Tuesday, 10 November 2009

All up hill to Christmas

Man, I think my brain is going to break.

Just got through the weekend; three open access sessions on Saturday for the Regional Rights project in which I make myself available for hour long personal consultations with budding writers. Then on Sunday, a full day writers' workshop on the nuts and bolts of creative writing and another four open access sessions on Monday. In the meantime I've been writing a report for the mentorship winner which involves a close read of his manuscript plus editorial notes, and also reading this monumental, vast family saga 350,000 words, written by one of the short listees -- an amazing thing that left me gasping by the end of it, an emotional rollercoaster.

But prior to that was a full week working with our Iranian mate Mohsen on his manuscript of collected poetry which is a delight and pleasure, if a little emotionally gruelling.
The work is collected from material he wrote when incarcerated in Villawood a four years. Dark as.

Somewhere in there I had to find time to practice cello, do the regular householdy things, and work on my book. Consequently I haven't had a lot of time to be reading through your blogs or writing mine. Not to mention the garden, which has fallen into ruin this season.

I figured it was time to let it go to weed anyway and give the beds a rest. Besides, there's been so little rain the past few months that I'd have drained the tank trying to water and keep it alive. We've just had the first decent rain of the season and can finally put in green manure crops to get a little bit more organic material into the soil.

And the pace it doesn't look like it will slacken off until mid-December.


  1. I am dissapointed that a woman of your calibre is not able to multitask more!!

    Saw an interesting bit on stateline the other week about the benefits of not actually tilling the soil. Aparently it improves organic content. Don't know if it would work up your way..maybe up in the atherton tablelands

    BTW did you get my email?

  2. Yes I did chaz, but it got buried along with everthing else in the avalanche that is my life at present.

    Thanks for the idea.

    And no - we don't till here, I do a thing called sheet composting (think rainforest and fallen leaves). I chuck organic matter into the chook dome, let them scratch it into the soil and then cover it with mulch once the chooks move on and then plant straight into the beds. The worms eventually do the tilling if the beds stay nice and moist. This year, however, the green manure crop will go in and as the chooks go round the system, they'll flatten it, scratch the plant matter into the soil and the worms will be very very grateful.

  3. I am soo disappointed and I shall bare the GRUDGE forevaaaar that you are not available for MIL PORN WORk, its just..just...errr so wrong.....

    350k words..ouch.

  4. Havock, care to enlighten me as to what MIL PORN WORk might be?

  5. it would be as follows. crafted by a MASTER..well Budding Master. here it is..HAVOCK STYLE from Intense.

    The lead scout had heard the claymores detonate, but was unsure as to what they were; he'd just started to turn and was about to signal his number two, to take up a full defensive position when the three subsonic rounds hit him.

    Simons aim had been perfect, the first round impacted just below his wind pipe, punching a whole through the soft skin and windpipe, the rounds head starting to open up, mushrooming and catching more soft tissue as it proceeded to tear its way out the back of the scouts oesophagus.

    Continuing on, to the scouts now pure shock at the impact and sudden tearing pain at his throat, the hollow pointed semi jacketed bullet was still only half deformed, not yet reaching its full flesh tearing mushroom headed design potential.

    Its impact with the top of the spinal column completed its design requirements, whilst still retaining nearly all of its forward velocity the round slowed appreciably on hitting the bone and nerve fluids of the spinal collum, this merely ensure the kill was complete, tearing the top three spinal vertebrae along with bits on bone, wind pipe and general body matter the round now tumbled out the TNI troopers back creating a whole a full 10 centimetres in ragged diameter.

    Cutting of all nervous co ordination between the head and the rest of the body, as the remaining two rounds entering merely added to the destruction, as they climbed up the windpipe and smashed into oblivion his throat and jaw.

    The trooper dropped straight down to the ground, now just jelly as his brain still functioning, sought to make sense of the violence and loss of control over its body, his bowels venting themselves and adding to the already bloody gory mess being created around his body.

  6. Thats the beginners version..JB's shite and so forth..Clancy's, red storm rising...But I'm the best at it

  7. Ah, I see.

    Well, as they say in the classics Havock, all writing is re writing.

    HAVOCK STYLE could do with a bit of spit and polish. You wouldn't go out with a dirty weapon man! Killer prose needs the same attention as your armory.

    Try a rewirte by making the verbs that are actually doing the damage more active. You want to lose as many words as possible from an action sequence like this, but leave as much gore contained in the passage of the bullet as possible.

    Watchout for 'ing' words - they usually mean you need to have a look at how to make what 'is hapening' simply 'happen'.

    And watch also for repeated words - 'tearing' in this parra.

    Like this Eg:

    "The shocked scout registered a sudden tearing pain at his throat as the hollow-pointed semi-jacketed bullet continued on, still only half deformed, yet to mushroom into its full, flesh ripping design potential."

    Now - go through your whole MS and apply this kind of blow torch to it. You'll be glad you did. It will be MUCH more exciting, and the pace will hot up too, leaving your reader breathless and gagging for more.

    There's a fantastic short story by an American whose name escapes me, about a guy in a bank holdup who gets shot in the head. The end of the story describes the bullet entering his forhead and as it progresses through his brain, his life flashes before him. It's a brilliant piece of writing.

    The slomo of the passage of that bullet does what you are going for here.

    I'll see if I can find out who it is.

    Gold star for anyone who knows the story I'm talking about.

  8. sweet, or should, no , actually. THANK YOU and I'll bet you knew what was coming too...BAD GIRL. cheers H

  9. Hughsey you're a natural!!

    Is it from 'red badge of courage'?

  10. No Chaz, the story is a discrete short story. I heard it on the ABC short story reading ages ago and it really stuck. I've never read it, only heard it.

    Thanks for reminding me Havock. I've been meaning to get hld of it in print for ages.

    'll post the reference here if I can find it.

  11. alwayss happy to keep on the matrons right side..always!