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, 17 February 2015

Tying the knot? Or tying your guests in 'nots? What do you think of modern weddings?

Hi everyone!

I picked up a new chick-lit today and it began with a wedding invitation:

Amazon link: 
You are invited to attend the nuptials of Audrey McCarthy and Joseph Bourke

The bride and groom kindly request the following:

  • No female guests to wear white; this includes clothes, shoes and/or accessories
  • Guests should refrain from wearing garments from Coast or Karen Millen clothing stores
  • Guests should please visit laceconfetti.com/mccarthy-bourke to review the colour scheme of the wedding and dress accordingly
  • Single male invitees should not bring as dates female guests who are unknown to the bride and groom
  • All non-local guests should stay at the hotel in which the wedding reception will be held (prices and information available online at www.themanor.com
  • No gifts on the day unless in the form of cash or cheques. Preferred method of gifting is via the wedding list (see attached notification card for details) or through deposits to the couple's joint account (details below) by the date of the wedding.
Mamma Mia! (2008) PosterFresh from watching Mumma Mia for the umpteenth time on television last night, here I come across another type of wedding, a far cry from the haphazard, raucous preparations of Meryl Streep and Co on the gorgeous Greek Island of Skopelos. Who cares about anything but the view?! Or Pierce Brosnan trying to sing, yet melting hearts at the same time? Or seeing 'Diane' from The Good Wife in a completely different light to the high-powered lawyer she plays on the modern show?

So this book beginning got me thinking about how weddings have changed so much in recent times. Often there is no gift table, or at the very least a Wishing Well for slackers to drop monetary gifts into if they haven't seen fit to organise ahead of the big day. 

Children have practically disappeared from wedding lists as venues are so expensive today, and really, who wants littlies running riot underneath tables and chairs? Well, I do. Really adds an extra fillip to proceedings.

I recall a time when it was quite acceptable to bring a date who was not known to anyone attending the ceremony.

And we know how those hotels hosting wedding receptions rack up their prices while at the same time telling guests they have a special rate for invitees--especially expensive! 

But to be told explicitly what not to wear is a little rude, don't you think? We all know the unwritten, or written rules of wedding etiquette due to the time of day the ceremony takes place and the strictures about wearing white or cream or black or whatever...but these days I would have thought the rules would be slacker than they were back in the day--geez, I've seen brides or bridesmaids in black, so I wonder what is going on with weddings these days?  

  • What was your wedding like? Did you have any strict criteria for invitees?
  • Do you agree that the weddings of your children will be a far cry from your own wedding (if you're married, of course!)
Now I'll excuse myself and get back to this book. Not too bad, although a bit annoying...:-)


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

IWSG post--techno problems, PANTSER or PLOTTER---which are you?

Happy February!

I missed January's IWSG, caught up as I was in a technical problem concerning feedburner not updating my posts. In case you ever come across this glitch, my final solution was to 'ping' feedburner. Magic! My updates began instantly!

Thanks as always to Alex J Cavanaugh and his worthy team who have made the IWSG such a runaway success! (Click on the link to access more posts or to sign up.)

As some of my long-term blogger friends know, I have various novels in various stages of dress/undress. The reason for this is that I'm a PANTSER, which is an exciting way to write, but it does lead to hitting brick walls at 100 kilometres per hour, and kaboom, CRASH!! Pick myself up, rev up the motorbike and try to find another direction...over and over...The bruises and broken limbs stack up, until finally that manuscript needs serious hospital treatment. While that story is taking up a hospital bed in an author-induced coma, it seems like a good idea to begin another novel...(I wrote about the PANTSER/VS PLOTTER here in another IWSG post if you want some more info on this phenomenon).

Well, I don't regret ANYTHING from my PANTSER days. I think the best way to learn to write a novel is to write a novel. I've read plenty of best-selling authors who say they have drawers full of first, second and third novels which until they are famous, no publisher wants to look at, and even then they may never see the light of day. That was probably while they were trying to work out what sort of a writer they were.

Random: Saw this sign at the Library Cafe this morning:

Writ-er
(noun)
1. A peculiar organism who is capable of turning caffeine into books.

So.., as those who picked up my 'how excited am I?' post about finally embarking on writing what I want to write...chic lit (not a typo) set in Paris...I can report that I am in the process of turning caffeine into a book. First, OUTLINING! D'oh, you say. Well, yes, d'oh, I am busily compiling a hand-written, sectioned book of notes on the main plot/sub plots/characters/settings blah blah...just like all of you clever authors who've been busily publishing books while I've been busily hitting brick walls.

An illustration by Kanako which suits my genre...perfectly
This month I'm very happy, not at all insecure...I know my subject matter and settings thoroughly thanks to several trips to Paris and greater France...now I just have to weave my winsome characters into the fantabulous City of Light...

And of course there are far too many books available on OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL. K.M.Weiland is one of the best for me. Currently I'm working on character arcs following the advice of Somerset Maugham who said:

"You can never know enough about your characters."



I'm back at work and have all the lovely students I can handle, working on literature like The Crucible and the usual dose of Shakespeare in the form of The Merchant of Venice, Othello...just for starters.

How about you this month? How is your writing going? And please share--how do you approach a new novel/short story? Do you know your characters in depth before you begin your story?