Her World, Part 2

Her world is moving yet again, she feels the slow turn of the universe she is within, her days are the same, her thoughts are different. Her manuscript has come to a stop again. Her third character is still causing some issues, issues of depth, when she thinks, she is starting to understand Felicia, she gets a couple of hundred words written, and then she hits the wall again, Felicia resists letting any more about herself, be know to the writer. The days in her world are becoming cooler and so Summer has truly left the southern hemisphere to head north. Autumn is usually warm this time of year, but 2017 is a strange one for weather changes. The feeling she has for the cooler nights are of warm trackies, ugg-boots, and her trusty german shepherd by her feet as her fingers click along the keys of her laptop.

So her character Felicia, an architect, interior designer, mother to 20 year old twin girls, and divorced. Her life is her job, and she doesn’t quite see her neglect for her daughters as the girls see of her. With a new client and an amazing renovation to design and put everything together for her clients, she is in her element, hard at work, when an email advertising a garden conference to Latina, Italy lands in her in box, not just once but each day when she checks her emails in the morning. Felicia has never really thought of adding anything more to her creative portfolio, and resists the email, until….

So she who writes of this character is finding some points to Felicia to be a little too shallow, so she starts to delve into Felicia’s world of architecture, and interior design through magazines and even thoughts of renovating her own home, in simple and effective ways. She sat at her favourite coffee shop this fine cool morning with her magazines, paper, pencil and ideas and away she went, even with her design not to scale just yet, it was more about getting ideas down; not just in design but in words. So with her weekend starting on Sunday, it will be more reading of architecture magazines and working out ways for her to make Felicia seem more three dimensional, compared to what she is at the moment.

While she spends this time researching, her own mind has conjured up a few ideas for her own future, could she be good enough to design houses herself? and could she study to become an architect? With already studying interior design and decorating in the past, it would be a simple extension to what she already knows. Could this be…When I grow up, I want to be…. even at 40 something she still has time to work out what she wants to be when she grows up, as so much keeps changing, nothing is a given, its a choice and with choices wonderful things can happen. For her its not a matter of finding a new career path, as she loves her job that she has, its finding new ways of fulfilling the creative drive that burns deep with in her.

Her love for writing, and the inner creative that loves the idea of designing houses and decorating them, also playing with garden design as well, will help in building her friendship with Felicia, her understanding of who Felicia is, and her understanding and learning of herself.

Until next we meet, have a wonderful weekend.

Her World

Sitting alone, peace and quiet surrounds her, there are only the noises of a pigeon, a distant dog bark, her mind trying to work out things in life. Does she write the article now, does she continue the first draft of her manuscript, or does she just enjoy the time of peace and scroll through Pinterest finding so many ideas for her home and even her character?

Her creative mind has always been on the go, for as long as she can remember, the older she got the creativeness changed, into creating ways not to eat. Going through disordered eating treatment has bought her to the other side of the dark tunnel where there is just light, learning, and more understanding as time passes. From a sports fanatic to now craving for her writers den, her computer, papers, pens and books. The time that she has to put fingers to the keys or pen to paper is minimal at times, but she knows every minute she is away from it, the craving is so much stronger.

Years were spent journaling in her darkest times, the want to be someone, as she felt that she was no-one, and never good enough for anyone either. She felt she couldn’t give anything to her children as she felt herself, she wasn’t enough. The constant blur that was her mind, the constant want to be someone that she wasn’t, to be someone that was important, that she felt she wasn’t. Years of keeping this bottled up, came out everyday in her journals. Page after page of the same words, just in a different order. It wasn’t until twenty years later, months of psychological treatment that her thoughts about herself started to change. It didn’t happen over night, though even today another three years down the track her vision of who she truly is, is becoming clearer day by day.

