Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Step Two: The Add Ins

The next part of the revision process for me what identifying what parts of my story worked and what didn't. I needed to either rewrite entire chapters, or add in events around them to make them better. As most of you know, this is my third revision of this story and for that reason, this time around it was a little easier to do that. In total I have added three new chapters, one at the very beginning and two at the very end, as well as reworking the final chapter. With the ending as it was (and possibly as it is, it remains to be seen) I was in danger of working very close to the line of cliched romance. Not something I ideally want!

I was also going to put in another scene when Winston is at the Prisoner of War camp, in which he has numerous nightmares at home. I don't think I will be doing this, as in the scenes I already have there, I could possibly work in a nightmare to replace some dead weight.

But also I am assured that I have done enough in that regard (and I am eternally indebted to M.G. for his help over the last year and a half. I could not have done it without him.)

The next step I will be working on is the painstaking chapter by chapter revision process. Luckily, I was impatient during the last step and some of that is already done. YAY.

Peace.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Step One: The Read Through

It had been fourteen or so long weeks since I had read The Compound. Oh sure, occassionally I had thought about reading it and a couple of times I even picked it up and flicked through the pages. But I didn't commit.

So anyway, in those fourteen weeks, I kept busy. I did a really great unit run by Christine Owen at the University and I worked on getting to be a better writer. The Compound, while at the back of my mind, was not a factor in these fourteen weeks.

I think it has taken me about a week to get through The Compound. It has been a strange time. I look back at my recent-past self and I wonder what possessed her to use so many adverbs and dump so much information. I wonder why she has been telling and not showing. It is because I picked up on these things that I know I have grown.

Of course, I was really itching to get back into it. So what started out as a read through actually became hybridized with the next step, which is structural editing, and there was probably a bit of copy editing in there as well. (Note to self, find a firm definition of what copy editing actually is-- important for future editor such as yourself.)

Anyway today I finished my read through and I know that while I can do better, what I have been doing since April 25 2008 is a worthwhile use of my time. I know that I can get to where I want to go. I also know I am not Kate Morton (who I aspire to be these days).

I am staying positive and nose to the grindstone for this edit. I will update again once I reach the ready for copy editing stage, whatever that may be.

Signing off.

Monday, 7 December 2009

To Forgive is Divine...

Once I saw somebody I thought I knew,
A woman; she looked just like you.
But nicer.

The last time we met, we fought, and I left, and I spent the next five years hating you.
It took a lot of me.
You have a lot of me.

But this woman was you and wasn't all at once.
I wanted to snap her neck.
I wanted to bury my face in it.
I wanted to be the me I was before I knew you.

And I want spend the next five years fighting with you but I won't be able to hate you.
I will be too busy hating myself.
And trying to steal back the pieces you stole.


I've been rewriting my novel and I guess this poem is from Winston's point of view. It's what he'll be thinking when he meets Sarah for the first time after being in the Prisoner of War camp for so long. I want to build up to him being damaged and a different person more than I did the last time around because I didn't know how I wanted it to end until I wrote the last draft and now I do, so I have to make it fit. I just hope I can pull it off.

By the way, apologies for the lame free verse poetry.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Dear Everyone, I am a Hack

Well. After a length break, I have decided that the time has come to whip The Compound into shape.

In doing so, I have discovered how terribly I have bungled up the poor story.

And now I undertake the task of writing it again but this time I am going to immerse myself in it. Because right now I am a hack, but by the end of it, I want to be a novelist.

Seriously, its so info-dumpy that I can't read the first chapter without yawning.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

EXCERPT FROM NANOWRIMO PROJECT

 

*Please note that none of this is edited and therefore not necessarily my best work.*

 

Death. It wasn’t something Alan had ever spent much time thinking about. No one close to him had ever died before. He wondered what it was like to die. Whether the person dying even knew what happened to them, and whether it hurt. Was it some sort of boring, rehearsed affair where you just sort of slipped out of consciousness, or was it something else entirely?

It was very cold in his room. The walls were too plain and blue. He felt like the world was trying to pacify him against his will. He fought the urge to take a hammer to the walls and scream Christopher’s name over and over again. It felt like someone had taken their hammer to him. He just wanted to fight back, but the loss left him battered and bruised, lying with his knees tucked up to his chest.

He hadn’t eaten for days, or been to school. He hadn’t bathed. He smelled vaguely like someone who had spent hours out in the cold damp. He was cold. He was bereaved.

Bereaved.

The word implied some sort of contract between Alan and Christopher, a marriage. It made him sound like a widow. He felt like a widow. Where was his rock, where was the solid body that buffered him against the outside world? It felt like Christopher was still there but hiding, and if Alan reached out far enough he might find him there. But his eyes were dim, he couldn’t quite see what was happening around him, and his arms flopped lifelessly in space. The energy of holding them had got to be too much. If Christopher remained nearby, he wasn’t planning on coming out soon. He didn’t want to be found.

The window was open. The curtains were hanging on either side remained open and mocking, even though it was well into the night. He could hear the sounds of a late night street outside; sporadic traffic soaring almost smoothly through the night, and the roar of crickets. A single street light remained on. The wind lapped at the curtains like a hungry cat, urging them outside, and Alan wanted to get up and follow them.

