Themeless Thursday: School Holidays and Draft Revision

Here in Sydney, the school system is in break mode before the final term of the year.  My family stayed in Sydney with my mother while I traveled to and fro for work.  Last Saturday night was a highlight – Goon Show with our largest audience yet and the most fun we had performing too.  I polished off a fairly unpolished German accent but still got lovely laughs.  Most exhausted.  My wife and editor read the first draft of Mother Goose and tells me I need more jokes to please the adults.  I did my first pass at the second draft, added a joke about Gordon Ramsay and another nursery rhyme.  The first reading is going to happen at the end of this month.  Gives me time to give the script a bit of spit and polish.

I also discussed the possibility of writing classes hosted by my local neighbourhood centre.  I’m waiting for approval before I say anything more about it.  Finally this Friday night I am reading at a poetry book launch. Some intriguing poems.

Have a good day everyone.

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Themeless but no less Friendly Friday: One day later

It’s been a busy week, started my work with H & R Block.  It was a very quiet day.  But I did write some more of Hansel and Gretel.  I’ve introduced the whole family now.  The mother is about to have a monologue. My wife complained that there’s not enough of my own poetry.  What do you feel?  My Friendly Friday would be enhanced with your opinions.  Thanks.

Themeless Thursday: Digging the seam of imagination.

Well, I’m halfway through the outline for a structural edit being done by Creative Manuscript Services.  I received a free structural edit and I’m using it on the first draft of my novel.  Because I pantsed it, I need to distil the draft into an outline.  What I’m doing is putting a character list, the POV character and the key events for each chapter.  When I started writing it, I realised that the novel was not my best writing in the world. But that’s what revision is for right?  Hopefully after I finish the writing I will be motivated enough to start the revision process.  My wife has finished going through it, but she’s afraid I’ll be depressed by her comments, and apparently there are lots.  Personally, I view the job of a first draft is to simply exist. If the writing is lacking, that can be addressed during revision.

Think of it like a miner.  You go digging in your imagination for a story, and you pull up a great big nugget of something.  It’s covered in rocks and muck and earth and heaven knows what else.  That’s your first draft.  Then you clean it; you wash off the dirt etc and that’s your second draft.  Then you cut it and smooth out the rough edges.  That’s your submission draft.  It goes to an editor for review.  If they like the nugget, then they’ll begin to work with you so that they can make it sparkle even more.  Then you get to send it to a jeweller (the publisher).  And they work with you to put your gem into a piece of jewellery, like a ring, or a hard-back book or whatever.  And that’s the process.  Not everything you dig out is gold, some of it is copper, or brass, or coal (good for lighting fires).  And not every gem makes it to the publisher.  But that’s life.  As long as you just keep digging.

Anyway back to the novel, I saw some sparkle in the first draft.  So that’s motivating me to keep outlining.  I realised that there were some parts that I really enjoy.  I’ve also been working on my teaching certificate and preparing for the goon show.

I was thinking about this blog and doing something different like “Writing Apocrypha” such as

  1. The first line of Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities appeared in the first draft like this… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was 7:38 am.”
  2. The main character in Moby Dick is clearly a man. When he introduces himself in the first line “Call me Ishmael” you know its a man because the first three letters of the name Ishmael “Ish” is Hebrew for man, the last four letters is an anagram of “Male”. A coincidence? I think not.

And I plan to do this every other day or so, or as I think them up?  If you have any Apocrypha, please feel free to submit them to me.

Themeless Thursday: Start of a new serial and Tim Burton

Well, to start with I have started writing the plays for January.  Whilst researching one of them I came across a couple of early Tim Burton films that were related to what I am about to do.  They featured his design aesthetic and his use of peculiar characters.  In fact I think he was experimenting with Pantomime a bit, as it used the grand dame approach, ie overbearing woman as played by a man.  Don’t know if I like that idea… you see enough jocks do it at high school.

In addition I have been at work completing my trainers certificate.  This Sunday I am going to Supernova in Sydney with my kids.  If you want to meet, that would be lovely, but I will only be there in the morning.  I have to drive back up the mountain in time for rehearsals.