Today as she sits in her writers den, surrounded by what makes her happy, her computer, paper spread over the desk, paint colour swatches, chocolate, and her beloved German Shepherd sleeping by her feet as she types. Thoughts of her characters from her novel passing in and out of her mind, the ideas for future novels, ideas for magazine articles, interior design ideas and her other love interior decorating, storage ideas and stationary. After now re-arranging her writers den multiple times over the last few weeks, she feels that things are coming together and her desk (a trestle table)is placed where she can see into the kitchen and not have distractions by the birds playing in the garden out side her window, though she is able to see out on to her patio. Her white cube book shelf is right next to her desk, her previous desk which was made originally as a quilters cutting table, will now become a design table, as her mind runs through house designs that she would like to play with, and maybe not just for her characters.

From a life of emotional stress, frustration, negativity, and even suicidal thoughts, today her world has become her haven, her safe place to be her true self. Usually the preference is that she be alone, and with her dog, though slowly each day she becomes more and more accustomed to her adult children and husband being a little noisy at times and not realising that she might just be in a moment of writing and that when spoken to, her concentration wanes. Though most times it doesn’t take much to get back to the words of the story, though its more a matter of learning to control the frustration so the block for writing doesn’t happen.

 

cottage-gardens

Example of a Cottage Garden

 

It is not just her writing that she loves so deeply, or her german shepherd, it is her garden, or a lack of garden. It is not a lack of space for a garden, there is plenty, it is a matter of having plants to plant out in her back yard, that is now ready to receive new native Australian plants and stunning English cottage plants. Her goal for her garden is to blend both Australian natives and English Cottage. Today, she headed to her favourite nursery, Zanthorrea. It is not far from home, and such a beautifully warm Autumn day was just the calling she needed to go. Her love for gardening stems back to her childhood, and this particular nursery has been around that long as well and she would have been there when she was a child. Today walking out, held in her hands is an ice-cream container with nine small tubes of native plants; grevilleas, in different colours, a callistemon that is pink flowering and others. She wishes to wait until the sun drops and the outside temperature drops a little more. Her love for roses, gardenias, camellias, lilies, hydrangeas, magnolias and many more different cottage plants. Her idea for her garden is coming together very slowly, but the end result will be worth the wait.

 

australian native garden

Example of an Aussie Garden

 

So with another weekend for her almost over, and another work week ahead, it is time to head back to Pinterest for a little inspiration and ideas for her own home, and her characters needs for her clients. Oh and time to go and water the rest of her pots on the patio.

Have a wonderful week everyone.

Having Faith in Oneself.

This past week has been filled with so much of life, but not of writing. I have had this week to think more than to write, I have read every night and let myself dream, both daydreaming and at night. I am a very vivid dreamer at night, and through the day I am able to see certain thoughts in visuals. Gee even writing that sounds strange, but I guess that is just me.

all of our dreams

I have actually enjoyed this past week of thinking. I have allowed myself to be open to my third character for my novel, whom is an architect and interior designer and decorator. I have wrapped myself in Pinterest images of every room I can think of for design and decorating ideas that my character would think to be her style. There has been some days where life has definitely got in the way of my writing, even sitting yesterday at a horse race (Ascot Race course, Perth) I was still able to allow myself to relax and let my character come to the fore-ground of my thoughts and was able to write a few ideas down on my phone, about her. I have been needing more depth to her  and she has played hard to keep her distance from me, though this time has been a good learning experience for myself to be able to coax images and thoughts about her.

canvas

After going out this morning (main photo) I have made a decision to put part of my life into words and to write an article and pitch it to a magazine for hopeful publication. I have tried to think of ways to write this particular part of my life, as a memoir, and that might still be down the line. I also thought to make it into a short fiction piece, but I think it might be more important to make it into a magazine article, because I know more and more people of different ages are facing, or have faced disordered eating in their lives or of people they know.  Its time to make more people aware.

I have a fear within to put this out there in writing, but a feeling that its needed. I am currently watching someone I know, finally dealing with their own disordered eating, and what it is doing to people around them; its time. Its time to get completely out of my comfort zone and put my issues, feelings, and experience on paper and see if others agree its time for the wider public to know what its like and why its done.