He imagined himself climbing out the window and standing there in paisley pyjamas, on the ledge two storeys above the quiet street. The danger flushed through him. He felt a little more alive, a little closer to Christopher. He smiled but looked deranged.

Out on the ledge, he would curl his toes around the stones that projected out behind him and feel as if electricity was coursing through him from his spine where it met his neck to his curling toes. He would hold onto the window frame with his arms behind him and lean outwards, willing gravity to take him downwards. Maybe it would rain. Maybe there would be thunder and he would turn his face upwards to the sky in time to see the lightning flash across it. The wind would begin to howl about him as the skies prepared themselves to receive him and he would laugh. Rain would splash across his tongue but it would taste like dust. Slowly, he would release himself, finger by finger.

As his face leaned out further and further he would see Christopher, waiting for him and smiling and Alan would know he had finally found a place where he belonged. He would let go with zest, find himself plummeting past the spectre of his friend and end it all face down in the cement below. Then, he could be at peace. He could be with Christopher for the rest of eternity. He smiled and sighed, though his face was encrusted in one place through so many tears, and rolled over.

Facing the window, he considered it. For the first time in days, he pulled himself to his feet and padded softly over to the gaping hole. The wind that rippled around him was brisk and chilling. His eyes had opened wide, trancelike, and dead. He was outside himself. He watched himself walking to the window and all its promises.

One foot on the ledge, he reached one arm up to find something to lever himself up to the outer part of the window. His fingers turned white against the frame of the window as he looked down and realised how much higher he should have been. This fall wasn’t going to kill him.

He leaned out further, holding on with locked arms and looking around for Christopher. No one appeared this time. It had seemed much higher in his mind. He felt betrayed. Just out of sheer disappointment, he let go with his left hand and hung halfway out over the ledge, just looking at the ground.

“I can’t find you,” he whispered, feeling as though he was deranged; Christopher wasn’t there and he couldn’t hear him. It was a waste of time trying to send him messages.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

"And are you lonely, looking for yourself out there?"

Drops of Jupiter by Train, is the greatest song ever. It will never age. I can listen to it for hours and not get tired of it. It's sentiments always make me feel better.

I'm about 5000 words behind on my Nanowrimo Project and I still have an exam to do tomorrow that I may or may not be ready for tomorrow. At least when it's over I will be free though, so it's all good.

I'm going to get back to it.

Oh and I didn't place in the Julie Lewis Biennial Literary Awards.

That smarted a bit.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Writing is therapy, writing is life

At the moment, I'm trying to write myself out of a funk. Everything I do leads me back to this same little boxed in place where I feel like I am not good enough. Except when I write. I'm not censoring myself anymore. I'm learning to be myself again.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year, thanks to a bit of a shove from Elisa (whose blog is linked to mine somewhere on this page if you want to know who she is). I have until the end of November to write 50 000 words in novel form and be declared a winner. I think it works out to about just under 2000 words a day which is proving difficult at the moment because I haven't even finished uni yet and my head feels like it's full of aggro sheep doing some crumping.

anyways I have words to write. If you do NaNo too and you want to be my Buddy, I am listed as Elimy.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

It's Still October, Right?

Hi everyone.

Well. What a change in weather we've had lately. It went from a late winter to an early summer in the space of about a week. Where was spring in all that? It just didn't come. At first I thought this was a bit of a windfall. I experience hay fever from time to time and the constant barrage of sneezes/ face explosions can get really annoying. In fact the ony thing that irritates my sinuses more than Spring is cats. (incidentally, I had a pillow fight at a friend's place last week and it just so happened his cats had been on the pillows. Oh the Joy! And the Hives!) But I think I will try not to let it get me down. I'll just dose up on Claritin or something.

(By the way. This could be very boring. It's a general update. I feel a bit guilty for not blogging for ages.)

Ok. So I've been reading a lot. mostly for uni. At the moment, I'm reading the novelization of The Graduate. It came before the movie though, so is that technically a novelization??? Probably not. Anyway, its much better to watch Dustin Hoffman I think. He's a talented talented man.

I suppose you want to read about my writing?

I'm working on my final creative writing assigment for class. Its about a runaway girl from the suburbs who takes off with some guy coz she thinks anything is better than home, but along the way she acutally realises what a good friend he is. But then he dies so the realisation is neither here nor there. But I might have to change it anyway because the conditions of the task ask me to have a crisis as the cause of the realisation.

I guess I can do that.

And then, I think it's about a month til I start draft four of the Compound. Anyone else as excited as I am? I've never managed to take this much of a gap from my work before. I bet when I read it, I hate it so much I cry.

Oh I am so looking forward to that.

Nighty Night.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

I wanted to name this blog something cool…

But I’m just not that creative today.  In fact, I actually feel a little apathetic.  I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been on a high through all this beautiful weather we have been having, or if it is because of all the junk food I have been consuming, or if it’s because although this week was technically a study break, I actually did no work.  Ah, well I suppose the motive doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that I am looking at what comes next.  The summer holidays are almost here and I am looking forward to diving into draft four with a brand new perspective to the project.  I’m also really enthused about the idea of going agent hunting.  At the moment I am actually thinking Zeitgeist media group, because they agent Craig Silvey and I have heard of him….I don’t know what my ultimate choice will be though. 

