“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus
Friday, 18 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
In Oz we have been suffering extreme heatwaves (40+C in some parts), bushfires (already!), floods (although I see England had a wee bit of a one), drought (in my area) and endless debates on Climate Change and Global Warming causing it all.
We're on our third leader of the Opposition and all due to Global Warming. Hum. All shaping up to the usual Aussie Christmas that we love so well. And the very reason the last few Christmasas I've managed to be in the Northern Hemisphere struggling through blizzards in Belgium and driving on snowy roads in France, not to mention being frozen in London. What is worse?
I'm about to become reaquainted with the lovely Aussie Christmas!
For many years we have struggled with the ridiculous idea of cooking a roast dinner in 30+C heat, but thankfully that is one of our British Empire traditions that has mostly found its way to the archives of modern history - now we go for prawns and lots of other delicious seafood, salads, wonderful crudites and cold trifle or cheesecakes for dessert.
Thanks to another British import - Masterchef (which I watched when I was in London a few years ago) - Australians have upped their expectations of food. We are now ALL masterchefs. The show has taken Oz by storm. We are out trawling the Farmers' Markets and Gourmet Delis to plate up the freshest and finest for our loved ones. So it ain't half bad!
Well and I managed fine getting the Chrissy deckies up yesterday - no lofts to climb, no dreaded lurgy laying me low in high summer, just a few boxes to get out of the backs of cupboards and bingo! Lights and colour. I'm completely addicted to fairy lights, so all the extra heat is going to add to the already warm temp and I'm going to have to crank up the air-con. What was that I was saying about Global Warming? Who's responsible? It is me after all....
Merry Christmas everyone!
But of course Oz does have its compensations - gorgeous beaches, swimming pools everywhere, resort holidays, watersports - being in a hot clime does have its good points...
Monday, 30 November 2009
There must be a trillion writing blogs out there so I'm working on mine (as always) making it a bit more Aussie. Not sure where I'm going but I'll know when I get there. I really don't take myself that seriously, but I love what I do, even if I try to go in too many directions at once. I'm sure no-one else has that problem.
With Christmas coming, realistically how much can we hope to write? I haven't reached the stage where I feel so driven I get up at 4 am, but I salute all you successful people who do! Writing is very individual and we all have to find what works for us - I'm a slow learner - haven't quite figured it out yet, but I'm getting there.
One thing I'll miss about NaNoWriMo is the guest motivational emails from successful authors. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a mentor yelling from the sidelines through a megaphone all the time! Nah, probably not...
Friday, 27 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
Monday, 16 November 2009
Was heartening to read that writers spend 97% of their time in the Middle!
I haven't written for a few days - family committments and other excuses - but I hope to do amazing things this week to make up for my days of zilch words. Okay, so I'll get down from the fence and get to it...
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
1) Write every day. Even if you just knock out 75 words before collapsing into bed, those 75 words will keep you connected you to your story in essential ways, and make diving back into your book much easier.
2) For now, stop thinking about 50K. Just sprint thousands. Visualize each writing session as a tall staircase made up of 1000 steps. You are part ninja, part monkey, and part stairmaster cyborg. You were born to fly up those steps. Bash out 250 words, and you've made it halfway to 500. Keep going for another ten minutes, and you're past 500 and within striking distance of 750. Once you hit 750, you could sneeze out enough words to get to the top! After each thousand, be sure to take a quick break and celebrate. Then fire up that monkey spirit and go run another thousand.
3) Remember that your book is important. I didn't say this in the Week One pep talk because we'd only just met and there's really only so much cornball sentiment from a random guy on the internet that anyone should have to tolerate in one month. But here's the truth: You have a book in you that only you can write. Your story matters. Your voice matters. The world will be richer for you seeing this crazy creative escapade through to 50,000 words.
Well, I've made it past the 20,000 mark which was the goal for all writers to reach by 12/11, so I'm a little ahead, for now!
Monday, 9 November 2009
When you run out of plot ideas, write about setting and what each character is wearing, in exquisite wordy detail. When you run out of setting and apparel, write about the voice quality of each speaker, speech mannerisms, facial ticks, body language. Hey! That sounds like me on a good day!
Now that I've cleverly downloaded the word count widget from NaNo Fun Stuff, I don't have to be so pedantic about my progress. Saturday I was a bit of a social butterfly for once, so only got about 700 words written and I've decided my brain is going to hurt if I don't take a day off, so Sunday I wrote zilch. I also gave the local Write In the flick. My fingers itched every time I looked at the computer but I stuck to my guns. I confess I had a bit of a play with my blogs etc.
I'm pretty happy how my story is going, but I have a love triangle coming up and I don't know who the heroine is going to end up with. Hmmm. I hope they can sort it out.
Happy writing everyone!
Friday, 6 November 2009
- Leave out subplots. You can add these later when you rewrite. Just focus on the main characters and plotline and race through to the end (keep notes of developing subplots; if you have time during NaNo you can go back and add them in, otherwise leave it until December...