Tomorrow brings a day of writing; my novel, the start to the article, and to research ways to pitch to magazines. With no-one else but me and my German Shepherd to keep me company as I write and a beautiful day ahead, its time to get a little reading in before some well needed sleep.

Until next time, have a wonderful week, what ever it brings.

Author Talk: Deborah Burrows.

Tonight my daughter and I attended an author talk at our local library. I find these evenings very interesting, and as we are both aspiring writers we like to get to as many author talks as we can.

Tonight we listened to Deborah Burrows, author of Ambulance Girls (genre: Historical fiction), I had read about Deborah before tonight, finding out she is a lawyer by day and writer by night. A Perth girl, with a love for Oxford as well (lived there 2014-16). Listening to her tonight you can see and hear her love for history especially World War II.

debburrows

Deborah started the talk with the sound, of what we would have heard every night during the London Blitz, the warning sirens, the planes coming over, the gun shots from the ground to the bombs being dropped. We were asked to close our eyes and really listen to the sounds. For me the sounds were scary, intimidating and we were only listening to a recording and its 2017, not 1940. I loved how Deborah spoke of her main character, Lily (Australian),  you could see in her eyes the awe Deborah had  for her,  her tenacity, her courage and strength. Deborah drew you into the statistics of the London Blitz, which were amazing and scary to hear. Ambulance Girls will definitely be a book that will be on my to read list and to make its forever home on my book shelf, very soon.

I took away from tonight’s talk, the depth of her character, Deborah’s love for her character, and the history that it is set. As an aspiring writer, spending time listening to authors talk is of such necessity for learning and understanding for myself and my own writing. With a couple of tips taken and notes made, I look forward to continued pursuit of my own first novel, and a historical fiction myself.

Until next time, have a wonderful night.

Characters

I am working on my manuscript, and my third main character of said manuscript, just wouldn’t lend herself to talking with me as deeply as I needed her to. Then I hit a wall as I was writing today. There seems not enough depth to her was going over and over in my mind. She wasn’t talking to me as much as the other two main characters had. I understand she is an introvert and not overly talkative, but after 3 hours and 1300 words I stopped. After another hour of not writing, and going back to work, I paced around, and then sat down with pen and paper to see if I could write something that would fit better about her into the story line. I started with her career that she had, the relationship with her twins, and then it hit me…

I started to see an angle I hadn’t seen earlier in the day to where this character could have the depth that I was looking for. I have seen, with her career as it is such an important part of her life, that she can expand on it and see where her relationship with her girls has strained. I have to say that it was so much easier writing my other two characters than this particular one, even though I know where she leads to, to meet with the other main characters, its still not as easy as I thought it might have been. For me, and like I mentioned to someone at work tonight (who knows that I am writing) said that the characters need to speak to you, not you speak for them in the physical sense of the words that you want them to say and do, but its actually the characters that you embody, and they do talk to you as you write their words. As much as this sounds somewhat weird it has become my truth with the way I write.

Lessons learnt today, for when characters aren’t playing nice, pen and paper will help bring the necessary new angles to add depth to them allowing the writer to feel more of the character than tapping on the keys to no avail. Characters will let you know when they are ready to tell the story, and teach you patience as well. Oh and over thinking the situation that is causing the frustration won’t help either.

So with luck tomorrow night after work, I will be able to sit and chat with my character at length and in depth about her situations to help move the story along. I can see the last quarter of the novel is close insight and how I tie the three main characters together, which to me is exciting as I draw nearer to the time when I can write “The End” on my first draft of my very first novel.

Words, Words and more words.

