2014 Challenge – March: The Captain’s Blog

Sorry this is late! It was ready on Friday but we had an emergency sci-fi convention* in Pwllheli, the land of no internet or 3G signal.

There are a couple blog posts from the original diary challenge that led up to this. It started off in challenge w/c 21st March, which was one of four brain storming weeks I had to prepare for Script Frenzy that year. I toyed around with four different ideas but this was by far my favourite and was of course the one I wrote in April. The following week I posted the premise I came up with. And now, I give you episode 1.
A few notes. This is written as a working script (mostly), meaning it includes camera directions. In real life the director would decide on those so they wouldn’t be on a normal script, but since no one is filming this I thought it was nice to put them in to help visualise the shots. If you are not familiar with scripts then apologies if it is tricky to read. If you are familiar with scripts then apologies for the horrid formatting mistakes I have probably made! On the plus side each episode is very short and should only take a couple of minutes to read :). Hope you like it!

The Captain’s Blog – Episode 1: Alone

Coming soon…Episode 2: The Visitor


*Our attending was an emergency, the sci-fi convention was planned over a year before hand :P.

Camp NaNoWriMo


Yup, signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo! Before anyone says I’m crazy, let me assure you I have not signed up for another 50,000 word monster first draft to lie unfinished and unedited on the hard drive for years. I have signed up to complete another 30,000 words of ‘Homunculus’, my 2012 NaNo tale of androids and psions in the far-future encompassing large amounts of material from the DD303 course books (it was my final year of uni, my head was kind of in that zone). I’m hoping that this will take me to ‘the end’ and I can move it to the edit pile. Since I’m going to be concentrating on that for the next month I had hoped to get two short stories finished this month for my other challenge. I typed up two different stories from The Diary and spent a lot of time thinking before finally admitting that neither of them where right. These were the original challenges:
Point of View Character Tag: http://www.leighkeating.me/?p=56
1 scene written from 2 different PoVs: http://www.leighkeating.me/?p=68

They were both fun writing challenges, and I invite anyone to have a go at them for themselves :). But in the end I just had scenes, not a complete story, and I’d be happy to share them but it’s more of a writing group thing (any of the Lancs & Cumbria Wrimos fancy taking on the challenge?). So, I’m giving you something else over the next couple of months. Probably my favourite piece from the whole of the diary challenge – my 2011 script frenzy script ‘The Captain’s Blog’. This was planned to be a ten-episode web series, so super short episodes of about 5 minutes each. It was also the last Script Frenzy, so a fitting thing to share in April when the challenge used to run :(. I could just publish an episode a month and get to the end of the year very easily, but that seems like a bit of a cheat, so this month I will give you episode 1 and I’ll try and update once a week. That should get me through to the end of May and give me enough time to finish my novel before starting another short story editing job. So check in on Friday for Episode 1: Alone.

Right, where was I up to in that novel now…

2014 Challenge – February: Animal Rights

Sorry it’s a day late, but here is my February short story. This was done for the animal themed week of the diary challenge. The prompt was from Saturday 14th May “Flash Fiction: Write a short story which features an animal as one of the main characters.”

This piece was inspired by various ‘talking animal’ films/cartoons, particularly Nickelodeon’s Barnyard. FYI, the movie was not great, but the spin-off series had a certain surreal charm that I found appealing :).

Thanks once again to beta reader/editor/test subject Markie, and here is the story: Animal Rights


New year, new challenge

Another January 1st, another chance to set random targets and challenges that may or may not get done, but setting them is at least a start, right? Last year I never got round to doing a January blog post so 2014 is already one up on 2013 :).

So what shall I do this year? One thing is set already. In October I’m starting my MSc, which I will be doing along side working and being mummy to a young family so will have very little time left for my usual pursuits like writing and my eternal quest to progress from ‘novice’ to ‘intermediate’ in my artistic skills. Hence I’m going to have to cram as much of that stuff in between now and September as possible!

I have a lot of things I’d like to do during the year, but at our traditional New Years gathering last night I asked Markie if he thought I should do another blogable challenge like the epic (and actually still ongoing) diary challenge of 2011. He suggested I post some of my writing on my blog. Well, challenge accepted, Markie. I will post a minimum of one piece of writing a month to be published on the 28th day. It could be short stories, scripts, or maybe even the start of a novel. I’m not sure yet, but I shall be delving back into my writing diary and seeing what gems are in there that can be polished up for public display.

