Friday, 6 January 2017

2016 - end o year stats

So. What've we been up to in 2016?

However you look at it, it's been a heck of a year, but I'm going to ignore all the important stuff for now and go with my usual yearly round-up of how much I've written in the past 12 months, because that's something I feel relatively positive about and because I have some nice solid statistics to fall back on, rather than my own shouty opinions.

(I'm not posting all this to boast, btw. I just like stats, and I like being able to take stock of what I've done in a year. Also I hope it'll show that everyone's output is different, we all work at different speeds, we all have different definitions of what is a fair amount of work, and no one should ever make themselves (or anyone else) feel bad for doing more or less than the next guy.)

In total, I wrote 414,204 words, which equates to approximately 1131 words a day average. To compare, in 2015, I wrote 359,224 words (about 984 words a day average).

These totals include everything - first drafts, rewriting, editing, blog posts, competition entries... anything I can claim with a straight face as creative writing. I also included drawing as writing (using the vague definition that a finished picture is worth a thousand words).

Breaking this down into positives:

I wrote the first drafts of two new stories, one of which is now my favourite thing I've written.
I edited two other novels to close-enough-to-finished level.
I polished TERROR ISLAND and released it as an ebook.
I filled up two notebooks with notes, ideas, and random crap.
I wrote every day, even if it was just a couple of sentences (although there were a couple of close calls).
I read 91 books.

And into negatives:

I didn't get as much drawing done as I wanted. Maybe only two or three days included any drawing.
I didn't blog very much.
I didn't crit as many stories for other people as I should've. In fact, I still have three crits outstanding, which is very poor behaviour on my part.
I still don't reply to my emails in a timely fashion.

But in general, I'm happy with my output for the year. I feel like I've done okay. I really hope everyone else feels they've done okay too, despite this horrid year, and achieved something they can be content with.

I'm going to do a separate post about the books I've read, because I'm sure you're anxious to see my stats about those too. :)

Happy 2017, peeps. Stay safe out there.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016

yes, yes, i'm ignoring the important news of today. Instead, here's something wonderful:

Over at ThousandRoads.net they're creating Pokemon that evolve along with your word count (if you're signed up for the official NaNo website with a current novel). It's adorable.

Here's mine:

rakiekeig's NaNoWriMon

Good luck to everyone NaNoing this year!

Monday, 17 October 2016

the return of TERROR ISLAND

Aha, forgot to mention. TERROR ISLAND, my very first novel, is out now in ebook:

Here it is for Kindle in the UK

And here for Kindle in the US

Alternatively, if you would like a nice shiny FREE ebook version (in whichever format tickles your fancy), then why not sign up to the Rakie Keig mailing list?

Email terror_island_novel(at)hotmail(dot)com with the title SUBSCRIBE

And our email monkeys will do the rest (disclaimer: there are no monkeys, it's only me and my stubby-fingered typing skills).

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Now look what you've done. You've made me turn my chair around.

So, the new Ghostbusters.

I went to see it at the cinema two weeks ago. I went on my own, partially because I love going on my own (cinema is one of the great solitary pass-times, why do people feel the need to go as a crowd?) and partially because no one else in my circle of friends would countenance seeing it (bear in mind these are people who have paid money to see several Transformer movies, on purpose).

And Ghostbusters was good. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though at least thirty percent of the movie was rubbish (ineffective bad dude, sagging middle, cameos that made me cringe), and even though most of its problems stemmed from the associated baggage that always hinder reboots - namely a necessity to hat-tip the original whilst struggling for an original voice. It wasn't awful. I will watch it again on video.

But, see, I had no intention of watching it at all. I loved Ghostbusters as a kid. The cartoons and comics were the best thing in the world. I've had a low-level crush on Ray Stantz for nearly thirty years (it's no coincidence I married a man who's so similar to him) (husband considers himself Venkman; husband is wrong). Ghostbusters II was the second film I remember seeing at the cinema. I'm still mad at a critic who gave that movie three stars and described it as "ok if you like that kind of thing".

So I did NOT want to see a reboot. I groaned at every rumour of Ghostbusters III. I'd already decided I would ignore the new movie.

And then the shouting started.

Not just the terrible internet shouting. The shouting within my own house. My son and husband HATE the idea of the reboot. This isn't anything new - we hate the idea of lots of movies. But eventually one of us will decide we want to see it, and the other two will roll our eyes, and then it'll turn out the movie isn't awful and we'll all quite enjoy it. That's what happened with The Thing. And Star Trek. And Star Wars, for that matter.

But it didn't happen here. I suggested the new Ghostbusters looked alright, and was instantly told I was wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONITY WRONG. And what happens when people tell me I don't want something? I START WANTING IT.

I did not want to watch Ghostbusters. I did not want to pay £9.50 and wear the bloody awkward 3D glasses and deal with cinema audiences. You people made me.

