I had a delightful evening at Reader’s Feast Bookstore at 162 Collins St Melbourne last night. It was a special event as part of Melbourne Rare Book Week. Debra Lawrence and Mark Lee, two of Australia’s finest actors, read selected letters from Helen Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road. Mary Dalmau, General Manager of Reader’s Feast said: ‘This event is our contribution to Melbourne Rare Book Week and this year we once again present this much-loved reading from Helene Hanff’s book. I first saw this performed in Chicago in 1991 and feel very proud to include it in our calendar of events.’ It was a sell-out event and I am so glad to have been invited to attend. The book is on my shelf and a much loved favourite. I was envious when an audience member said they have a first edition of 84 Charing Cross Road. I think it’s time for me to re-read this much loved classic.
Best, Elise x
My novel, to be published in 2016 by Allen & Unwin is ready for a final edit. It still doesn’t have a title but I’m sure the right one will magically appear if I sprinkle enough fairy-dust over the manuscript. I’ve started my new novel. I’m outlining and while I didn’t progress very far today my time was not wasted as I’ve decided on a name for my protagonist. This is a very important to me (not everyone needs or wants to do this at such an early stage) to get a feel for my characters and the place and era the novel is set in. I also spent two hours in the garden enjoying the sun even though the air was cold. A few thoughts on writing you might find useful: Decide on a point of view before you start to write. Decide how long you want your book to be. It can be as long or short as you want it to be. We all have one story to tell, sometimes more. Something about your own story will be unique. Write that unique something down in one sentence. This is your fascination. it will tell you what your are going to write about. Only write about what interests you. When we first start to write our purpose is to find our story. We usually have general ideas and often decide to keep the words flowing on paper or keyboard. You hope eventually to discover your story. This will waste your time. Even memoir writers have to decide on a storyline. You have to know your book’s purpose. You have to know what your book is going to be about. It is essential. Your story has to be unique. Or why would anyone read it? It needs to appeal to a wide audience.
Have a good writing week
I have been reading The Journals of Mary O’Brien 1828-1838. It is a portrait of life in early Ontario.
Mary Sophia Gapper came to Canada in 1828 at the age of thirty and married Edward O’Brien. She first lived in Vaughan Township north of Toronto, then later at Shanty Bay on Lake Simcoe. Mary, with her mother, sailed from Bristol harbour to visit her two brothers who had taken up land near Thornhill in Upper Canada.
I read the journals with interest as a small part of my novel, to be published in 2016 by Allen & Unwin, is set in Toronto. My novel has a working title at the moment and the link to Toronto has provided me with two options. I also have a long list of other titles to consider and when the time is right I’ll send the final list to my publisher. How those few words can take so much time!
Here in Melbourne it is very cold. I can almost imagine there will be a dusting of snow on the suburban landscape when I wake in the morning. Cold weather can be ideal for a writer: hot chocolate, hot soups and fresh crusty bread and a place to write near the fire with Bella my cat curled up dreaming her cat dreams. There are daffodils on the window ledge and roses on the mantle; portents of spring.
I purchased one of those red and black chinese notebooks from the news agent and index cards. I (might investigate Scrivener) can’t wait to start a new story.
Have a good writing week
James Arnold Horowitz (June 10, 1925 – June 19, 2015), better known as James Salter, his pen name and later-adopted legal name, was an American novelist and short-story writer. Originally a career officer and pilot in the United States Air Force, he resigned from the military in 1957 following the successful publication of his first novel, The Hunters.
A recently discovered author for me. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed his last novel All that Is. I’m going to read all his novels and I’m sorry there will be no more to enjoy.
In his introduction to Light Years for Penguin Modern Classics. Michael Dirda of the Washington Post is reported to have said that with a single sentence, he could break one’s heart.
I have had a busy week with the last boxes unpacked and sorted. I am looking forward to writing this blog each Sunday as I did before I stopped to finish my novel which will be published in 2016 by Allen and Unwin.
I’m looking forward to starting my new story and will set a word limit for each day when I start writing.
Before I actually put fingers to keyboard I’ll outline my story. It’s amazing where ideas come from.
This is just a quick note to touch base and I’ll write more about my writer’s life next Sunday.