Tag Archives: deadline

So close…

Candice: Phil and I have been beavering away over the last few weeks, desperate to finish book 2.  We’ve missed our end of March deadline, but not without giving it a good go.  And, to be honest, it’s not the end of the world as having a deadline has helped focus the mind.

So, it’s now the 21st April as I write this and we are now on 73,000 words.  For those of you who write, you know that is close to being a full novel.  The last one was around 80,000.  But who’s counting?  Its more about the story than adding another 7,000 words.

Phil was worried a week or so ago about how we were going to find 12,000 words.  Well, since that discussion we’ve managed another 5,000 so I think we are doing ok.

However, the bit we are doing now is the hardest.  Going back and checking the plot lines.  I have spent two hours this afternoon not just adding new parts to the book but also writing down the timeline.  Who is where, when is it, what were they wearing, what do we mention that might cross over later.

This is what took such a long time with our first book as it wasn’t written chronologically.  We mostly wrote what we felt and then put it together.  We then spent a lot of time going back over it to stop all those continuity errors.

This time has been slicker because we did some storyline mapping first, but still, when you go back and add scenes in to the middle of your book, you find that you have mixed up a timeline.

So my job is the make sure there aren’t any glaring errors before we take it on to the next step… handing it over to some people to read.  GULP!

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Focussing on why we are doing this

FocusPhil: Tuesday saw the first of our Book 2 deadlines pass and as Candice commented, we missed it. Fortunately she’s still so mellow from her holiday that we’ve agreed to just move the deadline 6 months.

A deadline has been useful in motivating us to get words on paper but ultimately, the only people who care are us. And if we say the deadline can move, it can move. It all comes down to why we are doing this.

I think we do it because writing a story is fun. When we sit around a table talking about plot lines we both come alive. This isn’t just the sugar rush from the cake we’re stuffing ourselves with, bouncing ideas around is really, really fun.

OK, so the fun has to come to an end and serious writing has to begin but once the keyboard hammering is done, there is the delight of waiting to see what the other half of the team thinks of the new words, or the fun of reading something new featuring our characters. Sometimes the story evolves in a different direction to the discussions and that’s good too.

So, we need a deadline and will try to stick to it but for the moment, life gets in the way for both of us.

Serious entrepreneurs would argue that a laser-like focus on the project is the key to success. That’s fine but Phil’s still gotta eat so paid work needs to come first. After that I’ve a project that may in time become proper paid work to gobble my time. For the moment then, neither of us expects to be able to live off the proceeds of The Book. Well, at least not if the Nolan shoe and bag budget isn’t to take a massive hit anyway.

Does it matter? Money isn’t everything and writing fiction provides a different sort of reward. Maybe in an ideal world, we’d both chuck work in and become full-time authors.

But I wonder if that would take some of the fun out of it?

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Stop beating yourself up, Nolan

Candice: It has been commented before that I am my own hardest task master.  If it’s not done and perfect then I get angry with myself and everyone else.

Well the last week I went on a lovely holiday to a place called Ile de Re, an island just off La Rochelle in west France.  It was lovely, we had great weather and all the family went to stay in a house with its own pool. I’d promised myself that I’d try to do some writing.  We wouldn’t be going out that much in the evening so this would be a chance to crack open the iPad and churn out some words.

Ah, the best laid plans.

Well, every night Erin would go to bed and then we’d crack open a little beer bottle and sit on the sofa.  Then I’d open my book and relax.  The next thing I’d know it was midnight and time to go to bed.  So the sum total of no words got written.

And you know, I don’t feel bad about it.  I had a lovely chilled out week, which I really needed, and I just don’t know when I would have found the time.  I know time is always an excuse that people use not to write but I’m sticking to my guns.  I really didn’t have time, or the inclination.

This doesn’t mean I’ve given  up on finishing book 2 but I just think Phil and I have to be realistic.  I went to an entrepreneur event a month or so ago and the main thing I took from it was have one focus.  When this guy was getting his business off the ground then that is all he did.  He didn’t train for a marathon, bringing up a small child, go on holiday, nothing moved his focus from what he was doing.  Both Phil and I don’t have that luxury.  He’s in the middle of launching a new magazine, I’m currently applying for a new job and  looking after my ever time-consuming daughter.

