I’ll get to that in a minute, but first…

 

About ten years ago I did a creative writing course by correspondence.  It was great fun and at the end I received a diploma and the Round Tuit you see in the photo above.  I’d forgotten all about my Round Tuit, until I read an article this week on procrastination.

When it comes to writing, I procrastinate a lot.  Of course, there are times when inspiration hits and the words pour forth and I can’t wait to get to my laptop and write it all down.

But then there are the other times.  Times when I know what I want to say but I don’t know how to say it.  Times when I know I have a deadline but the words won’t come.  That is when the internet beckons, and sometimes I wonder how Over the Edge was ever finished.

Some writers might decide the house needs cleaning before they can sit down and write that tricky ephiphany scene.  Or they’ll decide the car really needs a wash before the hero finds a way to declare his undying love.  But my house stays messy.  The car is a shambles, because I “research”.  Yeah, that’s what I call it.  Not procrastination.  Research.

Like the day I sat down to write a scene with Angus in his top-floor office of a Sydney skyscraper.  There I was, kids at school, house to myself, no distractions, ready to write…and I decided the first thing I should do is work out which floor Angus’ office was actually on.  I spent a good twenty minutes Googling the heights of Sydney office towers, working out a small, single detail that could’ve been added later on, after the scene was done.  It was the same when Zoe wanted to buy a new satchel bag.  I spent half the morning looking up designer bags without writing a single word.

And so often one thing leads to another.  My research on hiking boots went from websites about rugged outdoor gear to image galleries of glamorous stilettos.  Of course.   And my investigation into pre-nuptial agreements led me to forums about wedding disasters.   Grooms throwing up over brides, collapsing cakes and carjackers stealing the wedding limousine.  Then there was the jealous best-man who burnt down the reception hall, and the mother-in-law who had an allergic reaction to the main course.  It was like being sucked into a black hole of marital mishaps and I couldn’t climb out. Before I knew it the afternoon had disappeared, the kids were home from school and I’d written two sentences.  Two.

But all research is valuable, isn’t it?  I mean, I mightn’t need to know about surf-style dog leads or inflatable Santa sleighs for this story, but I might for the next one.  Right?  Right 🙂

And now, a new visual clue for Over the Edge 🙂

 

Something like this…

Does this photo look vaguely familiar?

ShoesOver_the_Edge Cover 2

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been an artistic person.  With me, a stick figure is about as good as it gets.  I’m a disaster at Draw Something.  And don’t get me started on Pictionary.  I’ve not played that boardgame since my team suffered a harrowing defeat about ten years ago.  Although, in my defense, how can anyone be expected to draw Bogner Regis?  I ask you, seriously, how?

So when the art department at The Writer’s Coffee Shop asked me if I wanted to discuss any thoughts about the cover for Over the Edge, I didn’t know where to start.   I hadn’t thought a lot about what the book would look like.  I’d been too busy writing the words to go inside the cover. But once I did start thinking, the first thing that came to mind was…shoes.

The very talented Jada D’Lee contacted me and I explained that shoes play a subtle but important part in Zoe and Angus’ story.  I tried to describe in an email the image that was so clear now in my mind.  “A man’s hiking boot, and a woman’s evening shoe.  Sort of angled in different directions, but together.  As a drawing.  Cartoonesque.”

I knew my written description was probably on par with my sketch of bloody Bogner Regis (I’m still bitter, yes),  so I went to the cupboard, pulled out my husband’s bushwalking boots and my “good shoes” and arranged them on the dining room table.  Then I took a photo, which you see above, and sent it off to Jada with a note…”maybe something like this?”  I was kind of shocked when she emailed back and said, “Hey, I think we can use this!”  And I love what she did with it.  The colour, the shading and shadow.  Setting the shoes in a frame.  The different fonts.  It definitely surpassed the vision in my head.  And the shoes on my dining table.

I wonder what Jada would’ve done for Bogner Regis??

And now, another visual clue for Over the Edge 🙂

Let the music play. Not.

La, la, lalalalaaaa…

 

Someone asked me the other day what music I listen to while I write.  He seemed a little surprised when I said I don’t.

It’s not that I don’t like music.  I do.  But I can’t listen to it while I write.  It’s too distracting and my chair becomes a stage and my laptop the audience as I sing along, dancing in my seat, belting out Katy Perry or Pink, maybe Adele, in a, no doubt, Grammy-winning performance.  Which reminds me, I should probably put masking tape over the little web cam thingy, just in case.

Classical music doesn’t work for me, either.  I sway and hum and drum my fingers on the desk instead of the keyboard.

The gentle strains of Cat Stevens are beautiful.  I love Clannad with their haunting Celtic melodies.  I mightn’t sing and dance with them quite like I would with Katy, but there’s still humming to be done.  And swaying.  Always swaying.  Once I almost swayed the desk lamp onto the floor.

So the music stays off.  Which is probably for the best.  Or Zoe and Angus would still be waiting for me to finish their story.

And that brings me to the next picture teaser for Over the Edge.  This one is courtesy of my sister-in-law, who didn’t miss a beat when I rang her a couple of weeks ago and said…

“Um, you know that decorative pewter starfish in your bathroom?  Do you think you could take a photo of it on your living room floor for me?  With a dog leash?  Please?”

And here it is 🙂

 

You’re Kidding Me, Right?

What’s in a name?

Of course, I knew writing a novel would be a challenge.  I knew, from previous attempts, there’d be times when the words refused to come.  Or my characters mightn’t behave as I wanted them to.  But one of the biggest, and definitely most unexpected, challenges, was trying to find names for fictitious organisations or landmarks.

Everything’s taken, I tell you.  Everything.  I discovered this during one particular late-night writing session.

It was during an early draft of Over the Edge.  Zoe was thinking of joining an environmental group.  I’d called them The Green Alliance.  They weren’t a big part of the story.  Just a single line.  But when I did a quick check on the name, Google revealed it was already taken.  The Green Alliance is an environmental think tank in the UK.

Okay, so my first choice wasn’t going to work.  That was fine.  I wasn’t preturbed and I quickly came up with another name.  Tree Warriors.  But it turns out Tree Warriors is a stump removal company in Victoria.  And apparently Nature First is a supplier of semi-mature trees in Gloucester while Green Future offers surveillance on fibre optic cable routes in Africa.  So I took a deep breath, got myself a cup of tea and kept searching.

Project Planet, Planet Project, The Green Lobby, Eco First, Earth Watch…all gone.  I didn’t have this much trouble naming my children.

One Planet, Earth First, One Earth, Eco Warriors…the list went on.  And on.

Night slipped into the early hours of a new day and, finally, with a slightly hysterical laugh, I decided to call my environmental group Penguins for Peace. Because that couldn’t be already taken, right?

Wrong.

Penguins for Peace is part of a larger environmental group called Peace by Peace.

I nearly choked on my tea.  And that was when I decided to send Zoe to sushi classes instead.

Maybe I should have sent her on a photography course, because then I could make a smooth segue to this latest picture teaser below 🙂   But in the absence of such a segue, I’ll just say…. here’s the latest visual clue from Over the Edge  🙂  Hope you like it.