I’ve reached the point in a first draft where you feel like you’re trying to push an elephant into a cup.
Look, I don’t often say much about writing, mainly because there’s already a lot of good stuff out there, said by much more experienced and far more articulate people than me.
HOWEVER, I recently answered some questions from a charming guy called Broede Carmody (you can check out the full interview here …) And because this is National Novel Writing Month, and you may be needing some inspiration, and because I have been meaning to have at least one entry on this subject, here is an extract:
BC: Lastly, if you had the ability to implant a recording of your voice within the head of every young, aspiring writer, what would you say?
KE: Look, I was going to say work hard, and don’t beat yourself up when it’s not perfect. But I can be a terrible slacker, and I get crippled by the fact that my attempts are crap. So I don’t know. Maybe the most important thing is to keep returning to it. This will be easier if you write about the thing that’s gotten under your skin; people, places and situations that fascinate you; the things that you want to hold on to; the things you need to let go of. Write, write and write. Keep a journal of your process so that when doubt bites you next time around, you’ll have proof that you’ve gotten through it before. Don’t give up: success can mean a lot of different things, and failure can be the making of you. Although it doesn’t matter what other people think, the right ones will tell you to get back to work, so listen to them. Make writing your Plan A. Forget Plan B. And by that I don’t mean quitting your job or uni and no longer doing other things. I mean, arrange your life so that you can write. Make it your discipline. Invest in it – your time, your heart, your patience. And you will be so, so glad, because it will give you more than you ever dreamed of.
I hope this helps.
Want to know how this: …………………….and this:………………………….fed into making this?
Then take a trip over to between the lines for a fascinating insight into the book cover design process – it’s the most in-depth post on this subject that I have ever read. It also includes some of the alternative cover designs for Saltwater Vampires. There were 70 of them. 70. Thank you, Marina Messiha (the cover designer).
Left wanting more? You can check out Tony Palmer talking about how he designed the Raw Blue cover here …
With the publishing date for Saltwater Vampires looming, I thought it might be good to post something on the writing process. Not mine (that would be a shambles), but the writing process of someone who is articulate and thoughtful and able to inspire.
Lisa Heidke’s first novel, Lucy Springer Gets Even, came out in January, 2009, and won her many fans. A year later, Allen and Unwin published her second novel, What Kate did Next. Lisa was kind enough to spill the beans on how she went about writing such a lovely, likeable second novel …
So how did you do it? How’d you write Kate?
With the first draft, I wrote it as a blurt fest. I started with an idea and ran with it. I knew that the main character, Kate, was a wife and mother and had sidelined her career to raise a family.
I put myself in her shoes and have Kate ask, ‘Is this all there is?’ Where were the dreams she had for her life when she was twenty? Twenty-five years later, Kate is no closer to fulfilling her dreams.
That was the basic premise and I developed the story from there.
In order to get the first draft written while it’s fresh in my mind and the ideas are flowing, I try to write at least 2,000 words, four days a week. When I’ve finished the first draft which can be anywhere from 60 -70,000 words, I’ll step back and try to rest the manuscript for a good month before I read at it again. During that month I’ll write notes and consider how I can improve the story, make the characters more interesting and the details, relevant and fresh. More
The idea of the process section of this blog is to talk to people who are doing things – making music videos, editing books, dancing, designing – which will hopefully provide you with inspiration for whatever it is that you’re doing (or want to do). Emma Lincoln-Smith does the skeleton – a sport where you slide head-first down a track at speeds of up to 143 km/hour and most runs are over in under a minute. What sort of work goes into something like that? Read below and find out …
(If you missed Emma’s intro, go back a few posts, or clickhere …)
What’s your process? Can you talk us through your training regime?
My training regime is very demanding. I base my training around a four-year cycle to make sure I peak at the Olympics and during that final world cup season. For the last two years leading into the games, my training has to be my absolute priority. I train 6 days a week, 2-3 times a day. More
Okay, so as we’ve all noticed I’ve been beyond slack on the blog front lately … BUT I do have a great blog on process coming up. Years ago now, I got to know this laidback lass who surfs where I surf. At that time she’d just been selected by the Australian Institute of Sport as part of an elite squad put together with a view to competing at the highest level in skeleton. Something she had never done before.
Her name is Emma Lincoln-Smith, and in February this year she competed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In just under six years, she has gone from never having tried the sport before, to competing at the Olympics. Amazing, hey?
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to talk to her about her process, given that her pursuit of choice is to hurtle face-first on a sled down a track where athletes have reached speeds of 143 km/hr. Yeesh.
… is what I think writing is all about sometimes. And it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.
The lovely Lisa Heidke, author of Lucy Springer Gets Even (Allen and Unwin) and What Kate did Next (Allen and Unwin), has just done a really good round up on the writing process for her blog. Lisa compares notes with Fleur McDonald, Kylie Ladd and one other person who obviously went a bit off track (for some reason, I only got as far as explaining my pre-first-draft stage before busting out my word limits). You can check it out here.
And coming soon, Lisa is going to answer a few questions for the process part of this blog about the writing of What Kate did Next and how she’s dealing with the hoo-hah it seems to be stirring up. So stay tuned …
For those who missed the ‘Coming Soon’ on this one: twenty-year-old Sarah Williams has just spent the last five years of her life living and working in New York. She received a two-year scholarship to the School of American Ballet at fifteen, and was then selected to join the prestigious New York Ballet Company. Like me, Sarah is obsessed with the colour blue, and when it comes to surfing, she’s a goofy footer – probably the only time she’s been called that before.
What follows are extracts from our conversation about the process of being a professional ballet dancer.
I could say it’s amazing that you’ve just spent five years working overseas at an amazingly high level, AND you’re only 20. But I bet you had been working towards it for a long time. How old were you when you started dancing?
I was about 6 and I trained with Robyn Ross learning a style of classical dance called the Cecchetti Method. When I was eleven I went full time at SCECGS and started learning another style of ballet as well, RAD. From going to both of these schools at once, I can remember how much I used to train, it was pretty hard but it’s all worth it really because without it I’m sure it would’ve taken me a lot longer to get to where I am now.
Can you give me an idea of what a typical day is like when you’re contracted to the New York Ballet Company?
We work six days a week (Tuesday through to Sunday). On each of those days you have 1 to 2 hours of class, then rehearsal (which can be anything from 1 to 6 hours), then an evening performance (and on Saturdays, a matinee performance as well). The company usually does 3 ballets for each performance, and as a member of the corps de ballet, I would generally perform in at least 2 of those. (The company puts on something like 25 different ballets a season). During the day you also make time to see the physical therapist and masseuse as part of your general body maintenance program.
Depending on whether you go out after the evening performance, you might get home at around 11.30pm or so, sometimes later, have something to eat, watch a movie, sleep. Class starts at 10am most mornings. I’m a night owl, so that style of life suits me pretty well. More