Things I Love Thursday

I had some really good news today, which is that my young adult novel has been chosen for a manuscript assessment through the NZ society of authors. I very nearly didn’t send it it (there’s a blog post coming about that) but then at the very last moment I did and now it’s been selected! What this means is it will be looked through by a professional and I’ll get a bunch of feedback and generally it will be one step closer to being published! It’s super exciting and a nice ego boost to me, since I’m constantly feeling I’m not a ‘real’ writer.

Find Momo is a really fun game. And cute 🙂

Fancy new Field Notes turning up in my mail box…

jennitalula field notes

Lunch with Steve and Marguerite. I’ve really missed these two! I must try and visit Christchurch, although that will have to wait because…

I got accepted to XOXO again! Sophie and I have both reserved tickets, now we’re just trying to work out finances, etc. Watch this space, but I may be returning to Portland come September.

Honourable Mentions: Google sheep view, Late night shopping at St Luke’s, swimming and the steam room and spa after, limited edition rocky road snickers bars, warm socks, electric blanket, sleep, making lunches for Anna, Anna, Anna trying on ball gowns and getting craft done.

Kid Theatre presents Magic Mike: Warning! The Magic Bird song may get stuck in your head…

(Jimmy Fallon cannot handle the smoulder)

Cecilia and the Satellite ~ Andre McMahon in the Wilderness

Things I Love Thursday

Writing! After sternly telling myself off for not making space for writing and instead complaining I have no time for it, I have started waking up at 6am to get some down before my morning shower. I am prepping my YA novel Rain for submission and at this rate I should be able to send the first three chapters next week. Wish my baby luck!

New Music week! Ellen is a darling and has been sending me daily links of joy, just random fun things she finds on the interwebs that she thinks I’ll like. Earlier this week she sent me this list of 30 hot new artists from SXSW and I’ve been exploring the list. Much hipster music that makes me sing along to follow…

So Good at Being in Trouble by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Gaming! Looking forward to the gaming at Sam’s house on the weekend and I definitely enjoyed playing Left Coast on Tuesday. I play Dante the excitable and paranoid fanzine editor who came over for an interview with the writer Sally and just never left. He’s very edgy for the 70s, and onto it, but easily underestimated because he can’t seem to leave the house… me and Svend had a lot of time zinging off it.

Let Me Go by Hiam

King of the Geeks! We’re watching a new reality competition show called King of the Geeks where various geeky types compete in geeky challenges. So far it’s pretty much awesome. That and Face Off are my reality show addictions.

Tokyo City! I have a fashion rule, which I mostly try and adhere to: don’t wear the shirt advertising a place that you have no connection to. I fail at this, I have a California top because of RP reasons and then I got an Indiana hoodie because I like the colours, BUT anyway, I was looking at the T shirts in the men’s section of Cotton On and I realised that I could wear any of the ones that mentioned Tokyo. So I am the proud owner of a pale mint green Tokyo City 1/4 mile racing T shirt, and today I paired it with the hoodie I got in Harajuku and it’s making me feel awesome.

Taro by Alt-J

Honourable Mentions: Skype dates, making your name magical (another link from Ellen), Unicorns, craft, colour, the marriage equality bill passing the second vote, awesome stuff on pinterest which inspires me to make crafts, visiting people, sleeping well and of course, hanging washing on the line.

Trippy So Destroyed by Prince Rama

Writing Wednesday

I’ve begun another edit of Rain. I’m going through one of the returned Tessa Duder manuscripts with a bright pen and marking changes, deletions and errors. So far I have found lots, and every time I mark something I think “this is why I didn’t do better, this here.” or “no wonder” or “man, this sucks.”

I’m not feeling the passion for writing, that’s not back yet, but a certain pragmatism is back and that’s why I’m back into things. Here’s the train of reasoning: I cannot get published unless I submit my work. I cannot submit my work at the moment, because it needs polishing. If I want to be published, and I do, I must edit and polish until I’m happy with the work again. Then I can submit it.

I am sufficiently removed from the manuscript, because I haven’t looked at it since October last year, but there are still emotions attached to it. Mostly the bad ones like failure and rejection. I just have to ignore those and keep on working on it. I do still believe in the book, but I also kind of hate it. I think this is relatively normal in terms of writing a novel, but I dunno. I’ve never felt this passionately angry about a book before, and that probably makes sense, given how passionately into it I was when I was writing it.

So, although it really doesn’t sound like it, this post is to tell you all that I have hope and I am editing, which is working on my writing, and hopefully, slowly, obtaining my dream.

Wet Wednesday Writing

Editing is going very well. I have just 15 pages to go on Rain which I will get done in the next couple of days. Then I will be concentrating on shopping What’s the Worst That Could Happen? around some more, fixing some short stories up and trying to sell them and then who knows? New thing? Maybe not quite yet.

