Saturday 31 October 2009

The First Chapter

Well it is scary watching that NaNoWriMo widget counting down and the day has nearly arrived. It's now Saturday 31st October 8.33 am. I've written my synopsis and am thinking about the first chapter. I thought I'd use my blog to write what I'm up to, a bit of an online diary thingy, as it's pretty much just between me and me and my little Foxy Lady up there (I love images as you might have noticed) watching what I write so intently and wisely and licking my tears of frustration away, so Denise, let's get this first chapter underway.

As I'm going with the Romance genre and am hoping to have a sweet little Harlequin book done by the end of November, I checked out a few 'how to write a romance 'books as you do. One of my foibles is I just keep checkin' out 'how tos' and never get around to the doing. I'm under no illusions that it's going to be easy to actually keep doing...
I found 'An Introduction to Romance Writing' by Sherry Anne Jacobs very helpful. She has some good stuff on the first chapter. What does she say? Well, I'm not too sure about plagarism in this case so Sherry and me are sharing stuff here. And, remember, I'm just talking to myself and Foxy. These are the bits I'll be paying attention to:

  • 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

New Writing Challenge


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


Ok, I've done it! I've just registered to NaNoWriMo. Read the novel about writing a novel in 30 days and think this might be just what I need at this point. I see I'm not alone. Lots of folks are gearing up ready for the big write fest. My user name is parisden.

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!!

Language Wars

I pounced on the table, beating off all comers, spread out my books and papers, and snatched a few enjoyable minutes of my latest novel (Constance by Rosie Thomas - great in case you're wondering) while I waited for my ESL student in the local library. 'If you're going to be understood, you need to speak American English or British English. If you want no-one to understand you, speak Australian English.' What the??? I spun around to project fiery darts at the snappy Yankee tutor who has taken up permanent residence at the end table, but he was protected by two dark Asian heads hanging onto his every word. My adrenaline had nowhere to go...Ha! I spied my eager Taiwanese student approaching, such anticipation on his face. Was I imposing gibberish on this poor soul? How unfair of me. I waited til he was seated. 'Whaal, Justaan, howdy. How y'all doin'? Everythang cool? Faantaastic! Waahl, let's hit it.' Justin blanched, clearly confused. Maybe he was terrified he'd missed something from the list of Australian idioms I'd given him to study. 'Eh...bonza,' he squeaked. Bless him. I'll make an Aussie outta him yet.

Thursday 8 October 2009


Well I am really missing Paris but that 20 hour plane trip is hideous, so where does an Aussie go when she needs to practise her waning French, munch baquettes with egg-shell crusts, spread slices with runny cheese, and pop a grape into her mouth while reaching for a chilled glass of bubbly? And only a 2-hour flight away? New Caledonia of course. Haven't visited before, but Lonely Planet assures me the hype is correct and Noumea is bursting with French-style food albeit at Parisien prices (as lots of it is shipped from the mother country), daily fresh food markets and little boutiques and French names for streets (or should I say Rues?) Gastronomic anticipation aside, I was delighted to read that New Cal (or NC) has a thriving writers' community of successful authors. Hope I get to meet some. It'll be inspirational to chat in Franglaise to kanaks and expats. November, roll on...
I'm even booking my accommodation in the Quartier Latin! Beat that!

Tuesday 6 October 2009


Somewhere between Brussels and Luxembourg. Hmmm. Just makes me want to leave Australia!Posted by Picasa


Just finding a picture to put on my new, revised blog led me to salivating over places visited and dreaming of places yet to visit (and write about of course!) Fraser Island, a short flit over the water from Noosa, is one glorious place. You can see how dazzling the sand is. We are heading into what looks like being a very hot summer, while you Northern Hemisphere dwellers are shaking the mothballs out of scarves and winter coats (that is if you actually put them away at all!) Strangely I prefer winter (an Aussie winter is very short and mild) so we don't get enough time to moan and groan. But one of my most exhilarating experiences was taking a train from Brussells to Luxembourg and driving through a blizzard most of the way. The photos of that trip certainly have a white hue rather different to Lake Mackenzie on Fraser Island, my blog pic. But what is the point of this entry re writing? Well, I've spent the day collating photos of Noosa, one of my favourite spots, to go with an article I'm pitching to Go Nomad an online travel magazine. Wish me luck...

Monday 5 October 2009


Well I changed the definition of time out alright! Phew! Been a long time between blogs, tweets, facebook status updates etc etc. Life does get in the way doesn't it? I feel like I'm missing a hand, though, as even though I've had a quick look at what all you other creative people have been doing and enjoying a quick peek through your blogs, I just haven't felt like I've had anything to say. Ever felt like that? Settling in to city life, finding too many shops to hit, not to mention relocating my private tutor business. Now I feel like I'm getting my act together for the mo' and will be blogging on a regular basis again, hopefully. Not that I still feel like I have much to say but it is good discipline isn't it? I also feel like a bit of a gate crasher at a party with all you English geerls I follow and you all seem so witty and upwardly mobile. I feel like I'm travelling on a bit of a tranquil pond and have a lot of rowing to do...til next time and I hope it's not months this time!
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!