Unsung Hero” (Official HD) : TVC Thai Life Insurance 2014 :

Imagine what life would be like if we could all be a little more compassionate each day. Give a little more of ourselves to those around us. We need to open our eyes to see those around us and not to be so caught up in our own world, our own hopes and dreams. I teared up a little watching this beautiful video.

Pick Up Your Pen and Write.

Sometimes life throws you a curve-ball and you’re side-tracked in your writing efforts.

My only advice to myself is ‘Pick up your pen and start again.’ And that’s all there is to it really.

It’s almost as if with each day of non-writing, a vacuum is created filled with inactivity. This leaves you wide open to feelings of inadequacy, or your writing time being wasted or taken up with other seemingly important matters. You find yourself wondering where you will find the time, or when you will be in the right frame of mind to give the story your best writing.

The sooner you pick up your pen or set yourself down in front of your key board, the sooner you will reconnect with the story – even if you have to throw the first few pages out.

If you were to live each day as if you only have that day to write, you would realise you can’t put it off. Turn your hurdles into hiccups and start writing the minute you’re past them. Don’t find yourself in the writer’s waiting room, getting even more side-tracked while waiting to find the right time to pick up your abandoned project.

We all experience things beyond our control, but let your default setting be, ‘Pick up your pen.’

It’s a good day to resume writing.

The Plotter vs Pantser Experiment Begins.

Apart from random short stories I’ve written two Novels during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The first was written by pure pantsing, as in ‘writing by the seat of’, which is how I’ve always written. A few days before NaNo 2012 started I had my idea and ran with it pen blazing.

Spending time chatting with friends who approached writing from a more structured standpoint, and reading blogs on pantsing versus planning I was intrigued. On NaNoWriMo 2013 I read a Pep Talk were James Patterson said “An outline isn’t something to be scared of, it’s just a chapter-by-chapter description of the scenes that, lined-up together, make your book.”

I decided even though there wasn’t enough time to plan properly, as NaNo had already started, to take the thoughts I’d been mulling over and jot them down in One Note, creating a new section called Plot, giving each chapter a page under that section. I made a section for characters and listed all my thoughts about their names, appearance, quirks etc. in there. I already had a section on research where I had placed some of the information I’d gathered. I also found that as I developed a character on the page I could jot details down in One Note. I found that when I ran out of that faint structure and was writing without a security net it felt unusually scary at first, but found myself once again on an interesting carefree pantsing journey for the rest of the book.

I guess although I say I’m a pantser, to some extent I know the story in my mind already. I know where I want to begin how it ends, how lives are entwined, so it’s not the entirely the same as the moments I’m wandering without a mental map drawn for a section.

So far between the first two books I did far more deleting of whole chapters, characters were cut in the first book, but there were new characters and story lines that emerged that I preferred, and I wonder if I would have lost these had I stuck to a predestined plot. I will probably rewrite it from scratch when I pick it up again though.

Which brings me to book three which has been nagging me to write it, as did book two. To satisfy my curiosity I’m approaching it as a well-planned project start to finish. I want to follow this structured way of writing and then decide, once I’m done, if outlining has improved or stifled my writing. The temptation is very real as I want to dive into my keyboard and uncover the story. I hope I can hold it off long enough before plunging into draft one.

On the experiment so far I’ve found as I start writing my idea for a scene on some pages, I’ve written part of a conversation between characters or found myself writing part of a scene instead of simply giving an overview. On other pages I’ve posed a question, What if?

What I can see with the planning of book three is that by listing the plot points and on which secondary stories I want to focus on, it serves as a journal for the thinking process which ideas to scrap and which avenues to explore further. And I think it seems to help with gaining an overview of whether the action is spread out or if there are any plot pitfalls.

I like all my books, even those I’m not currently reading, to be in and around my bedside table. I think that’s why I like One Note so much, all my projects all together, close at hand where I can jump between projects and find the piece of information I’m looking for.