Did I tell you that I have a whole new novel idea? It’s based on a long and detailed dream I had. The dream itself gave me the setting (post apocalyptic), main characters, main conflict and a lot of thematic detail. It’s a bit of a twist on the post-apoc genre in that it’s pretty hopeful in tone and there’s some neat stuff I’m looking forward to explaining. I haven’t written anything for it though, since one thing at a time is the way I work best.

In the past week I have also written a short story with Sophie, basically a deleted scene from the last episode of Fall. It’s a really nice scene between Calvin and Alex in which they talk about the fight and some other things. It was very fun to write and I’m quite happy with the way it came out.


Steve sent me this very encouraging interview with Karen McQuestion. Who has a freaking awesome name. She has had a lot of success selling her books herself on Kindle.

The redoubtable Andrew Jack (buddy of mine on twitter) has come down with pneumonia, and has written a blog post on how to write while sick. He also touched on an interesting point: writing is tough, like, physically. I have a lot of half formed theories on this, must remember to work them out some time.

I must read more of this blog, Got YA, but in the mean time check out this excellent post on redundancy and why you should definitely kill it. I’m terrible/very good at creating redundancy in my writing so it’s nice to see a couple of tips on avoiding it.

Finally, some neat bookshelves that are all architecturally and weird and unhappy hipster-ish. I most want the curtainy one.


First: Happy birthday to my Dad!

Second: Thanks so much for all the writing prompts last week, please feel free to add more if you think of them. I have been writing here and there, little bits of fiction and they do help give me focus.

Now to the blog: This week has been more slacking off overall though. I did do some LARP writing stuff on the weekend though, and this weekend I’ll be writing a 48 hour film, so it’s not entirely slacking.

Today I fought the procrastination bug for a couple of hours and then finally made myself open up Rain again. I am giving it one more going-over before I pass it on to readers. I’ve not been that happy in my head with the way the one-pass editing went. I know I started out pretty mindful of things, but I’ve been feeling that I wasn’t thorough enough. Anyhoo, that’s my mission for the next while: one more edit and then out it goes.

Psyched for the 48 hour film competition. I have Sophie and Amphigori on my team and I’m confident that we can work together to make an awesome script. I have some trepidation (as always) about what genre we will end up with, but on the other hand, I’m excited about getting to drink lots of coke. You can expect some writing lessons learned on Friday night/Saturday morning next week.


Forever Nocturne are accepting submissions right now.

Where a book is placed in the bookshop affects sales. Which, you know, probably isn’t a surprise when you really think about it.

Top 5 Lessons For Writers From Doctor Who. Sadly not written by Dr Who, but lessons from the way the show works.

Wednesday Writing

My own writing has been taking a bit of a break. After ostensibly finishing the type-up section of my edit of Rain I have given myself leeway to do other stuff.

I’m relieved to have my head back from Rain. I have a fear that I need to read through the draft again and give it one more whack but for the most part she’s letting me be. I like suddenly having ideas for short stories. I wrote half of one yesterday and I am gonna try and get that finished soon. I also wrote a fic for my Buffy game, but that doesn’t really count. And no, you can’t see it. So don’t ask.

I had a rejection this week for What’s the Worst That Could Happen? from an American agency. I was beginning to think it hadn’t got through, but the rejection indicates it did. I don’t mind it much, after all, that’s what it’s meant to be doing (getting rejections) but I did have the false hope when I saw the reply to my enquiry that it would be an acceptance. Ah well.


I really enjoy this article from Gabrielle Edits called writing invisibly, giving tips to ensure readers become immersed in your story. Plus some good basic things to watch out for, such as consistent tense, etc.

A little never give up reminder. (Although I cringe a little at the number of rewrites, I know that this can be true.)

I also liked this writer identity vs career article.

Someone new to follow on Twitter, especially if you write for the Young Adult market…@elizabethscraig, mystery author with her pulse on the awesome posts.

Speaking of which, check out this article on the five main characters in YA. I think Rain’s a Scarface. No, I mean, she definitely is. And Rachel (her best friend) is the Queen of Snark facet of the Comedian. Heh. Fun times.

Quickie Writing

I’ve been rushed this afternoon, I returned my library books, took a jaunt down Lambton Quay to see the Revolt of the Mannequins since they weren’t updated yesterday. OMG you have to go and look if you’re in town, they’re awesome. Strange and disturbing and so much fun. Plus I think there’s a murder mystery/mannequin serial killer who isn’t mentioned in the programme. Since there’s a couple of dead mannequins and a police officer mannequin trying to solve it. Interesting stuff….

I also did some shopping for my Fleet St LARP outfit, which is going to be a pseudo-period mashup of a costume, mixing some of the post-Victorian aesthetic with modern fashion. It’s either going to look weird-ass dumb or awesome, and I’m thinking it’s going to be awesome.

So then I rushed home and did some writing: edited one chapter of Rain, sent out the story formally known as Famine. Then I remembered that I was meant to pick up some stuff at the supermarket *and* I had missed some of the mannequins.

