Tag Archives: My Writing Journey

A Writer’s Notebook

I am pressing on with the research for my new story. I want to  absorb the feeling of the period I am writing about which is the latter part of the nineteenth century. The story  is steeped in mystery, women’s rights (in this case a women with no rights at all) the goldfields of Ballarat and a small country town in South Australia. I usually don’t discuss the story I am working on but a few words here and there on this blog might lead the curious reader to discover who and what I will be writing about.

A wonderful discovery recently is  The Journals of Mary O’Brien 1828-1838 edited by Audrey Saunders Miller.

The journals (to quote from the inside cover of the book) belongs immediately on the bookshelf alongside the works of Anna Jameson, Susanna Moodie, and Mrs Simcoe as a colourful and fetching portrait of life in early Ontario.

Her journals record the immensely varied life of Upper Canada – visits to Niagara Falls and the bustling town of York, Treaty Day among Indians at Lake Simcoe, household life and friendship.

Excerpts from the journals.

May 26 (Spring 1829) – The apple trees are in blossom. The wheat is six or seven inches high and very promising, and the oats which Bill sowed are quite green. Cucumbers and onions are coming up in the open ground; asparagus in perfection, early potatoes just sprouting. My mosquito bites are still numerous – six active and eight dying away.

June 11 (Spring 1829) – Pleasantly warm again. After dinner I rode with Fanny through some of the most magnificent woods. Our business was to order some butter tubs to be made by a cooper who lives there. Fanny was startled to see a pedlar with his bag of drapery and little mahogony box in so wild a scene, but I believe no inhabited spot is beyond this class of adventure.

A few lines on an excursion to Lake Simcoe, July 1829.

Now Mr O’Brien has got into our canoe and paddled out to get a water lily which is spreading its beauty to be admired by the frogs. Now we get into the lake and make way. The Indians’ canoes cast off and I, casting my eyes on the water, see the whoe verdant carpeting of its bed – every leaf and insect distinct. Now I am attracted by the Indians on the bows who are singing in a rich soft voice a common psalm tune to Indian words.

The best part of any research is to read diaries from the time and while Mary’s journal is not connected to my own research I have enjoyed reading them for the vivid word pictures they paint.

Have a wonderful writing week, Elise x

Leave a comment

Filed under A Writer’s Notebook, Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

My Writing Journey

Finally finished my WIP (work-in-progress)! I have had time away from my blog and now look forward to writing it again each Sunday morning. I have put the finished novel aside and will re-visit it in a week or so. It’s amazing what fresh eyes pick up in the manuscript. The publisher who asked to see the finished novel has resigned from her position and kindly let me know. She is not working in publishing at the moment but I have a feeling she will return to it one day. I have an idea for a new story but not sure if I will pursue it. I have a busy three weeks coming up so time to enjoy the thinking stage of writing. I’ll let you know how it all goes. Have a good writing week, Elise x

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

Clara Reeve-Gothic Literature

Clara Reeve was born in Ipswich, England, in 1729, one of the eight children of Reverend Willian Reeve, M.A., Rector of Freston and of Kreson in Suffolk, and perpetual curate of St Nicholas. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother and sisters in Colchester. It was here that she first became an author, publishing a translation of a work by Barclay under the title of The Phoenix (1772). She was the author of several novels, of which only one is remembered: The Champion of Virtue, later known as The Old English Baron (1777), written in imitation of, or rivalry with, the Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, with which it has often been printed. The first edition under the title of The Old English Baron was dedicated to the daughter of Samuel Richardson, who is said to have helped Clara revise and correct the novel. Her novel noticeably influenced Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. She also wrote the epistolatory novel The School for Widows (1791). Her innovative history of prose fiction, The Progress of Romance (1785), can be regarded generally as a precursor to modern histories of the novel and specifically as upholding the tradition of female literary history heralded by Elizabeth Rowe (1674–1737) and Susannah Dobson, d. 1795. One of the stories in this work, ‘The History of Charoba, Queen of Egypt’, was the inspiration for Walter Savage Landor’s first major work Gebir. Clara Reeve  led a retired life, leaving very little biographical material. She died at Ipswitch,in 1807,  and was buried by her own direction in the churchyard of St. Stephens, next to her friend the Reverend Derby.   Clara Reeve, best known for her work The Old English Baron (1778), set out to take Walpole’s plot and adapt it to the demands of the time by balancing fantastic elements with 18th-century realism.

I wonder if Clara Reeve was in love with the Reverend Derby?

