Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: The Were-Nana
- Educational Resource: The Half Life of Ryan Davis
- Educational Resource: Made With Love
- Educational Resource: The House That Went to Sea
- Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: While You Are Sleeping
- Educational Resource: The Song of Kauri
- Educational Resource: Fuzzy Doodle
- Book List - Complete List of my Publications
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
And yesterday I found myself straying from my work in progress. I was going over my Young Adult novel and it sucked me in. I love this story. It has some difficult elements to it - it contains a difficult subject. When I described some of it to another writer last friday she looked aghast but as a whole I think it works. But I must hide it away for now. I want to spend more time with it, to fluff, titivate and massage it till you need to wear sunglasses to look at it. But I must focus on the WIP and make lots of lovely little paragraphs join hands and dance around the room together in perfect harmony. The grass is always greener eh? I didn't love my YA quite so much when I was in the middle of it trying to push through to the end. When it was hard work that made me want to tear my hair out. Its an easy date now, familiar and comfortable. I know what to say to it and what it likes to eat. I still have strong feelings for it. I'm still getting to know WIP and it doesn't always say what I want to hear, I'm not sure what it needs and I have to concentrate on what it is trying to tell me. I just keep telling myself as the story grows we will grow closer and when it is finished I will know it just as well as I know my YA.
Friday, November 26, 2010
I participated in a Meet the Author event (organised by the human dynamo Maria Gill and Kiwiwrite4kidz) on wednesday afternoon at Albany Junior High with a bevy of other writers and illustrators, speaking to and talking with school teachers and librarians from around the area. A good time was had by all, I busted some fiction myths (no Virginia, not all authors are rich and famous), spilled all my state secrets about writing and hopefully gave some useful tips for teaching creative writing in the classroom. It is very encouraging to find so many teachers and librarians keen to foster a love of books and writing amongst their students.
Not so encouraging? Once again I was turned down for Creative New Zealand Funding. The money would have been incredibly helpful and it is always a knock to one's creative confidence to be unsuccessful. I can't imagine having a better project to apply with than a contracted novel, with letters of support from several important industry folk. I am at a loss to know what is missing from my application. I now have a cold (to add insult to injury) and am feverishly applying lashings of chocolate and alcohol. I have a ship load of writing to do :)
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Today I must add a certain amount of words to my WIP to keep it progressing towards the March 2011 deadline. Dealines are a mixed blessing: a wonderful ego boost of contract before book, a show of faith in one's writing 'chops', and the knowledge that this book 'will' be published. But now I march to the beat of the clock ticking drum. I must have done this much by this date. Freedom is gone. Do it and do it well no matter where my head or my creative skill might be at. I will do it. Progress is currently slow but steady. Meeting deadlines is part of the business that I must master and I relish the opportunity.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Talk to you again soon :)
Monday, November 15, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Here's some of my writing from a recent project.
I hung my school bag off the back of a kitchen chair and helped myself to some biscuits from the cupboard. A packet of store bought chocolate chip ones. I tore the plastic wrapper along the length and sitting down, placed them in the centre of the table. Alex turned the seat opposite me around and sat in it back to front, leaning forward to grab a handful of the cookies.
The back door opened and Gemma walked through.
“Hey,” she said, doing that upward nod of acknowledgement thing before surveying the kitchen table and picking up the last few biscuits for herself. “You guys are pigs.”
I smirked. Alex ran his fingernail along a groove in the table top.
“When’s dad home?” Gemma asked, opening the fridge and grabbing the chocolate milk. She poured herself a glass, her schoolbag still slung on her back.
I shrugged. “Late. I’m cooking dinner.”
“I hate nacho’s” Gemma said as she walked through to the sitting room, glass of milk in one hand, biscuits in the other.
“You can cook if you want,” I called after her retreating figure, but the only reply I got was the jangly theme tune of her favourite afternoon TV programme wafting through the open doorway.
I watched Alex keep digging away at the groove, his long fringe obscuring his face as he bent forward.
