Saturday, August 28, 2010

Be nasty

Some Sunday morning reading in The Age from John Birmingham on a universal truth: good drama requires a writer to be a bit nasty to their characters.

It's something I struggle with, because I'm one of those people who just wants everyone to get along! I don't like it when my characters are mean to each other, but who wants to read 50 000 words or more of people being nice? Bor-ring.

So I work really hard at remembering to make my antagonist as vicious as a tiger snake. Whenever I write a scene with him in it, I think 'tiger snake'. Aggressive, kind of handsome, and poisonous.

Does that sound crazy, or do other people work this way?!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ten words we all should hear more often:

'Could you do me a favour?...Do you eat chocolate?'

Do I.

The call to action came during my weekly volunteer shift at the Friends of the Earth cafe/bookshop.

One of the advantages of working with predominantly vegan people is that when the contents of the chocolate jars need to be tasted to determine which is chocolate-coated ginger, and which licorice (the labels were mixed up), the only person up to the challenge is yours truly.

'Mmm, yep that's licorice... no hang on, let me taste another one...'

I've found my calling.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eluding the procrastinet

Oh the wonders of enforced unpluggedness (there are four syllables in that). In the library at TAFE today the internet was down for some time. Right from the moment I arrived, in fact, with all my plans for the next hour or two centring around:
1.       Check email.
So there I was, stymied before I even got the wheels off the ground. Procrastination nipped in the bud, cut off at the knees. Pre-emptively struck against.
Normally I use the more useless distractions of the internet to entice myself into doing work. The prospect of a hilarious email about cats who wear sunhats, or the upcoming federal election (always good for a laugh), at least gets me seated at the computer, and then I have a vague hope that I might accidentally type out an assignment while I’m there.
No internet? I stared at my computer screen and thought dully, ‘But what do I do?’
Reluctantly I concluded that I was going to have to do some work. Writing, to be precise, because the only homework I ever have that doesn’t rely on documents in my email or dropbox is Write Some of Your Novel.
And oh dear it was productive. Without facebook to check every time I finished a paragraph, or got stuck over an adjective, I simply kept going. I almost got in this ‘zone’ I keep hearing about.
But then, alas, the IT department waved their wand and the dub-dub-dub opened its vistas once again. Without a backward glance at my novel I fired up the hotmail, read the paper and then moseyed on to blogger…
But I did make a mental note to cut the cord more often while I'm working.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Word of the week: hiatus

Hiatus, from the Latin hiare, 'to gape'. Definition in the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary: 'a break or gap, esp. in a series, account, or chain of proof.'

A break in a series of blog posts, for example. Yes, there has been a bit of a hiatus, not just because I went on holidays, but also because the holiday had an extended effect. And writing is like most things - the longer you put it off, the harder it is to start again.

However, I thought this was an auspicious time to kick it off again, because something very lucky happened to me yesterday. I mean incredibly, what-are-the-chances lucky.

I came in to uni only to discover that my printing account had been deleted. After some conversation with the IT people, I learned that they had 'changed the system over' or something, which was all fine, except three people happened to lose their printing accounts. Three people in the entire uni, and one was me.

'What are the odds eh?' said the kind lady who helped me get my account back. 'You could have won the lottery with luck like that, but you got this instead.'

Yes, thank you. Remind me not to go out in thunderstorms.