Presently I am reading Rhubarb by Craig Silvey and listening to My Chemical Romance, because obviously, I am a big emo.   Not.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Today's News Headlines

Hey. Here's a quick update.

Got my first assignment back from Creative writing tutor yesterday. I did really well. Even though most of the paper was covered in red pen marks where she made suggestions for change, apparently she really liked it, and that just goes to show its not a good idea to let two perfectionists work together. Still I was super happy that she liked it because she's fast becoming the person I look up to most in terms of asking questions to do with writing.

Today I had a day off from Uni, so I worked on some entries forthe Julie Lewis Biennial Award which is run through the Peter Cowan Writer's Centre. I've prepared three entries for that, and all of them are variations on pieces I started as a result of the class that I am taking. (Do I know how to pick a class or what???) The worst part was, though, you have to use a pseudonym and I wanted to come up with some really cool, edgy, avant-garde ones but I was stumped. I've ended up using tribute names, for people Iknow and writers I like. It's like a mish mash sort of but you'd never know because they all seem like normal names. I won't tell you what they are because I might be tiny bit embarrassed by my lack of creativity.

Yeah so anyway with any luck I will remember to post that entry tomorrow. Actually, I might go and sort that out now. I need to organise the entry fee. Here's crossing my fingers to winning that $400 prize. Mmmm recognition....

Yeah so, ariverdi etc.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Temptation

The temptation to edit is strong. I've only been back at uni about a month but I already feel like I am a better writer than I was before. I feel like it's no wonder I'm not published yet. I want to rip my manuscript apart and fix it but I'm not allowed to do that. It's against the Deal.

So tonight I tried to start a new freelance (ie not for class) story. But it sucked. It was pretentious.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Study Break

I just made a list of all the work that I have to do this week. There's been a bit of procrastination going on lately it seems. It's ok though because like I've said before, I work very well under pressure.

One of these assignments involves me getting ahead of the rest of my writing class by one exercise, as I have to do my oral presentation of a piece the week after next even though it needs to be on the piece I will be submitting for the next assignment, and we haven't begun work on that as a class yet. Oh well. I'm a self starter. I've had a bit of a read of the workshop exercise and it involves me writing about a memory that I have. Well. I don't have the most useful of memories, it seems, because I don't think I can recall a single thing worth writing about. I have, however, been writing bits of prose in my head before I drift off to sleep and jotting these down in a little notebook for later. I want to use them. Knowing me, I will. I guess I will have to think of some memory to use with them. Well. I think that I sort of have one of those, I suppose, but be warned, there will be more fiction than fact.

Then again, other than cyberspace, who's to know?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Lately.

Lately I have been writing short fiction. Flash fiction, actually.

You see, I have enrolled in a first year creative writing unit at Murdoch, and part of the class is a weekly short piece. So far I've written three. Two of them, I really like.

One is not quite there yet.

But anyway, that's what I have been writing. I didn't stop. Just letting you know.

Monday, 3 August 2009

The New Deal

I am going to get a new perspective on this whole writer thing. I don't think it's healthy for me to be hating my finished manuscript so soon after finishing it. I guess I've decided that I am not finished. My opening line is boring. Nothing really happens. I do a lot of telling rather than showing. All in all, I could do better and so I plan to improve it.

But first I need distance. I won't be touching The Compound until the end of this semester, after I finish my Creative Writing unit. I'm going to be a mega-nerd in the unit, too, because I will secretly be working towards this. That's step one.

Step two is to find an agent. I've decided that it would be silly for me not to. It's really the only way that I can be guaranteed a fair chance of not ending up in the slush pile. Plus, that's the area I plan to work in after University if writing doesn't take off straight away. If I can't practice what I preach, I'm a hypocrite, right?

I guess the step after that is to start something new. I think I'll probably start researching it across this semester anyway because I already have an idea for it, and while I was reading for class today I read about how Helen Garner went about creating The Children's Bach. I have to say, she sounds like the coolest lady ever, and I want to try a little bit of her methodology on my own stories.

I recommend reading this interview with her, it was conducted by Kate Grenville and somebody else I think. Fascinating lady. I really want to read some more of her stuff.

By the way, I am back at university!



MAJOR P.S.

Just checked my email and there was a message from Arena Friday Pitch, finally getting back to me. Apparently my work has merit and it was stronger than many of the others that they have received, however they would not be seeking the rest of my manuscript. But who cares! I'm so jazzed! I have merit!!!

Everything is going so well!

I love exclamation points right now !!!!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Our Many Copies

At our house, we don't treat our copies of Tess of the D'urbervilles very nicely. Mum's broken one. I've broken one. Now I have a brand new one that cost me less than ten dollars and has a lovely photo of strawberries on it. I plan not to break this one.

Anyway that was a quick sidestep into saying... deep breath, must say it fast....

theydon'twantmybookoratleastinevergotanemailsayingthattheydid.

wah.

sorry if you didn't catch that.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I am...officially...desperate

Hello all. If you're reading this, you'll probably end up feeling like you've wasted a bit of time doing it. I'm sorry for that. I need to vent a little bit to cyberspace about how horrible it is waiting to hear back from a publisher about my book-- MY BABY-- when I know that by 5.30pm on Thursday, they will have decided whether or not I am worthy.

