Tag Archives: words

My Writing Journey

I continue the re-writing of my WIP (work-in-progress) and some chapters are now second or third drafts.  I have decided to cut my  point of view characters from four to three or possibly two. I will let you know how I go with it next week.  My novel follows a duel narrative structure which gives texture and depth to my story, ensuring the reader never tires of the one storyline. Both narratives are written in the third person but there is always the option to write one in the first person although it is not something I plan to do. I haven’t heard from the editor who has my manuscript From the Heart.

Have you read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran? AE George Russell wrote:

‘I do not think the East has spoken with so beautiful a voice since the Gitanjali of Rabindranath Tagore as in The Prophet of Kahlil Gibran, who is artist as well as poet. I have not seen for years a book more beautiful in its thought, and when reading it I understand better than ever before what Socrates meant in the Banquet when he spoke of the beauty of thought which exercises a deeper enchantment than the beauty of form . . . I could quote from every page, and from every page I could find some beautiful and liberating thought.’

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

(Part of the verse on marriage)

Have a good writing week,  Elise

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My Writing Journey

This past week, I spent some days writing, some days editing and some days with my family. I have made progress since I printed out the whole manuscript of my WIP (work-in-progress) of course not as much as I would have liked. I’ve had no word from the publisher who is going to read ‘My from the Heart’ manuscript but I’m confident she will get to it eventually.

Cliche’s to avoid in writing:   A single tear that runs or trickles down someone’s face, the character who is ‘worried sick’,  anytime the ’chips are down’, anything ‘on the brink’ of something, anyone who ‘takes pride’, is ‘bored to tears’, or anything/anyone who ‘lurks’ , I once wrote about shadows lurking in the corner of a room!

There are hundreds of cliches and because a lot of them are from the twentieth century or earlier they sound old-fashioned; it’s best to avoid them in dialogue, although one or two might add colour and ‘set the scene’.

Enjoy your writing week,



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My Writing Journey

I finished the nearly last chapter of my WIP (work-in-progress). It is set in Northern California and I enjoyed the research for this chapter. I read about mushrooms and pine forests and crawfish and violet-green sparrows. It was a joy to write. I will leave that chapter now and come back to it in a few weeks to edit it several more times. Because my WIP is a time split novel I have chapters set in different time periods and I also move my characters around: different states in Australia and the one set in Northern California. Today I worked on a chapter set in 1968. My protagonist is a journalist, recently returned from Vietnam. I love reading a story with a twist in the tale and my WIP has exactly that. It takes time to plot and even then I sometimes change what I plotted in my outline. Such is a writer’s journey!

A  librarian friend, recently  in Paris, visited Shakespeare and Co and sent me a picture postcard of the bookshop. I am envious of the few hours she spent browsing there. She explained that one has to queue for entry as the bookshop would be overrun with people, locals and visitors from all around the world, otherwise.  The postcard she sent me is one I will keep.

As a writer do you hear the siren song of what you may write in the future? I do and it’s hard not to put pen to paper (read fingers to keyboard). A short story I started a few weeks ago hasn’t progressed further. It seems I am the type of writer who must finish one thing before I start another. The idea is there, fermenting, waiting for the right time. I need to research this story but I haven’t decided if I’m  going to finish it. But the protagonist is insistent and demanding so perhaps I will write her story.

Good writing, Elise

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My Writing Journey

A busy week with a writers group workshop and working on my WIP. I have particularly enjoyed re-working my Northern California chapter. I love research and the area I have set my story in is particularly beautiful. I will finish editing this chapter today. So not a lot to write about re my own writing as I have my head down and my fingers are typing as fast as they can. The main thing is that I have written or edited something everyday so as not to get away from my story.

An excerpt:   It was a place where a hundred generations of feet had padded across the soft brown pine needles. She imagined gold-bearing rocks beside dry trails, meadows and wild bees and the smell of wood-smoke laced with maple branches.

I like the way Americans call pastures ‘meadows’  and small towns ‘villages’ part of their English heritage I guess.  I was wondering if Americans use the word ‘pastures’  as well? Perhaps one of my American readers could let me know and also do you ever use the word ’track’ rather than ’trail’?

As promised some more thoughts about Aprons

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids, And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms,

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brown, bent over the hot wood stove, Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron, From the garden, it carried all sort of vegetables, After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls, In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees, When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds, When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes. REMEMBER  Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don’t think anyone ever caught anything from an apron but love.


