Tag Archives: Writers Resources

Farewell old friend

I think my cute little red netbook is on its way out. Please bow your heads.

What do folks recommend/use? I only need it for writing, a bit of internet research and procrastination and spotify. Not much else to be honest.

Also – I have pretty much no budget, so I can’t be considering a MacAir or anything that fancy đŸ™‚

When do you lie? What’s your greatest fear? Writing tips from Proust

In reviewing the manuscript I’m working on now I realised that my two main characters are a bit same same and are a tad one dimensional. I need to give them (and some of the events in the story) a serious boost.

I’ve come to the realisation that in order to make things seem real in fiction they really need to be exaggerated. If everything was just like in real life why would you bother reading it. I’m not talking about ludicrous coincidence and outrageous characters, just taking everything up a notch or three.

Now while I haven’t analysed my characters to any depth I think I could probably spend a valuable hour or so answering some of the questions posed to Marcel Proust. If I don’t think I can learn a thing or two from Proust, I have blindly marched far too past the line of humility.

The Write Practice had this post today listing 35 questions Proust was asked to answer personally when he was 14, but it’s a valuable list to answer for characters.

What is your idea of perfect

 

I don’t think I need to answer all of them, but it can only help to cement the character motivations and help build a richer image, right? Tell me I’m not just procrastinating, again.

To be honest I’m not a fan of analysing characters and ‘navel gazing’ so for me this will actually be a tough exercise, one I’ll have to be strict with myself about, but I’m pretty sure worth the effort. I’m sure as heck not getting into it on a personal level – bleccchhh! đŸ™‚

Here is Proust’s Questionnaire (thanks to the Write Practice):

  1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  2. What is your greatest fear?
  3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
  4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
  5. Which living person do you most admire?
  6. What is your greatest extravagance?
  7. What is your current state of mind?
  8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
  9. On what occasion do you lie?
  10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
  11. Which living person do you most despise?
  12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
  13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
  14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
  16. When and where were you happiest?
  17. Which talent would you most like to have?
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
  21. Where would you most like to live?
  22. What is your most treasured possession?
  23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
  24. What is your favourite occupation?
  25. What is your most marked characteristic?
  26. What do you most value in your friends?
  27. Who are your favourite writers?
  28. Who is your hero of fiction?
  29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
  30. Who are your heroes in real life?
  31. What are your favourite names?
  32. What is it that you most dislike?
  33. What is your greatest regret?
  34. How would you like to die?
  35. What is your motto?

 

Three rules to writing…

There-are-three-rules

Wired for sound

cute-monster-character_62-698So I’m late to the party but I have only recently discovered podcasts. I know, but hey, I made it eventually.

As with the rest of the world, I’m transfixed by Serial, the episodic reportage of a 1999 murder case, I’m about half way through.

But there are also a heap of resources out there, blogs on every conceivable subject. I’ve found a couple of writing blogs, it’s hard to sift through the info on the interwebs to find something good.

So I’m open to suggestions – have you found a blog you love, something that is really helpful, inspirational?

Old skool

round-retro-glasses-icon_23-2147486653Do you know what a ‘nose compass’ is? Or ‘lunettes’? They are historical terms for spectacles. The word spectacle itself is has been in circulation since 1386. Cool huh? Handy info especially if you are writing something historical, or with historical elements.

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is now available online, it has alternative terms for loads of words (well a dictionary-worth) and the period it was used in, if it was colloquial or not. Quite a cool resource for writers!

You can find it here: Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary – you’re welcome!

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!

 

Insert words here (where the magic happens)

20141114_095322

I wanted to share a pic of my writing space with you today. I have been writing at the library lately, which I do enjoy, however when I was there the air conditioning was incredibly cold that I had to leave.

So today I’m at home. Determined to avoid any housework and any snacking! We picked up this antique oak desk many years ago, I need a comfier chair but it will be fine for the time being. I’ve just cleared it of the many piles of random things it had been covered in. Sadly we are pilers in our house, if there’s a surface it will gradually be filled with piles of things rather than us putting the things away in the first place, it’s annoying, but it’s us. So that’s why the desk is eerily uncluttered, it’s unlikely to stay that way – but what a nice spot huh?

For those of you who are writers, I’d love to see where you write.

One day to go!!

The Count Down (yes it gets capitals and I LOATHE overcaptalisation!) is on people! Tomorrow night I will start my self designed writer’s retreat.

I should give it a name shouldn’t I – The Cimarron Sessions maybe? I am a terrible copywriter, headlines, tag lines and photo captions are just not my thing so I suspect that’s as witty as I’ll get, otherwise we’re looking at ‘Alreadynotpublished’s writing retreat’ – ho hum!

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • sleeping in, although that is unlikely to happen as I have been indoctrinated into the early wake up, sigh
  • nanna nap!
  • writing, lots
  • reading, hopefully not as much as the writing
  • a cheeky chardy
  • cycling into town for a naughty pastry or the like
  • missing BMan and my Little Man!
  • posting new flash fiction

Yippee!

 

I am in love with…

Toni Jordan.

and my most recent favourite bit of advice, forget about the editing…for now.

I am currently taking part in her First Draft Post Mortem course with Writers Victoria and think it is just brilliant. It’s a four week course where we dissect our manuscripts and reassemble them (taking the postmortem metaphor way too far, we are becoming Mary Shelleys I guess, although hopefully creating something far less monstrous đŸ™‚ )

I missed the first installment of this class when the family and I were jaunting about in New Zealand, I had considered flying back early to attend the class but the cost was just crazy. After attending the second class, I kinda wish I had.

One of the things Toni spoke about that stuck quite firmly in my mind is not to consider the editing process at all when writing your first draft. The first draft should be the draft of your heart, the one that you love/have to write. Don’t think about story arcs, about character development, about internal, interpersonal and physical conflict, about three or five acts, about the creation and resolution of tension. Just write the damn thing. If you spend your time rereading and editing and being concerned about producing the perfect saleable or publishable manuscript while you are creating it, you run the risk of removing all your freshness and creativity.

It was such a nice thing to realise, to release myself from the pressure of editing until the story is written.

the draft of your heart

The frightening thing I next realised ws how vastly different my finished manuscript will ultimately be to my first draft. It’s incredible to think I will practically rewrite this entire thing! Holy moly!

Another little snippet I found reassurring was when I highlighted the fact that as my story evolved the voices of the two narrators have become more and more similar and I suspected I would need to rewrite narrator 2 in close third person. Toni revealed that she writes first in first person and then rewrites into third person, that way she finds she understands the character better. The rewrite will be a big job, but I now feel approaching it from this perspective, that it doesn’t need to be polished just yet, it has freed me up to finish writing the draft, continue in first person but not worry about the distinctiveness of the voices quite so much.

But woah nelly is there some work ahead of me!

On the bright side it is just one week to my self designed mini writers retreat. Ok the writer isn’t mini, the retreat is, but you know what I mean đŸ™‚

Any suggestions on how to structure my weekend? I intend to greatly increase my manuscript’s word count, but think I also need to have a few other writing exercises – maybe some flash fiction (perhaps something from the previous challenges set by the brilliant Chuck Wendig), maybe a little rewrite of the first person 2nd narrator into a third person – open to suggestions.