On banana’s in August…



I love writing but…

I especially love writing silly things but…

My latest absurdity is describing pixie culture in The House of Motokazu. Pixies, among other things, are horribly easy to offend. They have a philosophical objections to socks and are deeply suspicious of bananas.

This sort of ridiculous can keep me happily writing for weeks but lately I’ve found an increasingly frustrating tendency to sit at my computer and blow raspberries at it.

You see, its winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. August marks the final month before Spring. Its been rainy, in biblical proportions, cold and drear. I’m desperately sick of it. I’m tired and weary and trying to write anything seems like trying to slog through knee deep mud. I know I’m not alone. Many of my writers guild colleagues are suffering the same gloom.

Trying to produce anything with my usual verve seems like trying to grow bananas in August (not that you can actually grow bananas in New Zealand, I’m just trying to make the banana metaphor stretch). I’m even starting to hate the work I’ve actually finished. When you get to that stage you know its time to back away from the computer before you delete the work of years in a fit of pique.

In the words of Monty Python, “and now for something completely different”.

Writing is both equal parts inspiration and discipline, but you have to acknowledge when it’s time to stop forcing the issue and take a writing sabbatical for a month or so. So to that end I’m putting the lot in the metaphorical drawer and leaving it. I’m querying at the moment, which is a process of ‘hurry up and wait’. So while I’m waiting to hear back (if at all) I’ve decided to fuel my imagination with some self directed study.

There are a couple of books that have sat in my ‘to be read’ pile, for a while. Now is the time to dust them off. Just for the record, these are non-fiction study books which require concentration, not novels.

So, here’s the lineup… this should keep me out of trouble for a while…

The mind of the spiritBedeThe element encyclopedia of fairies

Well maybe just one novel …

moominland midwinter

The last one is because I’m feeling very metaphorical about winter at the moment and this charming little story by Tove Jansson seems just the ticket.

I am also knitting a poncho out of an old, stupidly long, scarf.

Hopefully I will be back to my silly best soon. In the meantime The House of Petunia is still being queried… fingers crossed…

On Querying and the Birth of an Author


letters 2

So Pitch Wars is about over. Didn’t get chosen so I’m now facing the daunting task of querying agents, hoping that one, just one of them will take on The House of Petunia. I fired off my first one a few days ago and was quite surprised at the butterfly, slightly sick feeling I had when I finally pressed the ‘send’ button.

I’ve read a few stories about some people’s journey to becoming a published author. They vary and they bear remarkable resemblance to birth stories. I have never been through the process of giving birth but most of my friends have. I have one friend who was so traumatised by her terrible birth experience, she suffered PTSD and needed counselling. Another friend’s baby literally popped out in 15mins, giving her just enough time to get into the bathtub and get hubby to ‘catch’.

I think querying agents might just amount to the same thing. Some authors go through an agonising process of endless rejection, revision and disappointment before they land that contract. Some are contracted on the spot. I don’t know where my experience is going to fall, but I’ll keep you posted. But one thing I will keep in mind.

One of the heartbreaking things I read was an author who had an agent who required her to make huge amounts of changes to her manuscript. She made them and the agent still chose not to pick up the manuscript!

Thats just evil.

I will  continue to follow Diana Wynne Jones’ advice and write the kind of story I enjoy reading. Any revision I do to correct story weaknesses will be to satisfy myself, not anyone else.

As in relationships, as in writing – never change yourself to suit another person’s preferences.

Let the querying begin!

On Pitch Wars

Pitch Wars

So I’ve been rabbiting on about Pitch Wars for the last few weeks. Its a writing contest of sorts. The idea is to submit the first chapter of your book and your query letter to a selection of volunteer mentors. Each mentor is a published author in their own right. If they chose you then you’ll spend the next couple of months getting your novel shined up ready for the agent round. That’s where both you and your mentor pitch to a group of agents with the hopes of getting that awesome contract.

I have entered The House of Petunia.

For the experience if nothing else. You get to interact with a lot of writers.

For me it’s now a waiting game…

waiting 2


On New Shiny Books!!

Weeeee! I just feel like a piece of my childhood arrived in the mail!

English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs…

English Fairy Tales

I used to own this book when I was a child. We’d bought it at a book fair held at Caroline Bay.

I loved it.

And then, as children sometimes randomly do, I gave it away to a friend. And poof, it was gone from my life. I really missed it after a while but didn’t think I would ever find another copy again. This is in the age before the internet thingy…

I started thinking about it again just a few weeks ago because now I’m an aspiring novelist I search for resource books on mythology, folktales and magical creatures to fuel my own work. Suddenly I remembered my old fairy tale book and did a google search and behold! There it was in Book Depository!!

Now it has arrived!

This inter-web thingy ain’t half useful..