A day behind already

Yesterday was Nelson anniversary day, and it felt like a Sunday, so I didn’t blog, but today is now Tuesday, and it feels like a Monday.

Now Monday’s and I don’t get along very well. I normally have to take a sleeping pill on Sunday night otherwise I am awake half of Sunday night mentally preparing for Monday. At least with a sleeping pill, I can get some sleep.

I’ve had some pretty rough Monday’s. One morning, I was extremely tired, and was at work. I opened up the door of the work truck, and straight into my face. My cheek felt like it had split in two. It hadn’t, just felt like it. I had slight bruising around my eye-socket for the week.

Another Monday, at another job, I got the work trailer caught on the gate, which flicked the trailer into the diesel tank, opposite the gate. We had to siphon out the fuel and straighten the tank.

I could list lots of other things that go wrong on a Monday, but its Tuesday, and I’m trying to stay positive that today will be a good day. It has to be.

Anyway, writing-wise, I didn’t get my preliminary editing finished, but that’s okay. The weather was pretty iffy all weekend, but I just enjoyed having a relaxing time. I should get it done in the next couple of days, then I can delve deep into the full on edits. I’ve found area’s I can work on, to extend the humour, or just to flesh out the characters and the situation they are in. I’m enjoying coming back into this story, and look forward to getting it finished.

How does your week look?

Until next time

Catherine.

Editing

Editing a book can be the most boring and annoying part of the process, but I have actually started to enjoy it. While away at the Romance Writers conference in August, I met Rachael Herron, who is an amazing writer and now lives in New Zealand. She gave a really interesting talk on editing, and the many processes that she goes through. She uses sticky notes to make notes on what she wants to change, and then reads through them everytime she edits her book, so that she can keep them fresh in her mind.

I love sticky notes, I am addicted to them, and I have lots (and I mean LOTS) of them. And I discovered a use for them, other than collecting them. Creating notes for my editing. Basically I read through and make notes as I go, which are put on sticky notes and then I can use these to list the changes that I want to make, or to ask questions that need to be clarified in the story further.

Then when I go a deep edit, I use these notes to really nail down problems, create more content, and generally finish the story, polishing it.

It means that I’ve read the book about three times by the time I’ve finished editing, but I am very familiar with how I want the story to go, and how the characters interact, and tightened up the plot.

I think editing is probably the hardest part of writing, because sometimes you have to throw things out, but if you’re anything like me, as a writer, we keep multiple copies of everything, just in case that scene could be used somewhere else.

Hope you have a good week.

Take care

Catherine.

Research

I love to research. I don’t know what it is, whether its learning something new, or discovering new areas of interest, I can’t say. All I know is that I will often research a topic that I’ve heard about or for a storyline. For instance, my new story that I want to right, the main character, Sam, discovers that she is adopted when her sister dies. So, I’ve been researching adoption and what sort of effects it has on people and discovered that there is a whole lot of information about Late Discovery Adoptions, which is where the adoptee, the person who was adopted, didn’t find out until they were an adult, quite often into their thirties and beyond. It is an actual thing and referred to as LDA. It is quite life changing for many of them, and they’ve often felt like they’ve been lied to, instead of having to face the adoption issue as they grow up and accept it, they are suddenly not sure of who, or what they are anymore, and have an identity crisis.

I’m also researching an illness for my other story and have lined up a couple of people who have been through it, so I can talk to them about their experiences, find out what course of action was taken, and how they got through their illness. It’s like learning about another aspect of a person that I haven’t experienced before, learning something personal about them, and defining a new depth of friendship.

Being someone who has a lot of empathy, I feel for all the people that I have studied, or researched, or talked to. I feel their pain, joy, relief, sadness and I hope that I can accurately show that in my stories. Show how they feel, what they are thinking, how they react.

More research to be done, but things are progressing well, and I feel like I am nearly ready to start plotting one of the books.

