ON WRITING

“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

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

HELP!! Pay it forward - Carrie Butler and Pk Hrezo need bloggers' help to compile an e-book.

Hello everyone!

Here's a very useful blogfest which will culminate in a free e-book. You can post anytime in the week beginning May 19th. I'll let Carrie Butler explain...

I Need YOUR Help!

Hey, guys! To celebrate my third blogiversary (coming up in May), I want to do something different—something to pay it forward—but I need your help. It involves a blogfest, new writers, and pretend time travel. Intrigued yet?

I want to compile a free e-book for writers who are just starting on their road to publication, using advice from the most brilliant, up-and-coming voices in the industry: you guys! Here’s what it would involve:

THE PROMPT: 

Please write a letter/note to yourself when you first started writing toward publication. The only thing I ask is that you keep it under 800 words, including as many (or as few) of these elements as you like:

   - A lesson you learned the hard way
   - Something you didn’t expect about the industry (positive/negative)
   - A writing-related resource you could never do without now
   - One thing you’d change about your journey
   - One thing you’re glad you did
   - Your number one tip for pursuing publication
   - Anything else you feel is worth passing on

INFORMATION: 

   - The name you wish to be credited as
   - The title (if any) you wish to follow your name, i.e. author of the series
   - One major link where people can find you, i.e. website, blog, Twitter, etc.

PLEASE INCLUDE:

   - Whether or not you give me permission to use your entry in the e-book compilation. Don’t feel bad if you don’t want in. We’d still love to read what you have to say!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please note: I won’t be editing the entries, other than to proofread for misspellings or duplicate words. Try to have it pub-ready when you post it. :)


    **UPDATE**    

The lovey and talented PK Hrezo is going to be joining me as co-compiler! As it turns out, she had a similar idea awhile back, but didn't have time to plan it out. I took it as a great opportunity to work together!  

Anticipated FAQs


Q: Do I have to be published in order to participate?
A: It may be easier to answer the questions if you’ve been published (either independently or traditionally), but it’s certainly not a requirement. We’re just looking for friends with experience navigating the authorial waters. You do not have to be published.

Q: Do I need a blog to participate?
A: No, you do not need a blog to participate. Feel free to e-mail me your letter directly or post it via a social media like Facebook or Google+.
Q: How will the book be available?
A: I will format it in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB, and then I’ll make those files available for us all to share. If you guys want, I could also make it a freeEPUB on Smashwords, and then distribute it to a few other retailers that accept free titles.

Q: When should I post my letter?
A: Anytime during the week of May 19th!

Q: What can I do in the meantime?
A: Kindly spread the word! You can do this by posting, utilizing your social media channels, rocking the button in your sidebar with a link to this post, etc. Also, I'd really appreciate it if you used the link-up below to sign up. It will help me compile everyone's posts the week of May 19th. I would hate to miss anyone!

Thank you so much! ♥

I hope you'll join me in this project!




Monday, 21 April 2014

It's in the Box. April Fools flash fiction for the Write...Edit...Publish prompt.



It’s in the Box


Alicia was in a world where she was in total control. Her fingers danced across the ivory keys, the notes cascaded like silver water, filling the space. It seemed to her that the music was a visible thing. She glanced out the window and she could imagine the notes moving among the trees, scattering on the lawn like little motes of light. 

A dark shadow moved through the trees, coming toward her. Her fingers crashed down on the keys, sending discordant judders throughout the space. Then she saw it was David. Her fingers moved across the ivory, silently, but Alicia could hear the notes in her head. She wondered what David was doing. He had a secretive look on his face and he clutched a parcel in his free hand. Oh! No! Not another surprise! Her eyes moved to the calendar on the grey wall behind the piano--April 1st. Their anniversary! So caught up in her music, she'd forgotten completely.

How well Alicia remembered David’s first gift to her, a classic Guerlain perfume from the 60s. He knew she loved vintage, and she appreciated that vintage perfumes were expensive and hard to track down. But it was a pity that he didn't appreciate that a perfume was a personal choice. You had to spray it on your wrist and a bit of paper and wait and see if you liked it a few hours later. Then you had to go back to the store and try another, then another...until you hit the right note.  

