Saturday, July 02, 2005

Since teaching and marking finished, I have been working working working on writing things. So busy, I hardly know where to start each day. Thank goodness for lists. How people survive without lists to keep track of everything, I don't know. Or else that's a comment on how badly my brain functions these days!
Most of the work has been rewriting; what I call the "cut and polish" rewrites, where you go through the manuscript for what you pray will be the last time (even though you know it won't be) and tweak plot points and delete wordy bits and deepen character a little more and rework that ending one more time. First of all it was the fantasy novel, which took 4 days of re-reading and fiddling. Then I had a non-fiction assignment - police dogs. I had done an interview and photos in New Zealand of a police dog and his handler, submitted it to the NZ School Journal and finally it went through (with extra photos). School magazines here were interested but wanted first rights, which I couldn't give. So I ended up, after many phone calls to the Police media people here in Melbourne, going out to the training centre and doing another interview and taking a different set of photos. Got to pat a very cute Rottweiler puppy (just as well she had a home already or she might have been going home with me!) and meet a keen German Shepherd called Klute. His handler was great, very talkative and very good at setting up action photos for me.
So then it was a draft of that article, time out to go to my writing group, and more time given to collecting clothes for a good friend of ours who was completely burned out last weekend. They lost everything. Devastating and almost unimaginable, except being a writer, I can imagine it only too well, and shudder. Needless to say, I have been turning things off here and triple checking all power points before leaving the house lately.
On Thursday a writer friend and I made a pact. I went to a house where she is house-sitting (in order to get space and time to write) and we both wrote all day. Her in the bedroom, me in the dining room. We met for lunch, and then we met later in the afternoon to talk about our writing and show what we'd done. It was so productive. I spent nearly the whole day on my middle grade novel, which is now in about 6th draft, and worked on "cut and polish" again. Now another writer friend (who is an excellent editor) is going to read it and be very critical!
Today I have been a film maker. I'm doing a video training course through my workplace (the uni) and Friday was camera techniques day. Weekend homework was to film 5-15 minutes of footage, the topic being "How to do ...something" so I have filmed "How to write a pirate novel". Complete with me in pirate hat.
All I can say is, thank goodness I am not a film director!

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