Poet Progressing to Prose

Creative Writing

Creative or Cranky

me-and-my-ever-changing-moods-red-gold-20121Went to bed with today planned. I knew where next my characters meet and what will happen, but this morning woke with thoughts racing and mood definitely cranky. Maybe it is a reaction to feeling so good about the progress made in the novel – usual ‘paying the price’ for feeling more cheerful than usual. These days the swings are minor by comparison but up is still balanced by the down.

But then I realised I had gone to sleep less than pleased with the author of the book being read before sleeping. An Australian author, prolific writer, mainstream publisher, new book. Not far into the story I read that the Nullarbor is a desert and one of the passengers on the train crossing the Nullarbor Plain – lots of low lying scrub – is Chinese – in 1943. If the author was a younger person it could be possible he/she (no more clues) would be unaware of the White Australia Policy. Only someone who had not travelled out of Australia while the legislation  was in force would have been sheltered from the disgust directed by the outside world at that racist policy. There were many times I was held to account for the policy when trying to enjoy a quiet drink in a London pub. I shudder to think of the contempt Australians will face overseas in light of Australia’s current refugee policy and racist procedures.

Do I write to the author to voice my disappointment? It is one thing to suspend belief when reading fantasy or sci-fi but when a story is anchored in so much that is  real – as is the book in question – then failure by author and publishing team is disheartening.  This is the first time I have picked up one of this author’s many books. Is it enough to put me off? How much forgiveness do I have in my heart? Am I such a pickety-pickety person? Yes.

My memory goes back to feedback given after a vocational guidance test when I was 16 years of age. Seems my mind is structured to focus on very fine detail and for this a career as a pharmaceutical chemist would be my best fit. I mentioned I would like to be a writer and was told they were not able to forecast success in that field, but any where I positioned myself to meet people while maintaining a ‘shop counter’ relationship would be the next best thing. Barmaid fitted that and filled pints and gave change exercising great precision. And that is how I regard facts when writing my story.

Aware of how moods can creep out between lines written, I am not about to return to the novel this morning. As I am confident very few, if any, will read this post down this far, any such gloom as I am now experiencing will be limited. (If you have read this far, please chide me in a comment.)

Plot Hole Prevention

blue-snailHaving yesterday reached a point  which opens the curtain on many sudden changes for so many of my characters, I rested. Then pondered on their futures – much of which, but not all,  I have laid out as the paving stones you see in this picture. A pathway with gaps along which I proceed at my own pace, in my own time.  (With the discovery of faecal blood I have to face the possibility that my personal time-line may be up for change. If not the length, then what I could be free to do within that space. )

Many changes of name have affected my focus on the story. Very early on, I had given it the name  They Shoot Eagles and had even reserved the domain name. (I wish my writing was as far advanced as my planning the production of it.) Then, further into the story, another name change; Three Shawls which allude to a gift from an old woman to three babies.  These shawls to be handed down to succeeding generations. I recall having a brilliant idea as to the third of these which resulted in the name change. I recall looking up at my walls and seeing the shawls I had hanging there. Three on three walls. Seemed serendipitous.  Then I discovered Scrivener and was able to bring the total concept out of the abstract realm of my imagination and plant it  more firmly on the page, but not, at that time, knowing where to start. In the process I have  now forgotten the notion behind the third shawl. Today’s task will be to pick the planned plot apart into far finer detail before I start to write. I know I am looking at a plot-hole and must pack the space with pebbles before proceeding so logic and credibility are retained. This is one huge advantage of omniscience while proceeding chronologically and writing in the present tense.