So, I am officially a desperate email checker who spends all day online, constantly checking into gmail. (Because, yes, I have set up a writing-stuff exclusive gmail acount that does not have a reference to pop culture in it. Apparently that is the way to be taken seriously in the big person world.) So far, I haven't heard anything yet. I'm hoping its because the really cool people at A and U are really busy being excited about some awesome book (Kate Morton's new one maybe, even I would be excited about that) to get to a computer. Maybe someone has my manuscript in their hand as I type this. They've taken it home to tell their teenage kid that they think my book might change their life? (Oh if only!)

This afternoon, in a bid to get away from the computer, I spent about an hour monologuing to my mother about how bored I was. That's how I get when I am left home all day to watch Gilmore Girls on DVD. Well. She neglected to bring me sushi. I was desperate. She wanted to throttle me. I wanted to throttle me. I tortured the dog by hiding his toys and trying to teach him to dance. I am cruel.

Evidently I am also masochistic because I just thought about checking my email again. (Sorry to JS for using the word you hate so much.)

I'm trying to think about options. Should I work on THE COMPOUND some more before I send it anywhere else? Should I ask someone to be my editor/ agent? (I'm thinking someone I know who won't exploit me... but who do I know who would be able to advise me? I'll do some research.)

Or should I start a new project that sort of walked into my head last night? Harry Potter walked into JKR's head on a train... or so I hear. Maybe that's a good sign. But I don't really believe in signs...

then again I am desperate. Crazy. Desperate. Both. Whatever.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

I Defy Typos

Today I finished my third, and hopefully final draft of the novel I have been writing since April 25 2008. It is the end of a very short era, most of which was spent huddled over a laptop in a messy corner of my bedroom.

Writing this novel got me through a lot of hard times.

I feel there may be more to come though. (That is, both hard times and novels).

On Friday, I'm sending it to the first place on my list. I didn't quite get to 60 000 words but I got very close. I don't want to force it. It just felt finished. There are some typos in the final edition apparently. I'll fix them. Eventually. Or right now.

I feel a bit...lost.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

First Sketches of Winston

Final (Hair shortened, lightened, eyes lightened, cap added.):
Second (Hat added, hair lightened, eyes made bigger.):

Original: Once again, these sketches have been done by my friend Helen, who was nice enough to put up with me saying "no change this, add that, change that again" many many times. Her patience is amazing. The URL for her arts homepage is in the previous blog assuming that I haven't blogged since I last posted sketches by Helen.
Status update: Word count stands at approximately 53 200 words and 103 pages.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

First sketches of Sarah

Final: (eye make up added) Original: (no eye make up)


I am so pleased with these!! Thank you Helen!!






Friday, 10 July 2009

Feeling Accomplished

I enjoy feeling like this book is getting somewhere, but I know that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, so here goes;

I am a work-o-holic.

I need to apologise to my friends and family for becoming such a hermit lately. I am obsessed. And possibly possessed. I guess it's not really much of an excuse but I would like to say that I am very motivated by the possibility of this two year project finally coming to an end.

You can have me back then. Until the next book idea wanders into my head.

By the way, for those who were wondering, I am 85% there on my word count. But no dancing potato/ jelly bean today.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Progress Report

This week's progress proudly brought to you by some late night brainwaving and a writing schedule that I sort of stick to...

Sunday, 28 June 2009

This Year

I know that it is a little bit late for goal setting. Maybe I'll just call what I am about to do my mid-year direction correction. Not that cutesy little rhyming titles are really my thing, it just kind of happened like that.

Anyway. Ultimately it is still my goal to have something published by my 20th birthday. I could stretch that definition and say that I have already met it because of last year's achievements but I think that we all know what I meant when I set that goal. I will have a book in print by my 20th birthday.

On a smaller scale, my goals for this year are as follows:
To place in the KSP short fiction award for the second year in a row. First would be nice.

To enter the Peter Cowan awards and place or get commended.

To be published in a journal like Indigo.

Also, passing university would be nice, but considering that my results this last semester were straight Distinctions, I am not too worried about that. Looking back over my "i wont pass" whinge/posts I feel pretty silly. But thats great. It would be worse if i looked back at all these posts saying that I would do awesome after just having learned that I failed.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Learning Curve

I'm realising something about editing my own work. Actually, to be fair, I think I am realising something about myself.

As I reread what I wrote months and months ago, I find that my head goes to all sorts of weird places and remembers what I was reading at the time, who I was talking to, what was important to me. In chapter three alone, I already found references to T.S. Eliot, my wonderful student-engineer partner, my editor at the uni newspaper's editorial column. It's sporadic to say the least, but it's also wonderful. I don't think I've ever found such a clear insight into my own head. It feels like no matter who I try to be, the real me will always come out in my writing.

I have also learnt that I use too many commas. That's an inherited problem apparently.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

These are the Rules.

