Monday, 15 June 2015

How do you stop Story Ideas?

Story ideas are something I continually try to suppress. If I don’t, I find myself scurrying off on tangents and not working on my novels or other projects. 
This may well be one of those many, spur of the moment ideas, that result in nothing. Unfortunately, I now have to get it out of my system and will justify this diversion by saying it is for my blog. 
Everyone should post a comment at least two or three times a week to keep their blog or website relevant. Well that is what I heard anyway. As you can tell, this little rant is not going anywhere at present, but I am always building a file on things I have learnt and this piece could find its way into a book when I succeed in finding a publisher. So now as you see I have justified the diversion to myself and it is okay to plough on.
I’m sure all writers wake up with a burning idea and even scribble it down on a pad beside the bed. Some may even find a film contract for it. My problem is, by the time I have found the initiative to write it down. that idea is surpassed with an even better one and in less than two minutes. I start to write them both down and they are gone, that whole flash of brilliance has drowned like a match on the ocean. Not to fear it will come back, but not as the same idea.
I need help and over the next few weeks will try to find ways to derail this avalanche that ravages through my head. As I do, I will post an idea and the way I avoided it on the blog.
For instance, while listening to a talk by Matthew Naqvi at the Willy Litfest last Saturday, I had an idea. During his speech he said how people passionate about their craft had to make time to write. Grab a couple of minutes here. Take your work with you, scratch it into the pavement if necessary, but write. If it is an itch you have scratch, at least be prepared.
I had a notebook, as always, and wrote time thief in the column to remind me about his point. Now I’m in real trouble, on the way home I wondered about a name for such a thief and what his super powers would be. So now, after a few hours I have a book outlined and another project to write.

Getting back to Matthew’s session at the Willy Litfest, I learnt a lot an aspiring writer should know. His professionalism shone through and he encouraged writers to submit to different journals and publications. Sure we all have the World’s best novel in us, but writers have to eat too. On Saturday, Matthew pointed a few of us toward the soup kitchen and I thank him for that.

You can find the link to Matthew’s website by clicking here:

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

IMPORTANCE OF SETTING AND PLACE New month New writing exercise

For June, Matthew Naqvi, our Wordsmiths of Melton tutor for 2015, set this exercise. We were required to email it him before we meet on Wednesday the 3rd of June. 
I made some notes and wondered how I could apply what I'd written to Joe and Laura's story, in Les Gillespies Gold. 

It might not make it, but I've had fun writing this piece. I have made a couple of changes the Wordsmiths suggested and hope you enjoy my take on setting and place.


Write a two to three hundred word short story, describing a setting and place. Make it as strong as possible, while keeping it integral to the story. It must be pivotal and move the story forward.


Joe laid there, eyes closed. The bed was warm, cocooning them like a lover’s embrace. He knew it was 4.55 am; Harry over the road opened and closed his car door with care. The headlights lit the room. Joe supposed they did again today, just as they had every morning since Harry and his family moved in.

Joe felt Laura move a little and settle again, he wanted to touch her. He wondered about psychic ability and the power of suggestion when her foot probed for his leg. He smiled as she rubbed his calf in her sleep. She always did that about this time every morning. Her breathing had a comfortable rhythm and a smile crossed his lips. Just knowing she was his made him warm. He thought about their current problems and decided they were nothing to worry over, so long as she was there to face them with him.

Should he get up, close the door and go to the shed? The bed and being beside Laura tempted him to stay a little longer. Joe lie there focused on the shadow cast by the ceiling fan. His eyes adjusted to the dark, he eased up onto his elbow to peer over Laura’s shoulder. The clock grinned green at him. He squinted trying to read the digits, he needed his glasses, but the squint worked enough to see the dial to click over to proclaim, 5.11am.

He closed his eyes again to read the negative print of the time on his eyelids. The light coming from the window framed the curtains, like an old black and white photo. Les’s poem, his map and the fear of something wrong rolled around in his mind. If only he could get back to sleep.

