Tag Archives: Little Man

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 🙂

 

Ahh, routine, welcome back!

School returned late last week after the long Christmas break and Little Man was squeezed into last year’s uniform some lunchbox fodder hastily arranged and off he went, happy as a clam.

And that means my work hours return to a more stable pattern and my free time for writing returns – huzzah!

draft 2With only a few weeks until my Writers Victoria course Refine Your Novel starts I need to do some serious work on my first draft. It has some pretty big issues that I know about, some flat secondary characters, a sister that disappears for half the novel, some additional tension that needs a ramp up, a backstory that kind of exists but needs more integrating.

So last night I popped online and uploaded my nanowrimo draft to Officeworks. Their little worker bees toiled away and this morning I went into the store and collected a printed out copy of my draft – it’s a hefty tome and soon to be covered in scribble marks methinks! Yes, these draftpics are of the actual manuscript – felt a bit guilty printing single sided, but those blank pages will get messy.

Thanks sabrakay for the kick in the pants that was your WIP Progress post, it may have seemed simple to you, but motivated me! .

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!

Writing retreat here I come!

It’s time to gloat a little. Tomorrow night I head off to a wonderful bed and breakfast along the coast here for two whole nights!

Intended as a gift to celebrate a recent birthday that ends in a 0, the booking ended up coinciding with the tail end of nanowrimo. I have two nights planned with nothing to do but make sure I feed myself every so often and the remainder of the time I plan to work up the RSI in my fingers and WRITE!

This is the room I stayed in last time, so lovely!

This is the room I stayed in last time, so lovely!

Prepare to drool as you see the fabulousness that is Cimarron – I linked to the room I will be staying in. Yes, this is the same bed and breakfast I stayed at when I self styled a writing retreat two years ago – you can read about that here.

The fabulous Bman swapped his day off and is driving me down there tomorrow morning. It’s the first time I’ve left him and Little Man for two nights – they’ve gone on interstate trips to visit family without me for longer periods that that, but this is the first time I’m leaving them for more than a night. Little Man will not mind in the slightest, ah the fickleness of a six year old. Bman will get to watch shoot ’em up movies that I don’t particularly enjoy. Funny anecdote – the first night I spent away from Bman was my sister’s hen’s do (nearly ten years ago). When I spoke to him in the morning he said he’d fallen out of my side of the bed during the night! He’d rolled and rolled and without me as a bumper he’d just kept going!

I’m nearly at the half way point in word count, but the observant of you will notice that we are well past the half way point of the month. So I gots me some writing to do!

I want to get a flash fiction piece or two done while I’m gone as well. It’s funny that the 1000 words needed for a flash fiction piece tend to come in around an hour yet 1000 words in the nano novel (or any novel-length project I’m working on) take a heck of a lot longer than an hour. What’s up with that?!

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.

Note from the Universe

Really quick one for you tonight, I received a note from the Universe and just had to share it with you:

There are only two types of dreams, Bel. Those that have come true. And those that are coming true.

Whoooohoooooo!

The Universe

My favourite bit is the Whoohooo – who doesn’t love the Universe whoohooing them?

Thanks Universe 🙂

And thanks Kate for pointing me to these notes from the Universe, I love having an email every weekday night (for me in Oz-land) from the Universe. I recommend it to all, I haven’t had a churchy one yet, not that there’s anything wrong with that, just wanted to reassure those to whom that may be important positively or negatively.

With a note from the Universe I thought I’d use a pic that makes me smile. This is Little Man, when I told him Darth Vader was a baddie he asked me to take the photo. When he took off the mask he told me that he’d made an angry face for the photo cos he was a baddie – priceless! I think it was effective, don’t you? Thanks Universe.

A date with my characters

I have been naughty and neglectful of my poor characters. They’ve been stuck in a suspended state of animation for weeks now. I’ve been off gallivanting around New Zealand, reading too many lovely and inspiring blogs, working too hard, blah, blah, blah.

Hello, are you still there? What happens next?? Write the next chapter for crying out loud!