I hate the rules. I hate hate hate them. I hate that I can't read over my finished manuscript (That's right, I can call it finished for now) until at least a month has passed. I hate that I have to edit it at all. I hate that I can't feel proud anymore because the honeymoon period is over already. I hate hate hate that the only person who really hasn't tired of me asking for their help lives in Gidgegannup where I can't have face to face contact. I hate that I can't draw well enough to play around with how my characters might look. I hate that all my facts are probably wrong. I hate that I can't find a nice leather file nice enough to display all my writing stuff in. I hate that when I found a file I thought would be good enough, it only held 10 pages. I hate that this could be as far as I get. I hate that I am thinking like this.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Silliest Things Inspire Me

I write to a schedule now. It kind of works. Kills the whole image of a tortured writer who runs on no sleep and too much coffee, but hey I love sleep and I have swapped coffee for hot chocolate this winter anyway (I'm short enough). Writing time happens every day at least between 11 am and 1 pm before I break for lunch. Sometimes I feel like I am on such a roll that I even come back after eating something and bust out another section. I have never felt so good about myself, although I am fairly sure I said that about working out and that lasted all of a week. Anyway, I thought I would share some of the silly things that I have done so far that inspire me.

1) Watching One Tree Hill on Dvd. There's a character in that who's a published author in the most recent series I own on Dvd and he's got an editor and an advance to write a second book, which makes me jealous. Powerful motivator is jealousy. And yes, I know I am a sap for watching teen drama. But I love it so lay off.

2) Watching video clips on youtube for a laugh. Today I asked a friend of mine if he would brainstorm with me about being on a boat back from singapore in 1943 and he quoted me some of "I'm on a Boat" by the lonely island. Instead of writing, I watched that video for a while and it made me laugh, which took the edge off. I was in a less stressful place. Plus I laughed so hard that i sent him a typo riddled instant message that said Oat instead of Boat, and we ended up making up a pitch for advertising explicit brandnames of porridge.

3) Playing with my dog. That one's simple. Exercise gives you endorphins.

4) Watching the news. Weird stuff happens out there in the great big world. Makes you believe anything is possible.

5) Emails from my Dad. He sent me this email yesterday while he was supposed to be working, all about the Use and Abuse of similes. The fact that he read it and thought of me and my writing made me smile, because sometimes, all I need is support from a new direction. I know he always supports me, but showing it at an unexpected time with that email was the push I needed. (So thanks Dad.)

Anyway, that about wraps it up. The countdown to finishing is pretty much on. It could be any day now, all I need is a satisfying way to wrap it all up. If only I could stick to a plan, I wouldn't be writing blind right now. Oh well, the characters know what they're doing. I hope.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Everyone is Writing But Me...

I thought that when I started University I would have more time and possibly more reason to write. After all, I'm doing a degree in writing. I'm devoting my life to writing; I should be able to string a few words together into a few sentences that I am happy with. So I guess it won't surprise anybody if I say that I am stuck again.

I think what really makes it worse is that I have been surrounded, constantly, by these people who love to write, who aren't plagued by their own mindblocks. I know someone who is committing herself to write 5000 words a day for a month. If that's not confidence in her ability to write, I don't know what is. Last time I sat down to write, I got 141 words done before I faltered. That was much earlier this week.

I know people who can sit through a crowded lecture and just write. Even though the teacher is blabbing on about Baudrillard, even though the room is full of people whispering, even though she's getting about a text message a minute, she's still filling page after page in her notebook with fantastic stuff.

So maybe that's my problem right there. I'm not focussed, and I'm certainly not zen about the whole thing.

Hopefully things will turn around over my massive mid year holiday from school. If not, I suppose I could always work at K Mart.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Is there anybody out there?

Sometimes I wonder if there is anybody reading this.

If there is, I want to hear from you.

But there are lots of things that I want lately, and I don't get those either, so don't worry about it too much. For example, I want more time to write. I know, I know, I should make time, because writing is what I want to do with my life and I will never be any good at it unless I practise all the time. It doesn't work like that though. All the really great advice says I should give myself a specific time schedule and write to that, but that kind of ignores the fact that inspiration is a little bit unpredictable. For example, I get some of my best lines of prose standing under the shower, and I can't very well take my laptop or journal in there now, can I?

What else do I want? I want to pass my first semester at university. I want to join a writer's group or make one of my own with my friends. I want to get published. I want a Nintendo DSi.

I think probably the bottom line in all of this is, there is a pressure I am putting on myself to be a certain type of person, and I am coming to realise that being a writer is just like any other job only there is a much lower success rate for at least a little while.

So, again, if you're reading this I want to hear from you.

Thanks, I know this was an awful post.

Em

Friday, 17 April 2009

A CRY FOR HELP

Hello friends.

I'm going to put the blurb for my novel up, and I would really appreciate some serious suggestions.

"Winston is a contemplative, unambitious young boy who begins his search for love in the summer of 1937. Circumstances lead him to Sarah, whose determination to please her father make her more and more like him every day. Their romance is brief and inevitably interrupted by overseas conflict.

Separated, their lives go on; Sarah's under the watchful eyes of her plotting family and friends, and Winston's as a prinsoner of the Japanese. They are not only faced with the loss of their freedom, they must also defeat the trechery of their own emotions. Eventually they are forced to choose between a dream and reality."

badly written blurb. i know.

night, y'all

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Power of Pink Nails

On Monday, she painted her fingernails bright pink. She defied anyone to call her a girly-girl. The polish dried within sixty seconds. She liked that. Naturally her nails grew shapely and strong. Never had she needed to buy fake ones from the chemist up the road the way other girls did. She liked her nails because of this. They made her feel special. Something about her was extraordinary.

