process, Procrastinate, research
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A week of tricking a new project into existence

Monday: writing objects

I made myself look around the lounge room, settle on the first object I saw, then write whatever came into my head for 2 minutes. I did several, all as terrible as I expected. It was satisfying. New project whispered but didn’t come forward. Here are two objects.

Door handle

A circle holds a button holds a turn/ clicks an opening into place/ widens the world

All the hands that have held this exit/ wound: ghosts.

White dining chair

Small lighthouses bring you to table/ bring to food, bring to gather/ it hard underneath skin/ It holding the accumulation of sitting years/ it supporting your back so you can look your family in the eye

Tuesday: writing food

I tried to remember a meal from when I was under 8 years old. I wanted to pinpoint the most mundane meal I could remember and gave myself 10 minutes to find it. The new project said it was willing to speak with me but that’s as far as it went. Wrote about toast with condensed milk but also remembered the fig tree in the front yard in Nowra circa 198something :

A swing made of rope and wood, the seat dad made that would pop out of place if you weren’t careful. Always fruit bats in leaves, in tree top. Always fruit bats screeching into figs, dropping into the ground. Always half eaten fruit rotting in the sun, small seeds in red flesh. Insects. I always thought the seeds were insects. We never ate the figs. Probably didn’t know how. Probably thought they belonged to the bats. Probably didn’t see a good thing when it was at our feet…

Wednesday: random words, reading about Virgin hermits

Woke up with a very strong sense of characters that want their own project. Told them to settle down, that I was still waking up. But I wrote their list of words and statements to quiet the noise:

Shame/love/inability to control everything / I have died and risen my whole life/ my jaw aches/ flea/ music music music/ superstition

Thursday: Worked on an issue I’m having with Blue Hour. Can’t reveal what I wrote. New project cracked the shits. Very jealous. Good.

Friday: read articles from 1900. Took notes, got bored

‘The woman who married her grandson their… a grandfather who had a daughter married a widower with grownup sons…’

‘Kate took a fancy to someone and would invite him to manage her affairs… then in a short amount of time she’d begin to fight with him and imagine him guilty of a whole bunch of offences’ [1924]

Saturday: rode bike to Melbourne general cemetery and spoke to the dead. I questioned what is a good life, what is a good death. Found Diane’s love and grief for her young parents and wondered when and why they had been taken. Fictional ideas started to form, took mental note. Went home and wrote. Project coming along. Too many projects coming along. Possible I now have too many things in my head. Absolutely itching to work on Blue Hour again so I can let it leave my body.

This entry was posted in: process, Procrastinate, research


writer, observer, reader, procrastinator. My debut novel, See What I Have Done, published by Hachette (ANZ), Tinder Press (UK), Grove Atlantic (US), Piper Verlag (German), Editions Payot & Rivages (French), Hollands Diep (Dutch), Edizioni Piemme (Italian), GW Foksal (Polish), Palto Publishing (Turkish), MunhakDongne (Korean) Represented by: Pippa Masson, Curtis Brown Australia Dan Lazar, Writer’s House (US) Gordon Wise, Curtis Brown (UK) SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE (Awards and Some Praise) WINNER OF THE ABIA LITERARY FICTION OF THE YEAR 2018 WINNER OF THE MUD LITERARY AWARD 2018 Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018 Shortlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2018 Shortlisted for the Strand Critics Awards for Best First Novel Longlisted for the ABIA Matt Richell Award for New Writers 2018 Longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2019 For the originality of its voice and the power of its language and imagery, See What I Have Done deserves to be considered a Gothic classic - THE SATURDAY PAPER See What I Have Done is a meticulously researched and boldly imagined book that crackles with tension throughout. Schmidt's portrayal of Lizzie is haunting and complex, a deeply psychological portrait that forces the reader to question their preconceptions about what women are capable of - for better and worse. Both disturbing and gripping, it is an outstanding debut novel about love, death and the lifelong repercussions of unresolved grief. - The Observer Schmidt is a consummate storyteller whose account of the Borden murders is utterly compelling. - Australian Book Review Schmidt's writing is rich and confident, painting a vivid portrait of a household with something rotten at its core. It's a strong debut that promises much from an original and compelling new voice in Australian literature. - The Guardian There are books about murder and there are books about imploding families; this is the rare novel that seamlessly weaves the two together, asking as many questions as it answers. - Kirkus Reviews [An] unforgettable debut ... Equally compelling as a whodunit, 'whydunit,' and historical novel. - Publishers Weekly Heralds the arrival of a major new talent ... Nail-biting horror mixes with a quiet, unforgettable power to create a novel readers will stay up all night finishing. - Booklist This novel is like a crazy murdery fever dream, swirling around the day of the murders. Schmidt has written not just a tale of a crime, but a novel of the senses. There is hardly a sentence that goes by without mention of some sensation, whether it’s a smell or a sound or a taste, and it is this complete saturation of the senses that enables the novel to soak into your brain and envelope you in creepy uncomfortableness. It’s a fabulous, unsettling book. —Book Riot Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away. —Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

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