Have fun and stay happy

Simon

Themeless Thursday: Serial Poetry

Well, that about wraps it up for TC Brown. (to paraphrase Douglas Adams).  Poem Noir is one of my favourite poems.  It was written over the space of six months and refined and refined.  I am fascinated with TC Brown and had plans for doing a poem focusing on his ex-girlfriend Ace; one that was more in the style of say a mafia thriller, a violent and brutal poem.  But after several false starts I couldn’t get the hang of it.  I am exploring another TC Brown serial but not in the style of film noir.  Is there another serial poem for next week? Yes, of biblical proportions.

Still riding high on the blog award nomination.  One thing the blog award did was gain me a few more followers so I would like to welcome all my new followers to the blog.  I hope you enjoy my postings.

I have not done much writing at the moment, aside from four poems for the new TC Brown serial.  But the show I have to write for January has been confirmed which is good news.  I have settled on the theme and the poems, so now I have to work on tying the threads together.  I’m looking forward to this.

I am also going to start writing the outline for “The Seven-Layer Curse” for another author to review.  The first draft is finished but I need to distill it into an outline for a structural review.  Never done one of those before… Helpful links appreciated.

Success: My first ever blog award nomination!!!!

How cool is this?  The kindly man at The Oddity Writer has nominated me for the Liebster Award. A wonderful acknowledgement of my minute size (but heavier sighs) and my somewhat consistent presence.  Thank you Daniel, I am honoured and pleased by your nomination.  Now no award is not without some effort.  In order to get it, I have to plaigiarise from Daniel.  I hope he doesn’t mind.

STAGE ONE! Acknowledge and thank the blog who nominated you.

Done.  See above.

STAGE TWO! Look for an award image that you like, and post it on your blog (or grab the one I have).

This award image was photographed by a lovely lady from Wentworth Falls.  It is me accepting an accolade as an ideas man.  No, I lie.  It’s me posing as Neddie Seagoon having a brainstorm of ideas.  No, I still lie.  It’s me posing as Neddie Seagoon trying to have a an idea with the aid of a hat with a light bulb on it. I confess it was a hard thing to do.  Not the posing with the hat, but the having of an idea.  Generally I have no idea.

Simon Seagoon

STAGE THREE! Answer the 11 questions asked by the person/blog who nominated you.

1. Name your favorite book?

Starting with the simple question, eh?  Tricky.  My favourite book is umm, umm, I like sci-fantasy, I love “The Stone and the Flute” by Hans Bemmann.  It is not all sword and sorcery, it is a gentle tale that moves at a gentle pace, but covers a broad range of social arrangements and a different approach to magic and wonder. I read it when I was twelve and I haven’t stopped since.  My current favourite read is the DCI Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovich. A very funny and very sassy read, think Harry Potter meets police procedural.  The second and third books were crackers, and there’s a comic in the works too.  The illustrations look lovely.

2. Have you ever needed to stand up for what you believed in? and if so, how?

As a Jew, I am not a particularly Jewish poet, though my stories focus on belief systems and the interaction between humans, faith and gods.  I have several very strong Jewish poems that speak against Isreal’s policies, particularly in the way we treat Palestinian citizens.  I am however careful to differentiate between citizens and terrorists.

I used to believe that poets were a more tolerant form of human, but one day (in the 1990’s) during a reading, a poet used a Jewish metaphor that was, in my view, very clearly derogatory.  I was shocked.  I expected that poets in general were above using such old anti-Semitic ideas in modern poetry. I stood up and stated my case about how that made me feel, how slanderous it was.  People applauded.  Sometimes I look back on that moment I wonder if I felt right to do it.  It did at the time, but would I do it these days?  Probably.  I acknowledge people have a right to free expression, but that doesn’t rob me of my right to defend people who are slandered by such awful derogatory beliefs.

3. List one moment in your life where you felt like you were on top of the world.

I married my gorgeous goddess. I held my newborn son for the first twenty minutes of his life.  I won a playwright award. Oh, that’s three.  Sorry, I’m lost in glory.

4. What is your pet peeve?

One pet peeve is that I don’t have a pet.  Also I am ranting about my council’s latest white elephant, the Springwood Cultural and Community Hub, for oh so many reasons.  My wife feels the same.  My biggest peeve about it is the lack of a dignified name.  Why can’t the council call it the Macquarie Centre?  My preference is for the Springwood Folly.  That’s a good name.

