Inside Out

Stars at Oktober BendThis past week I attended a lovely book launch for The Stars at Oktober Bend, a beautifully and unusually written young adult novel about a young girl who has a brain injury that has affected her speech. She can’t express herself verbally, so she writes everything down in her journal in her unique and poetic way (no capital letters and sparse punctuation – I love it!).

It’s a brilliant concept and one that makes you think about the importance of words and communication. I think Glenda does an amazing job of illustrating how a person with ABI can sometimes think in very different ways.

It’s a little bit like authors with their different styles and methods. I wish I was the sort who gets an idea, then sits down and pumps out a story, then leisurely and painstakingly edits it.

Instead, I am one of those writers who have taken a long time to gain confidence in their writing. And I take a long time to produce that writing. Facing Up was begun circa 2002, I think, but didn’t come to fruition until 2014.

My second book is finally to the point where I’m sending it out to beta readers to critique. This novel was actually begun long before the idea for Facing Up popped into my head one day on the way to work. Inside Out was started during a novel-writing subject in the second year of my Professional Writing and Editing Diploma, so that would have been around 1997. At this rate, if I don’t stick to a timeline, it could be 20 years from first sentence to publication!

Only one person (apart from me) has read part of it so far, and it was only the prologue (at least it did get a good reaction!). It’s always nerve-racking showing your writing to people for the first time. Apparently this doesn’t stop even once you’ve been published and are a best-selling author, according to a number of them.

But happily the jigsaw pieces are all falling into place now, and it’s getting easier and faster to put it together. I have the unfortunate method of assembling my stories from ideas, images, sentences or characters, that then have to be formed into something coherent, relevant and entertaining. Australian author  Lucy Treloar recently described her own writing on the lovely WordMothers website as like ‘creating the pieces of a quilt that I have to connect later’, which struck a chord with me.

Quilt 1

The quilt Mum made for me

My mother made quilts for years, painstakingly collecting scraps of material and matching them, then hand-sewing each piece. This quilts are nearly impossible to value, due to the time and effort that goes into them, let alone the sentimental value! I’m no great sewer, so it’s nice to know that I do something similar with my writing.

Hopefully people will find this new quilt of mine entertaining enough. It has the working title of ‘Inside Out’, which isn’t quite right anymore, so I’m working on finding another one. Here’s the tagline for it:

The shy, clumsy daughter of sporting legends is bullied during sports classes until she makes a stand – and ends up in drama classes instead.

My character Allie basically escapes the nightmare of  bullying in PE (Physical Education) classes (which includes a photo of her going around the school that earns her the nickname ‘Stripper’) and ends up becoming part of the school drama group – for a shy, insecure girl whose character is mostly internalised, this is terrifying. Maybe I should call it Exposed?

Which is rather like a lot of writers in the way they express themselves through writing and have to expose it (and themselves) to the world if they want to share it!

Speaking of sharing, last week I sent out three copies of Facing Up to the winners of my Australian Goodreads Giveaways, so hopefully they’ll receive them this week – thank you everyone for entering!

And this coming week I’m off to another book launch, for two more Aussie authors, which I’m hoping will inspire me again. I’d never been to a book launch before last year, and this will be my third. I’ve discovered it’s a lovely way to hear more about the author and their writing, let alone to meet the author (if only momentarily) and meet other readers and book people.

I’ll tell you about Wednesday’s launch next week 🙂



About carolynswriting

Author, Menagerie Manager, 9-5er. Love my writing, my family and other animals, my friends, and even my job :)
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11 Responses to Inside Out

  1. Ginene Nagel says:

    The biggest job in life is to be yourself and not care what others think of you. It is the purpose of life. It is how we glorify the Divine. This is so difficult when we are children and it can be difficult to do all through our working lives, but it does becomes easier. We spend so much of our lives trying to fit in and be appreciated as an individual. The topic of your book is important because the way children experience and handle the impact of negative reactions is carried with them for decades. Unkind and cruel behavior of others toward a victim is sometimes just plain jealousy, and some times, it is some kind of pack mentality. Children and young teens without a relative, teacher or a friend to turn to are devastated and at a complete loss as to why they are being picked on and singled out. It takes a long time to come to terms with this and understand it. I remember being picked on in elementary school after I was chosen to be a model for the annual church and school fashion show for a couple of years running. I never put the two events together until I was an adult. I figured it out why that “Clique” tormented the 11-year-old-me when I was 40 years old! There was a woman at work who made up stories about me, tried to trip me up and constantly belittled me. One day, I flat out asked her why she didn’t like me and she said, “I don’t like the way you look.”
    You’ve already proved that you are a good writer and your topic is valuable. The rest will all come naturally through your talent. Only you can tell this story in your unique way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Ginene for such a lovely and considered response! It is so sad how petty jealousies can cause torment to children – and adults – and it often is over something very small in the scheme of things. But to the child they can be enormous and insurmountable. And to an adult it can cause misery and possibly even the loss of a job or friends. It’s often hard for a child to express how they feel, or to seek help, especially as the bullying may seem petty to adults. I dislike the phrases ‘pull your socks up!’ or ‘just ignore them!’ as they don’t give the child any positive or practical ideas in HOW they can do that! Anyway, thank you for your comment and it sounds like you have come to terms with your own events – it can puzzle us for a long time and bring unexpected relief once we understand what happened 🙂


  3. WordMothers says:

    I know nothing about this book so it’s great to see your post on it! And your own work sounds wonderful. I can fully relate to how long it takes to stitch together a manuscript so fingers crossed your new piece comes together a bit quicker – it’s a great hook! Looking forward to hearing your event coverage. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Nicole – I hope your book is piecing its way together too 🙂 I knew nothing about the Oktober book, or Glenda (sorry to say!) before I saw an A&U event notification for it. And thank you for saying my next book has a great hook – it’s the first time I’ve put it in writing in public, so it’s a good start 🙂 I’ll let you know how Kirsty & Justine behave this Wed 😉 I’m very much looking forward to hearing them speak!


  4. I’m not sure I could stomach a book with significant lack of punctuation and capitalization – but it sounds like an interesting read!

    As for my own writing, I find it nerve wracking to show it to those I know – yet I have almost no trouble showing it to people I don’t. Perhaps there is some element of not wanting to let down people I know. I think this is why I never worry about things I post on the blog, as I don’t expect my family or friends to read them (at least, they aren’t the primary audience). Plus, you know, how much criticism are you going to get for pictures of a dog in clothing? That’s pretty much just begging to get compliments.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nick Verron says:

    Very close to my heart 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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