Outside the rubbish truck made its way down the street Joe listened until it reached their address.

Without looking he knew the clock was grinning 5.23.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Toby Farrier: Manuscript Review

I recently sent a draft of my manuscript to a few independent readers to read and review. I asked each reader to offer comments on the book's beginning, structure and ending. I am thrilled with verbal comments to-date and will post e-mailed copies as they arrive at my in-box. 

It seems I have left the ending too open for Denise Lang of Dunolly, but that has been intentional. I want to take Toby on another adventure soon. Any way here is what she had to say.

Hi Terry,

Re: Toby Farrier Manuscript. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed it, don't know how you do it. But you do it bloody well. If that was the ending you definitely need to write a sequel cos I NEED to know if Darren and Toby mend their bridge, also a hint of what Darren wrote in the folded pages of his log. Is the ring valuable and if Slasher and his mum move forward with his teacher. Do Charlie and Arthur get to go on their trip and do John Evans and his partner end up together. 

Terry, you really need to get this published, I personally think it's on a par with Bryce Courtney's novels, which I couldn't get enough of. 


Denise XXXX
Sent from my iPad

Monday, 18 May 2015

Writing Update.

Today finds me well on the way to 80,000 words and a feeling that the novel is about half way through. Having written two books before I am surprised at how this one is becoming both more interesting and difficult to keep the pacing right.

My initial plan was to aim for around 100,000 words forty or so chapters and about four or five plot lines, not so. The characters are more interesting as the novel develops and I introduce more frailty and evil in a couple of them. The main character in Kundela, Joe Gillespie, has had a minor role to-date, but in the last few chapters his character has become dominate. He is central to the story, always was but it has taken me forty chapters to get there. An editor may want to dump a few, but if I play this right, every plot twist will keep you wanting more. I'm sure Kundela readers will love the relationship between Tilly and her nemesis Sam Lewis. I had called Sam Millie originally, but when writing parts for Millie and Tilly, it was silly to read, and change was needed.

As the story builds more characters weave in and out of the narrative,  I have character sheets for my main protagonists that I refer to often. I will need to complete more for a sprinkle of new ones.

At our Wordsmiths of Melton last week my chapter twenty four was being critiqued and I am pleased the first draft received the following comments:


This is good writing. The characters are building well and the plot is developing nicely. I enjoyed it very much. I read it aloud and it sounded good. Other than one small comment I have no other concerns.
Les (Stillman)

I enjoyed this chapter and you're moving the story along nicely, showing mixed feelings between Tilly and Sam and also the aggression between Gino / Sam. Good chapter look forward to reading more.
Sonia (Doherty)

(Sonia had five small concerns that can be addressed in the re-write)

From a copy/edit perspective this piece is very good, just one typo that might prove correct, I'm not sure. It's developing well. the finished story should satisfy the most discerning reader. Next chapter please.
Frank Ince

Frank was concerned about the following phrase: 'She tell you that?'

Tilly's friend Fiona is asking her about Sam. As it is dialogue I'll probably leave it, but if it were in the narrative I'd use, told, instead of, tell.

Here is that part of the chapter"

‘No, not really, what I can tell you is; she is definitely a size eight. Not an ounce of fat on her and her hair is natural.’
‘No way, she tell you that?’
‘Nope, saw for myself.’
Well I have more words to write, plots to follow, murders to solve and villains to catch.

More later.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Trying to find the meaning of: Mooldarbie

When we were kids, my brother David and I were helping our father tidy up a hole on the Orroroo Golf Course. As usual we were mucking about, throwing clods of dirt at each other that may, or may not have morphed into stones as our battle progressed.

    Tired of that and probably because we ran out of suitable material, or Dad had had enough of our fighting, we decided to explore the creek behind the hole. I think at that time it was the eighth. We were climbing down the rock face and into the deep gorge, considering our age at the time, it is probably more of a ravine. Acacia bush clung to the sides where clay gave their roots a chance to take hold and they were full of insect nests that we thought were filled with the itchiest of crawlies.

