All posts tagged: the second project

Your Rejections Are Necessary

In a wooden drawer in my bedroom is a small pile of notebooks full of half-formed ideas or near-complete short stories that got the better of me. I’m positive that each time I sat down with these ideas I promised them something beyond completion, promised redrafting until I could take them no further, and then there would have been a promise to submit to a journal or a competition or maybe collect them like small sticks and present them to my agent as a surprise starter for a bonfire. What a side project they could be. But it’s rare I see any of these to completion. I used to think my wandering mind was to blame, all that boredom that eventually came from sticking to a smaller world. I used to think it was laziness. Or maybe it was guilt for most often than not, when I write these short pieces, I am at the beginning, the middle, the endlessness, of a manuscript that should have the priority. And so the story is stopped, a …

A New Series: Dreams of #1… Mannerism

Mannerism (Noun): 1 a: exaggerated or affected adherence to a particular style or manner B: often capitalised: an art style in late 16th century Europe characterised by spatial incongruity and excessive elongation go the human figures Merriam-Webster At the beginning of the year I was in London and trying to enjoy a short break from writing. By this stage I was completely over my novel-in-progress and couldn’t move myself away from the feeling that what I am writing is not only irrelevant and derivative but is already a complete creative and personal failure. Upon reflection I think it’s safe to say these overly wrought and self-loathing thoughts were partially a manifestation of creative exhaustion and so the decision to take some time away from characters and words and emotions was probably a correct thing to do for a little while: nothing helpful can be gained from telling yourself something you’re in the middle of creating is a steaming pile of dog shit. And so to London. A few weeks into my ‘I’m not physically writing …

Draft Season

The transformative relief of drafting is what I look forward to the most when writing: taking small ideas, making raw words, rewriting them over and over until the project finds its true self. The beginning of things is daunting. Everything else that comes after that is hard work and the part of writing I enjoy the most. Because this is the moment you find out what you and the novel are really made of. I’m in the middle of typing up several notebooks and am amazed at how my (still unfinished) first draft has both managed to retain original structure and intent and yet has completely obliterated itself. I had no idea the project wanted to be the shape it is becoming. Recently I ran a writing workshop and afterward I was asked if I find my first drafts embarrassing. Yes, sometimes I do. But mostly I’m just glad it exists. First drafts are not publishable. Most likely the next couple aren’t either. I’ve mostly kept what I have of the first draft to myself …

Walk With Me

Another night of tracing paths for my characters: They walk, I walk. They live in shadows, I follow. And so. Here are the walks that are building a novel. Some are based in Melbourne, other scenes are character ‘memories’ of European cities. I don’t always like to give away too much of the interior of a work-in-progress but these are some of the images I’ve been staring at every day. Melbourne: 8:35 pm, Monday 19 February 2018 Prague: 3pm, 12 January 2018 Leipzig: 5 pm, January 2018 Berlin: close to 3:30 pm, January 2018 Berlin: the day before, 10 am. January 2018 Leipzig: 10 am, 2 January 2018 Melbourne: late afternoon, September 2017 Melbourne: mid morning, June 2017 Melbourne: late night, my house. Probably June, 2017 Melbourne: early morning, storm warning. My house, approx June 2017 On the way to Canberra, toward a mountain: probably noon, early January 2017. And this road. This road is Eleanor

Hello, Bridget: redrafting the first project.

In April I put Lizzie Borden in the drawer. After 10 years with her and her family, it was time to take a long break and begin work on something new. The distance between us was easy breathing. For the first time in a long time I stopped dreaming of Lizzie, stopped thinking about the way she might move around her house, stopped wondering if she talked in her sleep. I had lost a shadow. I started sleeping in to 7 am. Around 3 years ago, I began searching for my next project. It was exciting to think about what it might feel like to experience new characters and expand on the themes that I was exploring in the current project. That’s when the recurring dream started. A single image: a woman driving to the Blue Mountains with a decomposing child in the back seat. I knew immediately this was the next book. The instinct was there, the way it sat in my body and hooked. It had been that way with Lizzie. Now the feeling was …

The Return of a Memory: Sarah Island, 2010

I remembered: the cold on my hands, wrinkle skin and dry. I aim the camera. There was something in the air, something in the quiet water. Something that felt like decimation. After taking this photo ideas began to form. Ideas belonging to the dream I had had a few months prior about the woman in a car and her child. Then this. I wrote them down. Who knows where that notebook is now (I suspect somewhere at the bottom of a box in the garage) but I have remembered this photo and now I have a visualisation. The photo has reappeared at the right time for the second project. Now I am thinking about those lost feelings again, the way they will tie back to the characters that are forming, the way they will tie to the projects different forms of decimation, different forms of trauma. The new project is slowly worming its way out from abstract ideas into something that will boom my blood. I should stop calling it the second project and begin to …