Monday, December 31, 2007

Day 6 of 'I'm with the Band'

It's the last day of 2007 and I'm halfway through Twelve Days of 'I'm with the Band', my current work in progress.

We were going to go out tonight but the street party was cancelled due to bad weather. Instead we had sausages not cooked on the barbie. When we got to the supermarket this afternoon, the store was packed with holidaymakers who had cleared out the meat section - no chicken kebabs, no steak. I'll know better next year. It's been raining on and off all night but it's clear in Sydney so we'll have a nice firework show in approximately half an hour on TV.

I escaped from work early today - it was very quiet so I was able to use some flex.

My word count now stands at 76,132 words. (Zokotou doesn't want to play, so there's no word meter this evening). Another missing scene complete. I feel like my head is now completely in the story and I'm Write on Track again.
I have the day free tomorrow as it is New Year's Day and hope to start putting together a collage about this story as well as adding a few more scenes.
The only new year resolution I want to make is to WRITE EVERY DAY.

Every thing else I want to achieve will be set by goals, and I'll probably only set those a month at a time.

So my first goal for 2008, is to finish the first draft of 'I'm with the Band' within the remaining 6 days.

I'm really liking this 12 day technique. It's less than half the time of Nanowrimo and the focus can be on anything from writing, rewriting, editing, collaging - anything that will add to the current work in progress. So I don't feel guilty when I've spent the evening thinking about my characters, watching concerts or listening to music, reading newspaper articles or listening to interviews. It all adds up to thw whole. I'm pleased that I've taken this on and especially at this time of the year.
Well, it's nearly time for fireworks!

Happy New Year

May 2008 be wonderful!

Day 5 of 'I'm with the Band'

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter

74,228 / 90,000

Day 5 - yesterday.

Watched disc 1 of the Countdown Spectacular (no 1) to watch some old rockers try to regain their glory days. Interesting to note the ones that still had the voice and the moves, and the ones that will never recapture it again.

At last some new words added, and we're moving ahead. A missing scene starts to take shape. Enough of a start for me to continue on Day 6. But a migraine has stopped me from continuing and demanded an early night. All that Countdown?

Well, so much for the early night - that was the theory. In bed at 9pm, wide awake again (migraine gone) at 11.30pm. Knowing intellectually that I have to sleep, but my body and mind fighting me all the way. Not game enough to get out of bed and continue the scene because that will make me all awake and I have to work the next day. So thinking thoughts of sleep in between thoughts of the scene in progress.

Finally sleep visited again at about 1.30 am.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Day 4 of 'I'm with the Band'

Inching slowly forward with new writing, total word count now 73, 534 words.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
73,534 / 90,000

238 pages semi-edited with big chunks highlighted where I need to go back and rewrite.

If this toothache keeps up, then my main character will develop once soon.

Anyway, getting my head back into this manuscript means also getting my head back into the music that has inspired me.

This story has to be edited/written with the soundtrack of the 80's playing in my ear.

On the morning of Day 4, I also finished reading Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. Whoo- hee. Talk about sexual tension! When I finished it I went back and read the first chapter and the last chapter again to see how connects the two. Highlyrecommended - this is going on my keeper shelf.

Well that's the summary of Day 4, now I shall finish of the second half of day 5.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Day 3: I'm with the Band.

Day 3. That would be yesterday.

It started out well with me noticing that I was more present to the conversation happening in my head betweeen characters, than the conversation happening in real life.

But went downhill from there.

Shopping. Picked up a couple of bargains.

But was interrupted by food poisoning. Luckily the effects of that didnt last long and my digestive system dealt with it quickly.

But that was replaced by toothache last night and I can see that a trip to the dentist will be part of my New Year's Eve schedule.

Oh well, as Scarlett would say, 'Tomorrow is another day.'

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day 2: I'm with the Band

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
73,414 / 90,000

Today I've completed a shallow edit of around 60 pages.
Words removed. Words added. A net gain of 17 words!