When the polish was dry (60 seconds by five nails on each hand by two hands is 600 seconds which is ten minutes) she collected her satchel and counted the things inside. One file. One stapled together stack of papers. One coloured notebook and unit guide (matching of course). One blue pen, one black pen, one red pen and one tube of white-out. One bottle of water. One phone (which never rang). One purse. Satisfied, she slung it over her right shoulder. Then, she shifted it to her left, just for a change of pace.

On the way out the door, she purposefully smoothed her hair back behind one ear so that she could admire her fingernails in the mirror. It made her smile. Because even if every other part of her life was colourless, at least she had pink fingernails.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

On Essays

It seems that this week I am relearning how to write essays. It's been brought up in at least two of my courses, which is excellent. With any luck I will be getting distinctions and high distinctions before I know it. Fingers crossed. Touch wood.

I like the way I write essays. It's always worked for me in the past. I get a general idea, sometimes I will write a plan, but mostly it's about pressure. It's about being familiar with the text or the topic, and knowing a few quotes and generally doing the minimal necessary preparation. Because here's the thing. Pressure is good. Stress is excellent. Not sleeping from worry is fabulous. It pushes me to perform to my best because there is so much riding on everything I do in the essay.

So when I have a lot of time to think about my essay and I space out my planning, drafting etc, I actually find the process more daunting. If you remove the stress, do you remove the X factor that makes my work (or has made me work in the past) so dynamic.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that I am the best essay writer in the world, but I also wouldn't say I was the worst. Here are a few things I have going for me;
I can spell
I can construct a sentence that makes sense
I can think on my feet
I'm well read

Here are things I pay careful attention to:
Staying on topic
Linking to my thesis
Not using too many big words to make myself look smarter

So, here goes the most risky experiment of my university career, with me starring as my own lab rat. Will the university approved system that I have been taught for the last week and a half let me down? Was my own system fool proof? Am I the best darn writer in the world? (Doubt it.)

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A Credit???

I am a published reviewer. Yes, I believe 250 words in a student magazine qualifies me more than any university degree ever could... :)

It's peculiar, putting your opinion out there in print for pretty much everyone you go to school with to read, especially when you know most of them won't agree. I did a rather cynical review of the movie He's Just Not That Into You after seeing it over Valentine's. Since then, most people who I have talked to about it have been a bit surprised by my opinion. Go figure.

So yeah, there's that one, and there will be more next time around. I'm working on an interview (perhaps) with some local musician who I can meet through the six degrees of separation network. Yay.

In other news, I got my first uni mark today and it was a credit...anti-yay. It's a point to work up from...

And also, does anyone know anything about Derrida?

Monday, 16 March 2009

A Day Early

I think I must have some sort of disease. There is the desire to write in me, but when I put my fingers to the keyboard, or my pen to my journal, nothing comes out but a few pretty lines. Pretty lines which mean nothing... well, they mean nothing.

I am frustrated with myself. This novel was supposed to be the one that I would see through, the one that I would pour my heart and soul into, and it would show. This was supposed to be my achievement. But I can't do anything right. The other day, when i was cleaning my room, I found my first draft mangled and bent among some shoes. What does that say about me?

I am in need of inspiration. I will endeavour to find some, but I don't think I will find it here.

Please take a look at the work of my good friend, Austen, who I have asked to help me with cover art. He's a busy boy, so I don't know if he has done any yet, but his work is really spectacular and I want more people to see how good his attention to detail is.

http://lordnetsua.deviantart.com/

thanks.

Em

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

I am an evil, forgetful child

I neglected my blog.... again. What is the punishment for that these days?

As you can see, I am experimenting with Twitter, mostly because I am very bored just before I can be bothered going to sleep. Isn't that hilarious? I think that perhaps the laziest I could POSSIBLY BE is too lazy to go to sleep. Sigh. Teenagers are awful, aren't we.

I tried to work on my novel last night and it came out like an academic assignment so I deleted two hours worth of work and I enjoyed it. Deleting things made me cackle with glee... but quietly because people were sleeping and I'm a considerate, awful, lazy teenager who stays up a bit too late.

Yeah so maybe my blog will be a Wednesday thing from now on... or, a much better idea, I will no longer blog unless I have something to say!!!!!!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

My Quarrel with the Use of Second Person

I have just finished reading a text excerpt from my Foundation Unit reader. It was on the subject of Hume and Quantum Mechanics. It was written in the second person.

Roughly, the article followed this kind of style.
"You are at university, sitting in the lecture room and listening to your philosophy professor talk about Hume, and you start to think about something that happened in your physics class."

Obviously that is not in any way a quote from the actual book, or else I would have had to reference it, shock horror. I probably have to anyway. The writer is Wesley C. Salmon. No I didn't make him up.

I have this to say to Mr. Salmon. I respect that you have tried to reach your audience in a new way, but you have annoyed me greatly. I DO NOT enjoy physics or even understand the concepts involved in studying physics. I am not reacting very kindly to your supposition that I would. It made me disengage with your text immediately.

In fact, the chapter reminded me of Choose your own adventure. Does anyone remember those? They used to be based on ideas like: You are a rockstar. I would be reading along and suddenly this would happen.

