MY PLATE, AND THE LOTS ON IT

What time is it, Mister Wolf?

Fucked if I know, I’ve been hard up against it.

Godsdamn, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to just sit around and blog at y’all. many reasons, but suffice to say, much of it has been down to general suckage, work-based suckage, business, distraction, and the feeling that I’ve got rather more urgent and important things to be doing.

The main thing of interest to this blog, however, is that Luscious and I have started hanging out with a group of Perth writers calling themselves Perth Write Club. They meet every fortnight at the State Library and Edith Cowan University, on a turn-by-turn basis, and well, they write. Hard. For an afternoon, with a bit of lunch beforehand and a chinwag after.

It’s fab, and the kind of writing group I’ve been missing for quite some time– every group I’ve been a part of over the last five years has eventually ended up with me acting as some kind of defacto free workshop leader, and there’s only so much of that I can take before I want to hang out with some actual peers, please. Lyn and I attend the State Library meetings, and it’s proving highly beneficial to my writing. In two meetings I’ve managed to complete a 4000-word synopsis for the kids novel Cirque and write a 3000-word short story entitled General Janvier. I’ll be keeping this up!

In publication news, Magrit continues to lurk about the corridors of Walker Books. They appear to have some big plans for it– I can’t reveal what, unfortunately, but it might be a little more illustrated, and a little more hard-backy that first thought…… March next year is looking like the launch date, by which time it’ll be older than the audience it was written for.

And I’ve been podded over at Far Fetched Fables: if you’ve not read my 2008 story In From the Snow, here’s a chance to snuggle up in bed, cuddle your favourite teddy bear, and have it read to you. Sleep tight,

I AM TOO SOCIAL BY HALF, AND NOT IN THE RIGHT WAYS

July is always a strange month. For me, it’s the first month of the year: my day job is based around an annual budget that is approved in June and runs from financial year to financial year, so my programs and projects run along similar lines, meaning my work year coincides with the financial year. July is a time of renewal, of long-term planning, and new beginnings. And my Real Life ™ is beginning to take on that cycle. July is where I look at the year ahead, and institute changes that I hope will carry throughout the rest of the year.

Of course, I do that in January, too, but that’s because I’m insecure and a whiner.

My first change this month has been to abandon Facebook, and boy, are my arms tired… Not entirely, as it turns out, because many of the fan groups I’m a part of exist only on the wide blue lifewaster, and I have a public author page that it’s nice to update occasionally. But I’ve moved away from my private page for the month: I’m reading my news feed once every three days instead of six time a day; I’m not commenting on anything– some very particular posts, and groups, excepted; and I’m just generally ignoring its existence as much as possible. And, surprisingly, I’m immediately happier. It’s amazing what a sinkhole of whine and angst Facebook is, without anyone really being aware of it. It changes people, myself very much included, and like any obsessive death cult, you kind of have to escape it to notice. Half a month in, I’m noticing, and giving serious consideration to extending my self-imposed exile through August and beyond. I wonder if I can cut down my reading to once a week.

The other thing I’ve enjoyed is a return to writing. The kids have been at their grandparents’ this last week as part of their school holidays, and without having to centre our daily life around them Luscious and I were able to wander up to the City this past weekend and partake of the fortnightly writing group put together by Perth SF author Martin Livings. This group meets at either Edith Cowan University or the State Library for lunch, before an extended writing session and a debrief in a cafe afterwards, and lugging two pre-teen kids along is really not achievable.

But Saturday, I was able to slip my headphones on and concentrate on the screen for Three. Solid. Uninterrupted. Actual. HOURS. And in three hours, I can knock out two 1500 word synopses for novels requested by my publisher. One in particular– Cirque, a novel about a girl who runs away to join an alien circus– has been kicking around in my skull for ages. I have 15,000 words written, so by the end of the weekend I was able to complete the synopsis, organise the 15k into sections matching the action arcs in the synopsis, and determine what I need t fill in so that by the end of this week, hopefully, I can have the completed synopsis and a three chapter package in my publisher’s inbox, where naturally they will pick it up, publish it in every country on Earth, and make me rich and famous enough that I never have to speak to anybody ever again. Or something.

And that’s the change, kiddos: a year ago I was immersed in social media. I had accounts on 9 platforms at one stage. Now I’m down to 2, and am all but abandoning one of those. (The blog stays). I was at my happiest, as a writer, when it was just me, Luscious and the kids, my blog and the writing. I’m not sure why I ever strayed from that, but I think it’s time I went back to what makes me happy. And if you like my writing, hopefully that’ll make you happy, too.

NANO PROGRESS

11 times 1667 equals 18 337.

Which is rather more than the 13 717 words I’ve completed so far this month. I’ve had a couple of days away from the computer here and there, so my targets are down, but I’ve always been quicker towards the end of a project than I am at the start, so I’m not that worried. Nano is, of course, just a guide as far as I’m concerned. My object is to complete a saleable novel, not to complete 50000 words. But it is a good way of getting your arse applied to the seat, and I’m in dire need of that.

I had 5 goals at the start of the year. Losing weight to 95 kilograms isn’t going to happen, but completing Corpse-Rat King and starting a second novel will be achieved, and a month ago I would not have said it was likely. It’s likely, in fact, that I’ll have completed Corpse-Rat King and completed a second novel.

And for that, you can colour me pleased.