5. Name one of your greatest accomplishments.

Getting married and having kids.  Really, I had given up hope of this ever happening,  But I met my gorgeous goddess and she proved me wrong.  (time and time again).

6. What do you fear?

Getting published and people realising that I am a fraud. When I was teaching at university, I felt the same about teaching.  I didn’t put the effort in but I had my students fooled. Probably not my colleagues.

7. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?

Play games on the computer.  More often than I should.  Currently into Wartune.  Used to love the Kingdom of Loathing. Also play Hidden Object Games.  Dissapointed – i should be reading more.

8. How has your blog been a positive influence on your life?

It has given me some discipline to write something everyday.  Almost.

9. What song would best describe your life?

Oh crikey – “Always look on the bright side of life.”  I once said of a friend that “Some people see a glass half-full, some people see a glass half-empty, my friend sees a glass and says “there’s a crack in that.” I think that we should just be happy that we have a glass with water in it.  Some people don’t, some people aren’t, and some people don’t even acknowledge that a glass of water is a gift.

10. Do you have any favorite characters from books, movies or other media?

I absolutely love DEATH from Terry Pratchett’s discworld, the early Moist Von Lipwig stories, and Mustrum Ridcully.  I also love PCI Grant from the Rivers of London, Robin Hobb’s Fool, And every single Goon invented by Spike Milligan.  Needle Nardle Noo.  For my 50th birthday party I had a sci-fiction themed party and I went dressed as Arthur Dent, but my favourites were a family of friends who came as the Whale, the Petunias,Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox. My first offical cosplay I went dressed as the Duckman (what duck?).  My next cosplay I want to be Mustrum Ridcully and I am trying to convince my son to be Ponder Stibbons.  Awesome.

11. Who is your role model in life?

I so much want to write a series of novels set in one world like Terry Pratchett and Robin Hobbs.  The one thing I admire about Terry Pratchett is that he never got stale.  His books were fresh, even the later ones. My view is that long running series has a tendency to vanish up the author’s butt.  The writing becomes self-involved and complicated.  It happens with the Wheel of Time, it happens with Thomas Covenant, it happens even with some of the older writers. Dune was a great book as was the second, but it was all down hill from there.  Terry also engendered loyal readers and he encouraged them to explore his world through conventions and clubs.  I don’t see George RR Martin doing that.

STAGE FOUR! Nominating Eleven Blogs (And Informing Them Too)

This was hard.  I had to find eleven blogs which are either less than a year old, or have less than 1000 followers.  Here are my picks.

1,Presh Olive’s Blog

2. Life Love and Other Catastrophes

3. I am not a sick boy

4.  Amy Hogue

5. The Dementia Dimension

6. This heart of flowers.

7.Writing in Devizes

8. Penny’s Space (The Motivational Giraffe creator)

9. Terry Pratchett and Me

10. Celona’s Blog

11. Simon Petrie

FINAL STAGE: Create 11 questions for you guys to answer for the award.

1. What is your funniest joke?

2. What do you enjoy about blogging?

3. Who is the most influential person on your life?

4. What is your favourite tongue twister?

5. Which site do you visit the most and why?

6. What social injustice do you wish to change?

7. Do you play a musical instrument, which one? and if you don’t, which one would you play if you had the opportunity?

8. If you have traveled overseas, what was your favourite place to visit?  If you haven’t where would you like to go first?

9. What is the most treasured item from your childhood that you still have?  Or if you don’t, which item would you like to recover?

10. What book are you currently reading?

11. What’s your favourite comfort food?

Well there you go.  I spent more time finding my eleven sites than I did anything else. I’m off to tell them about it.  I hope my nominees enjoy the questions and am looking forward to their responses.  Stay happy, friends.

Themeless Thursday: Hooray for my wife

Before I start, writing update – more on the short story, 3 new poems, one slated for Sunday.

I wanted to cheer on my wife Wendy.  On Saturday she won an art award for one of her mosaics.  It was for Waste to Art, a community art project in which artists from around the community are invited to submit an artwork made from unwanted materials.  My wife used mixed materials to make a piece called “When the Dragon Speaks.” It is inspired by the 2013 bush fires that threatened the Blue Mountains.  I am so proud of her.

My wife's art piece for Waste 2 art
My wife’s art piece for Waste 2 Art