"YOU ARE GIVEN THE OPTION OF MEETING MICK JAGGER. DO YOU:
a) go out and buy all their albums to research because you have never heard of a band called Mick Jagger before (go to page 45)
b) make up some imaginary engagement to get out of it (go to page 67)
c) jump at the chance and beg for five minutes to fix your hair and make up (go to page 99)

I never had a problem with those really. They took up time and kept me out of mischief. But the other thing was they had to carefully keep the audience in mind. It seems to me that use of second person in academic writing is like academic writing for four year olds. It completely ignores the fact that while the sentences are simplistic and the narrative structure entertaining, the subject matter is far too complex for the average four year old. So what I am saying is, I start reading second person and immediately lose all ability to successfully comprehend academic text.

Face it people. Academic writing is supposed to be scary and difficult to read. There is no getting around it so stop trying.

By the way, thank you for the comments everyone. Yes, I am one of those difficult girls at university. STAR is doing my head in. I got Derrida for my Oral Presentation. Oh the joy I can be sure to look forward to.

Adios.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Structure, Thought and Reality

In the beginning, there were Foundation Units. The students went along to these classes once a week and they sat in the very full, very large and very cold lecture theatres; there they were asked to think about thinking. This led to a lot of the students becoming very confused and frustrated. If the reason that man was a thinker and reasoner was to pursue truth for truths' sake and challenge authority, did this mean that the man down the front of the room did not want the students to take any notice of what he was asking of them?

The lectures went on. Like the emergence from the Dark Ages into the Enlightenment, the students expected to become clearer as more information became accessible. Yet, the class finished and once again the students scratched their heads.

Debate began. Among themselves, the students began to discuss what they thought it all meant. There was much contention and argument. The lecturer smiled to himself.

"I Think, Therefore, I Am" Descartes.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

I'm Just Like a Kid in A Candy Store!

Well, to be more accurate, in my case it's better if I say I'm like an Elimy in a stationery store. Or is it stationary? I never can remember. Gosh I'm grumpy when it comes to homonyms. But I digress.

Ok, so I'm now at the end of my second day of university and to celebrate I'm watching episode 2 of HBO's True Blood series which is based on Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire) books written by Charmaine Harris. I was put onto a fascination with the series by a relative on my mother's side who lives in Melbourne and now both she and I would really like to get our hands on a copy of the books. The series is quite good really, especially if you're looking for something Dexter meets Twilight. It is MA though and quite sexually explicit and gory at times. I just like vampires.

I definitely like vampires more than I like homework, which I had my first lot of in a long time today. It was mostly Journal exercises for my professional writing class and we all know that I am an expert at writing in journals, so it was fairly easy. I'd really like during this semester to do well so I'm trying my best to work on a few things, number one being time management, number two being revision, editing and drafting and number three being that I need to become more confident in terms of making friends.

So far I think I'm on track for one and three but two isn't yet relevant. My lecturers and tutors are so far a really great bunch of women who are intelligent, funny, caring etc etc. I'm really going to respond to that, I just know it. But anyway the point is Uni is exciting. So far I love it.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The End is Nigh...

Of the holidays, I mean. I'm referring, of course, to the fact that for me, university life starts tomorrow. I have Orientation all the rest of this week, and then after that its back to the business of studying. So I suppose that actual writing will fall to the wayside of studying writing.

I haven't written in my journal for ages because of my novel any how so I'm going to start being a bit more regular as far as that goes. Where ever I go, it will go too. Perhaps I'll have some more short stories to post on here? For instance, last night I really wanted to write a parody of The Wizard of Oz based on admission to University. It wasn't all that great really because I was writing whilst horizontal but I used up a whole lot of pages on writing which was liberating.

Another brightside is that while I am taking a break to study writing, I'll be able to take some distance from my own writing, which will hopefully make it easier to edit. If it seems like someone else's work, I won't have so much trouble criticizing it seeing as that's what I do with everyone else's writing. I even do it with books that have already been published. I'm always looking for sentences that I don't agree with. I'm no expert, so I don't follow up on the mistakes that I find, but it's good practice, right???

So. In summation: Novel shelved temporarily. Uni begins tomorrow. Work on other stuff including blog and journal will be evident from next week.

Wish me luck,
E

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Feel Good, Write Better

It's hot. Most days I sleep til mid morning and by that point I'm so warm I have to get out of bed whether I'm properly awake or not. Fans and aircons are going full blast. It isn't until late at night that I can even think about sitting down with my laptop Ralph and getting down to business.

But, a little thing I've discovered recently, I also only write when I'm feeling proactive, and I mostly only feel proactive when I'm pumped full of endorphins. So I've started exercising. Again. Over the years I've tried various working out techniques, i.e. running (which I still do when I can be bothered braving the P platers honking at me and my friend), tae kwon do, netball, swimming. Lately, I'm trying cardio. It's a 25 minute exercise program that I found in last months' Cosmopolitan, a magazine to which I am a self confessed addict.