Words, words, words, they have been flowing like a river that has broken it banks in a rain storm. Before this week I have had issues with so called writers block (I am currently reading Writing The Dream; A Serenity Press Anthology, where Jennifer Scoullar shares her opinion on writers block and I agree with what she says, ‘Its vital to keep reading, in and out of your genre, fiction and non-fiction. Reading fills up the creative well, and is just the tonic of a mild case of writer’s block. (I don’t believe in writer’s block per se. It is a malady that generally strikes when you’ve written yourself into a corner, and don’t know where the story is going next.’ When I read this the other night I looked back on the three weeks that I felt like I couldn’t write, but its wasn’t that I didn’t have any words, I did, I had hit a dead end in the story and couldn’t maneuver my characters in the way I wanted to. I also had a fair amount of everyday stress happening in my life as well, which I know can put a holt to any writing at during that time.

writing the dream

Well low and behold this past week, I have managed to spend the last six days writing, and making it a necessary part of my day. Monday 13th March I had a day off of work (my weekend) I got bits of time to sit at my desk, slowly the words came, not all in a hurry, but they trickled out onto the screen of my laptop. My total word count for Monday was 475. Tuesday back to my work routine, nothing much really happened during the day, though I could feel and see parts of my story continuing in my mind and was eager to get home and start writing. Nine o’clock I sit at my desk and the flood gates cracked 1111 words done in about an hour and a half and I was ready for bed and some reading to finish my night. Wednesday, a long day at work, feeling tired by the time I got home at 9:30pm I managed just under and hour to write, 243 words came to meet me. Thursday; a busy yet frustrating day had at work, though I made up for it at home with 630 words added and feeling good. The story was moving forward and I was feeling confident that I would have a good finish to the week. Friday an early start to a longer day as per usual. A good day had at work and feeling continuity from last nights writing, I was still on a roll with another 665 words in the manuscript bank account. Saturday, my favourite day, I start work at 8:30am I have a break from 12:30pm till 4:45pm where I can sit in my favourite café next to work, have great food, awesome coffee and write my day away, before going back to work for the rest of my shift. I was exhausted by the time I finished my writing, banking an awesome 2760 words for the day. I was ecstatic to have a balance of 5884 words for the week and the best part was I hit another milestone and clocked just over 70,000 words.

Sunday I have decided at this point to have a bit of a rest from my manuscript, and up date my blog, spend some time in the garden, maybe do a bit of research and really relax, though I think a little bit of writing tonight might be a good thing, keep the words flowing and the motion of moving my story forward, as I have 10 weeks, to have the first draft completed in, before resting her while I am away on holidays. It might be a good time to write my synopsis for my novel, that way I have part of the next phase started, as I managed to research publishers and what is needed once I get to the point of pitching my novel.

manuscript

Writing for me has become a lesson on life, patience in writing the story, patience when it comes to editing, patience when pitching and waiting for responses from publishers or agents. I have never really had a lot of patience growing up and going through life, now writing is teaching me that patience is a good thing, even though it can be frustrating at the same time.

 

 

Until next we meet, have a great week that is to come.

Goals

With just 11 weeks tomorrow, I fly from Perth to the other side of the world, and in nine weeks I turn 46 years old, on the 14th May, which is also Mother’s Day here, plus it will be my turn to work the Sunday. I now have between 9 – 11 weeks to get my ‘shitty’ first draft done, as originally I wanted to have my first draft completely by my birthday, but I don’t quite thing that will happen, as I know there are going to be some long days at work coming my way between now and the time I step foot on the plane at Perth International Airport.

Currently I have banked 65,609 words, I have a target of 100,000 words to get done before either my birthday or my trip. My reasoning for this time frame is that I can leave said ‘shitty first draft’ at home and I can start editing once I return from my trip, with fresh eyes and mind. Plus with part of my trip I am going to be in London (part of the setting of novel), Scotland and Ireland, that being in these locations I might get a little more insight into the place that part of my novel is set.

So here is my break down, over the next 11 weeks I need to have banked 3,127 words per week, which equals 1,043 words per 3 writing sessions per week, which is more than do-able, though hard part, is booking in the time in my calendar to make sure I get these words down. Most of the last part of the novel is planned out and bits are already hand written, just a matter of putting fingers to computer keys and getting them on the screen and filling in the necessary gaps.