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

My Writing Journey

Literary Tip

Linking words help you to connect ideas and sentences, so that people can follow your ideas.

The most common way to give examples is by using:  ‘for example’ or ‘for instance’

Adding information

And, In addition, As well as, Also, Too, Furthermore, Moreover, Apart from, In addition to, Besides

Setting the Scene

Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.

No smoke came from the chimney and the little lattice windows gaped forlorn . . .

The drive wound away in front of me, twisting and turning as it had always done, but as I advanced I was aware that a change had come upon it: it was narrow and unkempt, not the drive that we had known . . .

Chapter 1 of Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.

This famous opening sets the scene immediately, it is disturbing, and starts to tell the story.  The reader can only wonder and turn the page. The storyline of this novel is bound up with the geographical setting of Cornwall, I can’t imagine it set in any other place. But the setting is there to serve the story. A story filled with dull people and a boring plot cannot be redeemed by an evocative setting.

Thanks for your emails, I hope to answer all of them eventually!

Good writing, Elise

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

The King and I – Musical at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Australia

The King and I: a wonderful, extravagant, beautiful, production opens in Melbourne on 12th of June in the magically Princess Theatre.

THE KING AND I returns to Melbourne with the first lady of Australian musical theatre, LISA McCUNE and internationally acclaimed actor JASON SCOTT LEE as the King of Siam.

Don’t miss this legendary production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I. A triple crown award winner: The Tony, the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle for Best Musical Revival, this dazzling show is a lavish and triumphant fresh new look at a time-honoured classic.

Hailed as ‘THE MOST RAVISHING SHOW YOU MAY EVER SEE ON BROADWAY’ when it opened in 1996, this multi-award winning production of THE KING AND I, was created in Australia and then conquered Broadway and London before touring the US and the UK.

It is a story of love and joy, set to one of the most glorious, unforgettable scores ever written, including Shall We Dance, I Whistle A Happy Tune, Hello Young Lovers, Getting To Know You, I Have Dreamed and Something Wonder

Leave a comment

Filed under What Elise Wrote

My Writing Journey

This week was strange. My writing didn’t flow earlier in the week. I was ready to leave the computer, walk to the top of a mountain and stay there. Somehow though the tangle of a chapter set in New Guinea in World War Two suddenly came to life. I am writing slowly what is for me a difficult chapter to write:  war from a male perspective, it’s not easy.  I guess writing never is. I lose myself in books and that is what I want my reader to do with my  writing. I don’t usually share my WIP but this morning it came to me that I should.

It was still dark. She rose and went to the sash window and listened to the wind blowing behind the cracked glass. She’d not noticed the pane needed replacing when they moved in and now the landlord was away at the Front she couldn’t ask him to replace it. She opened the window carefully, the sharp night air flowed into the room. It was very still outside, and rather lovely, the full moon cast stripes of light across the pavement, power poles merged with the shadows. Across the street, a light switched on suddenly, followed by the sound of a dog barking. Mr Bacon emerged a few minutes later and rode off on his bicycle, speeding around the corner onto Royal Avenue, late for his job in the city fruit markets. Cathy turned away and returned to the comfort of her feather mattress and pillow. It was cold even for July. She shivered and pulled the woolen blanket up round her chin. Sleepily she started to think about Dave, hoped he’d be home by the New Year. She would not think of Robert, she told herself. She closed her eyes. Halfway between wakefulness and sleep she rolled over, reached out and ran her fingers along the gilt edges of the Rossetti on her bedside table—all was right with the world—at least for tonight.

My novel is set in wartime Brisbane and Sydney and one chapter is set in Northern California. I particularly enjoyed researching the American chapter because the action takes place in a silvered wooden cabin near a river surrounded by pine forest. I hope my finished novel has a touch of magic about it.

On research

I wrote recently about research. I went to Brisbane with the intention of walking the city streets to get a feel of the city as it might have been in wartime. I saw the buildings and I walked the streets but found it hard to capture the past. I realise now it was because the city had changed so much in the last seventy years. I also did some research further away from the city.   I walked with a friend to a place that embodied the past; it was all around me. This was a more rewarding experience. I found I could put myself in my protagonists place, enter the world as it was then, live the life, know thoughts and feelings. Know truth.  I picked up a few pebbles and dust  from a grave, they now sit on a small enamelled dish from Hydra on my writing desk. The siren song of another story is calling.