‘Do you like it?’ He'd squirted the air. ‘Mmm, what a bouquet…’

BouquetWhere did he learn such a word? Oh, those girls at the perfume counter had been educating him. Yes, a beautiful bouquet of cow dung…‘Mmm, a certain something, darling,’ she'd replied. How could she hurt his feelings when he'd gone to so much trouble? 

She’d sprayed it around their apartment, sprayed it in the linen cupboard, sprayed it in the kitchen bin, tried not to gag when she sprayed it on herself just before he got home from his nightly gig at the Performing Arts. When she applied her favourite Guerlain classic, Jicky, (Jackie Onassis' favourite perfume, she'd read once), David still thought she was wearing his ‘Ikkie’ (her word). Obviously his 'nose' wasn't that good!

Last week she’d been ready when he nuzzled her ear and whispered, ‘Are you wearing my perfume?’

‘No, honey. Perfumes don’t last forever, sadly. This is my Jicky.’ Thank God.

So, the second anniversary of their first date was today. Such a pity it fell on April 1st. She never knew whether David was kidding or not, but he was such a serious guy she couldn't imagine that 'Ikkey' was a joke. There'd be another gift today. No doubt perfume. She loved David, she really did, it was just his taste in perfume she loathed. She took a deep breath as he slunk inside, his cello bumping across his back. His eyes lit up when she turned on the piano stool and faced him. 

He waved a box under her nose. Promising--nice and small, hmm, maybe...it looked so pretty...

‘Happy anniversary my love! Open it!’ He shrugged off his cello and propped it against the piano.

She pulled apart the lavender tissue paper, praying it wasn't a repeat of last year. Uh oh.

‘David, you’ve outdone yourself!’ A minature bottle of ‘Ikkie.’ 

‘It was an extra they gave me when I bought the last bottle. I kept it for when you ran out.’

Gulp.

He put his arms on her shoulders. ‘Don’t you like it darling? I thought you loved that bouquet. Why, I could even smell it in the garbage bin.’

‘David, I must tell you…’

‘Hey, look Allie. Where did that come from?’  He whipped out another little box and flipped the lid.

There, winking at her from a bed of white satin was the most adorable white gold sapphire and diamond ring.

‘David! It’s exquisite!’

‘And so is my Alicia.’ He knelt on the floor, folding his six-four frame until he was level with her eyes.

‘My darling, will you marry me?’ 

‘Yes, yes, yes!’

‘You didn’t think I had it in me, did you?’

‘Er, no, yes, of course I knew you did, sweetie.’

‘Now, what about your little bottle of perfume?’

‘David, I need a change.’

‘Thought you might say that.’ He winked. ‘Hey, there might be another box somewhere.' He reached inside his suit jacket. 'Ta da!'

There it was, Jicky, its retro stopper catching the golden light.

‘How did you know I like Jicky?’

‘Well, do you really think I couldn’t tell the difference?' He chuckled. 'But I let you go on pretending. It was so funny.’

‘Oh, David. I should’ve been honest and told you I hated that perfume you bought me. I didn’t want to hurt you.’

‘I know darling. A woman who’ll wear perfume she hates for a year must really love her man. I fell in love with you all over again when I saw you spraying it on, just for me.’

‘Oh, David…’

‘Come here love. Let's do this. My knees are killing me.’ He took the ring and slipped it on her finger.

She turned back to the piano and strummed the keys, admiring how the diamonds glinted in the evening light. The strings of the cello joined her in harmony. She and David were made for each other, but she'd already decided she wasn't getting married on April 1st.

WORDS: 919
CRITIQUE WELCOMED.

I hope you'll click on the names in the right hand sidebar and check out what others have imagined for the WEP April Fools prompt. Submissions are open until April 24. If you have a story, a non-fiction piece, a poem, a photograph that would fit the prompt, you are welcome to submit. Just leave a comment at the Write...Edit...Publish website.


Thank you for reading my story. Are there gifts you'd prefer to buy for yourself?




Monday, 14 April 2014

Bohemian Rhapsody (a little bit of what you fancy does you good...)