The raucous and annoying fire alarm going off in the building across the road pushed me out of the house and back to Hunter St and Featherston to see the three displays I’d missed. Love the comic fire brigade, but the nightmare of the puddle is predictably creepy. Then supermarket then back home. I basked in the sun and read briefly and then did another chapter of Rain. I’m at page 96 of 127. Woo!

I have to go and make pizzas now, but watch this blog! It’s Readers and Writer’s week and I’m seeing three talks. I shall report back here.

Quickie linky:

How to get published by an author whose trilogy is about to get published. I also like her article on book titles. Quite a lot.

The Dystel and Goderich agency is doing slush week on their blog, in which they each put up query letters and talk about what works and what doesn’t.

Writing Wednesday

I have had a very productive week since last writing linky. In Rain my editing is up to Chapter 17 which is page 77 in the A4 sized printouts. It’s going fast, which is concerning because I fear that I’m not spending as much time examining every possible word as I could be. On the other hand, I do have to get this finished eventually so eh. I’ve been limiting my editing to chapter lots, with breaks in between and time to distance myself a little. Looking forward to the next round of feedback when Sok and Debs have time.

I have reworked a short story to near-perfection. I’m giving it one more proof read before I send it to a magazine though, because short stories have to be perfection if you want them published in fancy-pants American places the way I do. I will send it out in the next day or so.

I’ve also done work on Silver Kiss of the Magical Twilight etc. For research, I went through my good old Werewolf: The Apocalypse rule book to see how they explain what roleplaying is. Then I went through Best Friends and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer core book as well. It was kind of fun. I want to run Werewolf again.


A rather useful article by agent Rachelle Gardner about why she’s said no after requesting samples. Common mistakes to avoid, basically.

Debbie’s short story is up on sentient online A Final Glimpse of Light and Dark. I haven’t read it yet, but my guess is that it’s awesome.

Matt also has a short story up online, Waste Not is up on antipodean sci fi. It’s a neat little meta-tale of time travel that kind of broke my brain.

Finally, I found Jody Hedlund’s blog today, which I haven’t had a chance to read extensively but what I have read is good. She’s gently encouraging and realistic with a nice easy to read blogging style. I particularly like this one about when you’re overwhelmed.

Writing Wednesday

I took yesterday off writing to spend time with a friend about to go back to London for a year. It was so worth it. We drove up to Mt Vic lookout and then went to the mall. While driving and malling and looking out we talked about various things, including writing. He let me blather on a bit about Rain and what the major themes are and somewhere in that conversation some things clarified for me. It was awesome, and it meant I had no trouble with motivation today.

I did a chapter’s worth of revision, taking me up to page 42 in the manuscript. Then I went back and broke up chapter 1 in one of the places Debs suggested. She has also suggested that I lose much of chapter 2, so I am going to read that again because I think she’s very right. I just don’t want to delete it all because there’s some good moments I might want to cannibalise for later in the book.

I also did some work on my RPG project, the fancy, sellable version of The Silver Kiss of the Magical Twilight of the Full Moon. Steve has given me a number of brilliant suggestions on making that more awesome, so my edit is well guided. I want to get this done so I can send it to my artists (hee!) and they can get started on some doodles for it. Ultimate goal for this is to sell it online as a PDF for a couple of dollars, so watch this space!

Now I think it is time to bake myself in the afternoon sunshine.

Hearty, beefy and delicious writing linky:

A rather lovely little bit of encouragement.

Forget multi-tasking. Could monofocus be the true power of the human mind? (Actually my own experience of turning off the internet to get writing done illustrates this perfectly.)

Loving this article about the word ‘said’. This is something that I pat a lot of attention to in my own writing and therefore agonise over.

Writers describe the positive effect of D&D on their writing from Boing Boing. I haven’t watched the video on that one yet.

This makes me sad, but it also makes me more motivated to keep writing stories about women! Three males to every female character.

“Difference between the right word & wrong word is same as the difference between lighting & a lightning bug.”
– Mark Twain

writing Wednesday

In my editing of Rain I have noticed that my first chapter is long: it has a lot of world building and action in it, plus introduces all the main characters and gives them motivations. This is all well and good except, well, it’s long. My other chapters are all pretty short and to the point. Is this a bad thing? Should I break up chapter one and make it more bite sized, or is it OK to get all that drama done with and move on?
Your thoughts are welcome.

I’ve struggled to get as much done as I wanted to on editing this week, battling this minor-but-persistent cold. I’ve just finished doing chapter 6, which means I’m on page 28 (A4) sized. I’ve found a couple of lines that I’ve really enjoyed and I’m liking the characterisations now that I know more about them. Still positive about the manuscript, even if I’m finding it hard to think straight with the cold brain.

Mini linky…. a good article of
formatting tips
for digital articles.

Not about writing but about the importance of writing…Neil Gaiman’s article on free speech is worthwhile.