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Posts from the ‘Writing a first draft’ Category

Month In Review (September 2013)

Writing Novels in Australia has reached the end of its ninth month of articles for 2013 from this year’s line-up of monthly contributors encompassing aspiring novelists, early-career novelists and established novelists.

Writing Novels in Australia contributors Helene Young and Alison Booth are each attached to a novel writing retreat in 2014 with Novel Writing Retreats Australia.

You can connect with Writing Novels in Australia on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Articles for September 2013

Using Observation And The Senses To Enhance Your Writing by Lia Weston

Knowing When To Take A Break From Your Writing by Phillipa Fioretti

When Our Fiction Impacts Readers’ Lives by Jenn J McLeod

On Sex Scenes In Novels by Alison Booth

Writing About The Future In Fiction by Ben Marshall

Refining The Tone Of Scenes When Editing A Novel by Helene Young

The Ups And Downs Of Writing A Novel by Onil Lad

Building A Profile As A Novelist by Kelly Inglis

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‘Month In Review’ Updates

For more articles on writing novels you can check out Writing Historical Novels and Writing Teen Novels.

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Writing Novels in Australia
www.writingnovelsinaustralia.com

How My Novel Manuscript Has Changed Over Time, by Onil Lad

Stories change over time. So does the message you put forward and the way you say it.

I look back at some of the short stories that I have written and they make me cringe. They were just reflections of phases I went through trying to find my writing voice.

Did I really write a vampire story and a fable based on a throwaway lyric in a song I was obsessing over? Well, yes I did and they got published. In some ways I wish they hadn’t now.

The novel was always the main dish but even that has succumbed to evolution.

I suppose change for the sake of it is another form of procrastination and there’s the danger of going around in circles forever and never getting anywhere.

Still, I think I’ve finally got something. The content that was originally going to take up the whole novel has now been squeezed into the first ten chapters. The plot moves along at a brisker pace. I’ve come up with fresh ideas to keep the story going instead of continuing with stale concepts. I’ve recently thrown out one-time favourite chapters that no longer fit. This hopefully means that what has come since is better.

If anything, I’ve become more adventurous and I’m prepared to say more. I now see that my best shot at getting published is by being different and taking risks. There’s no point in holding anything back.

Can you change so much that you grow out of the genre you’re writing in?

My latest worry is that my taste for Urban Fantasy will change. I’ve read so many books in this field that I think I’m reaching saturation point. At some stage, I would like to move onto something completely different.

I’ve tried my hand at YA, Sci-Fi and Horror, and started this novel wanting to write Dark Fantasy. What came out was a lot lighter than planned. I realised that I wanted to lift the spirits of readers and tell of the triumph of human endeavour. I used to think that my writing was messed up because I read too many books with happy endings when I was young. Now I see that I’ve not read enough of them. I started out wanting to be a doom monger and now find that I’m an optimist. Change can’t all be bad.

You’ve got to be a top-drawer writer to imagine a story, write an outline, split it into chapters, write thousands of words per day and stick to the plan from start to end.

This is my first novel. I’ve never had such a clear vision, just a concept that sounded good. I’ve had to work out the details as I went along. It’s been a slog and most of the pieces of the puzzle got thrown out along the way. The ones that remain seem to fit well, for now.

It may well be an excuse for not getting things done quicker but change is necessary.  I’m sticking with what I’ve got now, though. I’m happy with the plot and where the story’s at. The end is in sight and it’s getting exciting.

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Onil Lad’s bio page

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The Indigo SkyPromiseThis Green HellWings of FearWild Card (Vanguard Prime)Royal Exile

Writing Novels in Australia
www.writingnovelsinaustralia.com

First Draft: Book To Follow, by Belinda Sadek

People say write about what you know. I am interested in the stories of our lives that exist inside our heads. I know about this.

Each of us narrates a tale that we blend and meld with our daily lives. Pausing from our reading to day dream on the bus as it passes that same house every day with the clean windows and the immaculate lawn, we ask: why would someone who can cultivate such a lawn grow nothing else?  Choosing the linguine for dinner because we love to say ‘linguine’, reading purely for the joy of words well used, poring over magazines with their snapshots of impossible lives, smoothing a child’s cheek, like a little pink pillow of warm strawberry sponge, as smooth as icing under our finger.

I know about the little dialogues we have with ourselves about the unimportant and inconsequential things that fills our lives with meaning. I am for this: for the mish-mash, for the uncertainty and messiness of things, the daydreams and imperfect, half formed desires, the tales that each of us narrate in our heads that sometimes make it into the light of day and become part of stories that we read on the bus on the way home.

There is something else that guides my writing. Write about your passion they say, those things that intrigue you, that hold within them a fascination that drives you. For me one of these things is nature, the power of it to move me and to inspire me is unending. The softness of a landscape can bring forth in me a whole story, perhaps of a wedding on a hillside or a child’s body lying on the sand asleep or dead. Perhaps the warmth of summer air scented with eucalypt makes me happy and then I think of happiness rejected or sacrificed or mistaken and a story of unhappiness appears and gently prods me to tell it. The English countryside and the English folklore it nurtures holds a fascination for me. I am intrigued by the quirky ways the English have that they do not see as quirkiness. I am inspired by history and the inevitable veil it casts that forever makes the past exotic. The era between the World Wars speaks to me of endless stories to tell: those heady days of mad optimism then gradually the poignancy of lives not yet fully lived forced to face mortality.  I love the restraint people exercised in 1930s England, their manners, their unwillingness to say what they meant, their courtesy toward each other and the things unsaid.

As an interior designer, the sumptuousness of the historical homes of the period also catches my fancy. As a lover of clothes and shoes, the elegant attire of the age makes me swoon. And as a lover of love, the romance of this era sends me into raptures: the loves lost, the loves reunited, love across borders, across classes, across oceans and against the odds.

I hope I can pull what I know and what I love into a tale about the choices people make, the responsibility we all must take for our own destinies, the backgrounds against which our lives play out and the influence great events have on our personal lives. The Stained Glass Horse is also a story about how our lives are constantly changing without our knowledge until we wake up one day and nothing is how we thought it would be and the only certainty is the tales we have told ourselves over the years – and the inescapable truth that we can never go back.

So what is there in a book called The Stained Glass Horse? There is a rural English setting, a grand house somewhat haphazardly run, in a time between the wars) when grand houses were generally well organised. This offers opportunities for unlikely scenarios and relationships to develop without impediment. There are layers of history and hearsay bearing down and blurring the distinction between reality and folklore. With the advent of war the world encroaches on the little universe of Derwent House and changes everything, including the landscape. A young man in love with a woman above his station sets out to save her, only to find it is himself who needs saving.

And so I will chip away and from time to time stop to talk about my progress. One thing is for certain, the more time invested and words following upon others the less the inclination there is it abandon it. I would like to change my initial statement in my first post from ‘I am writing a book’ (that would require editing, and I mustn’t) to ‘I am writing the first draft. Book to follow.’ It is a good feeling to be just writing.

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Belinda Sadek bio page

ResistanceAll That I amCurrawalli StreetThreepenny DreamsDon Quixote (Wordsworth Classics)The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction: Researching and Writing Historical FictionThe 1930s House Explained (England's Living History)

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