About Me

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Queensland, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Queensland, Australia. www.noelleclark.net

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 30 - NaNoWriMo - It's over!

I am too tired to write anything just now, but I have a lot to say about my first NaNoWriMo experience.

Just now, I want to share with you my sense of elation.

Day 29 - NaNoWriMo

The penultimate day of the NaNoWriMo journey. I kinda feel a little deflated, I guess. Deflated but elated at the same time. Is that possible? I am over the moon that I achieved the goal I set myself, but at the same time, am disappointed it is over.

I am also a bit exhausted. I worked very hard to achieve my 55,000 words. I work full time, commute nearly 3 hours a day, I babysit my grandchildren who live with me, look after my five pets and spend time each day with them. No wonder I am tired.

So, the book is nearly finished, thanks to NaNoWriMo. Another two chapters to go, which I will write before Christmas, then edit in my Christmas holidays.

Thanks to the Office of Letters and Light for the wonderful, exciting, supportive and motivating entity that NaNoWriMo is. I am very proud to have been involved.

I hold out hopes of writing more on the night of 30th November, but you know what? I am just too tired. Time for a little rest, then back into it to finishe the book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 28 - NaNoWriMo

"The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium."  ~  Norbet Platt

Day 28 of Wrimo. When I first signed up for this challenge, I thought that I would be in total panic mode at this stage of it, unable to see the end, unable to find a way to get 50,000 words written. Instead, here I am, way ahead of my goal, and well on my way to finishing the story that I have wanted to write all my life.

I have to say that the act of writing has been very therapeutic for me. I am living in a bit of domestic torment at present, and had I not signed up for Nanowrimo, and if I did not retreat into my private world of writing every day, I would go mad. I don’t think that going mad is actually what Norbet Platt meant by ‘equilibrium’, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.

I wrote another 4600 words today, giving me a total of 55883.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 27 - NaNoWriMo

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." ~ William Wordsworth

I had a 'rest day' today and went Christmas shopping.  I had to endure 34 degree heat, search for over half an hour for a car park, and then spent more money than I wanted to.  My head was still up there in my book, where it had been immersed yesterday, totally oblivious to everything as I wrote the most heartfelt musings of the book so far.  I went through tissue after tissue, trying to clear my eyes so that I could see my computer screen. 

I asked the question of my YON writing group during our weekly online write-fest, 'Does anyone else bawl like a baby when writing a sad bit in their book?'   I didn't get any answer.  The thing is, when I read a Maeve Binchy book, I bawl and bawl at the sad bits.  So, I wonder, does Maeve herself cry when she shows the reader a sad scene?

Personally, I think the sign of a good book is when it involves ALL the reader's senses, emotions and feelings.  I love to laugh in books, like laugh out loud on the morning commute train, so that everyone turns to look at the book you are reading, making a mental note that they too must buy that one.  I love to cry in a book - it clears out my tear ducts and, well I am just a big sook so it feels good.  I have cried on the train too.  It is embarrassing, let me tell you.

So, I think that it might be a good thing if the author cries.  Hopefully it will bring a tear or two to my readers' eyes when they too grow to love my characters and are sad when shit happens to them.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 26 - NaNoWriMo - I'm a WINNER!

"Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is." Zig Ziglar 

I did it! I won the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Well actually, I did it in just 25 days.

Today, had I not had to stop writing to go to see Dolly Parton in concert, I reckon I could have written twice what I did, but at 4202, it was a true sprint to the finish line.

At about lunch time, I validated my words and am now a WINNER, with a total of 50,491 posted against my name. I will keep on writing though, as I have enjoyed this Wrimo journey immensely.

Here's my badge to prove I won!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 24 - NaNoWriMo

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov

Author, Matt T. Dillon, keeps saying to me, "Don't tell me, show me!".  I have heard that a hundred times.  I know it already.  It is ingrained in me.  But, I found myself in a really boring patch of my NaNoWriMo book, it seemed flat, colourless, and I was seriously losing my way.

When I went back to it the next day, I decided to have a little read of it those troublesome paragraphs, because it was worrying me, keeping me awake.  For some reason, a light bulb moment occurred and it just became so clear to me what I had neglected to do.  I was TELLING the story in an intricate and complicated narrative that was confusing even me! 

After a half hour or so, I had transformed that long and colourless piece of narrative, that was, I should add, vital to the story line, into an exciting action piece, with dialogue, colour, smells, explosions going off in a shower of white sparks.  It came alive!  I realised that I was now SHOWING my reader.  I was showing them like a movie reel was running in front of their eyes.

I am now nearing the end of my NaNoWriMo challenge, with a total of 46282 words.  I have been a bit lost lately, but during a night of not being able to sleep, I have woken up with a clear pathway, with one last hurrah of a climax that hopefully will allow me to end my book on a bang.