I will be doing other stuff that I may blog about along the way, but consider this to be The 2014 Challenge so please pop back on the 28th and feel free to hunt me down on Facebook or Twitter for a good telling off if there is nothing here!

Hope everyone has a fab 2014, and let me know if you’re doing any challenges of your own!


I’ve been doing stuff!

So I haven’t posted on my blog for ages. OK, I post the other day, but that was a post I had written ages ago and had just saved as a draft, so it doesn’t count. I haven’t actually written anything on my blog since NaNoWriMo. I didn’t even do the traditional New Year post of stuff I planned to do. That probably wasn’t a good start. But I have been doing stuff!

1) I’ve been drawing

Quite a few sketches and a couple of RPG character portraits. I’m still not great but I am practicing and I think I’m getting better.

2) I’ve been sewing

I have designed and cross-stitched some Steampunk buttons from scratch.

I also have a Steampunk coat in progress (thanks to Claire for the fabric!), though motivation is slightly lacking since I currently have nowhere to wear it. As soon as someone invites me to a Steampunk party I’ll be right back on the case!

3) I’ve been knitting

I learned how to knit (like a needed another hobby) and I made the kids a penguin.
I’m currently knitting a Nightmare (perhaps I should call it a Knitemare?) and I’ve ordered some yarn to make a top for myself over the summer holidays. I have not yet mastered the art of crochet but it’s next on the list!

4) I’ve been playing the ukelele

I have been strumming away on some hits from Glee, Linkin Park, RHCP, and some nursery rhymes for the kids. I still cannot play well, but I’m willing to say I can play it a little now. But I’m not posting a video to prove it 😛

5) I’ve been writing…a little…

This is the one I feel bad about. I haven’t finished the last book. I haven’t finished the diary. I started out the year quite well with editing but then got distracted with other writing things that didn’t work out. I’ve not written any short stories. I’ve tried to finish a book I started a while ago, and I’m struggling. It’s not sounding so good.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. I have learned I really write best when I have an outline, and from now on I’m going to stick with that. I’ve tried a few times to just write with a basic idea and see what comes out and it’s safe to say that mostly unusable rubbish comes out. I guess I’m just someone who needs to plan. I’ve also learned that I need to focus. I have a lot of hobbies and I’ve tried doing schedules and rotas to fit them all in but I just end up procrastinating if I don’t feel like writing on writing night, or I’d rather be drawing on crafting night. This is the road to unfinished projects and too many hours on Facebook. So from now on the plan is focus on one thing, do it, finish it, move on! The philosophy is a bit trickier with something big like a novel. I’m not really going to put all my other hobbies aside for months while I write a book from start to finish, but certainly I think one big project at a time is enough. If it’s not working then fine, ditch it and move on, but don’t leave things unfinished with the hope you’ll get back to them one day!

And I should blog more. Not because I think the whole world should be very interested in me failing to finish my projects, but because a bit of public accountability can be motivating :). So the next thing you will see on here is my Nightmare. That’s what I’m making, I will finish it, I will post it, and then I will move on.

Well, that’s the plan anyway 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2012

It’s December, which means my 8th NaNoWrMo is over, and I am a…

NaNo Winner bagde

Yes, last month I wrote 50,271 words of ‘Homunculus’ (see my profile for synopsis and horrible excerpt), secured my 7th Nanowrimo win, and wrote 139 more words than last year :). But last year I got to 50,132 words, closed the document and have not opened it since. This year will be different. I went into November with a rough chapter outline and an ending in mind. 50K took me to about half way through that plan, so I shall write on through December and I shall reach the mystical realm of ‘the end’. So look out 100,000 words, because I’m coming to get you!

Homunculus – 50,271 words and counting…



NaNoWriMo 2012

NaNo participant web badge

It’s that time of year again! Time to write a novel. It’s fair to say that November has snuck up on me this year, what with small people and my degree just finished. I have only the bare bones of a plan, but that’s better than nothing :).

This year is a first for me. I’m doing sci-fi! And not ‘Pixies in Space’ space opera type sci-fi. Proper sci-fi. And how can you tell it’s proper sci-fi? It’s got robots in it. Still not convinced? OK, the robots have neuromorphic chips! You can’t tell me that’s not sci-fi enough :). This month I will be writing ‘Homunculus’. Part thought provoking psychological discussion on the nature of consciousness and free will, part CSI:Space. And I should probably be writing it instead of blogging about it, so TTFN!