When she was searching for inspiration, she would study drawings sent to her by fans, sit on the floor and sift through personal photographs or walk outside to listen to mockingbirds. ‘Their melody is important to my work and life here,’ she said in a 1973 documentary. ‘I want my writing to levitate.’ Sometimes, she would bring a hand-held tape recorder to capture their songs. If all else failed, she would swim.

Have a good writing week, Elise

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Anais Nin Reads from her Diary

Click below to hear Anais Nin read from her journal.


I have a collection of books written by Anais Nin collected over the last thirty years including her journals.

Anaïs Nin (Spanish: ana’is ’nin; born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell, February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an American author born to Spanish-Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She published journals(which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and erotica. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously.

“I am the most tired woman in the world. I am tired when I get up. Life requires an effort I cannot make. Please give me that heavy book. I need to put something heavy like that on top of my head. I have to place my feet under the pillows always, so as to be able to stay on earth. Otherwise I feel myself going away, going away at a tremendous speed, on account of my lightness. I know that I am dead. As soon as I utter a phrase my sincerity dies, becomes a lie whose coldness chills me. Don’t say anything, because I see that you understand me, and I am afraid of your understanding. I have such a fear of finding another like myself, and such a desire to find one! I am so utterly lonely, but I also have such a fear that my isolation be broken through, and I no longer be the head and ruler of my universe. I am in great terror of your understanding by which you penetrate into my world; and then I stand revealed and I have to share my kingdom with you.”

Anais Nin

Photo Carl van Vechten (1880-1964)

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My Writing Journey

As promised the next verse of The Song of Wandering Aengus  by William Butler Yeates:

When I had laid it on the floor I went to blow the fire a-flame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And some one called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Aengus, patron diety of young women and men,  was the Celtic god of love, beauty  and of youth. His words were as sweet as honey, attracting bees and birds. He fell deeply in love with a beautiful girl he saw in a dream and passed through many trials, including turning himself into a swan, to win her love. The poet William Butler Yeats immortalised his search in  The Song of Wandering Aengus, a song based on the Celtic folktale.

Next week I will give you the last verse of the song and I will write why the song is one of enchantment for me.

This past week has been busy with Christmas celebrations. I did not write a new chapter for my WIP as I had planned, instead I edited and  researched earlier chapters. I also decided to write a short story about an interesting true life happening that I read about some years ago. I might not love the story enough to write a novel about it! If the short story is all I hope it will be I will then decide if I want to develop it further. I won’t discuss it as I find other people’s opinions can sometimes influence a writer’s perception of a story in the early writing stage.  This coming week is also a busy one with New Year’s celebrations. I will endevour to write the new chapter of my WIP.  It’s the last chapter (with a few chapters in the middle to write) and I can’t wait to read it when it’s finished! I am more than happy to email you privately if you have any questions regarding writing that I don’t cover in my blog. I always answer comments and have been in touch by email with people who have written to me, it’s great to correspond with people from all over the world.   Every happiness for the New Year to you and your loved ones and I wish you lots of good writing, best, Elise



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My Writing Journey

This week I edited some early chapters and found it rewarding. I connected to my characters in their younger years. I spent a lot of time re-writing sentences and improving the flow. Tomorrow (Sunday) I will start a new chapter. I have the outline but I read somewhere that a first draft is like pushing a pea up a hill with your nose! True indeed. Christmas is once again upon us. I love this time of year but if possible pause and think about someone you might know who will be alone on Christmas Day. Invite them to your Christmas gathering or take a small gift on Christmas morning so they know they are not forgotten. Christmas Day can be lonely for many people. We don’t have to be blood relatives to be family. Friends can be  family. Sometimes the very best kind of family to have.

A favourite poem (song) is ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’  by William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in the stream

And caught a little silver trout.

This is the first verse and it gets better! I will copy the second verse for you next week.

I have always enjoyed reading fairytales and a favourite on my bookshelf  is ’The Crock of Gold’  by James Stephens, with twelve illustrations in colour and decorative headings and tailpieces by Thomas Mackenzie. It was first published by Macmillan & Co. in 1912. My copy was first published by Macmillan Publishers   in 1980. This book is one of the Macmillan Facsimile Classics Series . It is a beautiful collection of favourite illustrated classics that had long been unavailable in their original format. The books have distinctive gold or silver blocked jackets, (my copy is gold) and coloured tops and headbands. ‘The Crock of Gold’ is one of the great novels of the Irish Literary Renaissance, a unique work of fantasy and imagination that has long been a classic.


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My Writing Journey

Happy Christmastide to all my Followers and to the people who might stray to this site over the holiday period.

