grey Tea Bag
- 150g Sultanas
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 tbsp runny honey (pick your favourite)
- 150g Muscavado Sugar (a light one will be fine)
- 225g of Plain Flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp of mixed spice (I prefer to add an extra one here)
- 2 Granny Smith apples
Pop your oven on at 180c whilst you steep the sultanas in 150ml of Earl Grey tea. I recommend you soak them for a good ten to fifteen minutes and ensure the tea is well brewed before removing the bag.
Whisk the eggs, sugar, and honey until they turn a lighter, pale colour.
Fold in the dry ingredients adding the sultanas and their lovely liquid last.
Grate one and a half apples chopping the remaining half into smallish cubes. Mix the grated apple into the mixture. Pour all of this into a greased loaf tin. Sprinkle over the cubed apple and then pop the loaf to be in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes. You’ll find as the baking time comes to an end you may get a little burning on the top so feel free to add a foil hat half way through after a crust has formed.
Cool well and enjoy with butter or a little marmalade if you’re feeling particularly lush!