Do My Magical Characters Brush Their Teeth

sally august 2015

Today I washed the kitchen floor. Not very exciting, but it made me think of the characters in my book, as always. Had they ever washed a kitchen floor? If so, how did they do it? If not, who has done this for them and why? Every action in my life has a corresponding thought, a wondering about my characters. Thinking about one guy I’m writing, I had to laugh at the thought of him ever cleaning anything with his own hands. As I thought about another character, a woman, I decided I couldn’t imagine her having ever cleaned either, but in a very different way. My female character wouldn’t consider herself ‘above’ such things, like the guy might, but it would never have occurred to her to clean with her hands when she can wave it into being done magically and get on with some form of fun or adventure.

Showering is another intriguing one, does a magical character clean itself or does it perform a ritual or a spell, or do they have the ability to kind of pre-set a regular cleaning spell that kicks in every certain number of hours or so? Do they brush their teeth? Do they floss? Imaginative minds want to explore everything and anything in the life of a character. Not all of this will end up in my book of course, maybe only a small fraction of it needs to be in the story to show who the character is. The rest still has value for me as I write, though, to add to my encyclopaedia of the story.

I have a handwritten encyclopaedia and a computer file as well. The computer file mostly holds parts of the book that I write and then decide to cut, character descriptions, place descriptions and bits from the text of the book that I want to be able to reference easily for consistent writing. I also have some pages in the file for things I find online, like a photo of someone who looks like one of my characters, or places that look similar to places in my book. My handwritten encyclopaedia is a collection of information I’ve written by hand about my story. I’m thinking about taking a photo of these bits so I can have everything in my computer file, all set out alphabetically. Ease of access when I’m writing is the most important thing.

Sally, in my photo above, is my muse. She lays at my feet while I’m writing and takes me out to our big back yard to run and play ball when I need a break. I love my labradaughter.

be you xx Rachel

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Writing a Novel and Writing a Business Book

It’s been ages since my last post. I’ve been writing a book, and it has my attention most of the time. In fact I’m writing two books, one novel and one business book. This week the business book has had my full attention, especially since I bought some ink for my printer and was able to print out all of the pages thus far, so I could start editing and resorting.

I’m planning to self publish the business book, as an ebook. I think that’s one of the reasons why it is flowing out of me so easily. No publisher submission guidelines in my immediate future.

Another reason the book is flowing so well is that I know a lot about the topic I’ve chosen to write about; writing business books. I’ve helped a lot of people who were not writers, to write their own business book, I’ve consulted with many business owners, and I know something about what they want for their companies. I love the idea that I’ll have a book out there in the e-world, to help business owners. They are such hard-working people, with dreams beyond the next payday.

My novel is coming along, too. I spent time last week fleshing out the three main characters and giving them back-story and reasons for behaving the way I have them behaving in the story. I’m enjoying writing these three girls very much. They are very different from one another, and they each have their secrets. It’s fun to write about secrets, to hint at them and leave the reader wondering all the way up to the reveal.

be you xx Rachel

I am taking charge of me

do be free

I’ve had so much talk counselling/therapy in the past 22 years that I am completely sick of it. The advice I’ve survived, the lectures I’ve tolerated, the scoldings I’ve gritted my teeth through, the sympathy, the empathy, the tears, I’m sick of it all. There is no cure, not mainstream or alternative, for the mental illnesses that have plagued my life. I’m sick and tired of people in positions of learning telling me I just need to try this or that or the other. Step back, experts! I’m taking charge of me!

You know what I need? I need to stay in my house and not be harassed to go to appointments that only add stress. I need to stay in my house and cook good food. Stay in my house and write my book. Stay in my house and write my blog. Stay in my house and love my friends and family from right here in my studio, where I can breathe easy, feel safe, feel happy. That’s what I need right now. Anyone who says different just ain’t living in my skin and hey, you don’t know how it is.

Thanks for listening to this.

be you xx Rachel

Loving My Writing Studio

It’s a gorgeous, sunny Winter Sunday and my writing studio is bright and warm thanks to the wall of windows across the back. It’s a really nice place to be. The kind of place I can look forward to spending time.

I have a second hand recliner in the corner, where I sit and read or edit my work. I have a white melamine round table in the centre of the room, with plants on it that I often forget to water and then wonder why they’re not thriving. At the moment I have papers spread across my whole desk, needing to be sorted into trays; my old business, tax, blog or writing fodder, government forms, current work. Maybe tomorrow?

Our chickens are very quiet in the yard. They’re not loving this cold weather. Usually they’d be marching around the entire yard clucking and chatting to one another, reinforcing the pecking order, hoping we’ll step out the back with a bucket of kitchen scraps so they can fight like ninjas for each little bit.

My dog Kira needs a bath. Really badly needs a bath. She loves to go under the house and take a dust bath, or dig up an old lizard she killed and rub herself in its putrid goo. She gets so confused when we invite her into the house and then start yelling in disgust at the smell and order her back outside. I thing she sees us as mentally deficient and incapable of making a decision.

It’s time to make Sunday lunch, but I feel like baking instead. I have leftover stewed fresh strawberries and I thought I might make vanilla cupcakes with the strawberries mixed through. Maybe I’ll have some of last nights leftover spaghetti in garlic red sauce first.

I hope your day is as nice as mine has been so far.

be you xx Rachel

Writing Fiction and Living In The Story

It happens to me every time I get the momentum to write a new book. I start writing and the story carries me into the lives of my characters, into the scenes I write, in front of them a little, so I know what’s about to happen. Sometimes. Other times I have no idea what I’m going to write until it comes out on the page.

I’m writing by hand, with pen and paper. This story just cried out to have the groundwork written by hand. When I say the groundwork, I mean the first draft, but I have a thing against the term ‘first draft’. What is a first draft? It is writing! Everything after that is rewriting or editing or the adding on of words. I’ve been known to scrap a whole chapter and write it again, but I still classify that as rewriting.

Inside a new book, as I am, everything that happens in my day is possible fodder to be included in the story. My husband cooking garlic and tomatoes for pasta, my cat standing on his one remaining back leg, trying to open the window, songs from the eighties being played on the radio, all of these things might just appear on my page, in the groundwork.

Some of what I write will end up having no place in the book. Some of it will turn out to be a distraction, a misuse of words, a dead end that I had to write at the time to get to the real story. Every word of the finished work must be in service of the story as a whole. Every character, setting, event and even the red herrings, must somehow service the story. This is the only way to write a delicious, fulfilling whole.

The great thing about writing with pen and paper is that I can do it anywhere, there are no batteries to go flat, I don’t have to keep saving it and in a strange way, I feel connected to the words in a way that I never do when typing them.

My book has a working title, but I’m not ready to share that just yet. I guess I think of it as book #6, but also as the book I’m writing after my divorce, after being single in my forties, after being remarried, and lots more. Life experiences definitely impact on my writing, and I wonder what I’m writing now that I wouldn’t have written say a month or a year ago. I know I have a different feel for what it’s like to be single, now that I’ve spent some time out there after a nineteen year marriage. I have a different feel for what it is to fall in love.

I’m much less mechanical about my writing than I used to be. I think because I spent time ghost writing and learned to trust myself that the words would get written as long as I kept at it daily. Years ago, I would write at the same time every day, seven days a week. I had a minimum word count for the day and would push my way to it. Now I just pour the words out as they come, I spend time every day just daydreaming about the book, the story, the characters, the theme. I’m really enjoying it.

I am looking forward to seeing what I write tomorrow, and I can’t wait until I have the whole book down. I love those two little words we writers constantly head towards; The End.

be you xx Rachel