- Use the 80-20 rule to focus. 20% of your time/effort should generate 80% of your results. Know what you want to do and what you really don't need to do...
Cheers out there in writing land...
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Day Four 4/11 - Wednesday - Words 1771 (11,107)
A very useful little set of notes came my way courtesy of my local Nano region. They are good to check every now and then.
- How can I make the actions/reactions of the characters believable?
- Have I provided enough background to understand the characters?
- How can I make the setting contribute to the tone, theme, plot of the narrative?
- How can I make the plot believable?
- Do the characters have a significant role in the plot?
- How can I make the plot fresh and original?
- What larger issues do I want readers to think about as a result of my novel?
- Is the dialogue natural?
- Does the dialogue develop the characters and plot?
- Does the dialogue show action?
Notes from Book in a Month, by Vl Schmidt and Writing for Emotional Impact, by K. Iglesias
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
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Had 950 words down before I left to the inaugural 'Write In' at the Milton Coffee Club. Took hubby along for an early brekkie of houloumi cheese and mushroom sauce on Turkish, yum. Good start. The Nanos had the back section booked and hooked (up) so made my way in there and got started. Found the ML already there was an English guurl. As they'd had their welcome BBQ the day before and had a meet-fest there, they didn't do the hello how are you thing, it was just set up your laptop and write. I had visions of actually meeting people but that wasn't happening. During the write fest I managed 2000 okay words, but I was longing for the quiet of home as I'm not a youngster who likes a lot of raucous commentary. Had one little competiton during the day, checking who could write the most in 10 minutes. Knew I wouldn't have a hope, so I plodded on. The winner (who was last year's nano winner) managed 460 words, while my count was 297. It was fun thought but everyone probably wrote crappola. Having excellent coffee on tap and a hearty slice of New York cheesecake was pretty good...
Day Two: 2/11/2009 - Monday - Words 2196 (6461)
My first day of writing at home and wouldn't you know I had a glitch. One of my students had emailed me a draft and had used the latest Office 7, so my program couldn't read it. After a bit of mucking around I remembered one of the gems I heard at the Nano write in - open everything in google.docs. I had a poke around and tried it, and lo! it worked! So I had to edit 2 students' drafts, then into it.
A good day of writing and felt pretty pleased with the way the story is starting. Thought I might get some time after work to write, but got visitors instead, so will have to be happy with my total. My goal is 2000 words minimum a day, to cover the days when I know I won't get the chance to write.
Day Three: 3/11/2009 - Tuesday - 8.30 am -Words yet to be written
Getting this blog post done, then I begin to write. Ducked down to the 7/11 for my chocolate supply, so I'm set...
Saturday, 31 October 2009
- the first chapter is the most important part of the book (we all know if we aren't rivited from the start and life is too short to read a bad book, we toss it and reach for the next one)
- get the hero and heroine out there so the reader can start caring about them. I'm in love with mine already, just gotta get other people to feel the same...
- hint at the basic plot of your novel, show don't tell of course
- set your tone (you can hardly help doing this) gotta have your own voice coming thru...
- show physical setting for your story. I like Elizabeth Adler's style here. The setting becomes a character. I have some dreamy settings on the go...
- get crackin' with that sparkling dialogue, hmmm, that can be tricky. Need help there! There'll be a lot of mumbling to myself and Foxy...
- get some conflict happenin' with that hero/heroine or what's the point? Don't we all just love a good to-do...
- trot out some subordinate characters (I'd hate to be one of those, wouldn't you?) But no man (or woman) is an island after all, although I could think of some exceptions...
- there is a need for 2 'hooks' - one at the beginning, preferably in the first paragraph, and the other at the end (and this is not a fishing trip, but I'll certainly be fishing for hooks! That's terrible! I do hope I improve soon...there's always hope!)
Well, if I can do all that, I'll have a crackin' good first chapter happening. I could even be dangerous. Wonder what the other NaNoWriMo 150,000 adults and 35,ooo kids are doin' today?
A footnote about post dates. Blogger has my dates mixed up and I can't fix the problem. I am sick of doing the post options thing, so I'll write the real date somewhere...If anyone reads this and knows how to fix it, I'd be grateful. Blogger help just points out the Post Options option...
Friday, 30 October 2009
Well in a couple of days' time I begin writing furiously as I attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Have been formulating ideas as I'm definately not just a 'pantser' (flying by the seat of my pants) when I write. I like to have some sort of a plan. I'm definately a 'plotter.' So I have enough bits and pieces to get started. My Region (Brisbane) is having a 'Write in' at a Coffee Club just along the river from where I live. It'll be good to meet others with similar goals. I've already arranged to take my laptop to my local Coffee Club so I can write without interruptions, at least nothing more serious than another coffee order.