And if it doesn’t work for me I’ll go back to mulling it over and pantsing for my next book.

Sunday’s Coming – Dealing with Failure

Dealing with failure and success can be equally distracting to any artist.

I’ve had my fair share of tears after auditions and a handful of highs the times I received an opportunity to act in a few local amateur productions.

Today I found out that I had not made it onto the shortlist in a short story competition, my second opportunity to scratch my head and wonder if it’s the writing, the story, the grammar, the genre or simply not what the judges were looking for at this time.

I have to believe that there is hope. Before I opened the webpage to see the results I sat down to have a chat with myself. I had to know what my strategy would be should my name not be on that list, and if indeed it should be. I decided I would write regardless of the outcome. I have a draft of a children’s story I’ve written that is still in the editing process, and I’m in the middle of a really good book that I also planned to finish reading today. It is so easy to get sidetracked, or stop completely if you have pinned all your hope on the short term result. If your personal value is fixed on success you will fall apart completely when you fail. What ever happens keep writing. I believe that perseverance has to be rewarded.


As I opened the page this morning scanning it twice and then once more in search of my name I had to smile ruefully at the significance of the day being Good Friday. What’s good about Good Friday? I guess the fact that Sunday’s coming. Though Christ died on the Friday, he was raised from the dead on Sunday extending hope and life to all who believe that He died to save us.

In the art world nothing is really concrete. There is no right and wrong, there are some fundamental rules that help to guide you but no one can pin point what makes a piece something special. One singer may be pitch perfect while another may have a unique quality in their tone. It is a good thing to put yourself out there to get feedback to see if you’re on track but winning a competition doesn’t mean that the red carpet will be rolled out ahead of you and losing one doesn’t mean that you will not succeed. Persevere, get neither giddy nor despairing, just keep on keeping on.

Image of Dori found on this site aussieownedandread.com

What Will You Lend Your Voice To?

I believe we have an obligation to bring a smile to those who mourn, to speak up for those who have been made to believe they have no voice.

We love the writing process, but it takes time. Each word has to count, it has to work for us and earn its place on the page.

Whether you choose to bring comic relief to take people out of the humdrum of normal life, or to uncover hidden truths – choose wisely. You will be spending much time on that project, it helps to know it’s worthwhile.

Having said that, nothing is wasted, don’t compare yourself to other writers. It may have been said before, so why bother right? No, your voice could bring hope or understanding where others have given a factual objective report, or it may simply transport people away from what is troubling them for a moment.

What’s In A Name

Bingley, Casey and Ricky

Bingley, Casey and Ricky

As a writer I find the part I agonise over the most is naming my characters.
I wish I had put as much thought into naming my rather extended family. Not that I don’t, I do indeed consider every one and choose the name, or in some cases they choose for themselves, that which best suits them.

We have two ducks; Casey, and Bingley, who was named due to the little bing –  bing sounds she made as a duckling. And then we have two dogs; Jamie my boy, and the most recent addition to the family is Gracie. And this is where we didn’t think it through.

Not that we didn’t find her the perfect name, we did. But what we overlooked is how similar Casey, and Gracie sound. So when I walk out into the back garden and call Casey; Gracie comes scurrying, her short legs eagerly carrying her body towards me, eyes alight at being wanted or needed. I then have to state firmly, “Back.” Sending my poor girl slinking away. “I shorry for being too much trouble Marmee.”

To avoid further confusion I call, “Come boy.” Since Casey too has fluttered away in the commotion. My handsome Jamie comes trotting right into the mix almost colliding with Casey, which brings me to shout, “Back.” More forcefully this time, as Jamie is more hard of hearing when food is part of the equation.
I now call Casey and well, you know how the rest goes and many more times I have to send my dear darling girl away.

What I’ve learnt from this is, while I try to select names that best suit my characters, I also consider how all the names work together. If I call one to action on a page will another come running into a reader’s mind?

So for my readers sake I try to give each character a name unique to them in sound, and visually as it appears written.