So I’m moving the goal posts.  We said the first draft of book 2 by today.  We havent achieved that but we have put in 30,000 words and lots of ideas.  We had a conversation before I went away that we should move this to later in the year and then break off at one point to do the final touches on book 1 before it goes live.  Seriously, what is the rush?  We need a second book to follow the first but we won’t really need it until next year so lets prioritise and work out what is important.  And I think that will help. When I was training for the half marathon it was literally the be all and end all by the month before I did it, and that was hard as it just sat in the back of your mind – must go for a run, must go for a run.  I think the book has become has become a little like that, all pressure without the enjoyment. However, I am going to find some time to do some writing, put in a slot in the week like I do with training, but I am going to try to be more realistic.

It will get done but in a way that works for both of us.


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Led astray by a young woman

Birthday CakePhil: You know how it is. Settle down at the computer looking forward to an enjoyable browse of a few blogs. First up will be your own as your co-writer will have posted her latest comments. It’s an interesting post with a nice picture of some cake at the top. Reaching the bottom you read,

“Phil doesn’t know this yet, but I want the 80,000 word first draft of Book Two done by June”


Later in the day I met up with la Nolan in the Dorridge branch of a coffee chain. We hid at the back of the shop with our drinks and her toasted sandwich.

“Are you nuts?”, I enquire, “Finish Book 2 by the end of June? We’ve hardly started!”

“Would you like some birthday cake?” she purrs, pushing a small sliver of Hello Kitty cake in my direction while the proprietors weren’t looking.

“OK. Mmmm. Nice cake.”

And we chatted about children’s parties and stuff.

When the sugar rush wore off.

“The end of June? Are you crazy?”

“Have another slice of cake.”

“OK” Munch, munch munch…

Somewhere along the way, it seems I agreed that this deadline was a good idea. In my defence I could say I was led astray by a young woman (you read about it in the newspapers all the time) but in truth we really do need to get going and write this thing – the deadline gives us something to aim at.

5 years ago, Book 1 slowly emerged on the page thanks to a General Election providing us both with the inspiration and unexpected time to do some writing. Life has got in the way a bit since then but now it’s time to crack on and stop gassing.

That afternoon, I wrote the chapter setting up the non-romantic bit of the story.

So we can’t forget the deadline, I’ve put a counter in the sidebar of this blog. Every time we look at it we’ll be reminded how little time is left and you can chide us if we miss the target.


Filed under Phil, Writing

I have a cunning plan…

Cheesecake selectionCandice: I had an abundance of things to write about in this blog post.

Eating – as over Christmas this has been high on the agenda. I’ve already talked about the fact there are only so many times you can have Quality Street for Breakfast and not feel the effects. I know its gone too far when the box of Lindor I have in the fridge, something I really like, is actually making feel a bit sick when I just open the door and look at it.

Erin – well its been a whole year since she joined us and lots of things have changed, I’ve changed and it makes you think.

But actually this year is all about finally getting the book out there. Having someone interested in publishing it had galvanised Phil and I to start working on book number two. We met the other day and once food and very nice dessert was out of the way (and I got Phil to stop gassing and get on with the writing :)) we found time to roll out some new words. And the words were good. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get back on the iPad and get on with finishing the section I started but it has been floating around my head ever since with ideas on how I will finish the scene. Must get down to it soon as the ideas are starting to fade.

What I really liked about this session was, after struggling to find somewhere suitable to sit in the whole of Leamington, and having to buy a new pair of shoes to make up for this stress, Phil and I looked at the storyline planning chart we’d done the other week, picked a section that each of us would write, and got on with it. Just by looking at the sentence ‘Kate needs to explain why still at KOD’, plus the discussion we had about her relationship with the love interest Dave, my brain was off crafting a scene. I can literally see it in my head, right down to her outfit, the people she is going to meet and everything.

So I’m going to find the time to finish this section and many more and I have set us a challenge. Phil doesn’t know this yet, but I want the 80,000 word first draft of Book Two done by June. I think that is totally feasible and I don’t work well without a deadline so that’s me drawing my line in the sand. In the mean time Book One will be out there (we hope) and our followers will be clammering for more…. What did he say about buying things on sales proceeds?


Filed under Candice, Writing