So, last night I started the program for real. It involves skipping, pushups, squats, lunges, sit ups, chin ups etc etc, and it really does get the heart pumping blood around the body. In other words, it tired me out. I slept pretty soundly last night. This morning my leg and butt muscles ached like something crazy, but! and this is the key point of this post, I felt good. I felt good about myself for once, rather than lethargic. And tonight, I will do it again, and then I will write. YAY endorphins.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Good News

This Friday night, I finished the first draft of my novel. The plot took an unexpected turn and possibly crashed head first into a tree, but it's salvagable. After all, I have at least two more drafts to go before I'll consider myself finished. I always said that this novel would be the one that I did properly, and I don't feel like going back on my word.

What I was pleased with about myself and my writing during the process so far was the way that I used planning methods, although vague, and I stuck to them.

Something that I need to work on now is research and historial accuracy. I may just go and do that now. I saw Australia on Sunday with Grandma and Mum and it gave me a starting point for research. Yay for Baz Lurhman or however you spell it. By the way, if you're thinking about seeing it, it's very good but dont buy a big Coke to take in with you because everytime you think you'll just nip off to the loo, something interesting happens.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Interview with Myself

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I've always enjoyed writing, because I can remember that I used to write short stories a lot for fun (even though I read them now and cringe inwardly) and I've toyed with the idea of being a writer without ever taking it seriously at several times in my life. For example, I once wrote a "series" of books and "bound" them myself. I used to keep these in a briefcase. But it's only been recently that I've decided that being a writer will be my career. It's only recently that I've realised that it can be. I would say that I decided this halfway through Year 11. If you think about it, it's a short amount of time in the grander scheme of things.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Well, it's hard to answer this one. I've rarely finished a "book". Short stories can take me anywhere from a few hours to a few days just to be happy with them. I've only ever finished two novella length manuscripts, one of which I sent off for publishing, but I don't really take the story very seriously anymore. That took me about a year to work on. The novel I'm working on now, which is THE ONE for me has been in the works for a while now. I had the idea in late April, and began my first draft after much planning in August. A first draft is nearly complete now, but I doubt that it will be complete before I finish my tertiary studies.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

Erratic. I write mostly by the security of night. Nothing really encroaches on my focus then, because every thinks that I am asleep and I have to maintain that illusion. Sometimes I'll feel frustrated with myself because I haven't made any progress, and I'll make myself write during the day. But I can't stick to a schedule, per se.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I wouldn't say I have any quirks that the average Joe would find interesting. Hmm, I don't know. Perhaps that to really get focussed, I have to be listening to music which would be the soundtrack of what I'm feeling in the text. But lots of writer's do that. A friend of mine told me that Stephenie Meyer did that while she was writing Twilight.

How do books get published?

I wouldn't have a clue. I suppose I'll learn in the next decade.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Year 12 History! I became obsessed with an era, and the atmosphere that seemed to go with it. I also used a certain album in this case.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I would have been 5 or 6. The first story I wrote that I'm aware of is one that I gave to my grandparents and it's about Winnie the Pooh trying to decide what to buy with a 50 cent piece that he found. It's incredibly silly.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I read a lot... talk to friends over the internet, or see them in person if it's possible...I don't really play sports a lot at the moment, so not that, although I do run if I can be bothered.

What does your family think of your writing?

There was a moment in time where a few people thought that I was underselling myself, but mostly they are really supportive. I can't tell you how my siblings feel about it, though, because they don't really like to read my work. They have their own lives to work on, so that's fair enough. One day they'll read it, and I think that their reactions will be worth a lot to me as far as feeback goes. My Grandpa is a tough critic as well. I know that if I can really interest him with what I'm saying, and even impress him, I've done well.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That I'm what's called a romantic. Even though most people would call me a bit of a cynic from time to time, the romantic element of my really comes through in my writing. I need to try and expand away from that a bit too. It makes it very easy to insert Mary Sue characters.

How many books have you written?

None that constitute actual books. Publishing material length novella manuscripts? 2 and a half.

Which is your favorite?

I have to say it's a toss up between the first one and the current one. If the one I'm working on now has a really superb ending (and it will) then it will definitely be that one, because the first one I wrote had a very BLAH ending. One day I guess I'll have to rewrite it. When I learn how not to write BLAH endings, that is.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Interesting, because I am being asked this by myself. I guess I'll just give a general set of advise. Write everyday, in some form. In a journal will do. Plus, learn stuff and store it away if it interests you. It's always useful later.

Do you hear from your readers much?

Readers of this blog, rarely. I doubt that there are many at the moment, but I plan to change that.

What kinds of things do they say?

Mostly that they like the way my writing style reflects my personal voice. Apparently I write in my own quirky tone.

Do you like to create books for adults?

That's the only kind I like to create. Children's books don't have the depth of themes and emotion that adults books do.

What do you think makes a good story?

A well developed sense of character, a surprising ending (or at least an exciting one) and a lack of cliches.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A mermaid.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

First Blog of the New Year: Elimy in Blunderland take 2

First mistake of the year... forgetting that Tuesday is and always will be Blog Day.

But why blog when there is nothing to be said? I am suffering from what my mother calls Post Exam Paralysis. It's an angsty state in which I lack get up and go. School is...finally.... over and all I want to do is lie on my unmade bed, in my surprisingly clean and textbook free bedroom to watch One Tree Hill.

Eventually, I'll finish the DVDs and I'll go back to reading and writing.... I haven't even really made much time for journaling or novel progress. So, on that progressive note, HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, BLOG. Here's hoping I do something worth blogging about soon.