Next goal on the return of my trip, will be to get ‘shitty first draft’ edited and first rewrite done within the first month back (July). Second edit and rewrite I hope to have done in August and if I am lucky enough and feel that its ready, to have the opportunity to pitch to some publishers at a Writers Conference in Rockingham on the 16th September, though if it isn’t ready I will work further on the manuscript and hopefully have it ready for submission by January 2018.

Also sitting in my mind and note book, a trilogy, genre I am looking at is historical fiction for these little beauties, which I am really looking forward to researching and writing. Maybe with my up coming trip to Ireland I could start my research early and possibly look at some places for a setting…mind working in over drive already. So many ideas can run through my mind, but its the ones that truly stick, where I see the story in my mind multiple times, that these are the ones I feel that need to be written.

My question tonight is, how do you know which book ideas to write and which ones not to?

Have a great week that is a head of us all.

The Week Ahead…

Right it has worked, I have had writers block for about 2-3 weeks, which has caused some serious frustration on top of general life frustrations. So decision was made on Friday to have my manuscript to date printed out. Thankfully my daughter has her drivers licence and headed to our closest Officeworks to get it printed and a nice new blue display file to put it all in, while I was busy at work. As said in previous post ‘The Week That Was’ I sat on my break for my split shift at work in the café next to work, put the pages into my file and read through the last four pages to reground myself in my story and where I could move on in the right direction. I sat with pen and paper and wrote every scene that was coming to mind. I managed to get to what will be the last chapter that still needs to be planned with the words ‘The End’.

I still had Sunday to get through at work (9 hour shift on my own. Retail), in hot and humid conditions. I was eager to make a start with the words again, to make another big dent into the 100,000+ final word target for said first manuscript of ‘Blue Rose Cottage’. I had my main character all worked out, it has been the two secondary characters that have been harder to work on. I finished work on Sunday night at 7pm, eager to get home, but made sure I didn’t start any writing as I was going to need to be in bed early as I had a 2.5 kilometre open water swim ahead of me in the morning.

Swim was excellent the freshness of the salt water and the cool temperature helped me steady my mind ready for an afternoon of writing. Home from the swim, body was aching and muscles hot (love the feeling of lactic acid in muscles), feeling tired as I hadn’t slept as well as I intended due to high humidity, and making sure I wouldn’t sleep in. Time to open the laptop, open Outlook, open Facebook, and open my Word doc to keep going. Well it wasn’t as easy as I expected, feeling tired, I think was more the issue than anything else, though by the evening 6:30pm I had 463 words added. I decided to head for bed and get a good night sleep…7:30pm out like a light.

Tuesday (today), I dropped my husband at the train station, came home after having a coffee at favourite café. I had one writing buddy laying on the floor by my feet, and the curtains open to see my garden. The words started, and they flowed better today, and even tonight, once I finish my post I will return for a few more paragraphs. So far today my word count is…873. Writer’s Block is now gone, printing and planning has made all the difference, now back on track for another day tomorrow of writing.

I know we all write differently, though writer’s block is a common thing (I guess, I always hear that most writers at some point will get it), I found that when my home/work life was getting too hard, I would end up with writers block to go with it. I was 63000 words in I knew I could write, I would sit at the computer, but nothing, not a single syllable would come forth and start the roll. I guess by printing out what I had done (all 63,000 words/80+ A4 pages) and allow myself the time to reread a few of the last pages written, to fall back into the story and revive the imagination. The bonus and excitement was also in seeing just how much I had actually written over the last ten months. There is definitely some changes that will need to be made when editing which is another part of the writing process I am really looking forward to.

Then we will get to Thursday, back to work, bonus is I only have a 3 day week before my next weekend on Sunday and Monday, to be back in the writers seat. I am allowing myself the days that I work (I start my shift at midday and finish and get home by 8:45pm), if I don’t get words down, then its alright and I shouldn’t put the extra pressure on myself, or the block might just start again, and I definitely don’t want that. The other part that keeps me going and I hang out for is my favourite podcast “So You Want To Be A Writer” with Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait. Every Thursday I listen, laugh and learn so much from these two lovely ladies and the authors that they interview each week.

