30 September 2010


It's funny how time expands or contracts depending on what you are doing, or waiting for. 
Since I first received the contract from Kinglake the time seems to have whizzed along.  Contract, proofs, cover, and not forgetting the delight of telling people, or my usual work that still needed to be done.
Driftwood is now 'out there' but as I live in New Zealand and the publishers are in England I haven't yet seen the finished product.  Another exciting 'first' that I can't wait for - again that ever changing element of time working its magic.
After finishing Driftwood I started on my second novel, Ordinary Day.  When I sent the synopsis and opening chapters of Ordinary Day to the publishers, time really did start doing some funny things.  
Every morning I would open my inbox and hold my breath hoping for a reply.  Any reply.  Euphoria when they asked to see the full manuscript.  More months of time kaleidoscoping until finally a no softened with good comments and constructive feedback.
So what do you do with this ever expanding and contracting commodity?  You write.  

29 September 2010

Moving on from enjoying the moment

I think I was always meant to be a writer. I'm not talking about talent (or lack of it) just that I enjoy the solitude, and have always been happy with my own company.  I need peace and quiet to write.  I'm not the type of writer who thrives on noise and confusion.
However I do realise that having a book published isn't the end of the story, and people need to know it's out there. 
I've put my toe in the water (yes I know it's a cliche) by telling extended family members, friends, people I know but haven't been in touch with for a while, and every so often someone I only know in a vague sort of way.
People have been amazed, surprised, astounded and many other adjectives, but all have been pleased and excited for me.
It's been fun and has made a great moment even better.

28 September 2010

Enjoying the Moment

I checked on Amazon (and a few other sites!) and there it was.  My book, Driftwood, for sale.  It's an amazing feeling, and while as a writer I should be able to liken it to something, at the moment I can't. 
It's amazing. 
John Cranna told me recently just to enjoy the moment.  He said publishing your first book only happens once.  So I'm enjoying the moment.

24 September 2010

Starting out

When I first started to take my creative writing seriously I decided to write a novel.  Hardly an original idea I admit!
I wrote about 25,000 words before realising my idea wasn't a large enough canvas for a novel.  
About that time two important things happened.  I attended a weekend writing course at Auckland University, and read an article which stated would-be novelists should cut their writing teeth on short stories. 
The premise of this advice is that much of our early writing is autobiographical and it is good to get through that stage in the form of short stories.  The second reason is that short stories are good vehicles for practising the craft of writing. 
I took this advice, and from the writing course found three similar minded writers and we formed a critique group.
For me it was good advice, and the feedback from the other writers was invaluable.  I must stress here that I don't think short stories are just a stepping stone for writing a novel.  They are wonderful in their own right, and I love reading a beautifully crafted short story.  However the advice in the article was good for me, and I wrote short stories for a couple of years before deciding to start a novel. 
I still love writing short stories, and am helped in this with the growing variety of short story competitions - at the moment I have details of competitions ranging from 25 words to 4,000. 
By the way I have since rewritten my original 25,000 words as a 7,000 word short(ish) story - so there was a lot of padding in the original. 

23 September 2010

Writing Groups

For most of this year I've been part of the Advanced Writing Course run through The Creative Hub in Auckland.  Being part of a writing group is a must (in my opinon) for writers.  It's great having a group of other writers reading parts of a work in progress and giving insightful feedback, which the CHubbers always do.  
There are always those parts of your work you have a niggling feeling about, but just can't see what isn't working, and also the bits that you think are great, but others, not so close to the work, can see the gaping holes in the plot. 
Being part of this group has also allowed me to read great work from the other writers, some in genre's I wouldn't otherwise read.
For any writer who isn't part of a writing group I'd say, go and find one, or failing that, start one yourself.  It's brilliant spending an evening talking about writing and writers without boring everyone else in earshot. 

18 September 2010

Book Covers

Seeing the proofs of my novel was thrilling for about 5 minutes, then came a dawning realisation I had work to do.  
Receiving the mockup of the front and back cover was exciting with the added bonus of no work to do.  
I've always loved words and the meanings they can convey, and am fascinated that in communication with others we can still end up thinking different things though we agreed on everything. 
I exchanged some emails with the publishers regarding the cover, and fortunately they had much the same idea as I did.  However, I had a specific beach in mind when writing several of the scenes in Driftwood and so the reality of the cover was never going to be the same as the images in my mind, but they did a great job and I'm glad we weren't too far apart in our ideas. 
It's getting closer and the release date is just a few weeks away.     

16 September 2010

Proofing Can Be Exciting

Things are moving fast, or at least that's how it feels to me.  I worked through a set of proofs from the publisher, detailed the changes and sent them off.
A few days later I received the amended proofs with a sign-off.
What would we do without email?
It's exciting, and I'll admit, a little scary.  I'm not sure why the scary bit, as this is something I've worked towards, and dreamt about, for a long time.  I guess it's to do with a desire for perfection, and always feeling I've missed it by miles.
On this topic here is one of my favourite quotes.
'When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find that sometimes a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.'  Winnie-the-Pooh.
Do other writers feel this way?  I know I do.   

12 September 2010

A Publishing Contract

Three weeks ago I received what every writer dreams of - my first publishing contract.  Some days I still can't quite believe it.
I've been writing seriously for seven or eight years now, and in that time I've had some small successes, but nothing like this. 
About five years ago I wrote my first novel, edited and polished it, and decided it hadn't turned out quite the way I wanted it to, and so turned my attention to others ideas
Earlier this year I saw a competition for unpublished manuscripts and decided to send in the first novel. 
In my usual fashion I then forgot about it.  I work from home and my first job each morning is to check my emails.  Seeing one from the publishers was exciting enough, but I couldn't believe what I was reading.  I was speechless - for a minute or two!
I had won, and my novel was going to be published.   

11 September 2010

Titles - the hardest part of writing

Creating this blog was easy compared with deciding on a name for it.  I've looked through my Thesaurus, the dictionary, book titles, song titles, texted friends, and yes, in the end Wilful Words was the best I could come up with.
I toyed with Racy Writing, but I couldn't live up to that, so if anyone reading this has an idea, any idea, please let me know.
This blog is just the latest in a long line of hard to name writing.  I'm always impressed when writers talk about their latest work throwing in the title as if coming up with it was simple.  
My writing is usually finished, or at least well into the editing stage before I manage to work out a title, or in desperation look for a good line from it that I can use.