Tag Archives: inspiration

On track…so far

Quick update via my phone as I’m not connecting my laptop to the wife – too distracting!
November 1 was yesterday, in order to achieve 50,000 words by 30 November you need to average 1667 words per day. Last night I got 1780 before I really had to go to bed. Time to get moving on today’s target.
Sending inspirational vibes out to all participating in NaNoWriMo  (National Novel Writing Month) – it can be done!

Side effects

The ripple effects of little coincidental things that happen in your life are interesting. Don’t worry I’m not getting deep and profound on you, its an observation on writing.

So as you know I joined this book club. An invitation that came about by coincidence, one of the mums at school and I were classroom helpers on the same day, we turned up one week to great apologies that their schedule had been changed and we weren’t needed. Her other kids were being looked after so we were both free for a couple of hours, went for a coffee and got chatting and she invited me to join book club.

Book club (or wine club as it is often unfairly but accurately described) has required me to read a number of books I would not have normally picked up. This month we are reading The Messenger by Markus Zusak. Everyone knows his novel The Book Thief , The Messenger is nothing like that, it is a YA novel, very Australian and I’m really enjoying it, based on the blurb I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. I do like a YA read now and then, but modern gritty YA, not my first choice. This novel is fantastic, Zusak is such an accomplished writer with incredible turns of phrase.

So to the side effect. While reading this, the conversations I am writing between my two main characters have improved out of sight. They have become much more natural and effortless, the dialogue is starting to speak to a comfortable familiarity and a shared past. I think I actually did a better job of this in the first draft and I’ve made them a little too serious in this incarnation.

A piece of advice that is regularly trotted out to writers is to read and read widely. It’s mentioned so often that I skim over it and ignore it, I do read, a lot. But every so often I get why.

 

Music soothes the writer’s soul

One of the blogs I procrastinate with follow is the Debutante Ball ‘Five debut authors, five novels, one big dance toward publication.

There is a theme each week and each writer blogs their experience – one week they interviewed their editors, one week their agents, they have talked about the jealousy on the road to publication when others get signed before you, about motivation and the list goes on. Over the last week they have written about the music they listen to while writing.

This has been really interesting and I have such mixed emotions on this. I do tend to listen to music while I’m writing but not for the reasons that the authors on this site suggest. The reasons behind their music choice distilled down to creating the right atmosphere to generate an appropriate emotion for the novel or the scene. While I completely understand their reasoning, it makes a great deal of sense, it’s not why I listen to what I listen to while writing.

I am easily distr…. ooh, look a bird’s outside the window, sorry where was I? Oh yeah, I’m easily distracted and so I listen to music while writing that can act as a sort of white noise. Having said that I’m not listening to death metal or acid house, I do need music that is fairly mellow. Music does definitely influence our emotions and I don’t need to amp up any anxiety or edginess.

I can remember when I was in high school my mum used to say she knew when I was studying behind my closed bedroom door by what music I had playing.

So to create the white noise effect I need I can’t have anything on my playlist that I know too well, I don’t want to be singing along. I use Spotify and sometimes will use some of their preprogrammed list – there was one called Your Morning Coffee or something along those lines, that I listened to for a while, but that could tend toward the insipid sometimes so it’s out of favour at the moment. I listen to some Damien Rice, but I’m getting to know some of those tracks a little too well. Buena Vista Social Club has been good, and also Paolo Conte – foreign language seems to help with the white noise effect. Jack Johnson and Nina Simone (not together although how great would that be?) and Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild soundtrack get a fair run.

And shhh, don’t tell anyone the Twilight Breaking Dawn soundtrack. Please don’t judge me.

Some of the tracks the authors at Debutante Ball listed I really like, I may just have to spotify some of the others on their lists, chances are I’ll liek them but they’ll be unfamiliar enough to work for me. I always like finding something new (to me).

How about you, what music gets your creative juices flowing?

Minor characters – he’s a natural

A couple of weeks ago I had the second class in me Refine Your Novel course, it was fantastic but I was pretty unwell so went into hibernation for a week. However the day after the class I pulled out my laptop and made myself comfy on the couch and attemped to start the redraft. Little Man (who is 7) decided he’d had enough of basketball in the front yard and joined me in a writing session. He started a story, he’s written two and a half chapters and I have to say I am a wee bit proud.

little man at workHe instinctively understood some of the tips we had learned the day before, particularly about minor characters. We had been talking about minor characters and avoiding cliche, making them something unexpected. So Little Man’s story started with a smart boy names Zac Powers (a character in a book series he likes) who climbs a mountain and finds a sword. He encounters a knight who has four rings and wants the one ring that Zac has because then she would be the most powerful in the world. See what my clever Little Man did there? He initially wrote the knight in as a he, as you would expect, he finished the sentence, studied it for a moment and then backtracked to make it she. He looked at me, raised one eyebrow, smiled and went back to work.

I didn’t get much done that day but thoroughly enjoyed myself 🙂

 

Lost between the covers

bookmark_2673937I just love this idea – a bookstore that has on display all the bits and bobs they find inside the second hand books they receive. SO many story ideas spring from this!

