Monday, March 31, 2008

Gardening and writing

Every time I pick up a tomato and cut it open now, I despair that I failed horticulture miserably. You don't know what you are getting anymore. The tomato might look fine on the outside (although that seems to be pretty rare) but on the inside....ugh, another wasted vegetable in the bin.

I went to an agricultural school. I learned how to milk cows. My father grew vegetables. Why did I pay so little attention? Was it because I always was escaping to fantasy worlds?I was transported by the written word to places that I could only dream of, places that only lived in my imagination.

I am a gardener. Just a different sort.

I plant the seeds deep in my subconscious. Sometimes the seeds have floated in on the wind, and I'm not even aware that they have landed in my garden bed and implanted themselves into the soil until the first sprout of an idea. I fertilise the idea with characters, settings - turn it around in my subconscious until it starts emerging from my imagination as a scene or a story. Other times, I am conscious of the seed appearing, and I may even brainstorm it, picking the right conditions for the seed to flourish and become a story.

So I have chosen to be a gardener of stories and I enjoy it. Enjoy the whole imaginative process from the time that the seed is planted to when it emerges as a beautiful flower or tree. Yes, it's hard work. But I can see something as a result - a product of the labour. I may not be able to eat it, but I can savour the writing, enjoy it, share it with others.

Growing tomatos, on the other hand, looks like hard work. And once the tomato is eaten, it's gone.

So the current patch of ground is Beyond Happily Ever After and the story is growing:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
52,491 / 60,000

Soon I hope it will blossom.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What's in a name?

Yesterday was the first day that I didn't write at least 100 words. I wrote 91 words and these were words added while I transcribed my longhand onto the computer. But as 'I'm with the Band' is nearly finished (at over 100k), I need to work out where the missing pieces are. So I started a spreadsheet to record the details of each scene. Still working on the writing just in a different way.

This morning I woke up with the characters of Kirsty and Luke in my head from the film festival novel, Making the Cut. So already I've written two scenes with them, the first of which will insert somehow into the existing first chapter so that antagonist and hero are introduced early on. The only thing that concerns me is that the majority of the story is told from the point of view of the heroine, except for the scenes with Elizabeth, Bilby Creek's matriarch, and these new scenes are from Luke's point of view. Which means that I will probably have to rewrite some later scenes from Luke's POV. (I need to CUT words not ADD words). Anyway, my renewed and sudden passion for this story means that the first three chapters should be rewritten very soon and submitted.

So far, it's been a really good Easter weekend. It's just me and the cat. And Thursday night I watched a Clark Gable movie Comrade X, which I hadn't seen before. It was a movie made in 1940 so he's in prime and he's hot! I followed that up Friday morning with Homecoming. In this one he was a little older (made in 1948) but still it was nice to watch two of his movies that I hadn't seen before. Of course, I saw Gone with the Wind when I was 13 and have liked him ever since. It doesn't matter to me that he is always Clark Gable no matter what role he plays.

I've also reached the point where I need to change the names in 'I'm with the Band'. I cannot possibly have a couple named Kat and Matt, and another couple Maddie and Freddie. It wasn't purposeful, it just happened that way. Plus the band name needs to change as well. So I've been playing around on some generators on the web: Rate my Band, Band Name Maker plus others. At the moment, Eloquent Beast is sounding good to me for the name of the band. Names may change to Nelson (for Freddie, because he's a bit pretentious and probably renamed himself), and Jake instead of Matt. And perhaps the singer will change to Ben. I find naming male characters very difficult. Common names are too common and I will come up with a name and then think of someone I know with that name and dismiss it. Uncommon names or unusual names often seem too pretentious or 'soap-opera-style' and often position the character in the wrong age group. Mind you, I have no problems using these names for minor characters: I have one sleazy guy in I'm with the Band called 'Hunter' and he is definitely on the hunt. Still, progress is being made and that's all that matters.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I've been busy writing....

Well, I finished Book in a Week with 7639 words - not quite the 10k target I wanted but at 76% I'm very happy with that and I think I only have three scenes to write of 'I'm with the Band' and the first draft is finished. The total word count is now over 99k and the zokutu word meter is still not updating!

Happily, I have written the final scene, so I know exactly where everything's heading and there should be no deviations or wild tangents.

Considering I gave up caffeine the same week as the BIAW, I think I did very well, and I'm sure that my health will be better for it. I've gone past the stage of caffeine headaches but this week, I had a major sore throat and ended up having a day off work, and then a day on alternative duties (i.e. non-speaking) when I returned. Today I had a pesky migraine but I'm starting to feel better now, especially as the next two weeks are four day weeks, thanks to Easter, and then I have a week off to write and edit to my heart's content.

I joined the 100 words a day challenge which started on 1 March and I have written every day since (which sometimes doesn't even happen during Nanowrimo). It's a habit that I do want to instill every day so while some times it has meant taking my notebook to bed and scribbling out the minimum before turning off the lights, my minimum word count any day so far has been 132 words. Haven't written anything so far today and I'm not counting blog posts.

I'm really enjoying watching Dexter at the moment. It is such an intriguing show and Michael C Hall does such a fantastic job in making the audience complicit with his actions. I've reserved the novel from my library - it will make an interesting read. Meanwhile the entire first series will replay on Austar on Easter Monday. Can't think of a better way of spending it. Dexter and Easter Eggs!

I also got a new mobile phone and an ipod last week. While the mobile phone is purely functionary and I really cannot be bothered playing around with all the extras, I love my Ipod. why did I buy some other brand before? Don't know but maybe it had something to do with the expense a couple of years ago. I love that i can just plug it into my computer and it will select 240 songs at random, so I never really know what I'm going to get. And then browsing itunes and discovering albums from bands I love that I didn't know existed. Certainly puts the collection of CDs offered in the shopping centres up here to shame. But it could get expensive. So there will be no new songs at the moment. Maybe they can be a reward for when I finish the first draft!

Easter cards available at my cafepress shop.