Onto Day Two…

9 03 2014

Yesterday afternoon, Cat’s computer well and truly died. But then it was revived by the Kirkpatrick boys – the necromancers of the Mac world. 

So this morning, everyone is pumping. Tracey, Russell and Kylie have just arrived. Shauna’s been spending the morning working on blogs and making pumpkin soup for lunch – yum! Donna’s slowly but surely getting herself into it. Cat’s working hard out the back – we’ve put another table up because we’ve got more people today (Leife will be here soon, as should Elizabeth). Maxine and Gillian will arrive after lunch.

I’ve been continuing the revision of my novel. I’ve worked out some changes to make. Rearranged a few scenes to make chapter length more even. Cut something from the beginning to make the opening beats work better. I’ve had to change a scene from the hero to the heroine’s POV. Now I need to add a bit to another chapter, to even that length. Then I need to look at the last quarter of the book and make things more difficult, seem more hopeless, for the hero and heroine before it all gets solved.

Still, not a lot of re-writing I think, so should definitely have this book ready for my beta-readers by the end of the month.

We are hobbits

8 03 2014

We’ve just had second lunch. Kim was providing lunch today, and for a variety of reasons she was running late. We were too hungry to wait, so we had some of last night’s left-over Mexican and just now, we’ve had fabulous quiches and salad.

Since this morning’s update, everyone else has arrived – including Dr K, who’s a little unwell.

I’ve just put my novel onto my kindle and it’s time to make the colour chart to start the revision process. I’m going to be interested to see how it’s shaping up.

We’re back, baby!

8 03 2014

So the FWORians gather once again. It’s a long weekend here in Canberra, so we’ve holed up in Dweebenheim (Donna and Matthew’s place) to write, eat, drink, chat etc.

At the moment, it’s Donna, Cat, Shauna and myself. Kim and Leife will be here later today. We’re not sure if Kylie and Russell will make it – Dr K isn’t feeling the best. We’re without Trudi, Alan, Jo and Ian this time round.

Matthew has headed off to pick up Gillian Polack (who will be joining us today). Other ring-ins that should appear at some point are Tracey O’Hara, Maxine McArthur and Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

Donna, Shauna and Cat are already hard at it. I’ve been doing some Conflux Writer’s Day and Aurealis Awards stuff, but now that’s under control, I can drop everything else and just be Nicole the writer.

I’m going to be doing the revisions of the book I was working on in Jindabyne (finished it a couple of weeks after that retreat). Cat is working on a class she’s teaching during the week on short story writing. Shauna’s getting organised and writing a mass of blogs for her site for the next few weeks. Donna’s revising Spiritbound after getting some beta reader feedback.

Right – let’s get the writing started!

The summing up-Donna

19 01 2014

Well, we’ve eaten a mountain of chips and dip, chocolate and shortbread. We’ve consumed copious amounts of wine, gin and cider. (I lost count after the first night). We’ve worked hard and we’ve laid around and vegged. We’ve hung out and chatted and had billiard wars. But now, the time has come when we are done.

It’s just past five, and Matthew’s been vacuuming and Russell has been sweeping. Food is being organised and rubbish taken out. We are leaving early tomorrow.

All up the retreatees wrote just over 200,000 words in two weeks.

For myself, I’m a little short of target word wise, but I’ve accomplished more than I expected. Into the Dark Glass is at 79,000 words. I’m revising now and rethinking. I need to take time over this MS, but I have finished the story arc, which is what I wanted. I’m not sure it will be the final arc, but for now, I think it works. I wrote 44,000 words over two weeks on this story.

Yesterday, I finished the revision of my paranormal romance, adding 2,500 words to it. It’s not quite done but I’ve sent it out to beta readers so I can go in for the next revision. I seemed to have left out my hero’s pov toward the end. Oops!

At the beginning of the retreat, I revised a short/long story adding 2,500 words. That was totally unplanned. So I’m 1000 words shy of 50,000 words.

Each retreat has it’s own flavour and there is little point, I think, in having expectations. The retreat is a combination of things, the house, the weather, the availability of internet, the other retreatees and your own state of mind. This retreat was fab.

Jo and Cat managed to come for the whole two weeks. Jo was saying to me that it made a big difference to her. She settled in. I noticed she was much more relaxed than the previous time she came along. And she wrote a whole first draft of a YA novel. 61,000 words.

Nicole continues to be the powerhouse at 60,000 words, but she was pipped at the post by Jo.

