Archive | May, 2012

Books about Books!

21 May

After last weeks freak-out in relation to my first draft MS, I decided to re-look at my approach to getting my first novel completed. After I ran out of the room I was writing in and burst into tears, I spent the next 24 hours so stressed out, it brought me back to my ‘previous life’ when I worked in the corporate world (don’t mention the war). I realized I wasn’t excited about my writing anymore, I was stressed about it. This is where I stopped.

On Wednesday, I sat in the back garden with a big glass of my favorite St. Emillion red wine, and thought long and hard. I felt completely lost and over-whelmed at the task ahead. How on earth was I going to review 96K words I ‘heart-and-brain dumped’ onto my laptop over 3 months of solid writing?

Despite my best efforts along the way to visually map out structure & plot and carefully consider the fine art of story-telling, what I have at the moment is a very raw output of a story that has gone around in my head for as far back as 18 years ago.

But really – what do I know about structure and plot? It’s funny, when I originally thought about how I was going to tell the story, I envisaged a complicated structure of two parallel stories (past & present) of the same person that intertwined at significant moments to explain the protagonist’s character motives & reasonings . It was the way I saw the story most effectively played out. Three weeks into writing, I abandoned the idea as I was simply unable to work on the structure and the writing down of the story at the same time. But maybe there was something in that?

The MS is so far away from where I want it to be – so far away from where I know I can get it, in time.

So I have removed the stress, clawed back my passion for the story and marched myself to the bookstore where I picked up some books on novel-writing, story-telling, theme development, structure and plot. And you know, even just a few days into reading the first book I bought, I am not as lost as I thought I was. I should trust my instincts more, as both my heart and writing are guiding me in the right story direction for my novel.

Perhaps taking some time out to read about ‘how best to write’ is exactly what I needed to reset and support the balance — and so I will keeping reading for now!


Editing + Delete = Nightmare

14 May

This is where I am today – I have almost thrown my laptop out the window twice, had a freak-out over at least 6 chapters, felt like packing up and going home and am close to losing faith in what I have written. I have deleted and re-written so much that I am frightened I am losing the essence of what I  wrote originally. I am trying to work scene by scene through the chapters, but maybe I have deleted too much, maybe I have misinterpreted what is my good writing and what is my bad writing…my gut instinct seems to have abandoned me. My structure is now all over the place, I think I have diluted some of my themes…..aghhhhhhh

Crisis of Confidence is officially in full swing 😦

I think I should leave things for today…..


This day 12 months ago, I was here, kissing stingrays…

9 May




This time last year, I was here, swimming with stingrays. Beautiful, isn’t it? I took a boat trip with Captain Marvin out to North Sound on Grand Cayman to swim with the elusive stingrays – if you kiss one, it brings luck or something he told me.  So much has changed since that day and my life is now on a completely different path. I sat on the boat that morning about 10am, allowing my senses to drink in the pristine view around me; crystal azure sea water lapping at the boat’s bow, the salty breeze dancing through the air and the pale yellow sun overhead warming my face and shoulders.  I thought about how finally my life had taken a turn in a good direction and that things were ‘finally on the up’.  It was a calm, fuzzy feeling that I have heard some people describe as being that of  ‘happy’! I took this photo so that I would remember that day forever.

Scroll on to today, I am living in a city I am unsure if I will like. It has rained non-stop since I got here. I don’t have a place to live, apart from my friend’s house; I have no job, no money and my friends and family are 2-3 hours away.  If I had met a mad old fortune-teller on that day with the stingrays who told me that in twelve months time, this is where I would be, I would have shooed her away with the back of my hand and flounced off in the direction of the leafy veranda at my colonial style hotel.

So how does one go from stingray swimming in the Caribbean whilst brimming with hopes and dreams of a new, exciting life ahead, to a complete start-over, where you keep an eye out to see if the local food stores have started accepting buttons yet? I think the elliptical statement ‘new job gone bad’ is suffice a mention to that subject! And despite my melancholic tinged nostalgia today while thinking back to the dreams, visions and hopes I had that day with the stingrays, I am much more at ease with my redefined sense of the future, despite now being both jobless and penniless.

I feel more like ‘me and I’ today; this is a brief statement yes, yet it’s heavily weighted with both clarity and self acceptance of the kind I could not have hoped to have 12 months ago.  That path, which started with the stingrays in Grand Cayman was fraught with so many obstacles, so much stress and insomnia that by September last year, I realised I may have taken the wrong path and the entire affair ended unceremoniously in November.

And that’s when I finally picked up a pen and began to write my book and the story I wanted to tell.

I may not be in the Caribbean today, but at least my life boat is now in the right sea.


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