Friday, September 29, 2006

Back with the band

I'm back with the band! Or should I say that Kat's back with the band and I'm going to finish telling her story. I've been spending some time on it the last few days, wrote 7 pages and then realised I couldn't continue without knowing the ending. And I think, after much contemplation, I've worked out what I need to do. I was concentrating too much on the point I've reached, the end of the tour, and Kat's life beyond that. Thinking there's another 20,000 words before we come to a satisfactory conclusion. This was clouding my mind, obscuring the gaps that were already waiting to be filled in the middle of the story.

It's the gap that needs to be filled because there are a still a few things on Kat's list that need to be done during this time, plus she needs to sort out her deadbeat husband, and then Kat's story can end approximately a week after the tour -- at the airport when she farewells her rock god.

So the music is back on, nice and loud to get me back in the mood. And now I declare my goal for the next two weeks: finish it!

I signed up to the pre-launch of exlinks. Hope my ex's aren't really on it! Don't want to be bumping into them online. Not sure what it's all about but it is affiliated with BlogMad. If you want to sign up, here's a link:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Characters will die!

This t-shirt sums up how I've been feeling over the past couple of weeks. Be warned! Characters will die! But none of my favourites - sometimes I wish I could just go and hang out with them.

Like the t-shirt? There are more like it at Real Writer. Check it out!

So, a question for the writers who read the blog: Have you done it? Killed someone off in a novel as method of making yourself feel better in real life? Aah! Revenge - it's even sweeter when there's no chance of going to jail.

When I was 15, I wrote a play about a mad scientist. I didn't know how to end it, so I just killed everyone off, including the mad scientist. Several years later, I rewrote it as an adult play. The second time, I must've had more compassion, as the android and the documentary maker were both still alive at the end. (Well, as alive as an android can be.)

But I must be crazy. I signed up for a First Draft workshop and haven't written anything. (Real life took over). But I have another week to go of the workshop(and I'm on holidays) so the aim is to finish the first draft of 'I'm with the Band'. I plan to do Nanowrimo again, and have no idea what I will be writing about. Maybe I'll come up with something by November. Or maybe I won't - and I'll just wing it. I'm still editing Making the Cut. I will be sending the Collage Diary to the printer this week. And I've been uploading more and more designs to the Chickollage shop. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Well you know what they say about busy people? And I know if I tried to stay home and be a full-time writer, nothing would get written. The only way to do it is to put the pressure on myself through external motivation, cheer squads, publicly announced goals. It's the only way for me to produce the goods.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The loss of the legends

We lost four Australian legends in the past 10 days or so:

  • first, the political legend - Don Chipp, founder of the Democrat party, 'to keep the bastards honest'
  • the literary legend, Colin Thiele, author of Storm Boy,
  • most recently, the racing legend, Peter Brock,
  • and most famously, the Crocodile Hunter legend, Steve Irwin.

It is Steve Irwin's death that has affected everybody, because he was so well-known to both kids and adults the world over.

I started thinking about why the death of a person who I had never met, had affected me and others so much:

1. It is a reminder of our own mortality. Eventually we will all shuffle off the mortal coil, but it was never expected that Steve would shuffle off so soon. Not that he was ever expected to shuffle - he escaped so many deadly situations, and he moved so fast on land, he seemed invincible. But back to our own mortality. Many of us don't grapple with the concept of our own mortality too often. I've thought about it many times - first when I woke in intensive care after a major car accident at the age of 20, and again, about 9 years ago, when my mother passed away. We're not invincible and we need to make the most of every day which includes being kind to the people we love.

2. The Children. Steve Irwin left behind young children and this breaks my heart. Bindi lived for her father and to have a man of his energy and enthusiasm so suddenly ripped from her life, will leave a gaping hole behind. And as she grows older she will blame him, she will blame herself until she finally comes to term with it. And little Bob - what will he remember of his father? There'll probably be no real memories for him as he is so young, just a kaliedoscope of pieces of memory mixed with video footage, photos and anecdotes from those old enough to remember Steve. And in the end he won't be able to distinguish his own memories of his father from the video tape or anecdotes.

3. It drags our own grieving back to the surface. In the end, we are not grieving for a famous person that we never knew -- we are grieving for our own losses. We are grieving for the father we never had, we are grieving for the partner we lost or the partner we will lose in years to come. Steve Irwin's death becomes personal because our sub-conscious makes it personal. After all, we are human and none of us are immune to grief.

So, they are my reasons as to why I was so affected this week by Steve Irwin's death. I'm sure that these reasons are shared by many.

But apparently not Germaine Greer. Like a vulture picking over a corpse, she chose this moment to attack Steve Irwin, trying to grab some headlines for herself, unable to face the fact that she is becoming increasingly irrelevant as time goes on. What a sad old cow. John Birmingham wrote an article for The Australian in response to her words. It's worth a read.

The other annoying thing is all the people on ebay trying to cash in on Steve Irwin's death. Flogging the Aussie papers which cost $1 or $2 for $50. Flogging their autographed photos, shirts, merchandise etc for a cheap buck. One of my prized possessions is an autographed copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I met Douglas Adams at a literary luncheon in Sydney when he was promoting Long Time No See - his book about endangered species. He was very funny in person, and I will treasure that book always. Occasionally, I've cleared out my book shelves and offloaded them on Ebay, but that book will never be sold. His death was a loss to the humourous sci-fi world, and to the universe.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

September already?

I'm being hassled by Hasslebot. (thanks to WriteStuff for the link) They keep sending me emails reminding me to Get Back to Bilby Creek and edit my novel. At least the emails make more sense to me than most of the spam I receive. If you want to set up our own hassles, visit the website.

But I cannot reply to the emails with an excuse. And yes, I do have one - until this week. I've been working on a Collage Poetry Diary for 2007 on behalf of the Nambucca Valley Writers' Group. The diary is called Ransom Notes, and includes 12 collage poems in full colour, plus flash fiction, haiku, quotations and, as the title gives away, ransom notes. I've spent the last two weeks compiling the diary, putting together all those finicky little calendars, holiday dates (thank god for the internet) and it is now ready for a prototype print, before we enter the production phase.

I have announced a competition to write ransom notes and win a copy of the diary on my other blog. Visit Chickollage for details.

So now that most of my work for the diary is complete, I can return to Bilby Creek. I can't believe it is September already!!! Less than 2 months to Nanowrimo. Where is this year going? I need to get moving if I'm going to finish editing this one, query it, and start writing another one in November.

On Saturday I will be taking a 'Writing Funny' workshop with author Bruno Bouchet. I'm looking forward to it - I find that most workshops I attend are inspiring and get me into the writing mood.

One drawback I have found to immersing myself in editing: I am reading with a critical eye, and I'm finding it difficult to turn off the internal editor. Perhaps I'm doomed to read like that forever, but I will need to send the editor on a vacation when I start Nanowrimo again. I don't want to fuss about which word is the right word when I am trying to write 50,000 in 30 days!

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