Matthew managed his best word count yet, doing his stints in the wee hours. Now he says he’s out of alignment with the day. Matt managed around 25,000 words. Knowing Matt as I do they are going to be good.

Russell was working on a edit of his novel and managed 2,000 words of the sequel.

Cat did 20,000 words plus a critique and a review.

Kylie has been refreshing her Indonesian and writing notes and working on her revision. She managed 2,000 words and deflected a lot of teasting.

Ian McHugh dropped in and managed something, around the sort of heavy drinking and partying on Friday night.

The house here is great and the views to the lake and the mountains change on a daily basis. Today, it’s been hazy with smoke from fires, we can’t see the mountains.

I’m very grateful for this time to get away and write with friends. There’s a freedom involved when you are with like minded people and you aren’t fussed about the eight pairs of shoes around the coffee table, or the chocolate wrappers on the floor. You just enjoy being.

This morning, I thought I might have put on a couple of kilos as certain parts of my anatomy don’t fit my clothes anymore.

As the others left this morning, it’s just Matt, me, Russell and Kylie and we are heading out to get dinner. Until next time then.

And it’s done.

18 01 2014

The end of the final full day of the retreat. Tomorrow I head  home with Jo and Cat.

I finish 300 words shy of 60k. I tried, dear Lord I tried to get to 60k but I’ve run out of the brain space to create more story today.

So, a pretty good retreat for me. There’s less than 20k to go on the novel, so I should get it drafted by the end of January, as I wanted.

It’s surprising I got any words done at all. I had one (or two or three) martinis more than I should have last night. Cat, Ian, Matthew and I were up until about 2am, first playing pool, and then sitting out by the lake and nattering. I went for a bit of a wade, it was just gorgeous.

Cat invented this awesome drink that we called the cuntini. Apparently, a drink by that name already exists, but we don’t care. The drink was beautiful. Mango pulp, mango liquer, limencello, gin, tonic water and lime juice. Absolutely delicious. Cat missed her calling – she should have been a bartender.

So yes, I have been feeling a little seedy all day.

Jo and I went to Wild Brumby distellery this morning. They make the most amazing schnapps. After tasting a few, I bought the sour apple and Jo bought the butterscotch.

The distillery is set on a beautiful piece of land off the Alpine Way. There’s some fabulous sculpture in the garden, all made from recycled goods.

2014-01-18 11.03.51 2014-01-18 11.03.33 2014-01-18 11.01.03

We also did a bit of shopping in Jindabyne. Jo rewarded herself for a great writing stint by buying this awesome robot lamp and I got a cool little robot clock. I’ve never really owned anything totally geeky, so this is great.

Tonight, we’re heading off to dinner at a Persian restaurant. It’s going to be our last night together, and we’re all starting to feel it a bit, I think. It’s been very quiet today.

That, or the hangovers 🙂


My second last day at the retreat

18 01 2014

Nicole, Jo and Cat leave tomorrow. I get an extra day along with Kylie, Russell and Matt. Technically, I don’t do my final sum up and word count until then.

I finished the story arc (I think) for Into the Dark Glass, but there’s more work to be done. There are chapters full of talking heads that need filling out with stage directions and I need to sit on it before I attempt to revise more fully. But essentially it is done.

I finished the revision of Spirtibound, a paranormal romance and have sent it to beta readers. That was such a fun revision. I hadn’t looked at it since the end of November, and I experienced the emotional ups and downs of the story that I hoped would be there. I can’t wait to hear what my beta readers have to say. I know there’s a bit more to do, but I’m happy with it.

Last night we were going to read some work, but it ended up being a party thing with lots of noise and booze. I sat quietly with Kylie and Jo, reading a Georgette Heyer, which I find hard putting down. I finished A Convenient Bride last night. I’ll have to get on the ibooks tonight.

So for me, this has been a successful retreat in many ways. I’ve hung with people I really enjoy being with, I’ve written and eaten. The house was fab, the lake awesome. Bring on the next retreat.


What I did on the retreat

17 01 2014

As Nicole has noted, last week I finished the edits for Silent Sorrow. After five years I think it is ready to send out. This week has been a little less intense. I’ve been back and forth to Canberra to pick up and drop off Iain, my son. In between excursions I’ve had time to write an introductory chapter to Bitter Harvest, the second book in the series. I can add this to the 55,000 words I’ve already written for this book, words I removed from Silent Sorrow because Ian McHugh didn’t like them.

Speak of the devil, he’s just walked through the door!

I took pictures. Here is one of the storm, and one of some rocks and dead trees:


Trees and Tors