The End is Nigh – Project 1

Well, the end is nigh, for one project at least.  The End is Nigh is a challenge over at KiwiWriters, it involves finishing off a project that needs to be completed – i.e. editing, rewriting, just finishing a story.

I chose three projects, it was initially two, but the third one popped up at the last minute.  Just to finish one would be good.

My projects are:

1.  Finish and edit The Gamble

2. Edit Cursed Love

3. Finish Plan for Steampunk story.

So, this week, I printed out The Gamble and this is the project I have been working on.  I thought if I do one at a time, I am not going to get too wrapped up in trying to do all three at the same time, and as much as I can’t wait to rip into Cursed Love, I want to leave it a little longer.

I have my lovely pink pen out and working away studiously, and I came across a scene that seemed a little flat.  I reread it, and edited a little before coming to bed.

It wasn’t until the following morning that I realised what the problem was.  The scene involves an incident that is traumatic to the heroine, and it is supposed to be from her point of view, unfortunately, it reads more like it is from the hero’s point of view.  I’m pleased I have picked this up, because the scene was troubling me, and I didn’t want to remove it, because it is part of the reason why the heroine reacts to certain things the way she does.  She also needs to see the hero isn’t the bad guy.

There are a couple of scenes like that in this story, so now I understand why I can go back in and make the necessary corrections – if I can.  I need to get inside my heroines head more to understand why she is reacting the way she is.

All in all, I am happy with the way things are progressing, most of my editing is being done at night, because I am also doing research during the day about 1860’s Nelson, to start my Steampunk story.  I am keen to write this during September, I just need to get my planning finished.  If I actually do get the story done, then I will have to find another project for NaNo, but that won’t be too hard, a story idea came to me yesterday morning as I was making my cup of tea!  Its a more contemporary romance, but I think I can put in a paranormal twist… here’s hoping!


Fairies No More… Dragons No More… History Instead?

I have been anxious to get writing again, and I had thought to start writing my fairy story, but then I started creating a story for a friend of mine – and her storypen writing was about fairies, and it was bloody good.

And I kind of felt that if I wrote a story about fairies, then it would be like copying.  And I don’t ever want to be accused of that.  So the fairy story is on the back burner.

And then I decided that I would work on a dragon story that I had some plans for a wee while ago… and while I have two main characters and a taniwha, nothing else is coming together.

I have books full of ideas to work on, but nothing was really jumping out to me, until I thought back on one that I had on a poll a couple of years ago.  A steampunk story based in Nelson.  Why hadn’t I thought of it before now?  Because it got filed away in the background.

And the more I think about it, the more keen on the idea I am.  I won’t give ideas away, but I have a feisty main character, and an extraordinary ending, and a wonderful invention or two, all based in 1850’s / 1860’s Nelson when a recession was going on because the dreams and expectations of the new pioneers were not met by the NZ Company who were  going broke.

I love coming up with story ideas, and sometimes some will come forth better than others.  In this case, the dragon story, just doesn’t want to be written now, otherwise I would have come up with some story ideas by now.



Steampunk is new to me, but I have a fair idea of what I want to happen, and have a crazy inventor.  there is a lot of history and wonderful characters in Nelson around the 1850’s and 1860’s, and I have a few books on the local personalities at the time.  There is a wonderful female character who was very outstanding and used to sign letters to the editor with a non de plume.  It is suggested that even her husband didn’t know who she really was!  I think she definitely has to be in my story, she would make a great mentor for my female heroine.

But enough about that.  On Thursday a wonderful event is happening.  The End is Nigh.  No, not the end of the world, the end of some writing projects.  If you are interested, please check out this link for the End is Nigh.  It is a KiwiWriter Challenge, which I am hosting.  It involves finishing off a writing project, whether it be finishing writing on a project, editing a project, tidying up a project – anything to do with writing really.  It involves finishing it off.  I am going to work on finishing the middle section of The Gamble, and also tidy up Cursed Love, both of which will both be put away for another month before I work on editing them again.  I like to leave a project for a month or two before editing on it.  It helps to read the story anew, and come to it with fresh eyes.

So busy month ahead, with planning, plotting and editing  🙂

Great Expectations

As you are aware, I am writing a historical novel, but I have come to a very serious realisation.  It takes longer than 30 days to write a factual story.

For some it might not, but for me – a stickler for the truth, I want to make this story as factually accurate as possible, so I need to spend some time writing this story, and while I would love to just crank it out in 30 days, I think I would end up with way too many holes and I would rather have the details and facts straight.

So instead of trying to get this story done this month, as I intended, this will be done gradually over the entire year.

I am lucky in that I have lots of information on this story, a lot of written records in the form of newspaper articles (there were three papers in the town, each with very similar details in them all), and trying to make sure that I am covering it from all angles, I had to introduce a ficitious character, and I really need to work on him to find out how he fits into society and his role as one of the main story tellers.  I think I have his angle, but just want to get things right.

I am hoping that I will get this story done by the end of the year, and if you are a follower of my goals, I will be adjusting my goals accordingly to reflect this.  Don’t despair, I have not given up on this story, it is a passion to write it, so it won’t be forgotten.

Only another 11 days until SoCNoC starts, only 4 more days of voting to see which story I will do… Steampunk?  Thriller? or SciFi?  Can’t wait to reveal the results on Friday 27th May.  I will already know by then, and hope to have more details of the story up for you at that time.  Thank you to everyone who has already voted in my poll (to the right of this entry) if you haven’t already… what are you waiting for?  Christmas?

Getting Started

Now that I have finished the Bloody Gothic Novel, I have turned my attention to my writing goals, which includes writing three novels this year.  My initial plan was to write one in March, however Evil Editors Unite is on over at KiwiWriters, and I want to take part in this.  As a result, that means that I have to start writing either in February or April, either of which doesn’t unduly worry me.

