Sunday, November 27, 2011


‎"It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does."  William Faulkner

A perfect quote for where I'm at. I really am chasing after new characters, watching how they react with one another and how they cope with what I'm throwing at them. Exciting stuff.

When creating characters, I fill out questionnaires that tell me things like what they wear to their greatest fears and everything in between. I find these really helpful.

The other day I came across a unique idea in an email from Writers' Digest. It was to put your character on the witness stand then interrogate them from both the prosecutors and defenders point of view. A good way to bring out the worst and the best of your character.

But despite all the preparation, for me, the best way to really get to know my characters is to just start writing. That's when they leap off the page and start to tell me their story. 

So how do you create your characters?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Well, I could tell you I've been on a dream-come-true trip to Italy, or a road trip across Australia, but I'd be lying! Truth is I've been here all along carrying out all the normal, slightly predictable routines of being a mother and wife. The one difference being: Internet issues!!!

Now I could rant and rave about a particular internet provider, but that won't get any of us anywhere. Instead I'll say a big HELLO to all of you wonderful loyal readers who are still stopping in despite my absence. I must say the Stats button on Blogger is a wealth of interesting information. It seems that for every New Zealander that pops over for a visit, 3 readers from USA come by. This is a new trend in the last week or so. Not sure why, but hey, it's good to have you.

Since this blog is supposedly about my writing journey, I should catch you all up with my latest doings.

My latest short story, written for a speculative fiction competition, failed to get a place. It's a gothic historical tale entitled The Scent of Lilies. I really enjoyed trying a different genre. I've had good feedback on it and will rework it for another up coming competition.

It is now four years since I started on this great adventure of writing, and therefore I've spent the last four years with the characters in my novel, Blackbird. I had put it aside earlier this year and dabbled with a different story, then went back to it. Big mistake! But we're allowed those, as long as we learn from them and I have.

One of the most important things I've learned is where to start a story. I have a real tendency to start early, to set the scene etc etc. Three times I have cut the beginning chapters off, once I needed to trim about ten of them. And now I finally have worked out where the right beginning should be and what form it should take. I just have to write it.

And that's the rub. I can't find it in me to write another word. I'm just so tired of the story. So, with a sigh, I have consigned it to the bottom drawer. Do I feel like I have failed? No. I've learnt to write on that story. I've moved from the 'truly terrible' to the 'almost there'. Will the novel ever see the light of day again? Yes. With a long break I hope to pick it up and rewrite it from scratch, because I still love the characters and I believe in the story.

So what will I do in the meantime?

Well there's this techno savvy girl, who's found herself in the black blocks of Central Otago, and she's whispering her story in my ear.

photo of Ida Valley from the Otago Daily Times

Friday, November 4, 2011


When I set off on my travels a couple of weeks back, I hoped to return with the inspiration for a story or two. As you know from my previous post the short trip was not what I bargained for. I returned home stiff, tired and a little disappointed.

However, when hubby and I returned to fetch our daughter from camp we stopped off at a little antique store in Clinton. And this is what I found.

My dream is to have a farmhouse kitchen and at the moment I'm about halfway there. I've got pine furniture, open shelves, a collection of old tins and the odd ornamental chicken or cow. And I've got plans involving a stack of T&G wood, some chicken wire cupboard doors and more than a few patchwork creations.

So when I saw this treasure I snapped it up. There's something cosy about those eggs nestled in that lovely warm toned wood, isn't there?

The little metal disc is stamped Northern Prairie Timber Company, so I assume it hails from Canada or USA.

I've never seen anything like it. Have you?