Thanks to all those authors out there who kept telling me to 'show, don't tell", and especially my friend Matt T. Dillon. http://www.matttdillon.com/

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 23 - NaNoWriMo

"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day." Norman Mailer

I am finding that I am up one day, and down the next with my writing. Last night I could not write a thing. I worried about it for a while, but then decided to stop flogging a dead horse, and I did something else instead.

I wonder if that makes me not a 'real writer'? Possibly, but I also wonder if Mr Mailer also had a full time job, two and a half hours commuting in city traffic per day, a full house with two babies and three adults, two dogs and three cats, all vying for my attention as soon as I walk in the door after a hard day at the office. I think not.

When I am a 'full time writer', then surely I will have the ability to plough on even when the muse is not looking my way. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 22 - NaNoWriMo

"When characters are really alive, before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action." Luigi Pirandello

I am amazed at how the human brain works. On Monday night, I could write nothing. I tried to find a way through my insecurities about how my book was progressing, but I couldn't. Then, yesterday morning at about 4am, I lay in bed thinking about my Nana and wondered how she coped when her husband died. She had three little children, the youngest was only six weeks old, and she was in a foreign, civil war torn country.

When I sat down to write last night after a pretty full on day at work, I found that I was hearing her talk, feeling her sadness, and picturing her sitting by the fire on Christmas night in 1926, looking into the flames and missing her dear Oliver. I cried as I wrote what she told me to write. I cry even now as I write this, knowing now how very sad she was and how much she missed him.

Thanks Nana. I do hope you are happy with my treatment of your story. Love you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 21 - NaNoWriMo

"This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again."  Oscar Wilde

Today, Day 21 of NaNoWriMo, I broke the cardinal law that says you MUST NOT edit, revise, indeed even re-read what you have written so far for the challenge.  Today, I did not write one word, but I enjoyed, instead, reading the 8000 odd words I wrote last weekend.  I was uneasy with some of it and I just could not move forward with my story until I checked it.

So, I did some minor changes and found some big blunders, such as in one long paragraph where I talk about some of the political turmoil in China, and I found I say the same thing THREE TIMES!  Can you believe that?

So anyway, I had a day off writing and a day of fiddling with the story.  Was fun.

My total word count for the month is 42,768.  Not bad eh?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 20 - NaNoWriMo

"Often I'll find clues to where the story might go by figuring out where the characters would rather not go." Doug Lawson

I had a bumper of a weekend again, volume wise. But I am seriously uneasy about where I am going at the moment. I thought I knew, but doubts are creeping in. I fear that what I am writing now is dead boring. However, I will push through and see how it looks when I get to the end of it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 19 - NaNoWriMo

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." Robert Frost

My writing for Day 19 marked my most challenging scene yet. The death of my hero. Ever since I thought of writing this story, I was secretly dreading writing this scene. It came the time, though, on Day 19 of NaNoWriMo, and so I did it with as much skill as I could.

It was hard to see through the tears I shed as this wonderful man died. I had already killed off several other people, and one of those was also a very main character. I cried when Annie died too. And the baby. So, for day 20, I must help Oliver's wife pick up the pieces and live a life without her dear husband. I do hope I can help her.

I wrote a personal best of 4620 words on Day 19, that gives me a total of 38973. Not bad for a first timer. It's just a shame that my dear grandfather Oliver's death was the catalyst for such a writing total. But my four main characters, Darl and Oliver, Jack and Annie, are my own personal muses, sitting her on my shoulder, helping me to write their story.

Day 18 - NaNoWriMo

"My biggest excuse to others and myself was that I had writer's block, as if it was some kind of illness". - Mary Garden

What can I say. I took this day off work specifically so that I could write, undisturbed, all day. Not only did I have some rather insistent distractions, such as my 8 month old grandson, Anderson, crawling at my feet and wanting Nana to play with him, but I got the worst case of writer's block. I only managed 800 words all day. Oh well, there are two more days left of this weekend!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 17 - NaNoWriMo

"They say great themes make great novels.. but what these young writers don't understand is that there is no greater theme than men and women.”   John O'Hara

Looking at all the notes and plans I had prepared for my month of literary abandon, it would seem that I had plenty of meat there, plenty of joggers and stimuli to keep me writing feverishly for one whole month.  But it seems that the reality has not quite been the expectation.

Oh, I have been writing lots, and most of it - not all of it - is of reasonable quality.  But I need to sit and plan again, on how I am going to move the story forward.  It is on a sustained peak a the moment, with many climaxes all coming at once.  When I do get a quiet time, it seems really flat.  But I guess that is what real life is like too isn't it?