When not writing, I am reading randomly selected novels written by authors previously unknown to me. Some do not get beyond first page despite the blurb and cover. Others have me engrossed until bleary-eyed, only moments away from deep sleep. (According to my Garmin bracelet.) It would be fifty years since I submersed myself in Agatha Christie novels. I stopped reading when I found the answer before it was revealed. I know from many of the poems I have written that I absorb an essence of the writings read. I never analyse a text. I would regard that as murder.  Last night I finished reading Lia Mills beautifully told story Fallen. Reality set in the past. My kind of space. It is on loan from the local library and one I am going to have to buy for the rereading at a later time. I am her kind of reader. Then I ask myself, who is mine? That is an exploration for another day.

For my Kindle and recommending:

https://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Lia-Mills-ebook/dp/B00H7O87W0

Have a great day.

 

 

Restart and Research

paper-and-pencilWhen not busy doing something else, the back of my mind has been worrying over the next requirement of my novel. (Now titled The Trusts).

Not so much writer’s block as stumbling block. The direction of the plot requires events xyz. How to manage that without going off on a tangent?  The main belief underlying my writing is that everyone has a story. My characters appear when, where and how they contribute to the ongoing development of the tale which threads them together.

I have now overcome the stumbling block – not by killing a darling but by allowing them (in this case, him) a brief,  appearance which permits a more central character far greater scope within the story-telling when he arrives at a later plot point. So, that’s that fixed and I can get on with the novel this morning. Just checked my calendar and the next four days are clear of any anticipated distraction. All my darlings can wait in the wings in case they are called upon for another appearance in another book.

As to the research; my shelves and boxes are filled with books and printouts of more than I can ever need for the South African components of the overall story. I now regret the dogged way I had planned my three weeks visit there – was it only last year?. I went in with a plan and came out with tantalising leads in another direction. Much the same, but a bit more fruitful, the three weeks in the UK back in 2009. There again, I went in armed with information I wanted to confirm to come out with a new, tangential understanding.

Another belief, nothing is ever wasted. There will be space and time for more telling, the direction of which may or may not rest on the reaction of readers. I know from reactions to how I left the characters in The Trustees there was a strong demand to know what happens next.  At the moment, the story has reached 1899 and inching forward into the millennium.  1922 is going to be a huge year. As for answering ‘what happens next’, that begins where that story left off and will take the tale up to 1965 – a century of four families, four cultures, four countries, four generations.

Whoops, back to this screen. was wearing my book-reading glasses which produces a blur here. Now I have the screen reading glasses and have dragged myself back here from Scrivener. Finally, I am writing every day. If not here, then in my book. Trick is, allow only curtains, computer on button, kettle, bathroom, first coffee to kick off the day.

Have a good one.

Monday morning – not as planned. (Amended)

Monday morning. Slow to surface after a warm night. Have had the fan going all night, but withstand the temptation to switch the setting to ‘cool’. Deferring gratification? The more I can save on electricity costs the more I can fritter after the bill comes in. I know what the current account amounts to – after a phone call – which has enabled me to pay off the NBN connection charge levied against new builds – which is refundable from my landlord and the property manager promises a cheque later this week.  Gives me a while to spend it several times over in my head. Why am I waffling on about this? Not my intervention when sat at the desk. No, I had gone back to bed with a book after checking my Google calendar on the phone, thinking about the entry for Thursday – City Writers at the SA Writer’s Centre.  Then, just as I was settling into a read, I recalled the dream clear in my mind this morning.

I dreamt I  was attempting to read to a group; apologising for needing to place the text in context (my inner interpretation = con(text) leaves con which is not on) then scrambled through my memory of all my note books and found nothing, then resurrected the carbon copy of a play I had written during Drama 1 in 1978 and started in to read that.

I still have the copy and decided I could take that should I, on my first attendance, be required to read.  BUT have just done a very quick search on where it should be and it now seems that will be the task for the day. Have hunted through a load of useless notes and not yet found it. Surely, I cannot have thrown it away after all this time?

lost

 

 

Will return with, I hope, good news.

found

 

 

 

 

 

Without turning everything upside down. Such a relief.

So, this is (virtual) reality?