(Not you specificially, of course. You're lovely. Other people.)

And now look what you've done. I enjoyed it.

So I came home and told people. And they shouted me down. Turns out, every opinion I have about this movie is wrong! Even something as simple as "OMFG Kate McKinnion why did no one tell me" was countered by the insistence that the movie had deliberately cast ugly women to prevent it appealing to men (thank you, hormonal teenage son, for setting me right). The movie was devised by a committee to squeeze a new gimmick into an existing franchise; a cynical cash-grab by greedy Hollywood; a trampling of cherished childhood memories.

The last two movies I paid money for at the cinema were The Jungle Book and the Angry Birds Movie. I missed the outcry about the former trampling on childhoods, or the latter cynically squeezing money from an existing franchise.

But you know what? It's fine.

When I was a kid, everyone liked the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. I was the only Ghostbusters fan in the village. I wore my jumpsuit and proton pack to school discos. I was stubborn and contrary and liked liking things that no one else did. This has not changed.

So it's okay if people don't agree with me. In fact, it's better than okay, because it means the new Ghostbusters movie is mine and I don't have to share it. Everyone else can bitch and moan, and I'll sit here quietly, and smile.

Monday, 20 June 2016

guest blog at That Reading/Writing Thing

Many thanks to the lovely Zeba Clarke over at That Reading/Writing Thing for letting me ramble all over her blog this week:

That Reading/Writing Thing

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

piling peas

A first draft is a pile of peas.

Stick with me on this.

If you've never shelled peas, you should try it. Befriend someone with an allotment, get a whole bunch of peas in pods, sit and shell them out. It's therapeutic. Also peas smell and taste amazing straight from the pods.

So you start shelling the peas, digging your nails into the pods and emptying the cute little peas into a bowl. At first you're delighted by your progress--look at the peas in this bowl that was formerly empty! Observe me creating! And gradually the pea pile begins to grow. Some pods pop open easily; some are resistant little bastards. Some pods are crammed with perfectly formed peas; some have only a couple of withered little things. They all go on the pile. And as you work, you notice that appearances are deceptive--sometimes the big, bright peas have that dry chalky texture, while the teeniest, most unassuming ones can have the sweetest flavour. They all go on the pile.

At some point you'll wonder why you ever started this stupid repetitive task. The pile doesn't look like it's growing. You still have half a tub of peas to shell. You have weird green stuff under your nails. There's a bag of frozen peas in the freezer you could easily have used instead.

Keep adding peas to the pile.

Eventually you'll reach the end. Now you have a pile of peas. Impressive, isn't it? Take a moment to appreciate it. You did that, you produced that whole pile of peas, with your own two hands.

But, as you're probably aware, a pile of peas is not a finished dish. You could eat them as they are, sure, but that's not necessarily the tastiest way to enjoy peas.

So you start refining your pile. You take out all the manky peas, plus the bits of pods and leaves and stems that always seem to sneak in. You cook the peas. How you cook them depends what you want to end up with--mushy peas are different to minted peas are different to that strange pea-foam they make on cooking shows, obviously. Plus everyone's cooking styles are different. One person boils, another blanches, another steams. There is no definitive way of cooking peas.

But every finished pea-based dish starts off with a pile of peas.

And, to round off this tortuous metaphor, a first draft is nothing more or less than a pile of words you've had to dig out of your head and dump onto paper.

Keep piling those peas.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

writers (never) retreat

This weekend, ten of us got together to work on our respective projects for the first inaugural Manx Litfest Writing Retreat.

*pauses*

*Googles*

*confirms first and inaugural do mean the same thing*

Damn, I knew it. But, see, the difficulty is I promised myself I wouldn't edit during the Retreat. I would just write, splurge, obtain the vomit-draft, and worry about editing later. And there's the difficulty - it's hard to just write, without going back to fix things, even when (especially when) you can see there's something obviously wrong with what you've just typed.

And it's hard to find time to write, as well. I've complained before that we're all too busy. We have kids and jobs and social lives and pets and Fallout 4 and bottles of wine that won't drink themselves (delete as applicable) and a million other drains on our time. So this Retreat was designed as time set aside for just writing. No housework, no kids, no spouses, no interruptions (some wine).

I've started a new project, with no plan, only the most general idea ("write something in space," my husband says) and the determination to plough forward without looking back. And it was fun. Even during Nanowrimo I never set aside long periods of time to write. It's just never feasible. My Nano stats are (usually) a steady slope of approximately 1,666 words per day building up in increments. Sprints and all-nighters are not part of my usual repertoire.

I've no idea if what I wrote over the weekend is any good, because I've not read it back yet. I've got my momentum and I'm pushing forward with the draft... and I'm hoping we get to do another Retreat at some point in the future because it'd be super-helpful if I could write nearly ten thousand words every weekend...