Hello there!

I know you've missed me on the blogs (((laughs uproariously))) so I thought I'd let you know what a great Easter Holiday I'm having. No school for two weeks, so I'm up at the beach catching up with teacher friends, visiting family and beginning remodelling works on the beach house with the idea of moving back up from the city next year.

So, the bohemian life--in between cyclone watching a la Cyclone Ita, coffee and wine, and cooking and eating some amazing meals like Pork in Cider (thanks Manu Feildel, French chef turned Australian celebrity chef after living here for 20 years and hosting a fabulous cooking show My Kitchen Rules) I've been wielding a paint brush and checking out interior design shops. Peregian (Aboriginal word for emu) Beach is well equipped. For a small village of about 3,000 people it's got everything--great beaches, great surf, great shops, great people...



And as much as I've wanted to blog, there just never seemed to be the time. But most of you have been frantic with the A - Z, so I feel a little guilty for choosing to live real life over the virtual life for a couple of weeks, but just a little. I do a runaround every so often, and the posts I've visited are high quality.

I haven't managed to get much writing done, but I always find time to read late at night. Picked up Sebastian Faulks' Faulks on Fiction (the Village also has a fabulous book shop!) which is wonderful. Love his chapter on Mr Darcy especially. Faulks says reading such books as Pride and Prejudice 'made me think literature was the most important thing on earth.' 


Faulks expresses how readers relate to books:
'I felt myself unaccountably eager that Elizabeth Bennet should be united with Mr Darcy; Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) seemed to express almost everything I had incoherently felt; and when at the end of David Copperfield, the hero turned rhetorically to the woman he loved, 'O Agnes, O my soul!', I found I was making strange snorting noises. These were caused by the fact that I was sobbing but trying to keep my eyes open so that I could read the sentences.' 
Oh yeah Sebastian Faulks! I know where you're coming from!

So as well as reading Simone de Beauvoir's The Mandarins (post-war intellectuals in Paris) I've been flipping between e-books. Reading several at the same time--Roland Yeoman's Death in the House of Life, Whiskey Sour Noir by Mickey J Corrigan, and the latest, The Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey. I will be interviewing Ella on this blog in early May, so impressed am I by what I think is her first novel.

So lovely people, keep enjoying your life of frenzy. I'm going to enjoy this last week of holidays before jumping back on the treadmill of teaching and writing that is my life. 

So I wish you could join me for an iced coffee at Baked Poet's cafe which makes the best coffee I've ever tasted and I've tasted A LOT OF COFFEE!! 


I'll be back with a funny little story next week for the Write...Edit...Publish April challenge. Decided to go ahead even though it was A - Z month. You're welcome to join us if you have a story, poem, photograph/s or whatever that would suit the April Fool prompt. More details on the WEP blog. You can sign up right here in my sidebar.



 




Wednesday, 2 April 2014

IWSG post. I finished my first novel, now comes...Writing the dreaded synopsis ..with links.

Hello writer friends!

Even though it's A - Z month, IWSG is going ahead. This gives me the opportunity to tell you...

...I finally finished my first novel! It rocked in at nearly 60,000 words. I have four other novels in the works, but I decided to finish my 2013 NaNo project - Fijian Princess, a romance set naturally enough, in Fiji (where I spent six wonderful weeks house-sitting for Nas Dean). I've always been a stickler for writing about what you know, or finding out what you don't.

Being a snarky editor myself, I didn't want to send my novel off into the world with mistakes in structure, formatting, and egad, even a typo or two, so I went the Manuscript Assessor route. For those who haven't heard of this option, this is an editing type of person who goes over your manuscript with a pair of fine tweezers, plucking out those unnecessary bits, finding those bits you have in the wrong place, then writing an 8 - 10 page explanation of the tweezing, with suggestions on how to wax lyrical.

The Assessor I chose, Louise Cusack is a much-published Australian (local) author whose writing workshops I have attended, and who knows her way around Harlequin et al. Louise doesn't just want your manuscript, she wants the Synopsis of your novel and the Query too. She will advise on both of those pesky little items.

