Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Yes. It's true. It's official. I'm a benign idiot. My links don't work. I can't figure out how I got my original list to look nicer. Either they've tried to make it easier to use for people like me - intelligent people who are trying to think like idiots like me - but GUYS IT ISN'T WORKING! YOOHOO! ANYONE THERE?

Write it down before you forget.

It has occurred to me that you should really walk around with an ideas diary. I mean it didn't just occur to me because I've known this for years. For both artists and writers.

Ideas are very fleeting things. Some of them are worth keeping. Some of them are best forgotten. Some of them probably are only temporarily forgotten, and come around every so often, but because we have forgotten them we mistake it for a new idea.

Today I am thinking this because I'm editing my story and I have completely forgotten the plot, even though I know the general plot, the particular, incident by incident has been forgotten. The WIP is good. I know it is, but I still need to work on the editing. It needs upping the drama, without being over dramatic.

Over drama is worse than underdrama.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh hell I might as well write it here too...

This day, in response to a post by Miss Snark's First Victim... my comment to her today's post...

It was nice to see you, like me, is a thunderstorm person. “It was a dark and stormy night” and you have to admit, they are a wonderful word backdrop for an old mansion in which its inhabitants are connected by both accommodation for various reasons and… murder. In fact you can almost believe, as you read that first line, that third murder of the night, that dead body of an old lady in the library. And finish off this awful discovery with the words…

“She must have been murdered. She knitted so carefully.”

Well, given that… Sanguine? I believe the word is more closely connected to masochism. You don’t live in the Philippines and participate in that Christian self-flagellation, or, jump in over the barrier to a street in Barcelona which is squashed, squishy tomato spattered blood-red, and let yourself be chased by a bull, or climb the Himalayas rather than wait at the bottom for the video… you, Authoress, write. With quivering heart and mind you chase those words which will set a pathway for you to clash head on with the future and hope… or is it hope and the future?(?)? < this was a cyber shrug by the way. Negativity is part of your make up. Because you have imagination, you can imagine the letterbox or the inbox with that sinking heart when your radar detects signals an imminent and spectacular fall from grace. You sit around eating a box of chocolates. You don’t care if you put on 19 kilos and your face ends up looking like the pestilic red middle of a volcano and you ring up council to come and collect your computer. You go to bed, and turn into Thomas the Tank Engine… I can do it – I know I can – I know I can and ring council the next morning, cancelling the collection order.

You are a religious masochist. You belong to the cult of publishing. To the cult of I write therefore I am. It’s an exclusive cult and sanguine is not quite the word. I think the description is more like, indomitable belief. It’s not ego. You are a Citroen and your logo is: The end of the road is not the end of the trip.

It’s an exclusive cult, and it’s members are few, because out of all those people who claim “One day I will write a novel” you are that one that has never said it. Never said those words. Because there was no beginning. It just spontaneously combustioned like a celestial event. J.K. Rowlings is a member.

But there is one cult you wouldn’t want to be in. The Cult of the Rejectors. It’s the equivalent of publishing hell. There’s a few editors in it. All crying over missed opportunities.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lay or


Lay or Lie?

English is chaos. Chaos is Anarchy. Any suggestions? Who do we blame for this?
The Anglos, the Saxons, the Danes, le French, das Germans?

I know that lay works in a department store. I put money on it and when I'm ready to take it home, I pay the balance.

And I can lay a table.

Or if I tell a little porky it's called a little white one.


When I'm buying a new mattress am I laying down or lying... will I lay down or will I lie...

Oh the quandary of self doubt... I'm an ignoramous, a dimwit,

But I'm not a liar, layer, oh heck.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Kinda Kindled

Well, looks like I've been well and truly Kindled. It's the intrusion on a conviction that anything of mine should be a hard copy. Well I haven't changed I have to tell you. That is still my conviction. However, with my perfectly honed set of double standards I'm ready to relinquish my conviction when it comes to others.

It's not here yet. I won it on Ebay. I heard a comparison of the ipad and the Kindle and it seems that this person after seeing iPad (Apple) was still a fan of his Kindle. He took it away for a couple of weeks and didn't have to charge the battery. It wasn't back lit so the screen is friendly. It has one major problem people seem to constantly complain about. Apparently the page turner is a nuisance. But I'm happy with that - one can learn to live with a snarky little button.

So now I download books. But that's okay because there are certain books that I probably won't read more than once and they stay on the shelf, neglected and unread. And as is my eternal sin, should I want the hard copy to stroke and love them, as is my eternal sin, possession is only an Amazon away. In actual fact, lending libraries are frustrating for me because they tend to have a book or two that will be out of print, and me which will have a strong desire to possess them.

The bid went on last night. Eight hours later my competitor didn't know how close they came to my top bid. But that is now history. The kind of history that becomes irrelevant, blubbery and just disappears.

I'm Kinda Kindled.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The great language revenge.

We are very absorbed in what happens when English absorbs words and phrases from other language but forget that English is probably the most desirable to know and to use as an international language. Once French was considered IT but it seems to me that English is by far the dominant international communication tool.

So it's nice to see that yes, after hundreds of years, the Anglo Saxons have muddied other people's waters.

