Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Write on

Well, you might know that last month I undertook the mammoth task of Nanowrimo . Unfortunately I quickly found myself stumbling at the first hurdle. At 11 000 words or so I stalled completely. There was so much happening around me physically, that just making time to write everyday was impossible. I'd be up early every morning to exercise, run around after the girls all day, (typically they seemed to require my attention more than usual), negotiate the evening madness and then when the house was finally quiet, I found myself too exhausted to string three sentences together. And what I had written was awful! Terrible! Horrible! An assault to the eyes of anyone who attempted to read it. At least that's what I convinced myself. So I picked up Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer and decided to reread it. After that, of course, I had to reread Breaking Dawn. And before I knew it the month had almost passed me and my poor little abandoned novel by. I'd failed, miserably, there was no way I could reach 50 000 words unless they fell out of my head and into my laptop by osmosis.

December showed up and demanded that I start getting festive. Between decoration making and tree decorating I took the time to reflect on Nanowrimo. In reality I don't believe I had a chance from the beginning. For one, this was my very first attempt at a novel, and that is always going to be a huge undertaking, especially when the idea only occurs to you days before you start. For another, writing is something that I have never taken seriously. Sure, the ability to play around with words and make them pretty has always come naturally to me, but I'd never even considered actually attempting to write something with publication in mind. I'm a pretty careless typer, my spelling isn't the best and I wouldn't know a noun from an adjective. Yes, people tell me all the time I should write a book, but they are just being nice right?

I was prepared to shelve the book idea and leave the whole sorry saga behind me. What I didn't count on was that my novel would keep beckoning me. Plot twist and turns, conversations between characters, names and places, new scenes, rewrites for old ones, all of these would crowd around in my head waiting for recognition. So I did the only thing I could do, and returned to my novel. No daily word Talley's, no guilt trips for watching television late instead of writing, just a commitment to my story. If it wanted to be told, then I'd tell it.

So where am I? Around the 20 000 word mark, so about half way. The novel itself is for the young adult market, inspired my Madi, and though I had originally planned for 50 000 I'm told that editors prefer shorter stories for this age group, so 40 000 seems about right. Of course I'll use as many or as little words that it takes to tell the story, so in that respect word count is secondary to story.

Yesterday I got an amazing book out of the library yesterday evening, that I'd definitely recommend to anyone looking to write for children and/or young people.
It's called How to Write for Children - and get published. I found it completely inspiring and absorbing, and will definitely be purchasing my own copy, after I reread the library copy a few times. It is a UK book, so the links and advice won't be relevant to use here in NZ, but it's easy enough to find NZ guidelines. Like right here for example. I just have to share this letter that the author, Louise Jordan received with a manuscript.

'So please read and reject - for every rejection letter I've promised myself an entire M&S Victoria Sponge with Earl Grey on-the-side to commiserate with - so would greatly appreciate hearing from you. And in case you're thinking I'm gonna put on a lot of weight because the enclosed is just awful - plan (b) is to become the fattest (unpublished) writer in Tunbridge Wells! See - faultless planning!'

I do hope the writer got published....or maybe I don't!

Well, back to it,

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Going to the Birds

Hmmm, quiet in here lately I know. Yet we are still as busy as ever, baking, cooking, crafting, learning, playing, listening, talking, watching.

Last night as I was preparing dinner for us Kyla yelped, 'Mum, a bird! Inside!' Sure enough a little sparrow had hopped inside to grab a stray piece of bread that one of the kids had dropped, like Hansel and Gretal. It kept coming back in, so we kept throwing more bread, and soon some more sparrows joined the first, and we had guests for dinner. The girls got so excited everytime a bird came inside, and soon Kyla was plotting the creation of a bird restaurant.

So this morning she dragged me out to the shop for supplies, and then we got to work. We wrapped a plank in red Christmas paper, as bird like red apparently, and Kyla designed a banner. She called her restaurant Bird Fuel, a play off her fave, Burger Fuel. I made up a batch of bird pudding, just lard mixed with seeds, nuts, fruit and bread and Kyla filled a pinecone with some peanut butter and rolled it in seed. Then we made some coloured sugar water, and Kyla made some fruit roll-ups, just some apricots and sultanas rolled in bread. Those actually proved to be the birds favourite things.

Kyla and I loved this mama and her baby chick, so adorable. We lay on the floor watching them eat.

The Word Party

Loving words clutch crimson roses,
Rude words sniff and pick their noses,
Sly words come dressed as foxes,
Short words stand on cardboard boxes,
Common words tell jokes and gabble,
Complicated words play Scrabble,
Swear words stamp around and shout,
Hard words stare eachother out,
Foreign words look lost and shrug,
Careless words trip on the rug,
Long words slouch with stooping shoulders,
Code words carry secret folders,
Silly words flick rubber bands,
Hyphenated words hold hands,
Strong words show off, bending metal,
Sweet words call each other 'petal',
Small words yawn and suck their thumbs,
Till at last the morning comes,
Kind words give out farewell posies....
Snap! The dictionary closes.