In the meantime, I am doing a brief review of compromising Positions, finding problems that need addressing, which I can sort out in the full indepth edit that will follow. Its a great opportunity to add more information and make the story shine just that little bit more.

That’s my week taken care of, how is yours going? Hope its productive.

Thanks for checking in.

Catherine

Getting Busy in 2023

So, a new year has ticked over. They are certainly going fast. My little baby is 18 now and not so little. He’s finished school and now trying to decide what he wants to do with his time. I can only give him guidance, as he is an adult now, I can’t tell him what to do anymore.

So, last year turned out to be a relatively successful one for me. I managed to get 2 stories written, 2 edited, and one to be edited – that’s 3 stories! One of the stories I did write some time ago, but decided that I needed to refresh it, and try to boost the word count. I didn’t succeed, but I’m still happy with the story. I’ve been in touch with an editor, but I’m not totally sure that I’m ready to let it go yet.

Most exciting news I had was passing Second Hand Daughter onto an agent who was keen to read it. She has since declined the story, but I will continue to look for a home for it, and if nothing comes from it, then I will self publish, so will keep you updated on this. Second Hand Daughter is about a woman who’s husband is killed in a car accident, with another woman. I loved how the story evolved, and I hope that you guys do too.

I am currently editing Compromising Positions. This is my romcom, and I have an agent and an editor keen to read this, so need to get my editing pants on and work hard on this one. Just got it to the point now where I can do some editing.

I have two story ideas that I want to develop this year, which I am excited about. One is a follow on in my Finding Yourself series, and the other is a stand alone Christmas story. It probably won’t be ready for Christmas this year, but I’m not too worried about that. It requires a bit of research, and I’ve been in touch with a couple of people who are helping me with this one.

Another story that I started years ago has also decided that it wants to be continued, but this is a bigger story, in fact its a series, a urban paranormal series, based in New Zealand. Its rather epic, so it will take some time to pull together and gather the threads of the story together, because it will be more than two books, maybe more than three, I don’t know yet. Just working on the characters and getting the background for this together.

To top it all off, I have decided I need to be more active on social media, sending out newsletters and blogging etc. It’s not my favourite thing to do, but I want to start developing a presence and getting to know and interacting with my readers more. Please feel free to get in touch on any of my social media accounts.

So that is what I have planned for this year. What goals have you set for yourself?

Kia kaha

Catherine

The Ever Evolving Story

I am a plotter, I like to have an outline of the story before I proceed. I have tried to ‘pants it’, but I seem to lose steam fairly quickly because…well, I have no idea where the story is going to go.

In saying that, I am also flexible enough that when I’m writing the story, new ideas can develop and be fitted into the story.

Case in point, Compromising Positions. Originally this story was about a relationship between a gardener and a cantankerous old man that she gardens for, with a side story of a romance with the estranged son. This initially had the working title of The Gardener. However, upon reviewing what I had already written, and further ideas, I decided to focus more on the romance, and have the friendship with the older gentleman as a subplot. Then came the idea of having the two main characters catching each other in compromising positions, hence adding to the conflict within the budding relationship.

Then, I started adding back story to the characters, and the cantankerous old man was an ex prime minister, and being seen with a young lady sent gossip magazines into overdrive. So I wondered how this could impact the plot and subplot.

The latest evolution of the story involves a personal attack against one of the main characters, which adds a whole other depth to the story.

Its funny how stories sometimes take on lives of their own. What seemed like a good idea at one stage suddenly isn’t so shiny and good, and becomes lacklustre and ‘meh’, and often, I find, that my stories really need some flexibility when I’m writing them to allow more punch.

And I find that conflict is a good way to add punch, so I often look for ways that I can throw more at my characters, to see how they react. The more I put them through, the more they grow as people within my pages, and the more real they become to the reader.

