Poet Posing on Prose Platform

Creative Writing

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.

Back to Square One

THIS IS ME TODAY.
Set page size, font size, etc as it would appear in actual printed copy. FAR, FAR TOO MANY PAGES.

Back to the drawing board.

 

One book, severely pruned? Two thirds of original

OR

Three very skinny books?

 OR

Expand to create a decent sized trilogy?

While I think this all through, my present plan is to save a copy of the most already edited version in Google Drive, Dropbox and on a USB. That done will revert this laptop to factory settings and load and reinstall only those programs I find really useful. I have a tendency to try out interesting looking things which, even when uninstalled, can leave their little footprints.

If I don’t pop-up in Facebook, Google Plus or emails you will know why. Not Missing in Action, but transferred to Rehab.

 

 

Uplifting

Something more cheerful than the pic on my last post. funnily enough the content of the previous post – about nightmares – was, I thought, very positive. Never mind.
Have finished writing and now into (a) taking a break, (b) editing, (c) thinking about cover which means I must sometime decide on the title. Have been feeding alternatives into Lulu’s titlescorer ans so far the highest is 41.4% for MIXED FORTUNES as against next highest 31.7% for TRUST. All other permutations lower.
Had a good clear out of paper and notes no longer needed. Have yet to clean up my hard drive, Dropbox and Google Drive.
Weather is not encouraging walking or going on bike to swimming pool.
But for this very instant, more paper to sort then coffee and Fay Weldon.
Be well.

The Value of Nightmares

An eye, very like this, seen first in the film “Spiral Staircase”, used to wake me to sitting in terror.  The eye (through a hole) filled the screen prior to each murder of women in boarding house, each with a different disability. Later in life while enjoying/enduring a psychotic episode, I reassured myself by believing there is always someone watching over me. Or Someone.

Another series of nightmares had me in a lift/elevator shaft, jumping from side to side above the lift, grabbing onto wrought iron walls,  my parents in pursuit as the lift rose up and down, but never squashing me. Have read this as no matter how high or low the bipolar takes me, I am safe from being crushed. Rising above and outside the moving box.

For me, the most valuable nightmare is/was the one that came true in real life as I followed my dreams on waking.  I use it now to reassure myself that I am on track – the dirt running track in the following poem – and with the cheering from friends responding to David Collins-Rivera review of MIXED FORTUNES as posted on tumblr (see below) leads me to the comfort that I am on the final stretch. (For how this worked out in real life one would have to read “Life Before Lithium” on Smashwords. ) Now I am applying it to my writing life.

A witch used to chase me

through a three dimensioned maze

always found an opening

but not the way out

before the maze disappeared

and the witch

turned into a tribe of gypsies

in full cry behind me

as I sped

from village hall

up the main road

between disused railway tracks

to the field

where pig-lilies grew.

Up the bank

across the recreation ground

up clay-slip slope

and stony path

dirt running track

gravel road

pine trees

by gate of school

to disappear.

 

But one night,

the night they went

forever,

I made it.

Fell into the arms

of the waiting headmaster

deafened by the cheering school

the witch and the gypsies

demons of my night

let me sleep

undisturbed.

http://wordacrosstime.tumblr.com/post/162945342034/mixed-fortunes-work-in-progress

Edit, Shred it, Read it, Merit

Such a buzz with that wonderful feedback. And my strange reaction. It seems while I WANT praise, even need it, when it is given I curl up as if embarrassed to be exposed. (But I did manage one boast through a bcc email. If you did not receive, please let me add you to my list?)

How do you respond to praise?

Woke this morning thrown off kilter. Head full of new ideas for new stories, new books, wondering if I can weave them into MIXED FORTUNES all the while knowing that would be stupidity. Same as taking pieces from another jigsaw and forcing into this rather than let the pieces fall aside for another day.

After giving myself a good talking to, back to bed for a minute or two of meditation, reading emails, Facebook and reprimanding my absence from Google + for some time, washing some marble chips for the pot plants on the patio- FINALLY got down to some editing. The way I edit works for me on several levels. My eyesight requires this Low Vision keyboard, my fingers are either at times fat or too light or doubling up on keys which means I have to keep a very close eye on the screen. I read the last section written, take a snapshot in Scrivener, control a to copy into Word (on second screen) then run the text through Stylewriter. I cannot speak too highly of Scrivener and Stylewriter. When Stylewriter marks a passage with Excellent or Good on its Bog Index and/or Style Index I move on. When both or either Indexes show any combination of Fair, Poor, Bad or Dreadful I work on that piece until it ranks as Good or Excellent. Overall there are few instances of passive writing and often I see no way of avoiding that  without tipping and messing about with tenses. Usually when I am in someone’s head.