I've decided to go with the Romance genre as if I do persevere for 50,000 words, at least I have the makings of a Harlequin/Mills and Boon. Hmmm. Gotta start somewhere! I've had my nose in a couple of what we no longer refer to as 'penny dreadfuls' or 'bodice rippers', considering whether I can actually write in this genre. Jury's still out on this. I attended a Romance Writer's Workshop with Anna Campbell who has a trio of 3 'bodice rippers' out with Avon Books, and I learnt a lot and even managed to get applause with my 'pantser' version of a conflict between a hero and heroine.
Well, I'll soon find out if I can keep it up for a month won't I?
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Got the email this morning. I finally finished tweaking a feature about Noosa, including an historic slant rather than just your touristy article. Really enjoyed the research. GoNOMAD, an excellent online travel site has bought it, so I hope it goes online soon! Now maybe I can move on to something else...this feature has taken an inordinate amount of time, but these days you have to have an edge in this highly contested market. Finding a new slant can be tricky. Hope you'll read it when it comes online. Don't worry, I'll let you know!!
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Monday, 5 October 2009
Truth be told I'm reading petite anglaise's book based on her blogging life (which is about to come to a halt!) and it got me rather missing my blogging life (even though it's very mediocre compared to petite's! and thank God for that...I also got a quick non-writing-related mention in our local rag re a big bridge opening (which starts in my street so makes jogging easy as it links to the cultural hub of town!) so that got my journalistic juices flowing (or trickling) too!
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Friday, 19 June 2009
I've always considered myself a country girl, only briefly lived in cities, so who knows how long this will last? It's a good base to write and travel - and I'm ready for an apartment with just 3 lots of floor to ceiling doors to clean, instead of a two-story house at the beach surrounded by windows. Sounds idyllic but they spend their time covered in grime...hmmm, so not a poet....
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
If you're not Australian you'd never understand how casual we are about our leaders. We even have a name for it - the Tall Poppy Syndrome. You put your head up, we'll chop it off. A nation of apathetic sun worshippers that we are, how could anything a pollie have to say be important? However, I was looking for a simile so I chose one about pollies - '...spreading faster than the jet streams from the politicians winging their way around the world...' That will be included in an article I'm working on. I changed it from 'spreading faster than economic instability.' Rather boring...
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Well, back to the packing...
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Monday, 4 May 2009
Sunday, 3 May 2009
Saturday, 2 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
Thursday, 30 April 2009
Moving and writing don't really mix, but I'll do my best...
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
From the first time I flew into Nice I was gobsmacked. The plane flying so low over the Mediterranean coast was exhilarating. I was in love. It was sun-bathed each time we arrived, and glittering with lights each time we left. Couldn't drag my eyes away.
Nice is a bit like around the Noosa area where I live, but the buildings are much more interesting, lets say I think they're drop dead gorgeous. Loved walking up Castle Hill and looking down over the gentle sweep of the Bay of Angels with the pastel boroque-style buildings edging the Promonade des Anglais where we loved to stroll no matter what the time of day or night.
Loved jumping on the cheap (1.50 euro a day) buses to go to such romantic towns as Cannes, Monaco, Grasse, Antibes, Cap Ferrat...Marseille cost a bit more!) No such thing as cheap public transport where I live, car is king, but I loved the European way of being able to travel in trains, buses, planes for a pittance. Boats were a bit heftier, but worth it.
Loved walking around Nice, or jumping on the local buses for a cheap tour. There's so much to see with all the places the great artists used to hang out. Love that it's all still there - Matisse's house, galleries, museums. Could spend a year there quite happily immersing myself, and that's just in the food.
Did Imention yet that the food is simple yet sublime? Loved eating in Nice. Even the Cours Saleya wasn't that expensive. Mainly ate fresh pasta with fresh Nice pesto drizzled over it with a suggestion of meat. Yum...And those pistachio gelatos afterwards, yum, was great to lick one of them near the Cours Saleya and watch while the police rounded up the petty and not so petty crims. So civilized the way all the cops in Nice can suddenly converge in one place where the action is happening. Don't see much crime in my neck of the woods, and we'd probably be flat out raking up that many cops in the whole of Australia, but they did look nice in their cute uniforms.
Better watch out...all this dreaming of Nice brings back so many great memories. If you've never visited, go....
Monday, 27 April 2009
Saturday, 25 April 2009
It was a massacre and Australia and New Zealand lost thousands of their young men. They could ill afford the huge losses as both being such young countries there just weren't that many young men to go around. Yet it was the first war where we fought as Australians and it defined a nation. The ANZAC spirit of mateship is an over-arching spirit in Australians' relationships with each other. We admire the courage, strength, mateship of these young soldiers, and seek to exhibit similar values in our own lives.
Today when there are wars all over the world and it looks like there always will be, it is not bad to think about all the soldiers who have died in the quest to keep their lands free.
Australians still ask why did our young men have to die in Turkey? They were cannon fodder. This is where our ambivilance about the Brits stems from.
Good on you fellow Aussies for believing in this day...