Thursday, May 29, 2008

Linky lovin'

I've been updating my links; check the new improved listing to the right!

Anybody else up for some linky loving? Apply here, with cogent argument about why I should include you, and why you should have the honour of the spot at the top of the list.

In other news...Soccer Boy's team can't be regraded as there are no spots in the grades above them, so Robin can rest assured that their invincibility will remain untainted (we hope, maybe they'll come a cropper this week...). And Princess will be taking to the field - she went to soccer practice last week and loved it, so Saturday mornings are going to be very busy.

*updating to add...current list members are welcome to present arguments as to why they should move to top billing*

Monday, May 26, 2008

Progress report and pain

I think it's been a fortnight or so since I last updated my little progress report, so stats for the past fortnight:

New words: 2000
Plotting The Woman in the Wall: 2000
Re-editing Maureen: 0
New novel research: 0

Yes, the new words and the plotting sections are the same 2000 words. It just makes me feel better to see it like that, OK? There's been much more going on in my head than has been going down on paper. I have a clear structure in my head of how the story continues and some scenes that just haven't made it on to the page yet. I will have to unravel the story that I have already written, too, which is a little offputting as I like it the way it is.

As far as the overall plot is concerned, I did have a bit of a block towards the end. However, on the weekend, while driving to Penrith I suddenly understood what the problem was. Whether I like it or not, this novel cannot have a happy ending. As a result, without knowing exactly what's going to happen, or how, I do know where Jac will be by the end and it's not good. I had no idea I was so reluctant to leave my characters in trouble. That's not to say that there may not be some hope on the horizon, but, on the other hand, there may not be. I think it was my inability to accept this that was causing the blockage.

So here's a question for you all. Do you have a hard time putting your characters through pain? Particularly if it's an unresolvable situation?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

From New Zealand to...Penrith

Yes, after our big trip to New Zealand we spent another weekend away, this time in the exotic suburb of Penrith. Ah, the beauty of the shopping centre! The majesty of the Panthers stadium! Um, well, yes. It was more about the friends that live there.

Soccer Boy's game on Saturday - another flogging of an innocent team. 15-1, with Soccer Boy scoring 5 of the 15. 'Massively undergraded' is now the phrase of the week and, in fact, this week the manager is going to request regrading.

Regular blogging to resume shortly.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's all about me(me) desk

This is Conduit's tag:

1) You must take a photo of your workspace and post it to your blog.
2) You must provide a few words about it.
3) You must NOT tidy, clean or otherwise stage the workspace - it must be EXACTLY as it usually is (you can see that I followed this rule religiously).
4) (Optional) You can nominate as many or as few others as you wish.

Here's my little beauty:

It looks messier than I realised! This is the spare room, aka the dump. I have two desks, because both are small. I'm planning on buying a new one soon so I can get rid of these. The tall desk wobbles chronically and will probably collapse under me if I don't get rid of it first. The chair is no better Lots of notebooks and reference stuff around the place. The diploma is DH's; mine are in cardboard tubes somewhere (no bragging encouraged in my upbringing). The mug of tea is mine and is a permanent feature.

And I am going to onward tag this's tagged me recently...Whirlochre, Fairyhedgehog and Chris, show us your stuff! Actually I'm not sure it was Chris that tagged me, maybe it was Sarah. OK, you're both up!

Check out Conduit's workspace here.

It's all about me(me)

Twin-tagged by Fairyhedgehog and Whirlochre with this one. I think my answers will be quite boring, but here goes. Conduit's just tagged me with something, too, but that might have to wait until tomorrow.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. Again, I'm deleting the rest of the rules, because I'm planning on ignoring them.

Inquisition Meme

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was a newly-wed, living in San Francisco, aw, sweet. However, with no working visa I was bored to bits. I did some voluntary work teaching English (which is why there are some kids in SFO who talk about 'post boxes' instead of 'mail boxes', oops), played a ton of tennis, cycled for miles, argued with DH about ironing and acted in a zero budget movie that I never saw (no, not one of THOSE movies). I wasn't writing in those days, unfortunately.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

It's evening and I've had extra kids today due to a teacher's strike here, so I'm planning on getting the kids to bed, finishing the washing-up, making a mug of tea, unwrapping some chocolate and reading a book.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Anything from a bakery. Yum. Oink.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

This may be too obvious, but I'd spend money.

What are three of your bad habits?

I'm a duvet hogger, I always squeeze the toothpaste from the middle and I don't read enough to the kids (too busy reading to me).

What are five places where you have lived?

Sydney, Oz
San Francisco, USA
Amsterdam, NL
London, UK
Victoria, Canada

What are five jobs you have had?

PR Executive
Shop assistant
Kitchen assistant

What were the last five books you read?

No idea. Sorry, but I'm a serial speed reader at the moment, all library stuff chosen randomly. Some are rubbish, some are good, and I can't remember the names of any of them, which is a comment even on the 'good' stuff available from our library.

No onward tagging. Although if anyone would like to volunteer, feel free.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm thinking you all know this...

...but, being distracted by my mini-vacation, I was a bit slow off the mark.

