Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is the best thing about being a writer?

What is the best thing about being a writer?

One day I hope the answer to this question will be power, influence and riches beyond my wildest imagination. Meanwhile, back in the real world…

There are lots of reasons I love writing. I’ve previously talked about the fact that it’s free therapy and drug use all at once. It’s all of those things and more. I love creating worlds and characters. I love pushing them into conflict just to see what will happen. Hell, I’m a sadist. I even love physically torturing them. Well, just that one time, and I did feel kind of bad afterwards. For a bit. I only made it hurt for realism, you understand. It’s not like I let him die…although that might have been the kindest thing. Anyway, there’s no point in being a god unless you’re a vengeful god, right? I smite because I care.

But the thing I like best about writing is the fact that I am never bored.

Never.



There’s always some idea rattling around in my head that I can explore to take my mind off the fact that I’m waiting in a doctor’s office, or in the line at the supermarket, or trying my best to look attentive at work. My omnipotent god powers have carried over into real life -- I have the ability to miraculously transform the mind-numbingly boring moments of my life into something creative and wonderful.

When I was little my grandmother gave me a mug. It said: To know is nothing at all. To imagine is everything.

What’s the thing you love most about being a writer? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rejection - Black Books style


Here is how Bernard from Black Books handles rejection: 



How do you handle rejection? 

(I think the wine goes without saying.) 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How do people with kids write?


The other night my nephew and niece stayed over. Tom is six and Meg is four, and for some reason a sleepover is really exciting to them. They haven’t quite figured out that all they do is have dinner, have a shower, read books, and go to bed…just like at home. Anyway, I figured I’d chuck them in the shower and have at least ten minutes to catch up on my email or something. Just ten minutes. And then, from Tom:

Aunty Jen…

Aunty Jen…

AUNTY JEN!

AUNTY JEN! 

AUNTY JEN! I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING REALLY FUNNY!

AUNTY JEN, TODAY WHEN MUM WAS BUYING ME A BEAST QUEST BOOK I SAW A CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS BOOK CALLED CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE PERILOUS PLOT OF PROFESSOR POOPYPANTS!

And then the neighbours knew as well.

And Meg sings in the shower. What she lacks in tone she makes up in volume. And what she lacks in lyrics she just makes up.  

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE
A POCKET FULL OF WINE…

Then they played some sort of weird game, still at top volume.

SHE FELL IN THE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT!

SHE’S DEAD!

YEAH, SHE’S DEAD!

Bring on bedtime.

So for those of you with kids, kudos. I have no idea how you do it! 

Tom and Meg - not always this cute. 


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Really, Mother Nature? Really?

2011 so far in my neck of the woods: 

Floods - check. 
Cyclone - check. 
Earthquake - check. 

This afternoon when I was lying lazily in bed reading, at 3.31 pm there was an earthquake. 

Source: Courier Mail

I'm sort of ashamed to admit that I didn't recognise it as an earthquake. I looked around, ready to yell at the dog for scratching so hard that the floorboards were shaking. But, hang on, that usually doesn't make the bed shake. 

Then I heard a plane going overhead. But, hang on, they usually have to be a lot bigger and a lot closer to rattle the house. Thanks, RAAF, for your many training exercises. 

And then I noticed that the mirror on the wall was shaking as well. And that the dog and cats were freaking out. 

Hmm, I thought, a poltergeist? Because, seriously, that's where my brain took me. 

But no, it was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake, with the epicentre about 130 kilometres away. And I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't recognise it because I used to live in New Guinea, where we felt earthquakes a lot. In Tok Pisin they were called guria, which means "to shake". And when my sister and I got woken up by them we used to run around the house, excitedly screaming "Guri-oory come!" 

Not this time, though. This time I wondered what the heck was going on for the thirty-odd seconds it lasted, then I chalked it up to an overactive imagination and went back to my book.

Because we don't have earthquakes in Queensland. Seriously, I cannot stress that enough. We put up with yearly monsoonal flooding and the threat of cyclones, and when we're not having flooding we're having droughts, and the trade off is that we live on a nice solid bit of tectonic plate and don't have earthquakes

Are you listening, Mother Nature? I'm not liking you very much this year. Lift your game.

Bitch.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Blind Spots in Writing

I am currently working with an editor on a book that will be published in upcoming months. I won't mention its name here, because it's a fairly racy romance. And when I say racy, you know I mean dirty, right? Anyhoo, working with an editor is fantastic because she sees my blind spots. And here they are: 



1. Passive sentences. 

I love passive sentences! My brain meanders, and, therefore, so does my prose. I don't want to say "The car hit Timmy". I want to say "Timmy was hit by the car". But as my editor points out, overuse of passive sentences slows down the narrative. Except, because she's an editor, she said it much better than that. 

2. Commas. 

I have a comma addiction. I love them so much that I sprinkle them through my work like fairy dust. I think its because a teacher once made the mistake of telling me that commas are where your readers would take a breath. I took it very much to heart. And nobody dies on my watch, dammit! 

Those are my two biggest blind spots in writing. What are yours? 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Walking on Eggshells


When I was a kid, I came across an old superstition that said witches would use eggshells to ride out to sea and call up storms. You were supposed to crack the bottoms of the shells once you’d used them so that the witches would drown. I did this diligently for several weeks, before I realised the truth: I liked storms. 

After that I used to leave the uncracked shells outside so the witches would find them more easily. And at night, lying in bed listening to the thunder, I used to feel very smug and powerful.



What are some of your favourite superstitions, and do you still follow their rules today? 

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