I had some ideas buzzing around inside my head, including a Steampunk novel based in my hometown in the 1850’s, but when I couldn’t find the notes I had started on this, I realised that perhaps it wasn’t the right time.

So I got to thinking about other historical events that took place in NZ, because I thought it was about time I concentrated on local history.  And I remembered a very grizzly murder which occurred here back in the 1800’s.  Bit of research later, and I discovered that even though the event is very well known in the region, no one has written a novel about it… Hmmmm, cogs are turning.

More research later and having read through historical documents, including the local newspaper printed at the time, I realised that the story was pretty much told at the time.  But how wonderful would it be to actually dramatise the story and make it come alive!  What a challenge!

I have enough material that I can’t get any of the facts wrong, and believe that it will make a fascintating read, especially since there is so much speculation involved in the facts, so I have a new story idea.  And like always, I am itching to start on it.  But I still have to plan it out, get the timing right, work on the storyline a little, but I am certain that I am onto a winner, and even if it doesn’t become a best seller, I am still fascinated by the story, as I have been since I first heard it when I was 10 years old.

So watch this space – next novel will be a local historic novel!  Yay!

Speculative Fiction in NZ?

Avatar CatherineSo speculative fiction is something to do with creating a world that doesn’t exist, so how can we relate it to NZ?  Doesn’t it have to be in another world / universe / plane?  Here are some ideas that I have thought of.

Supernatural – we have a good source of natural material for this – ghosts haunting Larnach Castle, what happened?  Why is it there?  How did it get there?  A strange psychic woman, who doesn’t want popularity is thrown into the deep end to investigate.

science fiction clipartScience fiction – In the future, what would NZ look like?  Would New Zealanders be able to travel to space?  Would we still be the clean green country we are trying to portray ourselves, or have we become the dump for the rest of the world.


Apocalyptic and post – apocalyptic, – if a nuclear bomb went off, would NZ survive?  Where would we go?  What would happen to the people, the animals, would NZ be able to exist if we were blasted back to the ice age?

fantasy clipartFantasy – What would happen if the Maori gods had a rebellion and decided to rise up against us mere mortals? 



Cyberpunk – we have some very clever hackers in NZ, who have hacked into the treasury’s mainframe, only to discover that the nations money is gone – and they are to blame… how did that happen?

horror clipartHorror – a zombie serial killer is on the lose and ranging around the friendly country known as NZ, unfortunately the killer is indiscriminate, motiveless and grisly.  Such violence in its attacks…



Utopian and dystopian – the government is overthrown and new order is brought in where everyone has the freedom to do what they want, when they want.  What kind of chaos would ensue?  Would it?  How would they regroup the forces and restore peace?

steampunk gearSteampunk – what if steam vehicles came to NZ before the trains did in 1850’s? What if NZ invented a steam aeroplane before the flying machines were even thought of? Would we have become a nation that developed a better technology using steampower than the rest of the world?  Would we have invented the first computer before the rest of the world?

Alternate history – what would NZ be like if Japan and Germany had won the war?  Would we be a nation of Japanese, or would the Americans have saved us and we have an uneasy truce with Australia, who were invaded?

There are some ideas of how Speculative Fiction can include NZ, if something fascinates you, please feel free to take the idea and run with it.

SpecFicNZ Blogging Week!

Avatar CatherineWow, doesn’t time fly when you are having fun…

I thought I would start the week with a look at what is Speculative Fiction. 

Speculative fiction is a fiction genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. In these contexts, it generally overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, superhero, utopian and dystopian, apocalyptic and post – apocalyptic, steampunk, cyberpunk and alternate history.

Basically if it doesn’t fit into any other mainstream genre, it will probably fit within the broad definition of Speculative Fiction.

 The term is attributed to Robert A Heinlein.  He first used ‘speculative fiction’  in 1947 in the Saturday Evening Post to describe a piece of Science Fiction.  Later he explained that it did not include fantasy.  However this might have earlier been suggested as Speculative Literature in 1889 in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.  (thanks for Wikipedia for a simplified version)

Wherever it originated from, it has firmly planted itself into the literature of the modern times and does not show any sign of weakening any time soon.

Also known as spec-fic, (to make a difference from sf – which is the universally accepted abbreviation of science fiction), it is becoming popular these days as people try to escape the everyday lives they lead.

 The most popular piece of Science Fiction is of course Star Wars and Star Trek, both have become hugely successful in their own rights.  Probably the most recognisable to everyday people as Science Fiction

 Jules Verne, a well known Science Fiction writer, brought us 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, an early version of Steampunk, a genre recently popularised by Will Smith in Wild Wild West.

Fantasy – think JRR Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) and CS Lewis (The Narnia Chronicles), JK Rowling for the Harry Potter Series, which would also fit into the subgenre of magical realism.

 We can always list horror writers with Stephen King very near the top with his specialty psychological slasher movies.

 Neville Shute is an unlikely Speculative Fiction novelist, but he wrote On the Beach about the citizens of Melbourne, Australia lying in wait for the end of the world after an atomic bomb was exploded (?) in the northern hemisphere.

 One of my favourite authors wrote an alternate history novel – Fatherland by Robert Harris.  Germany won  World War Two  and one man’s attempt to show the world the atrocities that Germany had committed and covered up, during the war.

That is just to give you some idea of what Speculative Fiction is all about.  And yes, I may have some wrong, but for the average Joe Bloggs, at least they have a better understanding of what is meant by Speculative Fiction.

Next blog will be how New Zealand, little Aotearoa, could feature in Speculative Fiction.  We also have an interview with NZ own horror writer, Lee Pletzer, and a discussion on whether NZ is undervalued as a Speculative Fiction producer.