Category Archives: Musings

Blogger was a rollin’ stone…

Neglectful.

Blog abandoned for weeks…months?

I’m a bad, bad blogger I know. I’ve never really kept diaries (unfortunately. Some record of my actual teen angst would be handy for some projects. I only have a few notebooks with terrible poems or my drama diary for 6th form drama which was heavily self censored and I guess, self centered!) so why should a blog be any different?

But I have been writing again – some rewrites of the novel before we begin editing in earnest (although I guess this is editing).

The climax is in the bag (everything I write/say at the moment seems like innuendo. I apologise!) and today I’m working on the end and thinking about the beginning. I need to describe January and the season.

This morning there was a storm in Wellington. Thunder, lightning and hail. I heard the kids next door maybe an hour later say “It’s snowing!” but by the time I looked out the window it had all melted away. I probably should have gotten up earlier to begin writing, but it was “snowing” and my bed was lovely and warm. Besides I’m still suffering the effects of becoming addicted to playing Pokemon on my new DS Lite.

Ah distractions. There are so many! Work, sewing, knitting, cleaning…(that one doesn’t come up very often I must say!)

I was in the library not so long ago, loitering around the how to write/style guides section. It was very tempting to check out a “How to write a great novel” book when realised that I didn’t need to read about it. I just need to do it.

So this is a round about apology for not posting for ever – it’s just that it has fallen in the distraction category for a while.

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Toil and Drabble

I’m feeling pretty good this morning – I’ve knocked off a couple of drabble this morning.

Granted, they are only 100 words long (short?) so it doesn’t seem that impressive but getting the right 100 words is rather difficult. Honest.

This morning as I was writing and thinking how I would structure the uber-drabble one word kept popping into my head.

Zine.

Although It would be a rather boring zine sans pictures so I think I’ll have to stew on it a bit longer.

I bought an exercise book yesterday to serve as this project’s notebook.  I  still have my normal notebook that I carry around to catch wayward houghts and musings – but for awhile now I’ve been creating almost scrapbook for each project.  The scrapbooks still have thoughts and musings (of course) but I also fill them with photos, pictures from magazines, images that invoke ideas, research.

This is the first time that I have chosen a scrapbook because it fit with the theme of my project – the exercise book makes me think of my school days (I just need to graffitti the cver a bit and write random “conversations” in the margins like – “I think Mr Jackson has hidden his stash in the heater” “I know it fully smells like it.”) If I do go down the zine route the exercise book will feature.

I wonder how much influence my notebook will exert on my piece, and if my past notebook have influenced what I have written without me realising it.

I prefer sketchbooks – unlined freedom! But have also used lined books that were gifted to me. I’ve noticed physical changes in my writing (small book, small handwriting; lined pages handwriting stretched or compressed to fill the spaces) but not changes in style. But then I haven’t looked.

The clothes make the writing?

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A Very Public Notebook

That is if anyone is still reading this after my hiatus, which I would have warned you about had I known that I was going to do it.

Lately my experience of time has been erratic; days stretch on forever but are over in a blink. Yesterday I had a whole day off but the day itself only felt like it was a couple of hours long. Yet Tuesday seems like it was months ago.

Today is the first time in a long time that I have woken up early enough to write before I have to get ready to go to work.

So before I logged on here I was writing up (or down? Up when I’m optimistic perhaps?) ideas for a short story that has been hanging around for  a while; but it is only since Tuesday (that day that seems to have happened so long ago) that I found the heart of the story.

Perhaps Tuesday feels so long ago because it is the first time since I was a teenager that I had really thought about my life then. Somehow a conversation turned to my parents’ divorce and how I felt to be piggy in the middle. It was like my tongue had found an ulcer; I couldn’t help but to prod it.

For instance I hadn’t thought that the way I arrange my finances with my husband is a result of their break up – we have always maintained separate accounts and paid for things equally (even when it doesn’t make sense to!) because I don’t want to be in the position my Mm found herself in when my Dad gambled away the savings, the car, the house…

I don’t really believe that writing is cathartic; I don’t think if I write about it that it will go away. I’m a girl who holds grudges. But I’m not adverse to using my pain/feelings/emotions to push my story along.

It is strange that I’m thinking about myself as a character. The story is a memoir – I’m using the drabble I wrote last year – so I was excited to finally unlock my motivation! And the end of the story will have resonance now because this will partly explain why my friends meant so much to me.

(I’ve put that in the past tense because I’m shitty about keeping in touch. Sorry guys!)

Now all I have to do is to write the bloody thing!

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Thinking about career

I’ve been on a number of courses lately (there are a few more scheduled too) as part of my professional development at work.  (Y’know, the work I get paid for)

I had a six month review at the beginning of February ( why does that seem so long ago now?) and my manager asked me where I thought my future career lay, that maybe I should think about applying for study that doesn’t just make my job easier now (Excel and Access courses) but courses that would provide real development (policy/machine of govt stuff).

I was honest and said that I didn’t consider my job as my career; that my career is writing (but I will have a look at those courses; I have no idea what policy analysts actually do…)

Part of my thinks that if I take those courses, if I start considering “plan B” that I am just admitting defeat.

