Poet Posing on Prose Platform

Creative Writing

Clearing the desk uncovers a forgotten poem.

Tearing leaves from an old notebook, putting together a folder for the research necessary for the next book – the plot of which is REALLY shaping up – I came across a sheet used within a workshop run by David Chapple for Eyre Writers, Port Lincoln.

Against the prompts on the left side of the page I had filled the dotted lines, resorting to verse when under pressure. Here goes:

I grew up in…. Mount Helena

Where the weather was always….fresh and the air was cleaner.

And the sound of that time…. is the Jane Brook running

Friends ….taught me the Kellys were always punning

Family …. taught me that’s ow we were perceived

And…. now I live to be believed

Today ….I am as truthful as I ever can be

Tomorrow …. is when I deceive only me.

I wish …. I had not seen the vision of my future self

I’ve become accustomed to ….leaving the ream on the shelf

I know ….that my hope is that when I am dead

and ….you read my writing in the years ahead.

Mock up of cover

Any ideas about fonts? The picture itself is so close to my description to Mary of the rare image I actually see that she might be standing behind my eyes.

 

New(ish) Year. Old Thinking.

For a while I have been stuck on progressing next novel. (Breaking Hearts) Partly because I had plotted from beginning to end which left me no surprises to enjoy when writing. I tried adopting the approach I have seen/heard others use – pegging away at Aristotle’s Incline. It does not connect with me where it matters – it does not set my thinking alight. Whereas playing around with hexagons while working out “Mixed Fortunes” worked for me. That was an array of six hexagons forming the seventh in the centre. I was able to think in straight lines from there – which explains the straight line of present tense from beginning to end. The ideas to explore within (?) “This is My Body” OR “Perilous Plunder” (?) require more complex interactions between characters than in “Mixed Fortunes”. Did an Image Search on Google, playing around with concentric circles when I came across this labyrinth within the hexagon. EUREKA!

Another stumbling block to productivity has been holding my breath for a competition result due on February 3. A  matter of IfThisThenThat which has resolved itself after an action and conversation yesterday. The action was to apply for an advance on my pension to cover the cost of publication IF it needs to come out of my pocket. The conversation was with Mary G. who helped in working out costs of potential publication comparisons. Upshot is, if necessary, I will leave it in her proven and capable hands with even greater confidence as she created a mock-up cover which has  blown me away. As soon as I can work out how to load a pdf file here and show you, I will.

Now, to get out the coloured pencils and play with copies of the maze.

(But if the heavens shine on me on February 7th, and the pension advance stashed away is not needed for publication,  then I will take myself to Canberra for the Seven Sisters exhibition at the Museum and, with time and cash to spare also visit the National Gallery and Library while there.)

 

 

Were you born between 1973 and 1975?

If so,  I need your help. Badly! Reason being I have a 14 year old character who has turned up within my current project. I really do need her to carry the story (set in 1987) forward. My own children were about that age then, but my experience is that of a parent and I don’t want to try and second-guess how they may have thought about this or that plus the fact they had me and my problems to deal with so their experiences may well differ from my character.

Were I talking about 1953, I could use my own experience – left school age 14 and full time work force, but by 1973 I rather think laws about school leaving age and full time employment have somewhat changed.

What sort of issues played on your mind? Which memories from that time stand out for you? Would you have been baby-sitting back then? What are your memories of other people’s babies?

Beyond the pen and pencil: best tools for crafting novels

Finding that which suits both the writer and the writer’s times.  

Writing a novel? Trial and many errors while fumbling round to source those writing tools which best suit the way my fingers and mind works – therefore the following are no more than my personal preferences. For the now, my flow chart will be going with each in turn. One day, there may be a program which incorporates the best of each, but until then …

This works for me

or – should I say – these work for me

Novel Factory forces one to think the novel through to the end. Synopsis, extended synopsis, generate scenes.

WriteItNow with the scenes generated by Novel Factory, it is a breeze to create a timeline of events and detailed relationships between characters. At this stage, all the general outline and some details to pantser one’s way and have a bit of fun.

Atomic Scribbler lightweight, simple, uncluttered, handy bits with a friendly feel such that I find I can have some fun when writing.

 Then import into Scrivener  for this is where I get serious! Take a snapshot of each scene/section and ponder improvements.

When that as good as it is going to get, compile into a Word document

 to run it through SmartEdit then Stylewriter then PerfectIt.

I know this sounds convoluted but it seems to be working for me (at the moment?) The beauty of several approaches somehow leaves me able to think of several potential stories/novels whatevers, taking ideas from the back  burner of my mind/memory into a form I can later shape into something. One month away from my 78th birthday, my main regret is that, when 18 and wanting to be a writer, I thought writer’s needed to draw on Life experiences so I went out to get some. For some reason, I never imagined using imagination! 

NOTE: Over the years I have purchased the above linked programs after having first used the free trials. I don’t think I have any recommendations from this site linked to a reward for anyone to purchase. If so, it was from a different site and any reward would not outweigh the distraction of sorting out referrals.

I am reconciled to never making money from my writing – enough if I can cover any outlay and continue to convince the ATO I am deserving of my ABN for the site http://izabellazbooks.com/

 

Belated

With Facebook nagging me for not having posted for so long a time, I feel I must ask forgiveness from those 115 viewers in the last week who may not have found something more recent to read than than their last look.

