September is supposed to be spring but winter seems reluctant to leave. A couple of mornings ago there was a light sprinkle of fresh snow on the hills and this morning a good frost greeted us. However, the sun is making a comeback and the predicted temperature for today is 15 degrees. Fantastic! We certainly appreciate the warmth. Our home office is so much brighter when the sun shines and I spend a lot of hours here. The downside of working at home is that there can be so many distractions fuelled by my worst enemy words 'I will just ... ' I am learning that those words set red warning lights flashing, because if I say 'I will just do this' it so often leads on to something else and then something else and half an hour later I still have not sat down at the computer. I know I am not alone because other writers have similar struggles. The good news is that I am becoming more focussed as my goal comes into view.
Progress toward the goal
In August I sent the draft manuscript of Chrisjan's story to copy editor Sue Beguely, of Triplecoil Script, in Auckland. I am indebted to Sue for her professional editing. No detail escapes her eye. I have learnt so much from the many track changes she has suggested. Grammar or punctuation errors are easy to accept but thinking through wording and formatting changes takes a little longer. Because I have used a lot of direct quotes, Sue has suggested blending some of them into the narrative to help the flow of the story. So it is still a work in progress but I am excited to have reached this stage. I have also had a long chat to Andrew Killick of Castle Publishing and his expertise has helped me to plan for publication. I am still aiming to have the book finished by the end of the year but it will be after Christmas before it is ready for release.
Every writer needs to read
As well as writing I have given myself time to read a little romance and a little history wrapped into one story.
Seven Seasons of Wrath is a revision of an earlier title The Price of Freedom. Based on fact and careful research, the story follows the life of George White who was wrongfully arrested for theft in England, and sentenced to a term of seven years transportation to 'parts beyond the seas.' This gripping tale is not for the faint-hearted. The injustices of the penal system in the nineteenth century were appalling and inhumane, yet throughout the book the strength of the human spirit rises triumphant. George was a man of character who just happens to be my great grandfather. The author of the book is Douglas Coop, a cousin of my late father. The romance in the story made a pleasant contrast and one day I would love to visit the church in Tasmania where George and my great grandmother were married. There may be more than one hundred and fifty years separating his story and the story I am writing, but the structure of the narrative intrigued me, and gave me ideas for a format that may be useful in the story of Chrisjan and Alexis. If you are interested in reading the book it is available on Amazon.
This week I couldn't resist the 25% discount offered by our local book shop and have bought my own copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The movie was good but the book is superb. I borrowed it from our local library and read it last year, but I really wanted to have my own copy to read again. A successful writer knows how to show not tell and Markus is a master of the art.
Something I am continually realising is
When you write you learn something about yourself.
Here's another little gem which epitomises my passion
You cannot open a book without learning something.
As I write and as I read I find I am on an intriguing voyage of discovery. By the next time I blog I hope I have travelled a long way further.