Poet Progressing to Prose

Author Archive: Isabel

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.)

 

 

Visitor


One of three magpie larks who drop by for some seed, dink and cool off.

Five sparrows also making it a pit stop.

Testing this post to see why graphics are not showing up in shared postings.

Have a great day.

Spellbound: Surfacing late in this Season.

Buried in books over this last week.

Thanks to recommendations by two persons, one on internet other in real life, I had my library hold and get for me, three books by

Barbara Kingsolver.

I will never be the same. TV turned off. Did I get dressed? I can’t recall. Did I stay awake for the New Year? No. Fell asleep as I could not continue to stay awake after reading. Did I start reading again as soon as I woke? YES.  Am I going to place a hold on other books? YES. So far I have kept my eyes glued to Pigs in Heaven, Flight Behaviour and The Poisonwood Bible.  

I am in total awe of the breadth, depth, research, compassion and ability to enthral her readers.  I guess, like most writers, when reading a brilliant work, there is part of the mind lost in the story and another part appreciative of the background knowledge, research, work and sheer slog going into the creation. I started to doubt my ability to ever write anything which could come within coo-ee distance of such masterful writing. Not only started to doubt, but fully doubting; aware of my lack of knowledge, education, diligence and determination.  But, as with any depression, there is a bottom to it and an upside out.  My upside, comfort and reassurance I found within that part of my life’s education and experience during the almost two years of putting one foot in front of the other described within Life Before Lithium . That period is the storehouse of experiences I could/should? translate into fiction. (currently free copy available from Smashwords during season sale).

Will I? Won’t I? Fact is, am feeling a bit in the doldrums; no creative energy unfurling my sails. Partly because I am waiting for a result due to be announced on February 9, 2018. That means, this way or that way about which I can do nothing until then. I have been trying to work on another novel – Breaking Hearts – not a romance, but a story about heart transplants. For this I have had to consciously create characters instead of letting them emerge as in Mixed Fortunes.  Trouble with that is I am drawing on facets of lives of people I know with a degree of detail which could enable identification – not on appearance, but on activity.

On the other hand, I could be out on the patio re-potting some plants, but then I really ought to go to Bunnings and bring home another bag of potting mix, but…. if I do that I know that not only will I get the mix, I will also get a few more saucers onto which stand pots and likely give into temptation to bring home more plants. This is while I am trying to restrain my expenditure to scrape together a couple of days in Canberra to experience the Seven Sisters display at the National Museum and, if going that far, check out the National Library and National Art Gallery.

Sitting here, talking to myself, knowing one person (Helen – Hi) will be listening while 120 have not heard from me via the Facebook page but not having had any feedback (other than H) will this post be READ? Feedback is like oxygen to an author!

Gives me a moment to wonder about freebies versus price one pays. Have been reading of the experiences of folk subscribed to Patreon and am wondering what I could offer to people in exchange for a regular, committed donation of even $1 a month (or more). Such a plan would certainly motivate me to post more frequently if that is what patrons wanted – or on whatever line of opinion, etc patrons would find interesting. Food for thought. Which reminds me, I have not had breakfast and it is now lunchtime and the library has been open for more than two hours. Will need to get dressed to go to the library and, being dressed may as well troddle onto Bunnings anyway. With Patrons I could buy more plants and get to Canberra, keeping my squirrelled away for book cover design if needed after the 9th of Feb.

What adventures?

What mistakes?

How many friends well or poorly chosen?

What is your story?

How interested are you in mine?

 

 

 

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?

Reminder of Long Lost

Bought on the spur of the moment and now trying to recall what item/gift featured this flower. Long, long time ago but I recall I loved it. If only I could remember what IT was. A sachet case for handkerchiefs? A print or embroidered?

On one level I am enjoying this in this moment, and on another welcoming echoes of the past.

The reason I went shopping, thereby exposing myself to temptation, was to purchase a proper bird bath for visiting magpie larks. Replaced the collapsible dish shown below. All good. Just very lazy.

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.

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