Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kreativ Blogger

Thanks to the lovely and ever so talented Rachael Johns for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger. Now for the hard part. 7 interesting facts. Here goes...

1. I wrote my first story in grade 2 - it was about the then Aussie prime minister, Bob Hawke and the then opposition leader, Andrew Peacock. In my story they were birds and head of opposing tribes. I think Mrs Hawkins thought it was odd that a seven year old was writing about politics, but she told my parents that their daughter should be a writer. Bless her cotton socks. 

2. I had my first crush when I was 12 - that boy, or rather that man, is now my husband. Our paths crossed for the second time when we were 18, briefly dated then I went to uni and got consumed in studying. Fast forward two years and I woke up one day and realised he was the ONE. Only way to contact him was through a mutual friend, so I got her to get him to call me, and the rest as they say is history.

3. I'm fascinated with politics and comparative economic systems. I used to spend summers with my grandparents and when my aunt and uncle were still living at home - there was a lot of reading material. The summer I was 12 I discovered my aunt's Mills & Boon collection, but on the same bookshelf were my uncle's political and economic books - so I read M&B and books on Stalin, Marx and Churchill at the same time. Yes - I was a weird child, it’s no different as an adult.

4. I once had a teacher accuse me of plagiarising my book review. I was furious and took a lot of convincing to make her believe otherwise. In hindsight - I should be flattered.

5. I've never seen the movies ET, Mad Max or Star Wars. But am a James Bond freak and LOVE all of the Bonds except for Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby (what were they thinking?).

6. I've always loved chick flicks, but since having my girls, I refuse to watch or ready anything that doesn't have a happy ending. Not sure why, but means category suits me well. 

7. I'm an 80's music freak, which is a bit strange considering I was quite young in the 80's. I even know more than my hubby who can sing, play drums and guitar and fancies himself as a bit of a music buff. If you asked me how Bon Jovi chose the songs for their Slippery When Wet album, I can tell you.

Ok - so now for the hard stuff, passing the nomination. I think pretty much everyone I know has been nominated, but if you're reading this and you haven't - then go for it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Making a molehill out of a mountain

Yes you read right - I didn't get mixed up. I have a problem (well actually, I have several, but that's another post altogether). I have a massive set of revisions that came through for my ms that's targeted at Modern Heat. When I say massive, I'm not exaggerating, and I really need to make a molehill out of a mountain. After coming down to earth and really reading the email it was clear that there are a number of issues that need addressing.

So where to begin? With lovely ed I'm working with suggested I map out my characters lives, from birth till now. I know that this is something others have done and recently, the wise Jackie Ashenden did the same for her current wip and has found it immensely helpful (thanks Jackie).

Why? A character map/bio gives you and really it’s the best way of getting to know your protagonists - their likes, dislikes, quirks, stuff about their childhood, past relationships, hopes and dreams all paint a complete picture of them.

But wait? We create these characters - shouldn't we know them already? Well... maybe. I know in the past I've certainly written some kind of background/description, but for this ms, I just dove into the writing without so much as a second thought as to WHO these people really where. Our characters are our foundations - if we can't get them write - the rest of the story will crumble, so really getting the bios right - is really really vital. Once you do and you really know your characters, the rest is as easy as pie...well, maybe not, but it’s certainly a good start on chipping away at that mountain.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Art of Simplicity

I noticed something whilst editing my latest ms.  I'm no fan of simplicity, well not in the first draft that is.  I tend to overcomplicate things, write flowery descriptions of things that last paragraphs when really, a sentence or two will do.  This wasn't the first time I did this, in fact, I'm pretty sure I've done it with every ms I've written, so you would think by now I'd know better. 

Recently I read a the first two books of Nora Roberts' latest series - The Bride Quartet.  I'd been a while since I'd read one of her books, but pretty much from the first word I was reminded of the elements of her writing that I've always admired, the primary one being simplicity.

Now, I'm a bit biased because I think Nora Roberts is a genius, but seriously, when she writes something, she doesn't need to rely on pages upon pages of description to get the point accross.  When she switches POV, and she does this a fair bit, we the reader are not left with whiplash.  On the contrary, we clearly know who's POV we're Why?  Because she does it with simplicity.  Yes, NR has mastered the art of simplicity.  Perhaps after writing eons of books I might get it right too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Problem with Tom/What's in a name?

So I have an issue. I don't like my hero's name. Petty I know, but when I started writing my current MS, he was originally Nicholas Bradley, now he's Thomas Bradley and I'm thinking of changing it back, or perhaps, calling him something else. In the grand scheme of things does it matter what his name is? probably not, but I'm finding it hard to continue till I figure it out.

Am I alone on this? Has anyone else started an MS then changed the main character's names half way through? I generally change the look of the character or the image I use for inspiration, but not the actual name.

So here is Tom/Nick. Does he look more like a Tom or a Nick? And what's in a name anyway? Does it alter our perception of a a character if we can link their name to past experiences or people we know?