8 04 2011

It’s been a while, huh? There are various reasons for the break, but the main one would be that my mother in law passed on and suddenly writing a blog didn’t seem as much (or any) fun.

So why return (especially as it’s almost two years since my last post)?

Again there are various reasons, but ultimately it comes down to me. I feel like I can do this again. To paraphrase my buddy Sean, “sometimes you just need to get shit down.” Oh, and Sean will keep nagging me till I start doing this again, so there’s that 😛

What’s been happening with me since 20 April 2009? A brief précis:

Kirsty and I have been to:

  • Melbourne (loved the city, hated the rental car agency and our hotel)
  • Singapore (loved the city and their crazy obsession with Starbucks, hated the humidity)
  • Dubai (in two minds about Dubai – it’s a bizarre hyperreal place where everything is just surface shim sham and in worship to  the almighty $$ yet they know exactly what they are a hyperreal place where everything is just surface shim sham and in worship to  the almighty $$)

Oh yeah and I started a new job as a manager at the National Library of New Zealand in charge of an online reference service. And really that’s what has been ruling my life for the past 9 months. I’ve loved the experience, I’ve learned heaps of new skills and to be honest I can’t see myself going back to my old children’s and teens’ librarian job. I’ve moved on folks.

The writing? Hmmm. Let’s tiptoe quietly past that one … oh no, the door is creaking open so here’s the whispered update: I’ve stepped away from my epic for the time being and focused on developing a standalone prequel. How’s it going? Well, if by “developing” you mean I have plotted out multiple storylines and characters, then it’s a raging success but if by “developing” you mean actual writing then nope, EPIC fail.

So that brings me to the real reason for starting this again. I hope by starting this up again I’m making a commitment to my writing. Because I’m going to update here what I’ve been doing. In a way I’m kicking myself along.

So yeah, I’m writing this blog for me, because really only I can motivate myself.

BTW I’m now on twitter so if you’re mad enough you can follow me @robxoda


life settling down

20 04 2009

Life seems to have settled down a bit. My mother in law is still terribly sick and not likely to last out the year but at least she’s back home. We had a big family lunch on Saturday over at their place where I cooked a lamb roast for the family. There was me, Kirsty, her parents and her sister Fiona, and her husband Nigel. It was a yummy lunch and Kirsty’s mum really liked it though she was pretty exhausted yesterday. Fiona and Nigel fly back to Dubai today so at least if Ks mum does slip away she had one last family meal/get together.

The writing has settled down into a nice rhythm as well. I’ve been working away on decompressing one of my previous draft’s chapters into three separate ones. So far it seems to be working really well and makes this section of the novel really exciting. Or so I reckon at least 😉 I’ve also been thinking of crunching the novel down to a much shorter length. As I mentioned earlier the previous draft was 260,000 odd words which is way too much, especially if I want a publisher to take it seriously. I’m starting to figure out a way of working it so it’s much shorter. I still haven’t decided to do the change but its definitely worth considering.

bleak family stuff

8 04 2009

It’s a bleak time in my household at the moment. My mother-in-law is very close to passing on and we are just waiting for it to happen. Obviously it’s pretty terrible at the moment. Kirsty is not home most nights until around 9 as she’s working and then spending the rest of the time at the hospital. So yeah, not good at the moment. We’re going to see the Killers tonight at Vector Arena so hopefully that’ll give us a break. It’s Ks birthday present so I hope she can enjoy it.


2 04 2009

It’s unbelievable how good the weather has been lately! I just love this time of the year, it’s pleasant during the day and brisk without being cold at night. Plus its usually fine. The other reason it’s good: pretty much all my sports are on. Cricket is usually into its last couple of games, the Super 14 is on, the NRL has started and the NBA is getting to the crunch time. Maybe we should change the name from April to Rob-ril. Heh.

It also seems to have refreshed me somewhat. I’m feeling a bit more optimistic about things.  I spent my writing time this morning pulling apart a pivotal chapter from my previous draft and replotting it for the current draft. As a result it will now be three chapters! I definitely wasn’t expecting that.

Anyway, I should go and pretend to do some work.


31 03 2009

I haven’t really talked about my writing for a few weeks and the reason is a bit stupid. I’ve been ashamed with the (lack of) progress I have been making. In some ways writing is a simple activity. You set yourself down somewhere and write. Anyone who has written knows it isn’t that simple, there’s dreaming, planning, plotting, writing, revising, more revising and even more revising. By the end your finished piece probably shares little in common with your original idea.

At the moment I’m trapped in the “even more revising”. In the past few weeks I have rewritten my opening chapter several times. It hasn’t felt right at all. Now I’m a bit worried that I have turned what was an interesting opening before I started tweaking, into something jumbled. Ack. I think I’m getting stumped by the paralysis of closeness. I need to move on to something else and come back to the chapter in a couple of months.


5 03 2009

The writing on the latest draft of the novel has been going slowly lately, mainly because I’ve been having trouble with Chapter 4. I finished it a couple weeks back but ended up scrapping everything and starting again. It was just too disjointed and fragmented. There was this definite sense of “this happens then this happens then this happens then this happens” and on and on. It wasn’t good. Part of the problem is that Chapter 4 combines two chapters from previous drafts and in those previous drafts those chapters were very distinct.  But a weird thing happened when I started rewriting the chapter, I realised that the bones of a good chapter are there, it just needed to be reshaped. I’ve cut out some of the events and streamlined moments and suddenly its working a lot better and I’m feeling more satisfied.

I’ve also been developing some ideas around another story I’ve been working on for years. I have a kick arse setting, some awesome characters and the structure of the world and its culture but no real story. But the other day some ideas for the story came to me and I’m letting them percolate.

thanks global warming!

12 02 2009

“It’s like Asia.”

That was the comment someone at Kirsty’s work made about the weather. And when I heard that I wholeheartedly agreed. A couple years back we flew in to Hong Kong in August in the middle of their rainy season. Leaving the blissfully air conditioned airport was like walking into a wall of wet heat. You could literally feel your clothes getting heavy with the moisture and it always felt like a thunder storm was just moments away. On our last day there we saw the laser light show over the waterfront and then the weather broke and we had to run for cover as lightning and a torrential downpour hit.

I didn’t expect Auckland to get like that. It is so hot and humid at the moment. The only thing we’re missing is the thunder storms. I had to do two storytimes yesterday. After the first one I was sent home to have a shower and get changed as I was drenched in sweat. In the afternoon I did another storytime and I had to change again.

It wasn’t like this last year.

Of course being kiwis we never designed our houses to cope with either the heat or the cold. As a result we swelter in summer and freeze in winter. I feel sorry for the cats. Goldie, who is never one to indulge in unnecessary exercise at the best of times, simply walks onto our tiled kitchen floor and slumps to the ground. Tinka, his brother, disappears under the house for hours then in the evenings when it’s usually cuddle time (i.e. sprawling along the length of my legs and kneading my feet) he just lies like a corpse on the floor under the coffee table.

And its even hotter today 😦