Yesterday evening I attended the opening at my local library – virtual reality is here – once the speeches were done those interested had the opportunity to try it out. After signing the piece of paper which I assume was to indicate I would take responsibility for myself, I watched a lad move about as if he were engaged in some physical activity while wearing the headpiece and headphones. When my turn came there seemed to be much fiddling about with the controls, I found it difficult to focus and then selected a language I neither speak nor read. Headpiece taken off while some fiddling was done and I began to wonder whether this was (yet another) an occasion when I should not be allowed near anything electromagnetic? Eventually had me listening to a voice which played the contents of someone’s diary, describing near-by action. Shadowy background and neon like lit persons walking across the screen, the sound of their footsteps being described. BORING. I have enjoyed more entertaining hallucinations.

Then onto a single item – stereo 360 degree vision of the environment of the castle of one’s choice. No movement. An upgraded, enhanced version of the old-fashioned coin in the slot thing on a jetty.

What I really want to try, and will see if it is possible to arrange, is to experience either a parachuting jump or falling off a cliff or high building. One, to see what it was I missed when booked for a parachute jumping weekend which was cancelled as I broke my ankle jumping down from a tree by the pond at Hampstead. The second to see if I can overcome the fear of falling. This used to be a constant element of nightmares until I could no longer conceive – fall pregnant in other words or symbols conveying the same message.

And it is the capacity of symbols to convey messages which is my main fascination. At the presentation last evening, we were shown a dot painting and then an aerial photograph of the location the dot painting represented.  The presenter said the painter had used ‘inner vision’ and later agreed with me that the painting was an accurate, but abstract representation of the reality as seen from the aerial photograph. And it is this ‘inner vision’ which is my beef – and one I aim to treat as normal for some of the characters within my novels. For it is my contention that the area of the brain which we have trained into literacy is the area of the brain employed in symbolic communications which could (and I do) call telepathy. For direct communication, the telephone is more reliable; for clear vision we enjoy less (or no) access to that part of the brain which creates images symbolic of shared cultural experience. The iconoclasts have won. When(if ever) I manage to finish the novels already planned, I might tackle a fantasy entitled “Post Iconoclysm”.

I don’t know how long this desire to get out of bed and blog is going to last. If, as is usual for me, it won’t be long. Unless it forms part of the time my mind is busy working on the next scene in my current book – as I suspect is the case.

So far, I have no evidence anyone has read a full post to the end such as to elicit a response – other than a + sign in Google Plus. Which is fine in a way – it leaves me free to meander through my mind where I might surprise myself. My first coffee will be cold by now, have yet to sync my Garmin. Good news, with an egg-shell layer of foam on my mattress I have woken free of back and hip pain. All good and hey- it’s Saturday. Enjoy.

Just re-reading before I hit the publish button. What-if one could teleport, commit a crime and whip back into the body with a cast iron alibi. Surely this has already been done?

Integrity and Luck Along this Writer’s Path

During a discussion yesterday evening, I was reminded of the time a publisher had agreed to publish The Whens of Wittenoom if I would add a chapter condemning the companies, such as ABA or James Hardie. Having read all the material in the Bibliography, I had formed the opinion the insurance industry was the most reprehensible factor in the whole sorry saga. I did not accept the recommendation and the book was unpublished until being posted on Smashwords. Informally, it had floated around in forgotten groups and my stance was rewarded (my idea of reward) with an email requesting consent to be cited in the senders PhD thesis.

This morning I recalled a meeting with the then (1970) editor of the London Magazine to whom I had submitted three poems for his consideration. He was willing to publish Meekatharra on the condition I removed Roger McGough’s name from a poem I had written, and sent, to Roger in thanks for an evening at the Pentameters at the Freemasons Arms in Hampstead.  This editor told me my work was good enough not to hang onto the coat-tails of the Liverpool poets. As the whole point of the poem was my thanks to Roger and referring to his poem which had me in stitches I was not prepared to do that. None of my poetry was published in print London.