Do you think your thoughts in active or passive mode?

How often do you have your eyes checked? The first instance of macular degeneration can sneak up and be on its way to being so advanced that treatment (eye injections) can halt the worsening but not improve the vision. Were I to rely on my left eye alone I could not write, read or type and watching TV would be a pain.  Knowing the very first sign when my  right eye began to be affected enabled immediate treatment.  Dr Durkin is set on saving my writing eye with four weekly injections in the right and keeping the left on hold by an injection every six weeks.

I cannot emphasise enough a recommendation to download an Amsler grid from  the internet – or get a chart from your optician and CHECK, CHECK, CHECK. Particularly if you are 55 and over.

That’s all folks?

 

Total Word Counts July 13 & 14

Thursday : up to 124821 : Research 1953 Coronation

Friday:  up to 132,644 : Research Aboriginal moiety system  – fresh today rather than digging through a box full of notes.

Beta Reader’s Review Rocks.

Posted by David Collins-Rivera into wordsacross time on tumblr:

Shared here in full appreciation of the effort he gave in first reading, then reviewing my WIP.  My aim is to publish this story on April 21, 2018. That would have been my mother’s 100th birthday.  During her life-time she shared with me a recurring dream during which she walked down a long corridor, doors on either side closed to her, but at the very end there was a book. My autobiographical account of my life before lithium was greeted with “if it helps someone, I guess it is okay”.

I like to think she would have enjoyed MIXED FORTUNES as my effort to have a dream of hers brought into reality.

wordacrosstime

Mixed Fortunes [work in progress]

[Mixed Fortunes, by Isabel Storey. Unpublished work-in-progress at 12 July 2017]

I recently had the privilege of reading a beta version of a novel called Mixed Fortunes. It’s by Australian poet and author, Isabel Storey.

This book is a sprawling multi-generational saga, steeped in both history and magical realism. It moves forward though eras and locations, with events playing out in the UK, Australia, South Africa, and upon the high seas. A rich, compelling tale of dynasty, dispossession, and changing times, it concerns noblemen and wanderers; it touches pioneers, soldiers, and lawyers. It lives in history, framed by trusts and family legend.

The itinerants of this tale are occasionally referred to as Gypsies – a term that, in modern times, can be seen as pejorative for those of Romani (or Roma) ancestry. To be clear, though, the traveling people here are not solely of Roma descent. Many are part of a lesser-documented population of 19th Century economically-displaced nomads from various backgrounds within the British Isles, many of whom became closely associated with the Roma of that time, intermarrying, and adopting many of their habits and traits.

On the other side, we have Douglas, Duke of the vast estate of Holywood, along with his wife and children…and eventually, their descendants. This family intersects with the Gypsies in strange, inconsistent, sometimes appalling ways. Entitled, powerful, and feeling the creep of time, this noble family exerts vast (though diminishing) influence, informing generations by what they choose to do, and what they choose not to.

A tiny Scottish law firm, sporting the charming name of Peacock & Oates, has personal and professional ties to both these groups, forging bonds that run deeper than any contracts or legal trusts between them. These solicitors are the glue, binding tribes and individuals through the years. Using keen expertise and unwavering professionalism, they subtly affect the lives of their sundry clients, who, in time, are spread far across the globe.

It begins in 1865, with a young solicitor in the aforementioned firm, named David Lamont. David is mugged in the street, and gets befriended by a stranger who, subsequently, introduces him to a world and culture he never knew existed – a secretive, marginalized population in desperate need of his aid. Among these new clients, we meet the wise and mysterious Jorie Moneypenny, gifted with rare insight, and a deep understanding of human nature. It is Jorie’s desire to safeguard her people’s freedom that sparks an alliance stretching across decades; it changes lives, lives that help to shape history itself.

Watching the gentle, sometimes vaporous imprint of an old wanderer woman’s strange vision for her people slowly play out across the globe is a compelling pleasure. Isabel Storey effortlessly sculpts a tale of desperation, mysticism, and perseverance, offering up drama and adventure while linking the past to the near-present. Indeed, with so many characters doing so many things at once, Storey is like a juggler with a blur of balls floating through the air – far more than could ever be caught – and yet somehow it always happens, and with style. A magic trick, a technical feat, this degree of control would be impressive all on its own, regardless of the complex narrative and arresting characterizations in which it’s wrapped. Taken together, the effect is simply marvelous.

A sumptuous, stunning tale of many tales, Mixed Fortunes, once published, will be that rarest of achievements on the literary scene, something that can almost never be so-labeled free of hyperbole: a symphony of the written word.