When we write the stories of our lives, it evolves in ways we don’t expect. I didn’t expect to get to be in my 40’s and twice divorced with one child. I expected to be happily married with two or three children. How different that life would be from the one I live now. But I am happy with my life, I have a partner I adore, a son that is my world, a wonderful place to live, I work full time in a job I love (writing it a side hustle for me), and I can afford food for my table. I have faced hurdles, and I got over them and moved on. My life has evolved, and the conflict that has been thrown at me over the years, has provided me with a chance to mature, develop character, and become (according to me and my friends and loved ones) a better person.

I challenge you today, to look at your life, and see how it has evolved, and how it has made you the person you are today. The choices that you made have given you character and created the path for your life as it is today. Are you unhappy with your life? You can choose to change your path. Its your choice to evolve your life.

Have a great week

Catherine x

Chipping Away

How learning about myself and ending my procrastination reign led to a more fulfilled life .

Its taken me three goes to write this post. Ever ytime I log onto my website, something else has changed, including how to write posts. But where else can I write about my process / progress?

Earlier this year, I decided I really needed to get back into writing, but I just couldn’t seem to fit it into my day. Then I found an advert for learning how to stop procrastinating. The course was 3 months long, but I thought it had to help.

And help it did! I learnt the reasons why I procrastinate (perfectionism, lack of goal setting, self confidence, time management), and discovered ways in which to overcome those overwhelming feels I get when I do procrastinate. As a result, I found time, feel more happier with my writing, I know I don’t have to be perfect the first time, and that I don’t need to spend hours each day writing. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day is all it takes.

And that was all it took. I got out an older story I had been working on, and started editing it. I got it out to three people for them to beta read. I have had feedback, and it was wonderful. The comments made were helpful and insightful.

That was all I needed to dig out another story that needed to be written, and I had already started one, temporarily called The Gardener. After reviewing what I had already written, I got back to the drawing board and came up with a new scenario for the story, and the story has a new title, Compromising Positions. Its a story about being found in compromising positions, or perceived compromises. It will be a humourous sweet romance following the lives of Jo, Logan and Edward. Jo is a gardener who is employed by Edward’s daughter to clean up his garden. Edward is a grumpy ex politician who doesn’t want anyone around him after the loss of his wife. And Logan, his son who ran away at 16 because of his father’s demands on him. A whirlwind of funny circumstances bring them all together to create a maelstrom of romance and conflicting characters.

I’ve really enjoyed bringing the story to life, and each character has developed as the story has progressed. I only manage to write for ten to twenty minutes each morning, once I’ve been for my walk and done the dishes, but it is something, and better than writing nothing and wondering when I will get some done. And occasionally I manage to get some writing done in the weekend, just in a spare few minutes between other jobs.

I’m loving my new lease on life, and would recommend doing an anti-procrastination course if you have a problem like I had. I no longer complain that there isn’t enough time in the day, and in fact have taken on a couple of new endeavours. But more on those later.

Enjoy your day

Catherine.

Welcome Back

It’s been a while, I have kind of been ignoring this site, mostly because I was devastated when I lost my original site. But I have realised that it allowed me to make a clean start.

So what do I do now, because the last time I blogged, I have a feeling I was a part time worker. Well I have just finished working full time with a great company, but it was rather physical work, and being on the wrong end of 40, I was struggling to keep going. So I found a job gardening in several rest homes around the Nelson area. I already know most of the people because we have been mowing there. A lot of them were really happy (and I even hugged) when I said I would be gardening and they would see more of me.

So writing, I’m in the process of editing a wee novella, 25k words, which is rather short to publish in a book, so I am looking around to see if there is a publisher I can submit it too, for an anthology or something. It’s a 1920’S based novella, about a Burlesque dancer wanting to escape her world. I’ll continue on with the editing and then see what happens.

The next story I want to write will be under the Finding Yourself series, about Samantha who finds out her family isn’t all it seems. An intriguing tale which mulled in my head after seeing an episode of The Repair Shop.

Anyway, the weather is cooling down, and I need to dig over my garden again. Please keep in touch through any of my social media below.