Conduit's got an agent. Not any old agent, either, but a super agent. I'm overjoyed for him. I was one of the beta readers for The Ghosts of Belfast. I even read it twice. It's that good. You'll want to buy it.

More details here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You all love me when I'm gone...

Two memes, a touch of man lust and some moderate abuse. Just the kind of highbrow input I'd expect from a group of writers while my blog is unsupervised.

As LW points out, there was plenty of net access in New Zealand, but, alas, none for me. The hotel's access was outrageous and DH muttered 'internet addiction' any time I suggested paying for it. Plus, although the kiwis have discovered wireless access networks they have also cleverly discovered how to lock them and make people pay for them, eliciting similar remarks from DH. Very devious of him. If he'd just said 'no', I would have defied him instantly - he never gets away with that kind of 'I'm the boss' behaviour, because, frankly my dears, I don't give a damn. I'm the boss. However, 'internet addiction' pressed right on my guilt button (the one that says 'shouldn't you be spending more time with your family?'), and was insurmountable, although untrue. Clearly.

Anyway, had a fine old time. It's stupid, I know, but I had no idea of what to expect from New Zealand and I loved it. It helped that the weather was fantastic. We walked, took ferry rides, visited Sheep World (only in New Zealand) and bathed in hot springs. Amazing landscape, more like Scandinavia than dry old Oz. Started muttering to DH about his seeking gainful employment there, it's a lot more tempting than some of the other places he's mentioned (as ever, we may be on the move, yes, yes, I'll believe it when I'm on the plane). Soccer boy saw some kids on the soccer field, so he's with me and Princess - well as long as she doesn't have to walk up any more 'dollcanoes' she'll come along...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A few days off

We're heading to New Zealand for a few days, and I've just been informed that internet access is unlikely. Just as I'm finally ruling the roost in 'true's quiz as well! Sigh. There's always something between me and success.

See you next week.

Monday, May 12, 2008


You decide: your kid or your beer?

Check this out.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Why critique?

Writing stats for the past fortnight
New words: 0
Editing The Woman in the Wall: 0
Re-editing Maureen: 0
New novel research: 0
Critiquing: 170,000

Clever readers will notice that over the last fortnight I haven't written a word. I've devoted my writing time to critiquing. Why do that, when I could be massaging my magnum opus to splendid completion? (Robin, don't overthink that remark...)

I've got heaps of answers to that question, all personal, all right for me. Your answers may be different. If you critique at all. So my first question to you is, do you critique others' work? If not, why not - and if so, what do you get out of it?

1. Procrastination. (Yup.)

2. Helping others. (Seriously. I was a good little Brownie.)

3. Earning critiques back. (You knew there had to be some self-interest in there.)

4. Comparing my writing to others. (Not in a competitive way, but it's interesting to see other unpublished works - in the raw, before agents/editors refine them (or not, as the case may be) for print.)

5. The pleasure of getting to read something different from what I would usually read. (That sentence sounds ungrammatical. Fix it if you can.)

6. Learning from others. (When I look closely at others' work I see errors or naughty writing habits I don't always see when I read 'normally', and I can bear these in mind when I'm reading/writing my own work (cut out those adverbs!))

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Not enough huggles

Soccer boy told me this morning that the reason he is getting angry so much is because nobody gives him huggles any more, they only hug Princess. So we agreed that whenever he thinks he is getting angry, he should call me and I will administer a hug and we will see if that helps cut down on the rages.

Man, he gets angry at some seriously inconvenient moments.

I'm a pathetic poster this week, I know; just a bit busy in yanno, that real life stuff.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I am so vile

I can't believe I'm posting this.

2,157,120How Many Germs Live On Your Keyboard?

Apparently that's the equivalent of four hundred and sixty something toilet seats. Thankfully for all who know me I'm an obsessive handwasher. Looks like I need to be.

*dashes to computer store for keyboard cleaning products*

Now I need to know how many toilet seats your keyboards are harbouring!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Slice of life

If you would like to read Robin's story, scroll down a bit, and it's waiting for you.

Meanwhile up in the eucalypt... Not much writing going on, but heaps of critiquing. Three people sent me stuff on the same day, two of which were full novels! Now I love you all, but...hey, I love you all, and I'll do it! Then, once you've all drained me dry, sorry, once I've finished, I'm going to revisit the Woman in the Wall and do a bit of a rewrite. Then, I think I'll send the story out to a mag somewhere (brilliant suggestions for mags gladly accepted). Once she's on her merry way, I'll revisit again and see if I have actually written part, or even an elaborate synopsis for most, of a novel. I'm still having ideas surrounding the characters (that idea salmon has quite taken to it), which is a good sign, so I'm wondering if the process has kicked off more than a short story.

I smell of wet dog, because we bathed Polly today. Not a favourite activity for anybody. However, before that we made her a little obstacle course and had her bounding over jumps and going through tunnels, and she loved it! The treats at the end helped. Soccer Boy loved it more. Those are the moments of dog-owning that he likes.

Soccer Boy scored a brilliant goal this morning. His team of little mates are kicking the pants off all opposition. We had our narrowest match today - six nil. Last time was thirteen nil. The word 'misgraded' echoes around the oval.

Princess has a birthday party this afternoon so all is right with her world.