And the real life that my Grandparents, Darl and Oliver, shared in China, was certainly like that.  Full of crises, climaxes, tragedy, and great happiness.  But in between there, there were real people living real lives, just men and women getting on with their lives and living it to the full.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 16 - NaNoWriMo

"The best time for planning a book is when you're doing the dishes." Agatha Christie

It was a struggle to make 1500 words today. I have suddenly become a little unsure of where the story is taking me. It is all mapped out, but somehow or other, I am suddenly losing confidence.

I got up from my desk and went out to water the vegetable garden.  I thought about it for a long while, and suddently, whilst out there with the lettuce, tomatoes and sweet corn, the solution to my dilemma came to me.  I have decided to cut my book into two parts. Part One will be the first seven years, and Part Two will be from 1921 until 1929. Yes, I think I will try that.

Au revoir!  NaNoWriMo total so far?  32,375

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 15 - NaNoWriMo

"A writer's job is to imagine everything so personally that the fiction is as vivid as memories." John Irving

I had a wonderful night of writing last night.  Because I am doing the NaNoWriMo challenge this month, naturally I am very pleased that I wrote 3363 words, but I dug deep last night and I think I wrote a passage that I would never have thought I could write. 

I am up to a point in my book where things are very grim, very sad.  People are dying everywhere, and one of my main characters does some inward thinking.  She is a very religious person, and for a moment there, she lost her faith.  I am happy because I think I really got inside my character's head.  I think I really felt the desolation and sadness that she would have felt.

This revelation to myself is all the more stunning because it is pretty much what I would have felt had it been me, instead of her, going through this.  In my own life, I too have lost a faith that I thought all my life was totally unshakeable. 

I have not yet re-read what I wrote last night, but I am hoping that it does not come over as cheesy or 'religious' in anyway, because it's not supposed to be.  It is supposed to be the honest and open thoughts of one of my characters and that was how I wrote it.

I am loving writing my book.  I am loving doing NaNoWriMo and would recommend it to any person who wants to really get stuck into writing a story that deserves to be told.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 14 - NaNoWriMo

"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."  Richard Bach

Well, I had the day off.  Monday-itis?  Possibly.  But I am ahead of schedule which is great, but far from being complacent, I actually had a day off writing (after doing my normal full day job, of course), and went to the Queensland Theatre Company's production of a play called 'Fractions'.  It was very good, and was a re-imagining of the destruction of the first library in Alexandria.

It was nice to have a break from the writing, but come tonight - day 15 and the half-way point - , I will be at it hard as soon as I get home.  The break has done me good.  I hope.

ciao for now

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 13 - NaNoWriMo

"A writer lives, at best, in a state of astonishment. Beneath any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all." William Sansom

Had a wonderful day writing at the State Library of Queensland with fellow YON Writers Group members Sharon Woolich @sharonwoolich, Matt T. Dillon @matttdillon, Annette Kendall and Anthea.

Unfortunately was not able to stay for the NaNoWriMo write out but did manage to get 1500 words done, giving me a total of 27,430.

Sunday, even a NaNoWriMo Sunday, is a time for family, so visited my 93 year old Mum, who just happens to be a character in my book.  Funnily enough, we were talking about birthdays and she asked me to get her birthday book.  I opened it and, lo and behold, there was an inscription "To dear Olive from Uncle Jack and Mary" -  well today at the writing session, I happened to kill off my dear Uncle Jack's beloved wife Annie.   Now, is that a coincidence or what?  The inscription, by the way, was dated August 1938.  I live in a state of astonishment, that is for sure.


Day 12 - NaNoWriMo

"When you know what you want,and you want it badly enough,you'll find a way to get it."  Jim Rohn
A productive day, working alongside fellow NaNoWriMo-er and awesome author, Matt T. Dillon http://www.matttdillon.com/ . He is writing another blockbuster historical fantasy following on from his book from last year, Gorgonieon.

I managed 2296 words, not wonderful, but not bad, giving me a total of 25,929 for my Nano effort.

ciao for now

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 11 - NaNoWriMo

"Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: "Fool!" said my muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write." ~ Sir Philip Sidney

My Nano journey increased by a modest, yet okay, 2260 words today. That gives me a total since 1st November, of 23633 ! Of that total, I am very pleased.

Up until the last two days, I have been quite happy with the quality of my writing, but there is something not quite right with the last few scenes so I anticipate some heavy editing after NaNoWriMo finishes. I think it has something to do with me writing lovey dovey stuff and I have not written it before.

Anyway, that's all for now, my vast legion of blog fans *wink*, I'm heading back to the manuscript.

Oh and by the way, on Sunday I am spending two hours writing with my monthly YON Writing Group members at the State Library of Queensland, and then afterwards, am joining the Brisbane Region NaNoWriMo-ers at a 'Write-Out" on the lawns of the State Library, on the banks of the beautiful Brisbane River, basking in 30 degree spring heat.

