Monthly Archives: April 2014

My Writing Journey

I have made progress this week with my WIP (work-in-progress). I have edited six chapters and solved a few problems. I knew my story but sometimes it’s hard to fit the pieces of a plot together. I wrote a new outline (not that much different from the original one) some months ago and tossed ideas around and finally got my fingers typing. For me I have to start my day writing. I rise early by inclination and habit on even the coldest mornings. This morning I was working by 7.30. Having had breakfast I treat myself to a cup of coffee only when all the basic morning chores are finished. A bribe you might call it…I call it a reward! I still have to decide how to write one particular chapter; from either a male or female protagonist point of view. I have written one chapter from the male point of view and feel it has turned out okay but to set a scene in a war zone might be more difficult for me to write. I won’t have to make that decision for a couple of weeks.

On saving words: I have a file with 16,000 words of ‘might be able to use’ scenes, paragraphs, or sentences. I don’t waste a word. I save everything I write!

From The Road of a Naturalist, by Donald Culross Peattie, published in 1948.

It was then that I discovered that the desert dandelions and Mojave asters and many other flowers close up at night. And other flora, nocturnal, steals into bloom. All day long one lax and weedy plant had looked dead, its flowers withered. But by twilight this wild four-o-clock secretly opened its rose-pink calyces and emitted a faint odour.

The West is a kingdom of evening primroses; though I knew many species, still I was unprepared for the dune primrose I found in the desert dusks. Its crepuscular flowers are like as those of a wild rose when they open, but insubstantial as spider floss, great moth like petals languidly expanding as if still oppressed with the long siesta of the day.

Naturalist  is a favourite book of mine. I read a page or two when I feel the need to be absorbed by this quiet American voice that speaks so eloquently of nature’s beauty.

Have a good writing week, Elise

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Anais Nin

► 9:14► 9:14
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ckT2YNSio

Anais Nin and Henry Miller in conversation.

I have read the diaries of Anais Nin. She was a woman who did not live a mundane life but always searched for the beautiful and unusual. I have been reading her diaries and other writings for over thirty years and still enjoy them immensely. I purchased several from the Arcane Bookshop  in Northbridge when I lived in Perth and worked at the Western Australian Museum. They now reside happily on my forever bookshelf with all her other diaries.

 

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Fairytale or Fairy Tale

 

I was asked recently how to write fairy tale, should it be two words or is fairytale the way to go. I must admit I like fairy tale but could easily be swayed to fairytale. They are both acceptable as nouns, although if you want an adjective it would be fairy-tale or fairytale (eg a fairy-tale/fairytale romance). Both forms are given in the WR Dictionary (= Concise Oxford Dictionary).

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My Writing Journey

This week I sorted out something in my novel that I always felt wasn’t quite right. The earlier drafts were fine but I feel this draft is much better for the changel! It now contains small elements of a fairytale which is not at all what my novel is about but adds something of enchantment: a forgotten story about WW2, a remarkable journey and the wonderful fact that the last part this story from the past was filmed at the time! I believe such serendipity is a gift! I am not going to discuss the details here as I have a rule not to discuss my WIP (work-in-progress) other than in general terms.  This research helped me edit two chapters to the last draft (which will be edited again before being sent to the publisher who has asked to see the completed manuscript). I have given myself three months from last week to have the final draft edited. Nothing like a deadline to get my fingers typing! I read somewhere that writing a novel (and I guess also a short story) is like pushing a pea up a hill with your nose . . . I agree. It’s wonderful when it all starts to come together. I write on a computer but could happily write on paper with a quill. I am researching Gothic literature and when the novel is finished I will  write Gothic short stories set in Australia. Australian Gothic has a long rich history which continues to the 21st century with writers like Elizabeth Jolley. Enjoy your writing week, Elise

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Haunting Landscapes

Haunting landscapes just made for myths,legends and fairy tales. Also
look at some of the other articles on this page, really interesting.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/18/travel/the-worlds-most-haunting-landscapes/index.html?iref=obinsite

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My Writing Journey

These last few weeks I have been away. First to Rye to a beach house, a place to write and read, without the intrusion of television or the Internet. Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit was played in the evening. Talk and wine flowed easily enough. The beach was a place to walk and meditate.

I was reminded of Sandy Cape a bay on the Indian Ocean in Western Australia. Each year that I lived on an inland farm we went to the coast. Most evenings we would go fishing. Pulling on our warmest clothes to walk from the shack, it was only a few moments along a stony track to the beach. We heard the ocean before we saw it and smelt the moist salty aroma drifting to us on the breeze. Fishing  from the beach was the perfect end to a perfect day. Along the beach, every man and his dog it seemed had the best spot. Chairs were placed carefully, for experts leave nothing to chance. We carried our catch back to the shack in a plastic bucket. We would clean the fish outside under the stars, scattering iridescent scales onto the sandy ground. Reflected in the flowing luminescence of the kerosene lamp they looked  like tiny lunar mountains. A little oil on the barbecue, a dusting of flour and the fish were soon sizzling. We often went for long walks along the beaches that edged the coast. A blissful time.

After Rye, we went  to the city of Adelaide, often forgotten, but very beautiful. We stayed a week, walked ten to fifteen kilometres a day and absorbed the surroundings by osmosis.

It was then back to writing when I returned home. I edited the second chapter of my novel again, a chapter that has always been a problem for some reason. I’m happy with it at the moment and will now put it aside. There was a lot in that chapter: a couple meeting, marrying, and then the intrusion of an American serviceman.

I enjoy reading short stories, can you guess which story the following comes from? I’ll give you a couple of clues: it is the opening of the story and the writer is from New Zealand. This is one of my favourite short stories.

‘Very early morning. The sun was not yet risen, and the whole of Crescent Bay was hidden under a white sea-mist. The big bush-covered hills at the back were smothered. You could not see where they ended and the paddocks and bungalows began. The sandy road was gone and the paddocks and bungalows the other side of it; there was no white dunes covered with reddish grass beyond them; there was nothing to mark which was beach and where was the sea. A heavy dew had fallen. The grass was blue. Big drops hung on the bushes and just did not fall; the silvery, fluffy toi-toi was limp on its long stalks, and all the marigolds and the pinks in the bungalow gardens were bowed to the earth with wetness. Drenched were the cold fuchsias, round pearls of dew lay on the flat nasturtium leaves.

A writing tutor might say, ‘Look, this writer uses “paddocks and bungalows” twice in close proximity’, the tutor might also say, ‘Look, this writer uses the words “just” and “was”  words best avoided,’ the tutor might also say, ‘and the writer uses “big” twice in this small example and it’s such an uninspiring word’.    And yet to me this is evocative writing, a truly beautiful description of an early morning by the sea.  So while you need to be aware of the rules of writing if you write for the  modern day reader there is no need to slavishly follow each edict so that your writing ends up like a dried out piece of fish.

Have a good writing week, Elise

PS Remember to have FUN.

 

 

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How Wolves Change Rivers

How one animal can change the world.

 

http://www.youtube.com/embed/ysa5OBhXz-Q?feature=player_embedded

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