Friday another day at work, which then leads to Saturday a split shift and I get an awesome 4 hours of writing to be had in the café next to work, before going back to serve my awesome customers as they pick their favourite alcoholic beverage of choice for the evening or weekend. Then bring on Sunday coffee and well nothing more than the rest of the day to write. So Sunday and Monday being my weekend I have Monday to myself with my adorable German Shepherd puppy by my feet to keep me company. It looks like a great week ahead.

writers with dogs

Until next time, have an awesome week….

The Week that was…

abc-news-storms

Take from ABC News Facebook

So the week that was this week, with still two days to go. All I can really say is…Hot, Stormy, Humid, Grumpy, Grumpy, Hot, Frustrated, Writers Block, Reading, Book Review, Instagram, Procrastination, more Frustration…and the list goes on. Life’s stresses got a little too much this week and my writing has not happened, so at this point I am behind on my goal of having first draft done by 14th May, unless I put my head down, bum up and spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of my long weekend writing and “NO” procrastination allowed.

I have a plan…a cunning plan….

Check list:
* Snack food.
* drinks (non alcoholic…preferably watermelon cordial).
* writing buddy (2 year old German Shepherd, named Abbie).
* first 80+ pages printed (hard copy) to help me keep to where I need to be.
* peace and quiet and no interruptions
* No Facebook, Instagram allowed for proof of working on novel.
* Word count, as many as I can possibly get done in 3 days.

Well that should do it. I am planning for starting time on Monday at 12 noon as I have a 2.5km open water swim at Leighton Beach to attend and accomplish as well. It should freshen the soul and help open the mind to the words that I need to write. It is onwards and upwards from a couple of weeks of writers block and frustration as well. Just need to get back into the swing and all will be good again.

Just before I say goodnight, here is another photo from ABC News from the storms over Perth on Wednesday night. Have a great weekend everyone.

ABC storms-1.jpg

Book Review: The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.

the-lovely-bones-book

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. A stunning novel. Moving, mesmerising, beautifully written. Chapter One: ‘My name was Salmon, like the fish, first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.’ I was entrapped immediately into the questionsof who, where, why and how? I had to continue to read, chapter after chapter, hard to put down, as I read only at night to wind down from a long day at work, I would read until I could not focus on the words anymore. Though as I would fall asleep I was finding I was still in the story in my mind. I would feel at different times when I was asleep that I was standing with Susie watching what she was until I fell into a deep sleep.

I found Alice Sebold’s style of writing very easy to get caught up in, entwined in with the story. Her balance of writing with all the characters is amazing, and the pace that she holds from fast to slow and all the in between are stunning. As an aspiring writer myself I would love to be able to have the ability to write with such elegance, richness and emotion on so many levels of the characters and settings. Alice’s balance of going between past and present tense is immaculate and easy to follow. I love how Alice narrates the story from Susie Salmon from the start, and after her murder. The way it follows herself, her parents, siblings, friends, neighbours and even her murderer. I would recommend to anyone from the age of 14 and upwards to read this beautifully written novel on such a story that is dark, yet with such bright light as well within the pages.

Alice Sebold is an American writer and bestselling author of the book The Lovely Bones, hailed as the most successful debut novel since Gone With the Wind.

On reading Alice Sebold’s bio, she, herself surviving being raped in 1980 in New York while attending University, to go through a life of a dysfunctional family, rape and drugs, to come out the other side to be a Number One Bestseller on debut and to find true love and, she seems to have moved on from such a dark part of her own life to one filled with hope and dreams.
http://www.biography.com/people/alice-sebold-20702765

I am looking forward to reading her Memoir ‘Lucky’ and her second novel ‘The Almost Moon’ in the future. I can not say it enough, if you have not read this amazing book, ‘The Lovely Bones’ please do!

Until next time, have a great day…