Posted in What I'm writing

No goals. Just be.

Kikki K
Kikki K

New Year’s resolution: ‘No goals. Just be.’

I’m stepping away from this blog. I may dip in and out from time to time, but unlike this time last year, I’m making no promises to myself.

I’ll continue to write because I love to. I want the buzz of creating a story without worrying about anything else. No self-imposed end goals or deadlines.

Happy 2020!

Posted in work in progress 2019

My NaNoWriMo Experience

I’m still catching my breath. It’s been a month of mad scribbling.

November was National Novel Writing Month and it’s been a goal of mine to do it ever since someone threw the acronym at me years ago.

Writing 50,000 words in only 30 days sounded insane. It’s at least 1,666 words a day to stay on target.

I wrote a staggering (for me) 43,227 words. That’s a first draft of a new novel I didn’t have in October.

Ask my family – I was insane! I spoke in monosyllables at home, wrote at the dinner table, at the hairdressers, in my lunch break, in the car, watching swimming classes. Anywhere I could.

I’d chosen to hand write my way to the end goal. A migraine friendly compromise – definitely recommend!

There were a few days where a migraine struck and the words evaporated. Word count zero.
And there were a few amazing days where the words poured out and I wrote close to 3,000 words.

One of those days was the train ride to Katoomba. 34 NaNoWriMers met at Central Station, took over a carriage and we did writing sprints all the way to the Blue Mountains. It was loud-quiet-intense. Once in the mountains we dispersed for a few hours to wander around, write in the library, café’s, pubs and parks,  then we climbed back on the train again to write our way back to Sydney.

Go November! What an experience.

Posted in The Beach

I’m in the middle of a Scrivener trial. Day 16.
I love writing in Word but after years of listening to anecdotes about software to handle long unwieldy manuscripts, plus feeling the strain of mine, I’m taking the leap.

 

Trialing the leap actually.

It’s a 30 day trial and each of these days starts the moment I double click on the icon. I don’t need to block out 30 consecutive days. A big plus for me. My writing time doesn’t work like that (unfortunately).

What I like?

Inside I’ve broken my MS chapters further down into scenes. Love it!

With too much backstory upfront, I can now see (on the screen) where to break it up and drip feed in later.

Scenes are easier to edit. I’m asking questions like: does this scene have a purpose? Is it moving the story forward or is it just a filler (delete!).

I could ask these same questions in Word but I couldn’t ‘see’ my scenes summarised.

The single POV in Kallie’s Beach has troubled me throughout my sixth draft. My gut was telling me that the main guy Matt, needed a voice on the page too.

With a scene listing I can see exactly where his POV needs to be written.
So much better than the endless scroll back and forward in Word through 28 chapters.

It’s like playing with a new toy. So much fun!

I love the scene synopsis feature in its at-a-glance cork board view. I know I’m only using a fraction of what Scrivener can do but frankly I can’t be bothered reading the manual. If I’m stuck with a feature I just look it up.

So far so good. It’s winning me over one day at a time.

14 days to go…

Posted in Books

Why Mummy Drinks

Why Mummy Drinks

Confession: In my February blog: Fiction vs Self-improvement (or The Deckchair Divide), I incorrectly classified Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims as non-fiction.

While on holiday, every time I walked past a woman reclining on a deck chair by the pool, she was reading this. I was full of admiration, thinking it was a self-help book.

If I had peered closer, I would have seen: ‘The diary of an exhausted mum’.

Fast forward several months and its bright yellow spine called to me from a library bookshelf. I pulled it out, surprised to see it on the fiction shelf. Casually I started reading. My shoulders shook, tears ran down my face. It took all my self-control to stop laughing out loud. My vision completely blurred by the end of page 2.

For me, definitely funniest read of 2019!

Posted in Inspiring writers

Talking… and writing

In between editing Kallie’s Beach, I’m listening to two fabulous podcasts:

Talking… Aussie Books by Claudine Tinellis.
Interviews with Australian authors like Cassie Hamer, her debut novel is After the Party and long established authors like Michael Robotham whose latest book is Good Girl, Bad Girl.

Stories Behind the Story with Better Reading by Cheryl Arkle.
Interviews with authors from all over the world plus a series of interviews, Better Reading on Writing, which focuses on the craft of writing, from dialogue and character building all the way to getting published.

These podcasts are perfect if you are:

  • a writer and love to be inspired by how published authors started out, what interests them, their writing process and their journey to the book shelf.
  • a reader who wants to know more about authors, their books and where they draw inspiration.
  • learning the craft and want to hear from the experts.
  • a fan of great interviews.

 

 

Posted in RWA, The Beach

Pitch ‘hopefully’ Perfect

A pitching opportunity? To publishers. I had to take it.

‘Leap, and the net will appear.’ This well known quote was my mantra years ago. It helped me when I was struggling over a life changing decision. It scrolled across my computer screen, a constant reminder that sometimes we have to believe in ourselves enough to take a leap.

It’s always stayed with me.

