Writer’s Digest – April 21, 2021

I’m currently watching the latest series of Unforgotton on Foxtel (as an aside, if you haven’t watched it, it’s as good as the previous seasons – and is an example of great writing). In the first episode the investigating officers find an old Marathon wrapper in the pocket of the victim who they’ve found in an old freezer #asyoudo. DI “Sunny” Khan asks his younger colleague something like “when did Marathon bars change their name to Snickers?” He then says something like “what did we do before google?”

I’ve got to agree with him. What did we do before google?

I was procrasti-gramming the other day (checking out Instagram when I should have been writing) and landed on @nurturing.words_editor post asking:

(As an aside Jo at Nurturing Words did the copyedit on Escape To Curlew Cottage for me and helped those words sparkle and shine …

Anyways, it was, I thought, a fun question and my answer was:

My response today would be different. In the last 24 hours I’ve googled:

  • “Nigel Slater garlic mushrooms mushroom ketchup”
  • “Shelley china pattern blue flowers”
  • “Sunset time Queenstown November”

The first was because I was after a recipe for something I’d saved in Instagram and thought would be great to put on the menu of Beach Road. (if you’re interested, you’ll find the recipe here.)

The second was because I was researching the age of a vintage teacup as part of the advance research I’m doing for the book after the next book.

The third was because I’m considering tramping the Queen Charlotte Track in November and wanted to see how many daylight hours would be available on the big 23km day.

Often what I’m writing is more a reflection of what I want to learn about, than what I know or have experienced. It’s about following my curiosity and seeing what comes from that. As a result, my google history is often more a product of what I’m writing about (or thinking about writing about) than what I’m actually interested in – a fact that probably confuses the algorithms no end. I suspect it’s the same for most authors.

When I was writing Happy Ever After I spent hours down the google rabbit hole researching things like:

  • When did the Maritime Services Board building at Circular Quay become the Museum of Contemporary Art?
  • When did Midnight Oil do the Triple J birthday concert at Goat Island?
  • When did (the radio station) Double J become Triple J?
  • When was the Daintree Rainforest Benefit Concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre? Who was playing?
  • How do you get remains back after a cremation?

Anyways, onto this week’s writing update. 

I’m around 30,000 words into the rewrite for The Café On Beach Road. I also ditched the first three chapters in my next chick lit, It’s In The Stars and quickly knocked out a new first chapter to send through to my writing group. I’ve never let anyone read the first draft before – of anything – and I’m not at all sure that I feel comfortable with it, but I’m trying to push myself past my comfort zone a tad.

I have a number of chapters and disparate scenes written for this one – the first rewrite to tie it all together is going to be a flipping nightmare. In a way though, it sort of suits Alice Delaney’s personality – she’s very much a just in time in a roundabout way kind of woman.

Unusually for me I know how this one will end. Right back when I wrote Baby, It’s You, I’ve known how this one will end. The issue I’m having is filling in the blanks. 

I had the same issue with Big Girls Don’t Cry and ended up writing that one from the end and working forward and I’m thinking very seriously about doing the same with this one. Alice, an astrologer, is an ex-project manager and that’s how you plan a project so maybe it’s how this book will get written in the time it needs to get written in.

It’s definitely something to think about.

Until next week…