It’s been a lovely three weeks on holiday but I have no idea where the time went! The dogs and cats have loved having me home – hopefully they’ll cope when I’m back at work. Tillie passed some health tests with flying colours, pretty good for a big bear of a dog who’ll be 13 this year 🙂
I’ve managed to visit lots of friends and family, including my amazing great-aunt Mim who’s 101 and still sharp as ever! She’s coping better than I thought, with having finally moved into a nursing home recently, accepting that it’s easier to deal with day-to-day stuff. She still gets out though, with the help of family members.
Meanwhile I’ve caught up on (almost) all my health checkups and jobs to be done – funny how that list grows as you go, rather than shortens 😉
But I made it to another book launch two weeks ago that was lots of fun. I met Shivaun Plozza at a YA writing workshop last year run by Maureen McCarthy, via Writers Victoria, and we’ve bumped into each other once or twice since. And now her fabulous book Frankie has been released to great acclaim.
Shivaun spoke about some interesting things – well, to me they were, as a fledgling author. How the manuscript didn’t contain anything about location, until someone asked her where it was set, and she said, well, Collingwood, really. And then she realised that Collingwood has so much character as a working-class suburb of Melbourne that it deserved a place. So it became another character, swearing and drinking and spewing in the gutter, while still feeling like home to her main character Frankie, who grew up there.
I’m fascinated by this, because a major part of the book’s charm was the location, and you certainly couldn’t tell that the details had been added later, which shows Shivaun’s skills.
Apart from launches and reading a lot of YA books for inspiration, I’ve been working on my manuscript; plotting another novel (set in the late 80s, my own teenage years); applying to agents; and working on my short stories as part of an online course I’m doing with Writers Victoria.
This course has been a real writing boost and a challenge at the same time. Feedback is the best and the worst – you have to learn how to use it and sometimes IF to use it. And short stories are a great way of learning to cut back excess. I’ve been loving the other contributors’ stories too – we have a weird way of having similar themes each month, entirely unplanned!
Meanwhile I’ve been transplanting my little indigenous seedlings for TreeProject, which are all almost down to one seedling per tube, as it should be, and I have almost one and a half extra boxes of seedlings as back-up (there’s always a few lost in the next few months as we babysit them until later winter when they’re almost ready to be planted back on the land they came from).
But it’s back to work tomorrow, with an early start of 8am, so I’ll be arming myself with a large coffee and plunging in. Here’s to holidays and writing and just hanging out with the animals 🙂