Diary Challenge: reflection


My constant companion in 2011

2011 is over and 2012 is well under way. Last year I set myself an ambitious challenge.  I bought myself a page-a-day diary with the goal of writing every day and filling each page with some scene, story, conversation, etc. I can now officially reveal that I did not succeed at my challenge. Around 100 pages of the diary are still completely blank. Between work, University and my active toddler I just didn’t manage to pull it out of the bag in the end.

But I didn’t fail. I never gave up. The diary was not abandoned half empty, it just has gaps. I kept on going for the whole year, kept posting challenges even when I was miles behind and had no hope of doing them. I carved out time in my day to write and tried to form good habits. I came up with new ideas. Even though I didn’t write the 365 pages I set out to fill last January 1st I still spent the year writing. So in a way I think I still won.

So what’s next? On January 1st this year Markie asked me if I had any New Year’s Resolutions. I told him no, but that I have a theme for the year. That’s right, no fad diets or unused gym memberships for me this year. I’ve got a whole theme! The theme is ‘finishing’. I want to finish a book. Not write a new one, but pick up an old one I’ve left on my hard drive and jolly well give it an ending. I want to finish editing something so someone else can read it. I want to finish my degree so I can finally graduate. And I want to finish the diary challenge. I have 100 blank pages still to go. So perhaps I shall look silly sitting in coffee shops scribbling away in my 2011 diary, but I carried it everywhere with me for a whole year and I don’t plan on stopping until every page is full. Then I’ll really be able to say that I won the diary challenge.

Good luck for 2012 everyone. May we all finish something we started this year.

Diary Challenge: 26th December – 1st January 2012

It’s the last week of the year, and so the last week of the challenge! As it’s the last week it seems fitting to have a proper challenge (even if it is being posted late). So, this week the theme is ‘endings’.

Monday 26th December – description challenge

Describe a character who is at the end of their story. Maybe it’s a great hero who’s finished their adventure, or finally got the girl, or a villain who’s been defeated. It could be anyone. Just think about what their story might be and how it might have changed them from the beginning.

Tuesday 27th December – dialogue challenge

Write a conversation between two or more characters who are saying goodbye.

Wednesday 28th December – scene challenge

Write the final scene of a story. Tricky one, but probably easier if you write the ending to one of the novel ideas you’ve generated over the year.

Thursday 29th December – Dream challenge

Write something based on a dream. Hopefully you’ve got one weird or inspiring dream left in you!

Friday 30th December – Stream of consciousness

Do some free writing around the theme of finishing something.

Saturday 31st December – Flash Fiction

Write a piece of flash fiction entitled ‘the end’. It can be about anything.

Sunday 1st January – pot luck

You don’t have to do the 1st of January, but my diary has a page for that day so I think I should fill it. And so we will go full circle and the challenge will be the same as last 1st of January. Write a piece of flash fiction called ‘New year’s resolution’.

And that’s it! The last diary challenge. Next week I’ll report on how I got on, and look forward to what next year has in store!

The Diary Challenge returns!

NaNoWriMo 2011 is now officially over, and somehow I officially won! Not sure how that happened, but I’ve got my writing groove on and I’m ready to get right back to the diary challenge and make a really good go at it before the year ends. I’m further behind than I’d care to work out, so let’s not worry about that for now and just keep going forward :).

It won’t have escaped your notice that there’s some kind of celebration coming up. Can’t think what that’s all about, but apparently it’s kind of a big deal. So, the challenge for this month (or at least the first 24 days of it) is to create a Christmas/holiday story advent calendar. We want a very short story (or script, or advert, or poem, or song, or blog post, or anything at all you can think of) for each day of advent. Any format, any genre, any characters you like. I hope this is going to be fun and I don’t end up running out of ideas after the first couple of days!

Optional prompts for this week are:

Thursday 1st December – use the title ‘First Christmas*’ for a piece in any format

Friday 2nd December – write something inspired by your favourite Christmas carol

Saturday 3rd December – I’ve always wondered about the people who write the poems in Christmas cards. Write a story about one of them.

Sunday 4th December – script an advert for a Christmas product or service

*note – you may want to write about a different religious celebration, a different time in history, or a different world where they don’t have Christmas, so whenever I say ‘Christmas’ feel free to substitute with holiday name of choice :).

That’s all for now! Be back next week for more prompts and some musings about what next year will have in store…