It was a work day today so I haven't attempted new writing but have been concentrating on editing and getting my head fully back into the story.

And for research I've been listening to an interview with Alex Smith on ABC radio:

I'm not working tomorrow so on Day 3 there will be new words. And I'll try and work out what happened in the scene that I have one handwritten page of, finishing mid-sentence.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Day 1: I'm with the Band

The whole purpose of Nanowrimo is to move ahead with the words, switch off the inner critic and just plough along towards that 50,000 word goal.

Now that I'm trying to complete 'I'm with the Band', I'm not only trying to add words but I'm trying to refine and delete the unnecessary stuff. So in Nano terms today, I would be going backwards by losing words, but for Day 1 of my 12 days, I feel as if I have made some real progress.

My new word count is: 73,397

- the zokutu extended word counter could not cope with that, assuming that I had made a mistake and gave me this comment:

NB: You input a total word count below what you've previously written, so we've used that value as the amount you've written since you restarted writing.

Zokutu happily wants to give me a word count of 148,020 words. Ha!

so I won't try to confuse the meter by putting in the previous word count:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
73,397 / 90,000

I've moved 3080 words out of this manuscript and into a new file called 'Backstory' because it is backstory. Some of it can go back in at some point but not as the huge chunks of info that are in this file. And I've written (or rearranged) 1491 new words.

The important stuff is still there. The mystery deposit into the bank account, the intro to the band, Kat's Things to Do before I die list (and a bit of thought process for each item on the list), catching up with her former best friend Maddie.

Instead of the first gig of the band happening on page 26, it now takes place on page 20 so we get into the action a lot quicker. I'm still concerned that I don't start with a significant event but Stu is still being cowardly and just leaving a note when he walks out on the marriage.

The original story started with this:

'It was never meant to end like this. All the divorces I'd heard of...all the relationship breakdowns...all had been brought to an abrupt conclusion by the final straw, an argument, a disagreement that had been running like an undercurrent throughout the relationship, occasionally bobbing up, creating a commotion, before submerging again.

But this was different. There were no arguments. No major event. It just fizzled out and he was gone. A note left. That told me nothing. No forwarding address. No contact details. After twelve years together.'

Now it starts with:

'If only I’d married Alex, everything would have been different. But he was just a poster on my wall. The voice booming from my record player. My idol. My rock god.

Instead I’d married Stu. Good old dependable Stu. Boring Stuart Simpson. Predictable Stu.'

Now I'm happily calling it a day, with a net loss of words but a clearer direction for the beginning of the story. I'm working tomorrow and I've been sneezing most of the afternoon so I better get a decent night's sleep. But I can't help wondering if there are any writers out there who never have to change the beginning of their story.

Twelve Days of 'I'm with the Band'

I've been inspired by Jenny Crusie and her technique of focusing for twelve days on a work in progress. Anything that will keep the procrastination demon locked in his cage, and has a finite goal at the end of it.

So I announce that the next 12 days I will be focusing on completing the first draft of I'm with the Band. It will be like a mini tour! As this 12 days includes 7 days that I don't need to be at my day job, it is an ideal tiime to focus on it. It will take me up to the 7th January, and I imagine will be a great way to kick off 2008!

I've read the story so far, completed an outline of what's written and what's missing, and in my hunt for this information through a variety of notebooks, I've discovered one hand-written page of this story that stops mid-sentence. It doesn't even seem to start at the beginning of a scene, and as the next page goes into a scene from Diary of the Future, there must be pages missing from this scene. So it look like I will be rewriting these scenes. But it's very frustrating knowing that there was handwritten stuff out there somewhere which didn't make it into any computer version of the story. I must get more organised and dedicate an indiviual notebook to each work in progress.

The current word count is 74,843 words. The word count is going to fluctuate as I will be cutting words as well as adding words but I envision that the entire first draft will be around 90,000 words.