Sure it would help – I’ve got real estate fever again; I’ve always wanted to own a home but I live in an expensive city, work part time and already have a mortgage I mean student loan. If I had a “proper job” I guess I could start thinking about that kind of stuff…

Brrr. Sorry a cold chill ran down my spine.

Anyway all of that stuff got me thinking about my professional development as a writer.  I do set myself goals every year but maybe I should check back every six months to see if I’ve achieved them. It would at the very least satisfy the list monster inside of me. There is nothing more satisfying than ticking something off a list ( I strike through as well, just to amke sure the bugger doesn’t resurrect.)

So my loose goals for this year:

  1. Finish off the novel (fingers crossed that editing is not too involved!)
  2. Second draft of Kiwiana Charlatan
  3. Write first draft of Ohrwurm (new play – is it a play?)
  4. Rewrite screenplay of novel
  5. Rewrite Both Speak I (happy Ed?)

Those are my writing goals but I think I need to look at learning how I get these up. Once I figure out a plan of attack I’ll let you know.

Oh I forgot my most important goal:

6. Update blog regularly

My apologies for being a little useless! I will try harder 🙂

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I am what I eat

If I hate what I’m reading, I hate what I’m writing…

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Nice work if you can get it

“You’re so lucky,” she said “To be able to write.”

I said that luck has nothing to do with it; that writing is just plain hard work.

Sure, sometimes there are lucky breaks – like when a producer asks to see the features you’ve written. But without the hard work that went into writing those scripts in the first place then it wouldn’t be very “lucky” at all.

It riles me; the idea that some people seem to have that writing, or any of the arts for that matter, is “easy”. That all I do is sit down one day and out the words flow perfectly. They are blind to the early mornings, the frustration in finding the right word, the seemingly endless drafting process.

Perhaps I should be more gracious when people say that they wish they could be a writer, instead of saying that if you want to be a writer then write.

The writers I know have to do it; they’ll fit it in around their jobs, use their annual leave to write a draft or (like me) give up (full-time) work to write. Sacrifices are made because there’s basically no other choice.

Because a writer writes.

“How do I become a writer?”

Pick up a pen, a pencil or fire up your computer and write.

I can help you up to a point. I can say “How’s that story coming?” or give you some writing exercises. I may even give you a critique; but I can’t write the bloody thing for you (unless you pay me a nice fat commission).

As to how you become a rich and or famous writer…you’ll have to ask Stephen King!

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You can’t choke a vampire

I’m worried that this post will lurch dangerously into fanboy territory…forgive me if it does! (And I’ll meet you at the next Armageddon LOL snort wheeze)

Cam and I have been re-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yesterday we watched the finale of Season 2 and in one scene Spike (a vampire) overpowered his girlfriend Dru (another vampire) by putting her into a headlock until she was unconscious. As you do to your nearest and dearest (hey Buffy sends her boyfriend Angel to a hell dimension in the same episode so who am I to judge?).

Perhaps I wouldn’t have noticed if we hadn’t watched both seasons over the past couple of weeks…but the scene stood out to me because it broke the rules of its world.

The season 1 finale Buffy is “dead” and needs CPR. Angel cannot perform CPR because he is a vampire and doesn’t have breath.Vampires don’t have breath because they’re dead. Fair enough – so you just can’t choke a vampire. Smack it on the head or something, but choking is kinda useless.

Moral of the story for me is that I need to be careful to observe the rules I create for my on worlds. That I need to be as fanatical about my own work as a fanboy.

Sometimes I’ll leave holes in my work because I don’t know how to fix it, or I hope that no one will see them (particularly if I put an explosion right next to it!) But they always do.

Today I have printed out the rough chapter mash ups of my novel and I’ll spend November fixing those holes (caverns!). I’ll be reading through to see if it makes sense and to see if I’ve lost anything from the cuts I’ve made. This morning I felt kind of anxious that I won’t get much done in November. I know that is a self imposed deadline, but I really want to take it seriously.

Already though, there’s a small part of my brain that’s saying “Well, if you don’t get it finished in November you still have plenty of time.” Which is true, but also a little self defeatist.

I also had a sneaking worry that I didn’t have enough pages – until I printed it out this morning! I haven’t counted them but it looks just over half the size of my last draft. And some of the “chapters” I printed were a couple of lines like “Mae’s manuscript” or “January’s flat”.

Yesterday I finished reading an autobiography of a woman with Asperger’s. I skipped over a lot of detail and then it occurred to me that the form of her work characterises the condition – attention to detail that others don’t see…Or perhaps it is a condition of self publishing!

I’m not sure if January does have Asperger’s – at least not in the same way as this woman. Even if she does I know for sure that there will be no dialogue (inner or real) that satrts with “As a woman with Aspergers..”

Actually as I was watching Bones last night I thought that January is more like Temperance – socially awkward but charming. Maybe I should read the novels and see how Kathy Reichs does it.

OK there’s sunshine to enjoy! Then back to the mines for me…

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