Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Friday, September 24, 2010


I took a day off work (the day job) yesterday after five straight 12 hour days. Spent the day doing very little other than preparing some lovely food as part of my monthly ritual to watch a trashy action flick accompanied by gastronomic delight with some of my dearest friends. Zen cooking I call it - helps me to relax. I listen to music while I potter around in the kitchen.

One of the songs I heard a few times during the day was the first single of an artist that happens to be a friend of mine (his artist name is Ergo Alt and his song, available on iTunes, is called 'the Fall'). It is a great song that stays in your head long after you have listened to it.

It made me wonder what would music sound like if Goyte and V.A.S.T produced offspring. Ergo Alt is that child.

As I was contemplating that genetic lineage, I realised that an idea was bubbling away about a broader story arc that would form the basis of a novel trilogy, of which the second novel I have just finished drafting would be the second part of three. (Aside - it is just like me to start a story in the middle of a time line because I quite enjoy the journey of filling in the back story!)

I have always believed the novel I have just drafted contained strong enough plot lines to deliver more than one book and wrote it with a prequel and a sequel in mind. The plot points for the sequel were obviously robust, with characters and ideas introduced in the drafted novel and an irritatingly 'open' ending written just ripe for a leap into another story. But the concepts for the prequel were vague beyond the idea of exploring the origin of the motives driving key characters in the story just written. Until now...

Listening to my friend's music, wondering about the artists who might have inspired him, and the structure of the music itself provided a wave of inspiration. One night's sleep later I had several plot lines for my prequel and my sequel floating about in my head as well as (in my view) a strong over-arching story arc across the trilogy. I also had working titles for the each story within the trilogy that linked cohesively and consistently with that broader arc. (Admittedly, the working title of the prequel is the same as the title of my friend's music single, though in name only.)

The style of Goyte's music matches the theme of the prequel - a gentler and dilemma driven story about how and why the key protagonist falls from grace. The style of my friend's alter ego, Ergo Alt, coincidently encapsulates a theme of the novel just drafted - understanding the nature of punishment for crimes of obsession. The style of the music of V.A.S.T inpires the sequel - where the consequence of outcomes from the first and second story of the trilogy is a crusade of epic proportions to right the wrongs of the past.

I feel like the puzzle pieces are falling into place now. I am excited.

And the thought processes that have led me here are a fine example of the cross fertilisation of ideas. Music to words.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I almost went an entire second weekend without writing, far too easily distracted by tangents, and had that moment late on Sunday afternoon when I decided I could no longer procrastinate another hour away.

In the twilight of my weekend past, I managed to write a couple of pages for the short story collection - the introduction to the second short story. Reflections about my obsession with the Cold War as a teenager, possibly inspired by Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.

Too many tangents in the last two weeks. This is in spite having spent most of that time in my preferred anti-social "hermit" mode, which is usually very conducive to writing.

I have watched a lot of DVDs - mostly viewing things I had already seen before (like Dirt season 1 and Party Animals) but also sampling things I missed when they graced the local television screen a while back (like the Fixer).

And doing a mini-marathon of Gerard Butler films. Can't really decide if I like him as an actor or even as eye candy. He has a face (with that perfect frowning brow) and body for action flicks yet seems to have done more than his fair share of romantic comedies. Despite being panned by the critics, I was pleasantly surprised by the Ugly Truth. Watched the movie twice to try and figure out what it was about the man that made him appealing. Still haven't come to a conclusion on that one.

Though it is a good example of a tangent distracting me from my writing. The procrastination next week will be books, notwithstanding that one of those books I can pretend is research for the novel.

I often wonder how writers ever get anything written down. If I am a reasonable benchmark to go by, most writers are easily distracted (and I suspect carry the burden of some form of disorder associated with that like OCD or ADHD). Sources of creativity are more often than not derived from ideas churned out after the mind has travelled along those tangents. The worlds within our imaginations are also a source of entertainment. I know I can spend hours, sometimes days, thinking about seemingly trite things and somehow, from that mind wandering, ideas of substance emerge.

I wonder if it will ever be possible to take a video of the paths travelled inside my brain? That's a whole new tangent to explore!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

spring rain

I had a little break last weekend from creative writing as the first draft of novel number two is currently being market tested with a friend who happens to be in my target demographic. I was not quite ready to resume work on my other project, the collection of short stories.

My mind needed "a little holiday" so I spent my weekend indoors watching football finals, watching DVDs and spending time in philosophical discussions with friends. Discipline in writing is important, but it is equally important to know when to put the pen down and recharge. I felt really good taking the break.

Clear the head of an overflow of ideas. Yes, believe it or not, the week in week out writing had actually trained my mind to ask so many "what if" questions, that I felt there might be the equivalent of an outpouring from my ears the way a dam bursts after a downpouring of spring rain.

All of this coincided with actual torrential rains that inundated much of my state of origin over the course of the weekend. It was a good couple of days to be indoors. Floods by the week's end, and the prospect of pestilence to follow.

And it was a stark contrast to the last time I wrote about spring rain when my mind was in a much darker space. Abridged excerpt from novel number one below...

Yesterday, it rained for the first time in 150 days. And it rained all day. Almost half way through Spring and it still feels like winter. No one has been able to rescue me from the icy lake I have been drowning in since last week.

I am in the water, I am drowning. My body, my flesh too cold to move. As my head slips under the water, my vision is blinded by the murkiness. Even if I were able to crawl out onto land, I would still be drowning. My lungs filled with dense fog. My body, my flesh too cold to move because of the thick air hanging like sludge and tar sticking to my skin.

What is that stage of “grief” when you are told some (apparently) horrible news where you have reached the point of acceptance? There's denial, anger, bargaining, depression - all of which come before you reach that point.

Maybe I am being too flippant about it. A life filled with news that takes me to that point all too regularly when I think my number may be up, and the roll of a Russian Roulette gun's carousel will take an unlucky turn. Then the optimist in me (yes, there is one in there somewhere) thinks "I've lasted this long - I'll probably live till I am one hundred"!

I spent my day yesterday looking at old photos hoping the spring rain would wash away more than just my mood.

Today the storm clouds rolling across the sky do not seem anywhere near as ominous.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I finished the first draft of novel number two on the weekend past. Ten months ahead of schedule. I did a little dance in my study to celebrate the milestone and cracked open a bottle of sparkling shiraz to mark the moment. Alone yet apt in the scheme of things. Writing can be a very solitary pursuit.

The precious document is now in the hands of a friend who represents my target demographic for the book and he has promised to read it and provide feedback so that I can edit the draft ahead of formally submitting it to my editor.

This is the scariest part of the process I think. That moment when you feel you have written something special but can never really be sure if the words are any good until they are either validated or discounted by another reader. An actual reader. Not an editor, for an editor's role is about improving the product and the constructive feedback provided by an editor is somehow far easier to digest.

I will be turning my mind to my other project while I wait - a collection of dream inspired short stories - for the discipline I seem to have acquired writing every weekend cannot be wasted. I would probably go stir crazy with boredom if I was not writing!

Back to it...