In the Post

My submission for The Women’s Weekly Competition is in the post. The deadline is 6th February, so there’s plenty of time for it to get there.

Last night, I felt the urge to read through the story once more (again) and I’m so glad I did because I found the following:

King Calo, the king, was a greedy man.

I know you’re smiling, but I wasn’t. How obvious, how ridiculous, how stupid. 🙁 If I could have slapped myself around the room, I would have done. The thing that really irks me, is that I’ve read this story five hundred times and my stupidity never jumped out at me. Grrr! At least I found it before I posted it, and not after.

Anyway, that’s a weight off my shoulders. What’s next? I’ll return to Cat’s Eyes and start the editing process.

Weigh In and New Books

Today, being Saturday, is weigh-in day for our diet. Both of us are continuing to lose weight. G is down to about 86.7kg (he’s lost about 7kg) and I’m down to 67kg (I’ve lost almost 5kg). It’s only been three weeks so we are proud of ourselves. Water is becoming easier to consume, except on the weekend because my habits change then, but I’m getting there.

After the weigh-in, we went to The Warehouse. We saw a water filter advertised cheap, but they didn’t have any left. Never mind. While we were there, I dug deep into the bargain books and found two real…well, bargains! 😉

Dogsbody by Diana Wynn Jones. I bought this book purely because of the author. I’ve read some of her stuff before, and have really enjoyed them. Apparently, Dogsbody is quite old but that’s not a concern to me and upon reading the reviews I think I’m going to love it.

The second book is called The Pit by Ann Pilling. Now this book I bought purely because of the cover. That outfit the person is wearing on the front cover (follow the link to the book on Amazon to see what I’m talking about) was worn by doctors during medieval times, when the plague was in full force. That alone got my interest. There’s no reviews for the book, but I like to make up my own mind anyway.

Yes, I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished reading them, which might be a while so don’t hold your breath.

HP and the Goblet of Fire (Movie)

We finally saw the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yesterday. I was scared that it would be taken away before I got to see it and these movies should be seen on the big screen, to be appreciated.

There were a lot of scenes cut out, and several long scenes in the book were cut right back (and believe me, this isn’t always a bad thing), but I felt the movie was great. It had everything needed to make sense and the graphics were superb. There’s no way they could have done justice to this movie twenty years ago. Everything felt and looked so real, that I can almost believe in dragons!

All Harry Potter fans will love the movie, and non-lovers of these books will have to admit that they’ve done a good job. It’s a must see for sure. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one.

Short Story Update

The edit of Guards’ Mustering was much more involved than I thought it would be. I made a lot of changes – deleted sections, added others. Right up until today, I still wasn’t happy with the ending either. I kept changing it, but it didn’t feel right.

However, today is a public holiday (Australia Day) so there was no work for me, and I spent four hours pouring over the story once again. This was the final edit, and when I got to the end I finally found the right way to end the story. 🙂 I’m so happy.

I have made the changes on-screen, and will read through it one more time tomorrow morning (I’ve got the day off). I doubt I’ll send the submission until Monday though, because I don’t want to cut out a further two days that might come in handy for “emergency” changes if I suddenly realise something is wrong.

Final word count is 4600.

Breaking the Restraints

A problem some writers have, is freeing their mind of restraints. Writing is a time to try new things. Just because you wouldn’t go mountain climbing, or scuba driving, or jump from a plane doesn’t mean your character wouldn’t do these things. Just because you wouldn’t murder someone, it doesn’t mean you can’t write the perfect murder story. And just because you know nothing of being a spy, or a magician, or an astronaut…doesn’t mean your characters can’t be experts at these things.

The key is research. Do the research and learn the terminology, and you can easily bluff your readers into believing you know what you’re talking about, and the feelings associated with it.

Some writers go that extra step with freeing themselves of restraints, and create eyebrows that talk (as in Grim Tuesday (Keys to the Kingdom, Book 2)). When you can do this, and it works, you know you’ve stepped out of the box and into the true writing arena. The box is safe and warm, so to take a risk by creating something quite unusual must be a bit scary. I’m not sure that I’m up to that test yet, but some writers find it easy. I admire them.

What’s the most “out of the box” thing you’ve written? How did you feel when you wrote the story? And…is it something you’d do again?

Asking Questions

As a writer you should know your characters so well that if someone asked you a question about them, you would not show yourself up by not knowing the answer, or having to think about it for a few moments first. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use all the knowledge you have on the characters, but it does make them more rounded in your own mind, which brings them to life on the page.

There’s nothing better than when an interested person asks questions. Who is the MC? What are they like? Did he/she have a disturbed childhood? Why did they commit the murder, run away from home, become a witch? The more questions asked, the more you learn.

However, most of us don’t have an interested person to ask us questions, so we have to do it ourselves. Yet we don’t always ask ourselves the right questions, so the character doesn’t grow to their real potential. This is a shame, but quite normal.

Here’s a list of questions to get you started. I love to ask myself “what if”. It’s a great way of twisting a simple idea into something mad and exciting. What’s your favourite question?

Memoirs of a Geisha (Movie)

This was not a movie that I would have paid to see, because watching the DVD would have been good enough for me. However, I won three tickets so we invited my parents to join us (they only had to buy one ticket) and we saw Memoirs of a Geisha at the movies.

I’m glad we did.

This movie was really good. It was much better than I thought it would be. The story grabbed me from the start and took me through to the end (just like any story should). The acting was superb, the setting authentic (in my opinion) and the plot enthralling.

It’s definitely a girl’s movie, but the men had no complaints and they both enjoyed it too. There were a few parts that left a lump in my throat, and the ending brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t sob, but I couldn’t stop the tears welling.

I believe I’ll pick up on more things during a second sitting, so I will watch it again when it comes out on DVD. If you are not sure if you want to see this movie or not…see it. You won’t be disappointed.

Short Story Update

There is a 5,000 word limit for this story, and I managed to finish with 3,750 words. Cool. Usually, I struggle to stay within the limit.

The story itself is good, however, I have already decided to change some details. The MC’s son (and a group of other kids) will become two years older, it will help with what happens near the end, because right now I don’t find the scene believable as the children are too young.

Also, I feel like I’ve broken a promise. The MC was given a dagger, but she doesn’t use it. I think she should. What’s the point of showing her receive the weapon, if she isn’t going to use it? How it is now, I may as well take the dagger out of the story.

To meet the deadline for the competition I’m entering, I have to have this story edited, polished, and ready to be posted on Monday 30 January – which is a little over a week.

My plan of action is to read through the entire story on-screen tonight, and make minute changes. I’ll try to fix (smooth out) the ending a little too. Then…tomorrow, I’ll print the story out and on Sunday I’ll read through the hard copy. Stories always look and feel different on paper. I’ll try to work out where I have to put the extra scene using the dagger, and will probably hand write that scene. When I’ve finished the editing, I’ll return to the laptop and will transfer the changes. Another printout, another read through, and probably more errors to be fixed. I’ll repeat this process until there are no errors.