Have a good writing week, Elise x

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

My Writing Journey

The end is in sight! This week I put all my chapters of my WP (work-in-progress) in the order they will be read in the finished novel. A couple of chapters are only a blank page at the moment. I have started to write one of these chapters and while it is only a paragraph it sets the scene. I also edited (again!) other chapters.   I read about Buchi Emecheta who brought up five children as a single mother (she had five children in six years) and left an abusive marriage when she was twenty-two. She held down a job and studied for a degree while writing. I haven’t read any of her books (she has written over twenty) but I intend to search them out; one inspirational person! I find the best way to write is to have a routine: write every day and not just when you can fit it in or feel like it. I was talking to a friend today about research. I recently visited Brisbane, Australia where part of my WIP is set. I walked around the streets and tried to soak up the atmosphere of over seventy years ago. I walked the streets and passed the buildings I have written about. One restaurant I mention in my novel is now in a mall. It helped in only a small way. I prefer to read texts written in the era I am writing about, and letters, and diaries, and books set in the period. I had more sense of atmosphere while researching my next project in the same city. The past was magically alive in the place I visited. But I have to put that project aside for now.

One of my favourite books in the world is Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

Chapter 18  Spring at the Creek

Here in Florida the seasons move in and out like nuns in soft clothing, making no rustle in their passing. It is common for me at least to fall on a certain kind of sunny day into a sort of amnesia. I think with a start, “What is the time of Year? Where was I yesterday? And is this May or October?”

Because time frightens me, and I see, like a lonely child, the maternal solace of timelessness, I plant only the evergreen shrubs and have no more than can be helped of the deciduous trees around me. All year the orange grove is luminous. The oleanders glisten. The palm trees shed the cold as blandly as the rain. Unless severe frost has struck them, the Turk’s-cap and hibiscus bear red lanterns day in, day out, to light the timid before the dark face of time. Only the pecan trees scattered through the grove shed their leaves in November and stand stripped and shivering until April. Strangers ask in winter, “What are the dead trees in the orange grove?” I bear with the sight of them for the sake of the harvest, When in spring the first feathery leaves appear and the gaunt grayness is misted with green, I draw a secret breath of relief, as though a danger were now over.

Published in 1943 I came by this book in the way of serendipity. On a blank page at the front of the book (I’m sure these pages have names of their own ) the previous owner of this book, Molly Palmer, a lady now passed away, (who came by the book  second-hand herself from The Victoria Lending Library in Ballarat)  has written:

A book I love because her philosophy is mine.

Have a great writing week, Elise

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

Mystery and Mirrors with Tabac Rouge

Ekaterina, I love this.

Ekaterina's Greek Expectations

Over Mother’s Day weekend my sister and I decided to treat Mama Ballerina Botziou to a night of “epic dream-like dance spectacles” with a performance of Tabac Rouge at Sadlers Wells Theatre.

View original post 293 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

A Lesson From Scarlett O’Hara

Scarlett O’Hara

Miss Modernist

Here is my published piece from Darling Magazine, “A Lesson From Scarlett O’Hara.” I illustrate the memorable confidence with which we, like Scarlett, must adorn ourselves… and frankly, my dear, I do give a damn, and you should too.

Follow me on Twitter @misscocomae for more literary goodies of greatness.

scarlett

View original post

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote

My Writing Journey

A busy week with three days away from my computer! This was a time to think and reflect on my WIP (work-in-progress). I decided to approach writing a particular chapter in a different way. It was by serendipity that I came across a story that will suit my own story very well. It will impart the same information but in a very different way. I was given a gift. This is one of the last chapters I have to write to finish my WIP. Of course as all writers do I have a story mulling around in my head for my next novel. The siren song of another story is often what waylays a writer but I will ignore my protagonist for the moment. I have visited the grave of the woman I am going to write about and I have a few pebbles from her grave, which is a very old one, on my writing desk.  I definitely felt a connection to her.  Her life was a sad one but also one that was, at times, full of hope. I have a rule that I don’t discuss my writing in any depth before I have finished the last line but I can say that it is a fabulous story.  I hope you enjoyed my previous post this morning. Oleg Oprisco is a photographer who has a soaring imagination. His photos encapsulate all the things I love: fantasy, a fairy tale and mythical element, and there lingers in his photographs something of his imagination and vision.  I have given the link at the bottom of my previous post to his Facebook page and website. ENJOY! Have a good writing week and thanks for being in touch, I have made wonderful friends through  this Blog,

Best, Elise

Leave a comment

Filed under Elise McCune, What Elise Wrote