David Collins-Rivera

wordsacrosstime

13 July 2017

#David Collins-Rivera #wordsacrosstime #Words Across Time #July 2017#Beta Version #Work In Progress #Novel #Multi-Generational Saga #History#Magical Realism #UK #Australia #South Africa #High Seas #Dynasty#Dispossession #Changing Times #Noblemen #Wanderers #Pioneers#Soldiers #Solicitors #Romani #Roma #Scottish #1865 #Desperation#Mysticism #Perseverance #Sumptuous

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Calling for help, assistance, recommendations

Beginning to see a faint glow of light at the end of the tunnel – Big Book drawing closer to completion. Now part of my mind is turning to (a) title and (b) blurb then (c) cover.

I have had several working titles over the years as I have changed my mind back and back again as to whether to split into a series or go with what I have finally decided – one complete book – all the stories contained within one volume. “The Trustees” is now incorporated into the main text with much preceding events in that book (Smashwords) and following on with events up to 1965 which will mean covering 100 years for four families, four cultures, four countries and four generations.

Which of the following would grab your attention?

They Shoot Eagles/ The Three Shawls/ Mixed Fortunes / Trysts and Trusts/ Trust Triumphant

I would very much like to invite people who have ‘liked’ my Facebook page or are connected on Google+ to become beta readers before I finally send it off to Createspace or Ingram for publication. 

The feedback I would be hoping for is to tell me if I have left any character in the lurch and, if so, what more you would like to read about that character.

Also, if you can think of a better title I am all ears and open mind.

A pair of eagle eyes belong to Laurene in Norseman who has the happy knack of identifying typing and copy errors, so I would ask others not to fret about that level of detail but to share what they would recommend I include as ‘blurb’ on the back cover.

I prefer the sepia tone of the Trustees book cover and my author photograph – although very simple, I think it stands out from glossy highly coloured images. Also I would not know which of my classes of characters to include on a cover! So either a title in text/author name or an abstract design. I rather like the idea of the double-barred cross described many times within the book. I cannot find a copy of that image anywhere – google searches/museums/books on symbols – so would need someone with graphic skills for that.

Sorry it has been so long since I posted here. As with most of us, Life gets in the way!

PS I selected the hexagon image as it ties in with the complicated ways I plot my stories. Also, as the notion of a hex runs through much of the story.

If willing, please comment below.  Send an email if you would prefer to read through a shared file on Google Drive.  Current length is approx 108,000 words. Not asking that you read it ALL now (unless you want to) but enough to give you and idea of whether you feel you would like to read it when finally finished, blurbed and covered with apt design.

Your response will be most welcome.

Writing, had a weep, tidied up files to find this


I am closer to 76 (78) than 75 (77).

My first experience of serious depression was at age18 after two people I knew were killed in motor vehicle accidents. My suicidal impulse at the time was held in check on two grounds. If I was not successful I could be prosecuted (attempted suicide against the law). If I was successful I could not know whether the In Memoriam notices in the West Australian would number something between that of one friend (1) and the other (column after column). By the time I stopped worrying, the suicidal mood had passed.

And this is the trick! The mood passes.

Just sit it out. When feeling a danger to myself, I used to go to the nearest hospital and ask to be allowed to just sit in safety. That was all I needed. It also helped when I had a circle of friends who did not need telling, but somehow knew we should sit up all night, putting the world to rights till the sun came up. Also, even when it feels as if alone enough to successfully suicide, my experience was that there was Something Out There which ensured a close, but failed attempt.

But for ordinary, non-suicidal depression, I found the best, the quickest way out of it was to surrender, play some really, really sad music, make yourself as miserable as possible as quickly as possible because, once down there in the pits, the only way is UP. For me, that became the creative writing time.

The death of friends, of a child, of parents. These are all reactive depressions and normal. Hormonal upheavals either monthly or after birth, again part of normal living. Loss of jobs, partners by either death or divorce and all those other events which tally up. Most of us will have experienced same or similar. Top this off with bipolar, genetic predisposition, lying dormant until triggered by stress and then crash and burn and phoenix-like rise again knowing that you know the secret of the Meaning of Life, where it came from and where it is going! Oh, boy. Fun, fun, fun. (But not for those around who strive to make sense I(there is none) of it all.)

My saving grace, inner strength, whatever you want to call it, stemmed from an incident when I was nearly five years old. (Please do NOT visualise). The head of our neighbour’s son was sliced apart by the flying blade of a broken circular saw. His mother came over to our place in great distress. My mother told me to look after the distressed woman, my 23 month old sister and my 8 week old brother. She told me to be a brave little girl while she pedalled off to the post office to call the doctor and police. I know that is what she told me as, when 55, I woke one morning sobbing my heart out with relief that I no longer had to be a brave little girl. (She forgot to stand me down!) So, for fifty years I went through Life with girded loins prepared to take on anything Life threw at me.

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