I've struggled with the 'Dreaded Synopsis' for years, which may account for my lack of submissions. But if I wanted Louise's professional eye over my synopsis, I had just a week to get it done. Which I did. But then she asked me to cut it from nearly 2,000 words to 500. Egad! I thought all sense of the story would be obliterated with such severe culling, but there's still enough remaining to get the drift.

I found it useful to read others' synopses while struggling with my own, so am posting my final 500 worder. I hasten to add that I haven't had feedback from Louise on this. It may royally suck.




Fijian Princess
Bosco Brookes wants Adi Vakalevulevu. Adi Vakalevulevu wants Bosco Brookes, but he’s from another world. Will their differences prevent them from living their love story? Will the power of their shared passion overcome all obstacles?
Thirty-year-old Bosco Brookes, confirmed bachelor and millionaire architect, arrives on Fiji’s Italal Island for his sister Callis’ wedding. He has two passions in his life – being Callis’ ‘father’, and making millions. But when he meets Adi Vakalevulevu, the Fijian Princess, she becomes another passion. However, he can’t have Adi and his future resort. But Bosco always gets what he wants.
Adi Kaca Rani Vakalevulevu is twenty-three years old. Her life has been one of ‘duty’ – to her father the chieftain, then to her betrothed Ethan Naevo. Ethan makes her his partner in Italal Lagoon Resort to keep her close while he pressures her to marry him. Adi forgets all about Ethan when she finds the handsome Australian Bosco Brookes mesmerised by her. She would love a happily-ever-after with Bosco, but if he finds out her secret, Adi knows he will fly out of her life as quickly as he flew in.
Bosco is captivated by Adi; he is Adi’s fairytale hero, come to rescue her from her life of duty. Bosco’s original plan is to seduce Adi, but his deepening attraction surprises the playboy; he wants more than a casual fling.
Adi can’t believe her luck - attracting such a dashing tycoon. He’s out of her league, but it can’t hurt to indulge in a little fantasy, can it? Adi and Bosco’s flirting starts at the bar that first night and continues at the Kava party. Adi’s flirting stops cold with Bosco’s faux pas. She also learns he has a girlfriend, Australian supermodel Frieda Adolphson. Just Adi’s luck!
Next morning, Adi accepts Bosco’s fumbling apology. Bosco keeps quiet about his planned resort, keeps quiet about Frieda, but he can’t keep quiet about the potential disaster that looms over the resort thanks to Ethan Naevo.
On a day trip to dive at Uknan Island, Bosco and Adi’s mutual passion for each other is uncovered. Callis nearly drowns; Bosco hits rock bottom - he’s failed his baby sister.
Bosco’s life is changing; he can’t come to grips with the new direction his life is taking.
Bosco and Adi make love on a mountain top, make love on a stormy beach – metaphors for the highs and lows of their relationship.

The wedding and fist fight with Ethan behind him, Bosco’s quest leads him to the highlands in search of Adi who has disappeared. Here in her village, the crisis and resolution of the novel occur. He endures a hazing, then surprises Adi in her father’s bure. Adi confesses her lack of trust in assuming Bosco will reject her once he knows she’s the mother of Ethan’s child. Bosco, after his initial rage over her lack of trust, confesses his love.

All obstacles overcome, they make passionate love in Adi’s room. Bosco gifts Adi a sperm whale bone, the traditional Fijian symbol for trust. The engagement ring will follow. They both find their happily ever after.

 Forget the query. I ran out of time...

  • What do you think? Does it make you want to read the story? That is the whole point of a synopsis. The editor asks: Do I want to read more? Uh uh...nah...or...Send me the first three chapters, and quick!
LINKS FOR WRITING SYNOPSES:

http://www.kathycarmichael.com/articles-and-seminars/articles-and-workshops/romance-synopsis/short-romance-synopsis-workshop/

http://nicolamarsh.blogspot.com.au/2009/08/write-whisper-sample-synopsis.html?m=1

http://www.vivianbeck.com/writing/5_steps_to_writing_a_synopsis.htm

http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com/workshops/writing-the-tight-synopsis/ 

Please visit other IWSG posts here...