Thursday, 17 October 2013

Lots of interest in writing retreat

The article in the Writing WA newsletter saying I am providing accommodation for writers who want to come for a week or two and get some serious writing done in a quiet, secluded environment, has produced instant response.
A woman who is writing a historical family saga set in Scotland has booked in for two weeks in November/December, an author/illustrator of children's books is coming to check out if the place is suitable, and a man writing a YA novel has tentatively booked for January.
I am getting quite excited about the prospect of meeting other writers with the opportunity to talk in depth with them and see how they go about their work. Meetings at festivals and other events are usually short and fairly superficial.
If there are any more writers out there who are interested, the idea is you come and stay with me on my bush property near Walpole on the south coast of Western Australia and write to your heart's content. There is good accommodation, you share meals and contribute to the cost of food and other household running costs and hopefully, there will be lots of opportunities to talk about our work and writing generally. Email me on if you want to know more.

Go Grandma ! October 2013

My latest novel, Murder For A Grandmother is rolling along since I went back and changed a lot of my original chapters. It was the old kiss principal. I cut out a lot of complicated plot twists and some sub-plots and got back to the main theme, which is Grandma solving the murder and saving her grandson from the hangman. I still have a tendency to try and save some of the original but I find it much easier to delete it and trust my subconscious to remember any particularly good bits that should go back in.
I also googled faces for my characters and pinned them up on my wallboard, which I find helps as I can glance up and say "how do you feel about this" or "what are you going to do next" and their faces often give me the answers.
Since I already have a publisher who has at least expressed interest in the idea for this series I am feeling quite confident about it. Ideas for sequels are bubbling in my brain and it is hard not to stop and write them now. Priority has to be to get one complete draft of the first one which I am happy with. Then maybe I can jot down some notes for others before coming back to the revisions.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My current work

A New Era For Manny Youngman

The final draft has gone off to Fremantle Press and I am once again an author in waiting.
I put more work into revising the final draft of this novel than any of the others I have written (which perhaps explains why they were not accepted by publishers). In this I was greatly helped by fellow-writer Paula Boer, who did the most amazing critique of the ms and pointed out so many ways in which the writing (as opposed to the plot) could be improved.
In A New Era For Manny Youngman I tell the story of a man who believes the feminist movement gave women a new role in society but did not balance that with a new role for men. He is President of the New Era Men’s Support Alliance, which seeks to work out what this role should be, or at least help men who are confused by what is expected of them.
Giving a talk on this subject, he is confronted by ex-girlfriend Katie Frank, who at first attacks his views and then backs down and hurries away.
A few days later he arrives at his apartment to find Katie there with Jenny, a 15 year old girl she tells him is his daughter. Katie is going to prison for throwing a bomb into a men’s club and asks if he can take care of Jenny.
Manny sets out to establish a relationship with Jenny based on his unconventional theories but finds it far from easy. Having a daughter stirs up unexpected emotions in him as he confronts the feminist ideas inherited  from her mother, problems she is having at school and her worries whether a boy likes her. Complicating the plot are conflicting reactions and advice from his parents, an important woman client, a social worker, his men friends and Katie’s women friends.
Manny starts to realise there is more to the incident in the men's club than he has been told. He also starts to question his own beliefs and to realise that it is one thing to theorise about relationships but quite another to put the theories into practice.
A triangle of conflict emerges between Manny, Jenny and Katie which is only resolved when Jenny confronts her parents with some home truths and they are forced to re-examine their beliefs and their relationship.

Murder for a Grandmother

I am now about 30,000 words into a revised draft, working mainly at this stage on getting the plot and the sequence of the scenes right. 
Like so much of what I write, I have found it necessary to chop out more than half of the original material I wrote. Whole sub-plots and more than a dozen characters have disappeared and I have honed the story down more and more to keep the pace up and the action moving.
This will be the first of the Grey Nomad Detectives series I am planning. I have drafted outlines for half a dozen more and have more than half written what will eventually be the third in the series.
I found this was necessary to get it clear in my mind what the series would eventually look like, as this made it easier to come back and write the first book.