So here goes: Day 1 of I'm with the Band

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
74,843 / 90,000

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I'm in a post Christmas lunch stupor at the moment. The presents are opened, the food has been eaten and now we're just relaxing.
It's been a mild Christmad day with a touch of rain, so we had the full trimmings of roast chicken and veggies for lunch, plus some slices of ham and turkey, and we'll have meat leftovers tonight with salad. And best news is that I don't have to go back to work until Thursday.

Dorkus the cat (above) bought me a very appropriate present (of course, he had a little help from me).

It's a book called You Know You're a Writer When... by Adair Lara.

Here are some examples:
'After your book is rejected, you fire off a 4,000 word email to your friends vowing to never write another word.'

'Something bad happens to your friend and you're glad she's not a writer, so you can use it.'


'You go to bed at night and it's not your own problems that keep you awake, but those of your characters. How will Clarissa get her letters back before the wife of her married lover publishes them in the newspaper?'

Very appropriate book and I will enjoy reading the rest of it.

Dorkus was also very impressed with present. A toy mouse that squeaks when he touches it. He's already thrown it around the room several times.

I received a 'keeper' copy of The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan (someone paid attention to my wish list), the second series of Dead Like Me on DVD, a book on digital photography, a nice framed photo of my very cute nephew, and a cute little blue bag with bamboo handles.
All in all, a nice relaxing Christmas!
Hope your Christmas is as nice.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Returning to I'm with the Band

I haven't got the hang of re-drafting yet. I start panicking, ending up with too many versions of the one scene and never quite working out which one to use or which one I've been editing. I have to focus and get better at this or I will never reach my goal of being published.

So I read the hard copy of I'm with the Band, but it's very possible that there are more scenes than what is in those pages. I need to do a skim through the most recent version and write an outline of what I already have. So I started going through my writing folders and found a document titled 'I'm with the Band Story Notes.' Wow! I'm more organised than I thought. This has a line or paragraph on each of the missing scenes plus the new opening (well two paragraphs of it, but it's a start!). So I shall now skim the latest version and insert the missing scenes into the outline. Then I shall keep writing. I need to give Kat and Matt (have to change the name because they rhyme) a suitable outcome.

One thing I like about this particular work in progress is that it gives me the excuse to listen to Moving Pictures really loud. Seeing the acoustic tour and meeting Alex Smith again in 2005 gave me the inspiration for the novel as I wanted to capture the feeling of being 17 again. And that's the feeling that my heroine Kat also wants to capture.
So here again for your amusement is the photo of me and Alex when I was 17, at Birkenhead Point

and then me and Alex again in 2005 at Coffs Harbour.

Same pose. No reference to the first photo. 21 years apart.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

3 more sleeps

It's that time of the year again. The time when Dorkus dons a Santa hat, much to his disgust and we count down the number of sleeps to Christmas.
3 to go until we can unwrap the pile of presents under the tree. Amazingly, Dorkus hasn't tried to unwrap the presents already, and hasn't even tried to climb the tree this year. Perhaps he's over Christmas!
I've spent way too long on the computer today - too much time on Facebook (very addictive) and too much time on Stumbleupon. Many of the sites I 'stumbled upon' today made me laugh out loud. And not just 'LOL' which I rarely believe anyway!
I've been reading The Joy of Writing Sex which I bought a couple of weeks ago on ebay, plus Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie, plus my incomplete manuscript 'I'm with the band' and I also have a friend's manuscript to read, so its time to get off the computer and do some reading.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Housework is bad for your health!

Housework is now banned as far as I'm concerned after I ruptured a tendon in my middle finger making the bed. It seems funny that I can do so much damage with such a simple task but it's not a joke. My finger is in a splint and I'm typing with three fingers of my left hand. The doctor is talking specialists and micro-surgery and I'm a bit freaked out! I was just making the bed.

The upside of this is that I've spent a lot of time waiting in the doctor's surgery, waiting for x-rays so I've been reading my unfinished manuscript, I'm with the Band. It has a lot of potential - the beginning needs rewriting as it took me a while to find the story, but I really like the story, so it's time that I gave Kat a fitting ending. It's suprising what a bit of time and distance can do when you reread your writing.