Excuse? Excuses? None. Unless you count forgetting to turn off the kitchen tap until the whole apartment was flooded, and, finding it so, looked out into the hallway to see if that was also affected. Yes. with door still open, came into bathroom to collect towels to begin to soak up, closed the door and locked myself out.  7:15am. Property manager’s office unattended until 8:00. She alone and me in my nightdress in neighbour’s apartment – neither able to see way clear to getting a taxi for the spare key. Evidently I sounded frazzled enough for the lass in the property manager’s office to have her send an ambulance! Reassured by their prompt – unwarranted – arrival – nice to know they can access the building and enter the secured lift to my floor.  Last resort was calling in a locksmith who had some difficulty but eventually repaired with some thingymgbob which reached under the door, snared the handle and opened from the inside.

Days spend drying rugs on the patio – had intended lifting them for the summer – now most stored in storage cage in garage level. Every piece of furniture pulled out and floor mopped till dry. All clean. Behind the fridge not as bad as I would have expected.

While waiting in my neighbour’s apartment I was able to take in a differing furniture arrangement which gave me ideas for shifting around my own. Only needed the purchase of far longer aerial cable for TV so it can be moved to the other side of the room. Now able to fall asleep in front of TV from either bed or recliner. and falling asleep often is my main ‘excuse’. Seems my mojo is taking a long time to recharge. Nevertheless have made some progress on new novel using both Novel Factory and WriteItNow. Playing about with both, having recently acquired NF and having had WiN on my computer for years without ever having fully explored. Within an NF forum, read that WriteItNow is regarded as the top writing assist program. Novel Factory forced me to fully think and create a complete plot line from the start. and now I have it all time-lined in WriteItNow is about as far as I have managed so far.

On waking these days, I surface with either a whole new idea OR find myself ‘reading’ a story which has me captivated – trouble being when the ‘page’ turns the earlier stages disappear. Am having so much fun entertaining myself to a point of total self-indulgence.

Forgive me?

That done! On with the next project.

Now to find a blank template to unpick and place my thinking for BREAKING HEARTS – now researching transplants. This now possible as I pressed he SUBMIT button to send MIXED FORTUNES off to a literary competition; results out in February.

Had a wonderful day yesterday when my eagle-eyed friend and her mother called in on their way home to Norseman from Sydney via catching up with me in Adelaide.  Huge event – the return of a printout with lots and lots of red marks! Many picking up on proof reading, others on content and rescue from an enormous plot hole. Checked, double and triple checked every skerricking mark and correction.

No point in worrying about cover design until being informed of the result of the competition. Either the publisher, if I am successful, or myself next year if not.

Meanwhile, on with BREAKING HEARTS.

Sourcing new project

The only thing I can do about MIXED FORTUNES just now is WAIT. Leaves my mind in limbo and coming up with snippets of ideas for another project – but what?

I use the array of hexagons as tool for plotting, but what to plot?

Wandering about the internet in the last few days and came across a post* with links to Novel Factory and Kindle Writer.

Although I am a huge fan of Scrivener I decided to take a free peek at these.

 

The person posting the recommendation also uses Scrivener on a second screen when using Novel Factory. And I can see why. Switching between screens far more preferable than switching within a program’s internal links. Novel Factory is well up on my list of intended purchases. So far, this morning, I have created a file for three potential novels. Will let them sit on my mind’s back-burner then tease out onto the hexagonal array – who, what, where, when, why and how.

Kindle Writer also has much going for it, but more for playing around with ideas for book covers and general tinkering.

In trying to locate the link to share I am confronted with the humongous number of sites bookmarked within several folders. Sorting those out will keep me busy for a while! Filling in the waiting time – proof-reader’s report, whether one competition has been won – if not by me then everything set to go to enter another which will mean more waiting until February, by which time I should (hopefully) be putting flesh on the bones of another book.

Roll on October to find out what kind of country the High Court has us living in.

Roll on November to find out what kind of country Australians want to be living in.

  • If I can find the post I will share in comments.

Activating the Passive Voice

The more I attend to this, the more cheerful I find myself. Leads me to wonder if, when most if not all, instances of passive voice is changed to reflect the active voice whether I will internalise the feeling as a permanent feature? I find it difficult these days to type the word ‘just’ when that used to be just about the most frequent and unnecessary word used.

 

When amended over 1,000 passives to actives and uncovered about sixty hidden verbs will I self-edit out the passive voice in future?

Watch out World!

A more positive Isabel is possibly about to poke her head over the horizon.
One tenth of the total manuscript attended today.
There may be those of you who think “What the heck is all the excitement about?” I was about ten years old when given the last grammar lessons in school before leaving school at barely fourteen. When Stylewriter kept pulling me up with ‘prefer active verb’ my reaction was “What the!” I have read how to recognise the rule – chased by a zombie – but it was only when making an individual note on paper the notion finally took hold. It was a fat notepad anyway and I wondered if ever I would fill its pages.


Feeling chipper and cheerful.

Needless Panic.

There is light at the end after all. My earlier assessment on the number of pages was based on my cack-handed efforts to emulate a copy on printed page BUT Google had the answer – wipe brow with relief.
Aim to complete editing by the middle of September so I can hand it over to a pair of eagle eyes in the head of my Norseman friend, Laurene.
End of September will likely come with the result of not winning one competition and that will be in time to enter another, the answer to which will be known in early February. Leaves time to obtain professionally designed cover and interior design before the April release.
Huge sigh.

%d bloggers like this: