Weird Weather – again

So, we had 2 days last week where it was bitterly cold – and it rained before then. So, I go to work on Monday thinking I have to catch the train and bus, better take a coat. Get out of work and it’s warm. What the hell? It’s May! It should be around 14 degrees but it was in the 20s!

I remember my first winter in Perth. I lived in Balcatta at the time and it was a cold hole! I used to bus it everyday into town and walk about 10 mins from the bus to work. It was not unusual for it to be 2-3 degrees at 7am – which is just before daybreak. Understandable.

At the time, I thought ‘oh, it’s just like Melbourne – without the sleet!’

But now? Tuesday we had 27 degrees! 27! That’s too warm for this time of the year! Even our house says it’s supposed to be colder. We walked into the house on Wednesday night and you could tell the bricks had absorbed the cold. It was downright chilly inside. Outside? Warm, pleasant – inside? Where’s the wood for the fire???

But, enough of that. I have to tell you that it took 3000 words and 2 scenes to finally kill off the baddie in Consequences 3. And I think it was a wake-up call for our friendly hero but I think I also stayed true to his original character – after all, he did start on the wrong side of the law but redeemed himself through his actions.

It was a tough scene to write as I had to really focus on what I wanted him to go through in this scene and to make sure the lead-up was set up correctly. Then, of course, just to pick on him, I threw in wild weather and jittery horses. Poor man.

But he came through it – not unscathed but no one would.

And that’s all I’m going to say. Tough scenes like that can take a while to write, but the idea is to keep at them until you get through them. Ho hum. Of course, work came in the way, too. But I got there in the end. (Says she as she trots off to tidy it up and write the aftermath …)

Storms

Wow! We had rain. And lots of it! I enjoyed watching it rain, thinking of all the renewal it will do.

So after a busy week at work, I plan to pull out all stops today. I have a lot of catching up to do with my writing, mainly because I had a brainstorm on Sunday night in bed (why is it always the way – the one time you can’t get up to write because you have to sleep?). So I spend all this week at work making notes for today.

It’s called – get down and write! So I suppose there’s been a storm in more than one way – our weather and in my brain. Now it’s time to start a storm of writing!

Onward ho! (Isn’t that the comment?)

Late

Okay, I apologise for being late with this post. Having said that, a lot has happened over the last week.

Well, then again, maybe not.

Although I have written quite a bit which I’m pleased about and, although I don’t normally do this, I have to say that Joseph Michael’s training on Scrivener is quite good. I’ve learnt a few things more about Scrivener that I hadn’t found on my own. Which works for me. Still can’t afford his lessons but the free one I did had some gems in it for me. Now I just have to wait until 3 is out there (I’m on a PC not a Mac).

So, writing has been a bit of a challenge. Mainly ’cause I’m back at work for 4 days a week instead of 3. I really did like that 3 days a week. Doesn’t matter. Once the planes are back flying, everything will go back to normal. (We hope.)

On that note, it seems that Stu is doing a bit more work than he does normally. Mainly ’cause they’ve picked up Qantas quarantine busing. Which keeps him occupied but doesn’t help when he wants to put our new raised veggie bed together!

I found it great to be back at work – I think because I was forced to stay at home and that it wasn’t my decision to do so. And I have a possible lead into having a booth at Supanova when it’s next on in Perth (all the ooos and ahhhhhs).

Advice from others

So, I read an article last night – or yesterday – that says that writers who complain about parts of their craft should be taught not to. Well, I must say, I can be guilty of that.

My all-out love of writing is action scenes and dialogues. The fact that I don’t write in a chronological-type manner – from start to finish – means that there are scenes in between the action and dialogue that I must fill in. And as I participate in Nanowrimo, then sometimes I’m out for getting the wordcount done. Which means I concentrate on those scenes I love writing. Which leaves me to write what I call filler scenes later. Which is probably my fault because I haven’t written them during Nanowrimo.

My point of mentioning this is, although I might say ‘filler scenes are the worst’ or ‘I miss writing action or dialogue’, these scenes that I call ‘filler’ scenes are really linking scenes and without them, the book would not work. Knowing that, I also know they must be written and I am the one who will write them. So, please, don’t believe me (really) when I say I hate them. I just don’t like them as much as I do the other scenes.

Same with editing. I may say I hate editing, but I don’t really. I find that editing is what refines what comes out of my head and goes on the page and makes it easier for readers to read. That is what I am aiming for. An easy read. I just prefer writing new works.

So I’d like to finish by saying that I appreciate all aspects of my craft, from action scenes, to linking scenes to editing. Now, cover art? That’s one I’m not sure of …. just kidding.

Back to Normal?

Well, no, we’re not quite back to normal, but some restrictions are being lifted soon. One of these is that our trains and buses are going to an ‘enhanced’ Saturday timetable. No idea what that means.

So, this was my first week back from holidays and self-isolation. Whilst I’d love to be able to stay at home writing through all those hard-to-write scenes, I was surprised that I was happy to go back to work. I only had a day and a bit ’cause, typical me, comes down with a virus that sees me go home at 9.30am the first day and have the second day off on sick leave. But the rest of the week was okay, although I couldn’t pick up an extra shift yesterday to make up for the sick day. Well, them’s the breaks.

Gotta say, after 2.5 weeks at home, your first day off goes so fast it’s like it was a time jump! At one minute, we’re heading for groceries at 11.30am, the next time I look at the clock, it’s 4pm! Where did the time go?

Today, however, I have been able to ‘put pen to paper’ so to speak. I’m tackling those scenes I hate – those scenes with no action or little dialogue in them. Those scenes that fit between the action scenes, linking them up.

At the same time, I heard that the mother of my oldest friend passed away today at the age of 97. I still remember going to Ray’s place and playing mud pies with him. If it was summer, we’d put the hose on. Often, his mother, Grace, used to ring mum (we were all of 2 doors away) and ask to send some clothes ’cause she’s had to bath us both because we’d been covered in muck.

She was a graceful lady that said her piece of mind directly. She had a heart of gold and used to take me to school some mornings – with Goldie the golden retriever in the seat behind. Apparently in those days I had pigtails and he used to chew on them! Ah, Auntie Grace, I miss you already! She was also one of the last of the neighbours to see mum at home and I know it upset her greatly. But what a great old age to live to! RIP Auntie Grace. I will always remember you.

End of Self-isolation

Well, what a relief to be able to go out yesterday afternoon! Albeit, it was only to the doc’s, the chemist and to a chook farm to buy eggs. But oh, just to have the choice to go out or stay in whichever you wanted to do made a world of difference.

But let me get back to things.

So I sent out a novel to beta readers last weekend and while I’m waiting for some of them to respond, I’ve had response from one of my most critical friends. Meaning he provided such good feedback that I have been working hard on that instead of my other works in progress. Those, I feel I need a break from and I really had no idea how to move forward with this one. The story is finished but there was a lot needed doing in it and I think I have what I need to make it so much better. At the moment it sits just shy of 50k but I’m sure with these updates it’ll end up being a helluvalot more.

What’s one of the interesting things I’ve done is decided to use 2 A4 notebooks I bought from a shop closing down (still paid an arm and a leg but they’re gorgeous) as info on people, places and things like that and, maybe, an outline.

I’ve actually managed to write a bit of a backstory to this, so hopefully that will solve a lot of issues with the new version. I’m all excited by this one, now! Hehe I’ll probably get sucked back into Consequences 3, though. There’s something about the MC in that that keeps grabbing my attention….

Corona Days

So we’re into our second week of self-isolation and while we haven’t killed each other and we’ve gone through the shed and the linen closet, I’ve had time to do some writing and some editing. So it hasn’t been a waste of time. However, I’m also looking forward to being able to go and do my own grocery shopping without Stu having to do it alone for the 3 of us.

What concerns me is that because a lot of work has closed down, the amount of people on the trains has decreased – apparently by 85% so our trains are now on Saturday timetables – which means I’m going to have to time leaving work precisely ’cause half the trains won’t be there.

Or I just get a lift to and from work.

The upside of this is that all of our blinds have been up each day and now the cats take a running leap into my room. My blinds are usually down while I’m at work or slitted if I’m home. They think it’s brilliant that they can look out of mine even though the view is similar to that of the lounge room.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the next few weeks, I don’t know if it’s going to be worse or better in the future. I have no concept of when this is going to end and while subconsciously I feel it is waaaay over the top, we have to abide by what the government says.

Currently we have a reducing number of those affected in our state and we hope it stays that way so that we can go back to behaving like we were. Hopefully, it will all be worth it in the end and we come out to a better world than when we went in.

A New World

So this week we have entered a new world.

While Simon and I enjoyed our short trip to Terrigal, because we couldn’t change our flight to get back before the borders to Western Australia closed, we are now on self-isolation for 2 weeks. And after his last piece of driving last night, Stu was told to go home and wait for them to contact him. Apparently his work has shut the office down and the general manager is doing everything from his home. That doesn’t mean Stu won’t get any work, but apparently the franchise drivers will get it first as he drives buses not cars. Pity we didn’t have the $75k to take on that franchise when it came up.

And Simon is keeping up-to-date on his job through the net, using emails and notices his work is sending out.

How did we come to this? All brought down by a common cold virus (I’m not making a statement, here) that is highly contagious. We all lived through SARS and the swine flu and nothing was shut down. The difference this time is that this one is highly contagious. The others weren’t so contagious.

We’re now living in an apocalypse movie! Wasn’t there Outbreak? And then half the new zombie movies started with a virus getting loose. Welcome to their world. There is also talk of China getting a second wave as their travellers return home from the new hotspots like Europe, Australia and the USA. Where will it end?

On the other side of the coin, as writing friends say – this fits completely in with a writer’s lifestyle – live at home, never go out. The difference, however, is that we can go out – as writers that is. Currently, Simon and I are only allowed out to attend medical appointments. I can’t wait for Easter for that to be over.

So all the dystopian writers out there – get writing – you’ve got a ready-made apocalypse to write!

Challenging journey

So, while a lot of people would say that life is and can be a challenging journey, I believe it is a far more challenging journey in today’s situation.

Not to make light of what happened 100 years ago, but for us, this is our most challenging time. And what a time to travel!

While we had a wonderful few days on the Central Coast of New South Wales, we are now paying for it as we head closer to home. It is Monday 23 March and we have made it to Sydney only to learn that WA borders are being closed tomorrow from 13.30. Not only that, but Emirates has temporarily suspended all passenger flights and the regional carrier REX has completely folded.

What will happen from now? No one knows. Will these measures work? Will they do the exact opposite to what is hoped? What I mean, is that while we try to limit the contact between people, we’re not building an immunity to this version of the virus. Does that mean that when the time is up that all of the people who have been self-isolating come out and get the virus in a more deadly form? Or will our self-isolation actually work?

And what happens to people in the hospitality and travel industry? How will they survive? Will the government pay them in exchange for their lack of work? Remember, I have 2 close friends who work in the travel industry and at least one of them is affected by Emirates’ decision. So how are we going to survive? I don’t really want to go to full-time, but it looks like I may need to just to ensure everything is covered.

And will my employer allow me to take 2 weeks off that the govt has said I must take because I’m coming back to WA after the borders close? I have no idea. Given who they’re contracted to, I’m assuming they will because it is a government order.

This is a really bad situation – whether the govt has made it worse or not remains to be seen. They have to do something and from their viewpoint they are doing the very best they can. Whether it is the right thing or not, we have yet to find out.

Maybe this is the time we take back our manufacturing from overseas so that our travel and hospitality staff have some work that they can take on.

One thing I think will be interesting and may actually fall over is the employment provider situation. I really don’t think this is sustainable in this situation and it will be interesting to watch. They may actually give it their all during this time and actually help people. But that also remains to be seen.

We are in a completely new environment, both working, living and shopping. Hopefully, we’ll come out of it on the other side a more enlightened society.

Holidays

Yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s a strange feeling – because I only work 3 days a week, I feel like I’m on holidays every week. This time, I’m away from work until the end of the month.

And it’ll be a busy holiday, too. For Simon and I have decided to use up frequent flyers points and we are going to Terrigal in NSW.

Now, Terrigal is not a big place but it’s on the coast and it is home to a friend of mine. Whom I’m meeting for the first time! This friend has been editing my work for about 6 months, now (I’m giving Jeanne a rest – yep, she’ll laugh at that), and with this opportunity, I thought we’d go and see her.

Before we leave for home, we’re spending a couple of days in Sydney so that will be an experience.

One of the things we’re doing whilst in Terrigal is going to visit the burn scar – probably the Gosper Mountain fire. I’ve been asked by a few people at work if I can take photos of the regrowth in the area and I thought it would bring a sense of reality to those fire claim calls we’ve been getting at work.

I can’t imagine the heartache that these people must be going through and I do my utmost to get them that small amount of money as quickly as I can. And before anyone asks, no, we are not looking after the relief payments gathered by Ellen, P!nk and all of the other celebrities. We look after the govt payments.

The main reason I want to visit the site, though, is because of all the stories I read over Christmas and New Year. All those personal accounts from survivors and what, who and how they survived. I want to make that real for myself as a person. Because I think that’s the only way we can appreciate the depth of an experience like that and be able to help the people in that situation recover best.

That’s another reason why we’re staying at Terrigal – to put money back into one of the regions that so desperately need it after the fires – and then the floods, of course!

But we’re also going so that we can relax – away from work – and recharge our batteries for the next round of whatever comes our way.