This week I put my head down and my fingers to the keyboard and wrote about 4000 words. I was pleased with this but it could be improved! I spent yesterday sorting out a chapter that I had the outline for but had dumped lots of information in to from other sources. I had to sort it all out before I started writing. It is in order now and I’m pleased  how this chapter is is progressing. I had a thought about my first two chapters after reading them again. I might swap them around. I will have to get a considered view on this from a writing friend (after Christmas). It was how I originally thought they would be placed in the finished novel. I’ll let you know what I decide. Today (Sunday) I will write this morning. I hope to do 1000 words which if I can do each day between now and the end of the year will give me a first draft. This will make me HAPPY! Some days I will not do any writing due to Christmas commitments but I will make sure to read from my draft on the days off. This will keep me in the story. Must away to have breakfast and get ready for the day. Good writing and reading (hope you get lots of books for Christmas presents) Elise

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My Writing Journey

This week I wrote each day. I am pleased with the progress I have made on my WIP (work-in-progress). There are nineteen chapters (at the moment) and the story I outlined in January is closer to completion. I have edited about half the chapters, have one to finish, and one that might be deleted or changed in some way. The outline I wrote has been helpful in finding my way to this point. I hope to have the completed first draft of the novel finished by the end of this year and in January I will do a final edit. Christmas celebrations with my family and friends will slow the writing down. When the final draft is finished I will send it to the publisher in early February and keep my fingers crossed.  I will then work on the television proposal with Dave Sabben. The siren song of another story is calling me although I am not sure if this will be the one I will write. The story will be set in Australia (as part of my WIP is) and will not be a time-split novel (as my WIP is) but set in one historical period. It will be based on a true story that I came across some years ago. The story have stayed with me since this time. I will need to research the historical facts and also visit the area where the story is set to take photographs and visit dwellings. I won’t discuss the story itself as I don’t want anyone to influence how I go about writing this story. Once I start the writing of it I will document my journey here.  I will take  several empty notebooks  with me when I travel. I have six large notebooks of notes for my WIP. I don’t look at them I am writing but I will skim through them when I finish the final draft in case some gem of forgotten information is hidden there that I can use. When I start my research I read widely from contemporary diaries and novels and biographies set in the period. It is a constructive period of osmosis and the information surfaces as needed when I am writing.  Someone once said (Lytton Strachey?) that they needed three lives: one for leisure and friends and family, one for reading, and one for writing, how true! Good writing to everyone…Best, Elise

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My Writing Journey

I progressed with my WIP (work-in-progress) this week. Not as far along the journey as I would have liked and good intentions were lost due to unexpected family commitments.  I find the first draft the most difficult (as I am sure most writers do). I planned each chapter before I started and this helped. Of course  I veer off the path and change some of my original ideas. They go out the window if they don’t move the story forward. I’m  hoping to finish the first draft by the end of the year. Because I have the outline I can work on chapters in any order.  Writing is my priority. I plan my day to suit my writing and not the other way around. If you want to write why watch television?  Switch it off! Why do you need to do a million other things and fit writing around them? I know someone who goes overseas and writes for two weeks a year. That suits him but he’ll never finish the novel he is working on. That we need a balanced life is true, time for friends and family and exercise and reading. It’s  not difficult to put aside an hour a day to write. That means seven hours a week. Write five hundred words a day and it soon adds up. More importantly it becomes a habit. A problem for a lot of writers is the Internet; research outside writing time.  Check emails twice daily. If you are on Facebook or Twitter (or both) look at them once a day.   Each week for the next few  Sundays, as well as a progress report on my WIP I’ll give you a route map for your book. Lots of helpful writing tips, hopefully I’ll  re-absorb some of these tips myself!  Nothing has happened with the television proposal. It’s  the time of the year when the publishing industry slows down with people taking holidays and Christmas celebrations and parties coming to the fore. Dave Sabben, my co-author, is on his way to Vietnam and will be away  for a week. He was one of the commanders at the Battle of Long Tan and he will be doing a real-time battlefield tour with a group of cadets.  His first novel is  Through Enemy Eyes’ a ‘faction’ story where the ‘fiction’ is in the characters of the VC and NVA leaders but as much as possible of the rest of the story is fact. Currently in its second print. He is also one of the seven contributing authors to The Battle of Long Tan as told by the Commanders to Bob Grandin a factual account of the battle. The book went into a reprint within 12 months of its release. Currently in its fourth print. Good writing to everyone, I’m going to have a coffee and get back to my WIP, Cheers Elise


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