I started blogging a couple of years with the intent to break out of my newspaper-trained writing style. I wanted to get braver about what I wrote about, but also experiment with different styles. I suppose you could say I knew I needed to write more to find my voice. I also needed to put myself out there for others to critique.
Today, I am going to my first writing workshop at the SA Writers’ Centre with one of my literary crushes Anita Heiss. I am beyond nervous and excited. I’ve decided it’s time I started getting serious about my novel writing dreams. First stop is educating myself about the craft of fiction writing. Next, is finding myself a mentor who I could ask for guidance and advice. And lastly, the most important and hardest part, is to write.
I have the beginnings of five manuscripts on my computer – one of which I’ve written 30,000 words. I wrote those words two years. Since I had my third child I stopped and instead turned to blogging. And I also entered a New York run short story competition where I got to the final rounds. I’ve found it easier to write short pieces in between the kids demanding my attention, rather than immerse myself in a novel. But now, I know it’s time to redirect my energies.
I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at the first few paragraphs of one of my manuscripts. Of course, these words could all change, but here goes it:
Kate wiped the sweat from her chair, erasing the imprint of her thighs on the cheap plastic seat. When she was younger she hardly left a mark, now her thighs squished together, leaving wet smudges where she’d sat. She bowed her head with embarrassment, careful not to meet the eyes of the other bus passengers, and slowly edged her way down the aisle. The bus felt much hotter than the forecasted 33 degrees. It was summer in Australia; you could be forgiven for wishing the afternoons away. At least the sea breezes would sweep through the suburbs in the early evening taking some of the heat with them.
Kate had even more reasons to wish her days away. She was broke, single and facing having to move back home with her mum if she didn’t get her shit together. She loved her mum, but living with her now would be a huge step backwards – an admittance of defeat. This job, was not only her last resort, it was her dream. She was determined to ace the interview. Failure was not an option.
She stepped from the bus onto the sizzling hot pavement. Her foot slipped sideways off her flip-flop as it hit the ground, causing her skin to touch the side of the gutter. “Fuck,” Kate cried out, a little too loudly. “Fuck,” she repeated, this time under her breath. It was damn hot.
She’d put her heels on, just before heading into the Star Newspaper’s offices, give her mousy-brown hair one last spritz of hairspray to flatten any rogue frizzy bits, apply a shock of bright red lipstick on her rosebud lips and check for any sand on her cheap black suit. Sand came with the territory of beachside living. She hated it and as soon as she got her new job she was going to move to the city. Her life was about to change, in many ways. She could feel it.
So, there goes it – the first of many words. Now, to get back into it.
In the meantime, are there any writers out there who can offer some advice on courses and reading material to help a first time novelist on her way? And is there anyone who would be happy to mentor a slightly neurotic, needy, mum of three?