To steal the list from Mervynn Bragg's Adventures in English, English has reaked it's penalties on Russion. Look>>>

kemping (camping)
lider (leader)
spiker (speaker)
loozer (failure)


raiba intenshibu (labor intensive)
rajio (radio)
konpyu-ta (LOL)
karaisu (curry rice)
suppootsu (sports)
autodoasupo-tsu (outdoor sports)
sutoresu (stress)
insentibu (incentive)
akauntabirity (accountability)
ranchi (lunch)
kissu (kiss)

BRAZIL is looking to ban English words but until then they can say:

50 percent off
watch shop
New Garden.

But the ultimate revenge is on French. We are slowly making it easier to speak French by infiltrating that language where pronunciation defies the spelling...

le twin set
le weekend
le look
un holiday
le midwife
le parking
le gros rush (rushour)
le garden party
les drinks
le score
le front desk
le building
le mixed grill
un pullover
le babysitter
le barmaid
le camping
le cowboy
le cocktail
le hold up
le jogging
le jukebox
le jumpjet
le know-how
le manager
le name-dropping
le rip off
le sandwich
le self-made man
le showbiz
le stress
le supermodel
le zapping

The French have made an effort to ban this seepage and are worried that English is taking over the EU. The margin is growing.

And that leaves me the last say.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Art of Critiquing

When I first joined a critique group, I was like a bull in a china shop. I didn't have any training for such a task and it was a frightening experience. But what really makes a good critique.

I am an author with a history in childhood publishing. It is my creating career in picture books both writing and illustration where I did learn, quite instinctively, to craft a world, a believable and credible entity, and a suitable one for an early childhood learning experience. I was learning without knowing it about GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict = Wants, because, but). I learned the story arch in a very tight situation where words cannot be wasted and illustrations cannot be mere reflections of words but actually meaningful for little the enrichment of fresh, growing, curious minds.

In my decision to jump the fence or grow up a little bit, and start writing for adults, I did it alone and innocent. Locked away in my author's tower, where Repunzel would let down her golden hair, I tap, tap, tapped away on the keys releasing characters onto the pages every day. Magical grown up people who would become my obsession and my friends.

So when I typed THE END I ventured forth into the big world and on my clumsy walk I discovered the concept of a critique group and so the story began.

I remember those early days. And what I learned in my trip through critiquing was that it is an art, between diplomacy and honesty - and a genuine desire to be helpful.

The reason I am reflecting on this is a meeting I went to yesterday. It is a network of authors which meets regularly each month to support, discuss, boast, complain, analyse and just be friends in this often rather lonely pursuit of getting published (and staying published). Yesterday at this meeting it was mentioned that a session by a panel of supposed professionals went hell-for-leather after the authors they critiqued. They were harsh, rude and took their roles as literally as possible, destroying already fragile sensibilities and that a lot of resentment had been generated in their wake.

So what makes a good critique? A good critique can only start with a good manuscript. It is not a one-sided endeavor. It is not fair to expect somebody to come up with the goods if the author hasn’t. This means that an author must basically present their best effort, in order to obtain appropriate feedback. It is not only fair but courteous. If the manuscript is not up to scratch then it isn’t a critique that is expected but should be relabeled ‘Help Wanted’ and conducted on this basis.

The critique then will be begin with a thorough reading. Looking for clarity and understanding, and flow. You should look through the m/s with encouragement in your mind. Concentrate on the positives which will expose the negatives automatically. Praise should be part of it. “Love this” can make an author feel buoyant and good. The critique should be on the lookout for ‘show not tell’, and probably also suggestions on rewording the odd sentence or two.

The trust between the critiqued and the critiquer should be very high. And not every manuscript will be identical to the next. And not every critique effort will be a compatible one.
And finally I think the self-confidence of the writer in their craft is probably important as well. This is the ability to sort out what suggestions to take on board, and what you will disregard.

It all, in the end, boils down to mutual respect.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shampoo and set.

I have a small Shitzu/Maltese cross. Now I did get a half Maltese because I didn't know they were snippy little dogs. Normally if the Maltese half had been at the back end I'd be happier. But I inherited the front end.

She's a dear little thing. She had an ear infection and the vet gave us ear drops. Good luck! We had the great 20 kilometer zone to bypass to get anything into that little chamber. We were spectacularly unsuccessful.

But the honor of a dog hairdresser fell to a lady called Ruth, of Pawfection. She comes along in a nifty little towing salon on the back of her vehicle. She managed very nicely and despite snippy Maltese teeth at the ready, she managed to turn my little dog into a very cute little poodle look alike. The dog, Baby, is half the size without her woolly mop and at the moment is curled up into her little fluffy doggy basket, snug as a bug in a rug, while I write here.

It's turning into winter. I think day two of Autumn. The winter Olympics have just concluded and Australia has a record two golds. Russia on the other hand got three and are ready to sack their trainers and officials in disgust. Finland didn't get anything. This year I didn't get caught up in anything of the games. I think I might be over it. Since Sydney's blowup plastic kangaroos I seem to have grown tired of opening and closing spectaculars. Half the time the officials can't tell the difference between the New Zealand flag and mine, and I don't blame them because they are both very similar, but the Olympics have also managed at some stage to fly a couple up-side-down. That is rather funny but probably not very patriotic.

Okay I promise to find something life-changing to comment on next time. Today was enough just to get up and get motivated.

Today I do have a question. Is shoppatherapy fattening? I did some today. Penance was sushi. Mea Culpa.