In the meantime these poor characters have been stranded, and exciting things happened to them really recently. They must be so p’ed off at me right now. I’d be furious at me if I were them.

Surely they want to know what’s going to happen next, to be honest so do I.

But I promise to get back to them, to get back to writing. I kind of need to. It’s an odd odd sensation, I write everyday for work, but I’m feeling antsy, almost anxious because I need to get back to my manuscript. I really really do.

This Easter break I WILL find some hours to let those poor characters know a little more of their journey. And even more exciting I convinced the wonderful Bman of the perfect birthday present for me (my birthday is on Easter Sunday, three more sleeps, not that I’m counting or anything) – a mini writing retreat.

Look at those books, so beautiful! From cimarron.com.au

I found a fabulous B&B not too far from where I live, worked out a deal and will actually head off for 2 nights in early May. Two nights away from Little Man (which I’ve never done before), a couple of days to just write, oh and sleep in, never underestimate the sheer luxury of sleep, sleep in the mornings, I remember sleep in the mornings, I think.

Snap out of it! A writing retreat – yeah baby!! That sounds so writerly. I am unreasonably excited – yippee 🙂

Too weird for fiction, this is real life baby!

So folks I’m back on board after a crazy couple of weeks, hope you didn’t miss me too much 😉

After some recent events and also inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild that I am halfway through, I got to thinking about how a dramatic event in your life can derail you so completely that your life is suddenly and irreversibly chaged forever. Not just the changes one expects to come along, getting a new job, moving towns etc. but something that, to you, is earth shatteringly changing, enough to change your thought patterns, your natural way of interacting with your world, your very behaviour, even your own perception of yourself.

For many of us we ride this life rollercoaster, even with all its dizzying highs and plunging lows, on a fairly even keel, we absorb the impact and continue on changed, but recognisable. For others the results are far more dramatic. These are the people that we read and write about. Funny thing is, in fiction, these dramatic shifts in personality and behaviour can often ring untrue.

Cheryl Strayed was rocked to the core when her mother died, her behaviour over the next five or so years was dramatically different to life while her mother still lived. If her memoir was written as fiction you would put it down in disgust, why would this loving wife do such seemingly despicable things? So out of character? What was the author thinking, did they really think we’d buy this? please! But she did, really. And then she wrote about it, raw and honest.

The truth is truly stranger than fiction.

What about those perfect storms of coinicidental events that culminate in drama. They all happen in our lives, we know that, but when we read a book or see a movie where a seemingly ridiculous sequence of good or bad luck occurs to one person, it doesn’t ring true. But in life we know it happens.

It’s funny that we need to temper our fiction to make it believable.

When we returned from holiday last night we first pulled into our local shopping centre to restock the pantry. I rushed from the car, leaving Little Man sleeping and Bman phoning friends. As I hurried past the corner coffee shop I noted a bit of a crowd was clustered, When I drew closer I saw one of the outdoor tables was covered with a blanket and there were two people holding brightly coloured giant parakeets, just stroking their heads gently and silently. There was also a man holding a piglet wrapped in a blanket, but no one was looking at him. Bizarre! I felt like I was in a parallel universe. I’d only been gone 2 weeks, what on earth had changed in my short absence? If I wrote this scene up, which I’m tempted to do, would it ring true? There was no obvious explanation why the wildlife was there, nothing happened, I didn’t pat the bird or the piglet, but the sense of scene was so odd.

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On a completely different note my just turned four year old Little Man is showing signs of being a story teller. During a particularly gruelling ferry crossing, where I did not manage to maintain my dignity, my Little Man made up adventures to make me feel better (while the ever supportive Bman slept!). They were serious boy’s own adventure stuff, lava surfing, rocket boosters and speed, elaborate in their action, seriously light on plot and character development. I loved every minute of it!

We bought a litte exercise book and he dictated three stories to me. They were less dramatic than his earlier offerings as I wrote too slow for him!

One proud writing mama will treasure this holiday souvenir for a long long time!