It’s not just photos – ‘One of the most intriguing finds was a white DVD, labelled in green texta: ‘Mitch and Rob’s Massive Bangkok Adventure’. Mr Kemp hasn’t viewed it – he’s afraid of what he might find.’

But is it a disappearing treasure trove now that our photos are digital and not printed out? What strange things have you used as a bookmark?

What was he reading???

I work in the local public library a lot, it helps me avoid the guilt of undone tasks glaring at me while trying to write or work from home (not that I’d take procrastination to the extreme of actually vaccuuming).

This week I had set myself in my favourite spot, near a a power point, on an angle with my back to the wall so I can see out into the courtyard outside and into the library to people watch the other patrons. There was a guy next to me for most of the day as well. He had an ipad he spent some time on, listened to music through his ear buds and not much else. At one point a friend came and met him and they went to use one of the computers. He stood and started to follow his friend. His friend pointed out that he’d left his wallet and phone on the table at his chair. He responded that it was ok to leave it, no one takes anything at this library. But he turned back and took the novel.

He left his wallet. He left his phone. He took the book.

I love that.

What was the book? I never found out. How fabulous it would be to be the person that wrote a book someone cared more about losing than their phone or wallet!

Beautifying the beast

Excited!A Happy New Year present to me! I’m am so excited, I have booked in to take part in this fantastic course at Writers Victoria and I am bursting to get started!

Those long suffering of you will perhaps remember Iong, long ago I attended a First Draft Post Mortem series at Writers Victoria, run by the fantastic Toni Jordan (I wrote about it here). I LOVED it, and yet didn’t take full advantage of it as I hadn’t completed the manuscript I was workshopping. When I finished my Nanowrimo project in November I looked around and found Toni was once again running a series in 2015 – Refine Your Novel.

And I had this…well I want to say shiny new manuscript, but I have this grotty, misshapen beast of a manuscript that is just waiting for a blowtorch and some plastic surgery.

It was meant to be. Yippee!

 

Cimarron Session 2014 – writing retreat

Well I’ve checked in, settled myself, is it wrong to just want to have an afternoon sleep first? I mean, it’s a lovely warm day, I’m totally exhausted and it is oh so very quiet here! And look…that comfy bed is just waiting for me right?

20141121_142353And I picked up a book at the library, Jamie Ford’s latest Songs of Willow Frost, so I could just snuggle on down there, read a chapter or two and have a little snooze couldn’t I??

No, you’re right, I didn’t leave Bman and Little Man for two nights to sleep in the afternoon (well……). I have many thousands of words to write. And I have started, but 12 words is not really a start is it?

2014-11-21 15.03.31Oh and if you haven’t read Jamie Ford’s first novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – get you to a bookstore, pronto!

Number one supporter

I have a fabulous husband, have I mentioned that before? Surely. No? I am remiss.

My most ardent and inconsistent supporter. Yes, that makes complete sense. Living with a part time writer is no bed of roses, piece of cake, whatever metaphor suits your situation. B’man gets up disgustingly early to go to work, we have this whole work-life-travel-too-far-collect-child-from-school-attend-child’s-myriad-activities-together delicate balance thing happening, and somedays when I start typing he justifyingly sighs and plaintively asks if I’m going to be up late, the correct answer for marital harmony is no and shut down the computer immediately – I don’t always do this. Other nights, like tonight, he says, I have to get up early so I’m going to bed, you can keep writing if you like, is it ok if you turn down the tv?

What a gem.

My current favourite phrase ‘You can keep writing if you like.’ How divine.

Aside for another heart warming phrase from today: Little Man, my 6 year old son, on the glorious early Spring walk home from school, was playing with a reflective surface and said. ‘Look mum, I can control light!’ – that’s a divine sentence too, not ‘the light’, not ‘I can shine on you’, but ‘I can control light’ fantastic phrase!

215px-Midnight_in_Paris_PosterAnd the movie is Midnight in Paris, I find it inspirational – can I coin a term, because really I find it writerspirational. It’s about new writers (Owen Wilson’s character) and iconic ones (Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and on and on). As a side note: normally Woody Allen annoys the beejeebies out of me, can’t bear his movies, but whaddaya know, he isn’t in this one.

He’s in bed (B’man, not Woody Allen), about to start snoring, he’s only 4 feet away from me, and he doesn’t mind. At least tonight he doesn’t.

My fabulous lamp is on, the TV is quietish, I’m trying to type softly (I’m such a loud typer, I have no idea why), and he is sleeping, no complaints.

Colour me blessed.

In the shower

Water_interior_light_227488_lNow I know I’m not alone here, and it’s not even just a writing/writer thing, but how many of us come up with great ideas when you are in the shower?

I think it’s something to do with the lack of external stimuli, the sudden alone time with nothing to focus on but the thoughts bumping around in your head. It’s a great place to make plans and come up with solutions and ideas.

Given how many of us solve the problems of (our own) universe in the shower, I believe I’m yet to read in any novel a contemplative shower scene. I wonder why that is? Not that I’m planning one myself but it was just a thought I had … when I was in the shower.

Perhaps it has something with having to have the character DO something while they are there, you have to describe something other than the thoughts in their head….