About the same time, the BBC purchased several poems to be used within Playschool. (Under the name of Isabel Reeves). I forget whether I was paid five pounds for seven poems or seven pounds for five poems. Whichever, that thirty-five pounds came in very handy at that time of my life.  I am sure there were many others whose works were sitting on the producer’s desk at that time, but, as luck would have it, her husband’s best friend was my then current lover and, knowing him, she felt a great deal of sympathy for me while, at the same time reassuring me my work could stand on its own merit.

Reggie Smith, of the BBC’s Poetry Now  had booked me to read on his final radio slot. Over a drink, he explained (over a drink in the Rosslyn Arms) he knew I would understand in his replacing me with Stevie Smith who, for some reason, had decided to come out of seclusion. She’s old, I was young, of course I understood. Stevie Smith soon after appeared in basement of the Freemasons Arms for a reading at Pentameters.

My last reading for Pentameters was when heavily pregnant with my third son. It seems I had been invited with the expectation I would produce pregnancy poems. Instead I read a poem I had written in reaction to the Kent University killings. It did not go down well. I have read that poem to both right and left wing audiences and each assumes I speak for the other. When you hit a wall of deadly silence instead of polite applause…?

Anyway, these are my thought on this day. Now time I synced my Garmin bracelet, have another coffee, download emails and jut get on with the day.

Have a great one, whoever you are, wherever and whenever you be.

 

 

Typing Speeds

Posting this so Nanowriters can console themselves along the way to 50,000 words. That is approx 1250 minutes of solid typing, or 20-21 hours to target. Put this way is giving me hope to carry on!

http://www.ratatype.com/learn/average-typing-speed/

Before a family tragedy pulled my career ladder from under me, I was training to qualify as an industrial psychologist. I have been fascinated by ergonomics since reading “Cheaper By The Dozen” as a child.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/764903.Cheaper_by_the_Dozen

Also discovering another fascination with statistics while studying leads me to poke about with figures. And this is the result. Still waiting for a potential murder victim to appear………

Losing Face, but Saving Sanity.

nanoHad forgotten why, but now know this is not for me. Those who advise on writing these days are unanimous in telling that the first draft is rubbish, to switch off the inner editor and just get the words down. Edit later.

This goes so much against the grain for me. I recall admiring the work process described and read back in the days when all manuscripts were type-written, using carbon paper to make copies and that a clean page was one without typing error. In other words, pre-Tippex.

I wish I could recall the name as clearly as his description of his work process at the keyboard. He worked on each page until it was perfect, knew what he had next to type and when the last page was typed the book was finished and ready for his publisher. He then moved onto the next one. It is a mode I attempt to emulate and one which does not sit well with casting words assessed by quantity. My attempt to do this at a rate which would at least give me a chance to meet a target had me sick to the stomach. Just as I did not go to University to be sick (having to regurgitate undergraduate material). nor am I going to stress out over backing away from the Nano challenge.

However, I realise it is not too late to learn to play. There is no way I would let the ‘child’ within loose on the planned plot. BUT there is now a ‘sandpit’ of another Scrivener outline on my second screen and I am preparing to give a Murder Mystery a go. Back to bed with another cup of coffee while I decide who is to be murdered and how. Any suggestions?

MIA during November

newThis is the reason!

I have signed up for Nano this year and aim to complete at least 50,000 words of the story I have been thinking about for some time. This seems and ideal time to get cracking and get on with it.nano

 

Will post updates.

Regular Postings?

qtq80-TEE7l6 Have yet to work out what routine best works for me. I will not be broadcasting this post as I am ashamed it is taking so long to update.

Update? Am editing a section of my CWIP with thee aim of submitting it to an award next year. It will take me that long to go over and over and over till it will be the best I can do. Am busy.

 

MAYBE a monthly post? Regular as King tides? No promise, even to myself, but we will see.