“Don’t break my kitchen table,” I ventured.
They’d broken up. No fight, no discussion. It was just over. But Alex hadn’t been out with anyone else since. We didn’t talk about it.
After Alex gapped it to make tennis practice in time, I wandered into the sitting room.
“Dad’s looking at another house after work tonight,” I said flopping on to the couch beside my sister.
“Hope its better than the last one he looked at,” she scowled. “I want a bigger bedroom.”
“As long as it’s close to school … and we don’t move until after exams,” I said, grabbing the remote and flipping through the channels. The X Games was on one of the sports channels. I have to get my bike fix vicariously now. They put a couple of screws in my wrist and I’m off the bike for at least six months. It aches a lot. My freestyle riding career is on hold.
I ran my hand over the bristles popping out on my scalp. I liked the way they felt.
“Does it itch?” Gemma asked.
I looked over at her. Dark circles framed her eyes. The summer sun hadn’t made any impact yet on her paleness. I don’t know that it had the power to put some colour on her.
“Not anymore … Kim’s getting used to it now too. She likes the fuzz better than what it was like before anyway.” When I cut all my hair off, I shaved every last bit and my scalp had been baby-butt smooth.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
If you are serious about writing it is likely you have experienced doubt about your skills at some point. Someone once said that feeling doubtful about your abilities or the product of your writing was a good sign. They suggested that a good writer will question what they have written, and that those who never ask if their writing could be better are the ones who probably need to question it the most. I suspect this is only true to a certain extent. The supremely confident are not always self-deluded. There are always exceptions to rules and thank goodness there are. If there weren't exceptions to rules I doubt there would be any life forms on this planet, let alone humans. Anyway, I digress, where was I....oh that's right...self-doubt. So there will be a lucky few good/successful writers out there who feel perpetually confident. The rest of us, (far and away the majority I'm sure) have those moments, moments that sometimes stretch out to horrible days, weeks or maybe months, where we feel unhappy with what we have written, where no amount of mental massaging makes the sequence of words any more appealing in our eyes, where we are sure we will never get published/be published again. Or someone reads your most beloved, precious manuscript and says, "well, yes, that was...interesting," (as happened to me the other day) and your heart sinks. We read or re-read our favourite books by the most fabulous authors (hers was Suzanne Collins. I go for Neil Gaiman, Ian Rankin, or JK Rowling or Meg Rosoff or Lauren Child, or the guy who writes the Olivia books or...oh God I'm depressed) and say 'look how good this is, I'll never be able to write this well'. We take to our beds, pull the covers over our heads cos then we're invisible, experience a sharp decline and mutter about never writing again.
So, what to do when self-doubt strikes? First a piece of chocolate. Then, pat yourself on the back a bit and say soothingly, "thank goodness, I'm normal." Then hide all the books by all your favourite authors in a room that you can lock. Hand the key to someone trustworthy and tell them not to give it back until you are no longer 'self-doubt sober'. As soon as you are drunk on confidence the keys can be handed back and you can read anything you like.
But seriously? There is no cure. Self-doubt happens. But remember self-doubt also passes. Remember it is good to question what you have written. It is good to ask, "can I make this better?" It is good to push yourself to work harder and improve what you have written. When you are feeling in the grips of self-doubt step away from the best writers. Go look at the book that always reminds you you can write better then that. Go look at the piece of your own writing you've always liked best. The one that makes you smile, the one that made you think, yes I can write, the one that makes you choke up because the emotions are so convincing. And when your confidence is restored get out a book by your favourite writer and remind yourself what it is your aiming for. Go write people. You can do it!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Here are some rules I keep in mind when writing. None of them are about the use of commas or adjectives or dialogue. They are rules that over the years, I have realised, keep my writing going in the right direction. You might be surprised.
1. Keep it simple
2. Less is more
3. Trust your intuition
4. Have faith the right solution will come
5. The more you give the more you receive
6. Friends are the greatest wealth
7. You can never read too many books