I’ve never pitched before. I have a finished (5+ drafts) manuscript Kallie’s Beach, so why not? I needed to pitch it sometime and if nothing else, this would be good practice.

So how hard could it be?

OMG!

How to jam an 80,000 word manuscript into a three minute pitch?

This is what I learnt:

  • Know who you’re pitching to and what they like (to publish).
  • Know your story intimately (yeah you’ve written it but are all the plot threads sorted?)
  • Write it, write it and write it again (the pitch).
  • Read it ‘out loud’ to yourself. (It may sounds amazing in your own head. Out loud – maybe not.)
  • Rewrite it.
  • Send it to or share it with fellow writers and readers of your genre (does it make them want to read your book?)
  • Rewrite it again.
  • Love your story, your passion and belief in it will show when you pitch.
  • Be ready to talk about yourself – have something interesting and different to say.

Believe in yourself – you wrote the book.

Every successful author started with an idea for a book and wrote it, just like you.

Posted in RWA

A writer’s dream weekend

Wow! What an amazing weekend at the Romance Writers Australia (RWA) 2019 Conference.

I got to hang out with hundreds of writers, ranging from unpublished to New York Times best sellers and everything in between.

What a buzz.

Every single attendee so friendly and more than happy to share their wisdom and experience.

The sessions were amazing. I discovered that you didn’t have to have any romantic elements in your manuscript to attend (as a sci-fi, fantasy writer sitting next to me confessed).

Key note speakers were: Nalini Singh, Melissa Storm and Amy Andrews.

There were publisher talks, various panels, pitching opportunities and so much more.

So many amazing session choices from, the writing craft to podcasting, publishing and winning ad strategies. Very hard to decide which to go to. In the end, for me ‘craft’ won out.

  • Natasha Lester – How to actually show not tell
  • Michelle Somers – Characterisation through narration
  • Linda Mercury – Arousal to Zipper: Writing the best sex of your life
  • Anne Gracie – Plot, story, theme
  • Sandi Wallace – Taking on the world crime-writing workshop

Such a buzz learning from these authors. Took so much away from each session.

Such an inspiring weekend. A totally immersive writing and writer’s experience.

Loved every minute!

Posted in Life

The elephant in my blog space

 



When I began this blog the intention was to focus on my writing journey. However, when there are huge gaping spaces between blog posts and my writing, I’m forced to admit that I’m not being entirely truthful.

The advantage of social media is that we let the world see what we want them to see. Our good side, our best side, our ‘up’ side. What I’ve realised as the days tick by is that by ignoring the massive, debilitating elephant in my blog space, I am doing a disservice to myself.

My blog belongs to me, and its optional reading for you.

I am, in fact, free to disclose my frustration at the absence or slow pace of my writing.

Migraineurs still battle in silence but our collective pain has found a voice. We’re not sure if two generations ago our ancestors suffered because the world hadn’t arrived yet into our homes. No internet, no social media, no collective cry for help.

The internet and social media is to a migraineur both terrible and beautiful.

Screen scrolling, blue light and the pressure to keep up and respond has helped push migraines to unfathomable heights. Going paperless for migraneurs has come at a very high price.

But on the other hand, it’s given us a platform and a voice and our voices are growing louder.

There is no cure ‘yet’. The medical world is constantly trying to find something, anything to give us more good days then bad.

The government is not doing enough. The sad truth is that you cannot be a politician and suffer chronic migraine. They are mutually exclusive. So how can our government begin to empathise?

Migraine is the ruination of many intelligent, vibrant lives and so many needlessly suffer in silence.

 

 

 

Posted in work in progress 2019

Boost your words

 

I did a BIAW.

A book in a week challenge, inspired or modelled on NaNoWriMo which is held every November (this has to be on every writer’s ‘to do’ list, including mine).

The BIAW is a commitment to write to a specified word count in one week (definitely not a whole book). Midnight to midnight.

The first time this came around I thought I’d be completely ridiculous and put myself down for 5000 words. It seemed to be the magic number others in the RWA group, I belong to, were putting out there.

In reality I knew 5000 words was never going to happen. Not in my kind of week.

But just that thought (and having to report back to the group) fuelled me to prove myself wrong.  

With an exercise book and pen, I wrote and wrote and wrote. Anywhere, anytime between everything else crammed into that week, I wrote and wrote. I ignored mistakes and my inner critic doing its best to distract me. Words on the page. That’s all that mattered.

As the deadline loomed, I blocked out all the chaos around me and willed my hand to keep moving across the page.

5,010 words.

Beyond thrilled!

 

Posted in work in progress 2019

Thinking, not writing

The Thinker by Rodin
The Thinker sculpture by Rodin

Rant to… myself.

Thinking about writing isn’t actually writing.

Having a story in your head, letting it spool forward, grow and flourish is imprisonment.

Story exploration – maybe.

Writing – no.

Writing is the moment your fingers hit the keys or the pen glides along the page and words pour out.  

No one has ever published out of their head.

Have they?