The weekend was great - well up until the point on Sunday night when I stupidly decided to remake the bed - and I caught up with aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, brother and sister. Lots of family! But this weekend will be catch-up on relaxation and preparation for Christmas. Blink and we'll already be in 2008!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Replenishing the well of creativity

I'm in Nanowrimo recovery mode now. I haven't written for a week although I'm likely to return to it within the next day or so.

So to replenish my well of creativity, I have been reading. First up, The Mag Hags, a young adult novel by Lollie Barr.

This transported me back to my days of school, feeling on the outer of the in crowd, but never actually wanting to be one of them, and finding my way through adolescence. I used to do a lot of writing then, but when I reached uni I stopped creative and journal writing and became an essay factory instead.

Over the last few days, I have read Alice in La La Land by Sophie Lee.

I wasn't expecting much of this novel as Sophie is foremost known as an actor, and this is her debut novel. I picked it up more out of curiosity than anything else as I had met Sophie a long time ago in a former life as a box office manager and she was supposed to be at the last Byron Bay Writers Festival but pulled out when one of her children fell ill. . But Sophie can write, and she hooked me into Alice's life and attempts at an acting career in Los Angeles. She expressed a lot about acting and the continuous cycle of rejection and its effect on self esteem which I recognised when I tried to move from amateur acting into auditions for several drama schools at the end of my high school life. I'm so glad that I came to my senses and did not pursue that particular dream.

Also watching movies and television. Firstly, Death at a Funeral at the cinema. A very rare and funny treat, but what else can I expect from Frank Oz? I watched the first episode of Dexter - I think I will be enjoying this one, caught a repeat of the pilot episode of Six Feet Under - that was such a good show! And today I watched 4 episodes of American Gothic - not sure how I missed that one on TV.
In between, I've almost completed my christmas shopping ready for a trip to Newcastle for an extended family Christmas party next weekend. I haven't made it to one of these for many years because I live hundreds of miles away, so it should be fun to catch up with all the various aunts, uncles, niece, nephews, cousins etc.

So the creative well is filling again, and I'm making a list of writing tasks I need to fill in the next twelve months or so.

1. Finish Beyond Happily Ever After first draft (poor Cinderella is still on her honeymoon, and it certainly doesn't feel like one)
2. Finish editing/rewriting Diary of the Future and submit!

3. Finish first draft of I'm with the Band.

4. Finish editing/rewriting Making the Cut. And this will mean making the cut myself of around 8,000 words.

5. Keep creating new collage poems for anthology next year.

6. Short story for writers group competition.

7. Create chickollage website - I have the domain but I haven't created the site yet.

8. Add more products to Chickollage Cafepress shop.

9. Add more products to zazzle shop - this one has only just started.

10. Establish critique partnership (must send in RWA application form)

As usual the plate is full, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I've won!

Oops she did it again. But this year, it was actually a marathon, or an endless series of sprints to make it to the finish line. Buoyed on by a cheering squad of RWA Nano participants, and word wars with Di in Canberra, I have made it over the finish line with a word count of 50,068 and 13 minutes to spare. Whoa! That was close. And to make it across the line, I wrote an incredible 6416 words today.

That's what I get for having days with no word count. I know I had a late start on Nanowrimo this year because I was working on another project, but zero word count days are naughty once I started . And when they happened I lost momentum.

The story is yet to be finished. This is where I have stopped for Nano....

So that was it? That’s what they called sex? Cinderella looked at the back of her snoring husband and wondered what all the fuss was about.

I'm not sure how much longer it will take to finish the story and I won't be finishing it tomorrow! My hands and arms and shoulders and eyes and brain all need a rest. Sleep! Sounds like heaven. And then after that it will be part-ay time! It's the end of year work bash, and I don't have to drive to it, so it's time to have fun. November just finished with impeccable timing.