Ciao, and good luck to all. See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 10 - NaNoWriMo

"All characters are based on elements of a writer's personal experience." Robert Holdstock

It was a hard night of writing, only reaching a total of 1385 words. I found it really hard going as I had to write a love scene - my first ever. The fact that the two characters were my grandparents, made it even harder. ;-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 9 - NaNoWriMo

"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go."  E. L. Doctorow

Well, the writing gods smiled benevolently on me today.  I have written 3607 words, but I worked hard for each one of those words.  For some reason, the flow was not quick.  I had to deviate and do research which held me up, but it was just very necessary to make the story flow. 

I know the rules state that you should forget quality and go with quantity, but sorry, I just can't do it.  Not saying that my writing has to be quality, but my research has to be spot on.

I am writng historial fiction.  If I have the light bulb being turned on before it was invented, well, you can imagine the reviews that the New York Times will give me.  ;-)

Something exciting happened today.  During my research, I came across a Professor from Cambridge Uni in England.  He is currently writing a book about the Chinese Maritime Customs Service.  So, I emailed him, and he emailed me back straight away.  Such a nice man.  He is keen to see my primary research documents, ie, my mother and aunt's memoirs, plus letters I have.  He also shared with me some info about his work in progress. Cool.

So, my total for Day 9 is, wait for it....  drum roll please...   20034   :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8 - NaNoWriMo

"For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can." Ernest Hemingway

Hi guys.  Struggled tonight to get the story rolling.  I wrote 2017 tonight but it feels to me a little disjointed.  Will most likely need some heavy editing. 

Anyway, total so far for NaNoWriMo is ... wait for it ... 16336  !!

How exciting!

Day 7 - NaNoWriMo

"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."  Mary Heaton Vorse

On the Seventh day of Wrimo
My computer gave to me
Two thousand three hundred and eighty-five words

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 6 - NaNoWriMo

"I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions." James Michener

Day six, but so not a full week. I missed two full days due to work commitments, but did find satisfaction in making those days up over the weekend. I wrote 3240 words today, killed off a character which made me cry, and had some domestic issues which have drained me emotinally. Home life is a bit sad at the moment. Not helping with my Wrimo goals. Oh well. :-(  
But, I find it so, so amazing that I can write about my wonderful characters, who are, after all my grandparents in reality, and I am wriping away tears.  I do so hope that the words that I choose will also engage the emotions of my readers.  I know that I have not one muse, but four, and I know they will help me to choose the right words to describe their wonderful lives.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 5 - NaNoWriMo

"I write for the same reason I breathe- because if I didn't, I would die."  Isaac Asimov

I am ecstatic.  3995 words today.  Nuff said.

Day 4 - NaNoWriMo

"Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day."  Norman Mailer

I am both frustrated and disappointed that my considerable work commitments gave me no time to write even one word for two days in a row. I arrived back home from the conference late last night, too exhausted to write.

So, on Saturday, day 5, I must, repeat MUST write a minimum of 5000 words to catch up.

Over and out for now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 3 - NaNoWriMo

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." Ray Bradbury

Oh dear, not one single word got written on Day 3.  I am at the 'Teaching and Learnign with Vision' Conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland.  Very early start, full day, very late night.  HOWEVER... I just went to a key note address with George and Alec Couros from Canada and they put up the NaNoWriMo web site on the presentation screen, citing it as one example of excellent collaborative networking.  These guys are both Professors of very high esteem.  So, NaNoWriMo...take a bow.

ciao for now

By the way, the you can find George and Alec on Twitter @gcouros and @courosa

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 2 - NaNoWriMo

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence . . . Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" ~ Calvin Coolidge

I struggled a bit with day 2. Seemed to run into a few brick walls and had to duck off to the internet to do a bit of quick research. I know that all the NaNoWriMo advice is to forget the research and just leave gaps to fill in later, but honestly, I just can't write like that.  Anyway, I wrote 1734 words yesterday. That's a total of 4699 for the first two days.
As I write this, it is lunch time on day 3 and I am away from home, staying at the Gold Coast for a work conference. I may have a zero word count for day 3. :-/
Over and out for now.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1 - NaNoWriMo

"Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen."Phillip Adams

First day, and all going well!
As promised, I aim to do a very short blog each day of November, to document my massive challenge which is NaNoWriMo - to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I was going to get up at midnight last night, as soon as the 1st November clicked over, but was too tired.   A big day at work did not let me do anything, despite my wishes to at least get started in my lunch break. 

However, I have been writing solidly for about three hours and have written 2965 words so far tonight.  Not bad for day 1.

Well, I aim to do some more writing as I am about to go online to chat and work with my wonderful YON Writing group.  We meet every Tuesday night for two hours and, well, help each other I guess.

That's all from me.  A very happy Wrimo Virgin on day 1.  Hope I can keep it up.  :-) 

Bye all!