   We only had a few steps to go until we sunk into the reeds that protruded from the narrow creek bed. A grey scrubber kangaroo burst from under a rock ledge and bounded up the path toward us. we dived for cover and our screams echoed down the gully. The smell of sheep manure mixed with dust and a mob of newly shorn wethers shot up the hill on the other side.

   Dad's voice boomed louder than I'd ever heard him. 

   'Get back up here now, before the Mooldarbies get you.'

   I had never heard anything like it and the word has always haunted me and what is a mooldarbie?

I used the word, in Kundela, when Joe is rescuing the girl from the bikies. I wrote it again in chapter Thirty Eight of Les Gillespies Gold and needing to check the spelling searched the internet. It seems I have spelled it wrong in Kundela, so apologies are in order and if I have offended anyone, I'm sorry.

  Today I found the word in a letter to the editor from the Adelaide Advertiser, 17th August, 1871. Mooldarbie means devil as I suspected, but the way it rolled from Dad's tongue and echoed across the valley and down the plain still makes the hair on my neck prickle.

Check the article from 1871 here: 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Les Gillespie's Gold Update

I thought I would let everyone know that the novel is flying along at the moment and I'm inspired with the way it's trundling along. Here is a passage from about half way through the book. Jeff and Joe are looking over Wanooka's Well for the first time since Joe and Laura have returned for overseas.

Things were going well between them for a while.

The bolt cutters lay below a steel box, it too had a lock on it. The padlock was under the hasp and Jeff lifted the lid, a 9mm self-loading pistol lay encased in foam rubber. It was Army issue. He picked up the cutters and walked over to Joe. ‘Anything you want to tell me about the box under the seat?’
‘It’s not locked.’
‘And you looked?’
‘The policeman in me, I’m curious.’
‘That’s what got the cat killed.’ Joe said. He had not looked at Jeff and worked the cutters on the chain.
‘Got a licence for it.’
‘Not only that, but I am cleared to use it in any situation that demands it.’
‘Your old employer?’
‘We can never be free of them, it’s better if you don’t know.’
‘I’m a copper too, Joe.’
‘Not anymore,’ He turned and glared into Jeff’s eyes. ‘You don’t want to know Jeff. Just leave it okay. I don’t want to get into it with you, Tilly, or anyone.’ He threw the bolt–cutters at Jeff’s feet and took him by the shoulders. ‘Let it go. The last thing I want to do is make life harder for you, and Tilly, and Emily. Don’t get any of your copper mates poking into it okay. It will only bring a shitload of trouble to all of us.’
‘Whoa, I’m on your side Joe, I get the message loud and clear.’


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Writing Exercise (first draft)

This is an exercise set by Matthew Naqvi, our Wordsmiths of Melton tutor for 2015. I haven’t give it the amount of respect I should and this is very much a first draft.
·         The exercise:
o   Show Not Tell - A Disability
Pick a disability; it can be a physical or mental illness, a wheelchair condition, or simply a common cold.
In five hundred words or less, through the art of writing, without telling us what it is, show your reader the disability. Use dialogue and inner thoughts to help.

The Dog’s Tail                                                 

God, he’s just pursed his lips and whistled; I hate it when he does that. Means I’ve got to look pleased; he wants to get his paper and read about his glorious football team. If I stay low he mightn’t find me, yeah that’s the go, I’ll pretend I’m deaf. It seems to work for him.
Damn, here he is. I could pretend I’m dead but that would just make him tickle me and I can’t stand being tickled, not the way he does it anyway. Yep, he has that damn harness; I’d better make it look like I’m excited.
Agh, the neighbour’s cat is sitting on the roof of our car, one back leg in the air and licking its butt. You’re a smug little pussy with a little pink tongue dragging cat spit over your coat, how gross. Jump down here, Furball, you can meet your ancestors, my treat.
Bloody cat thinks it is so superior and just because it can leave the yard whenever it wants. You’re no different to me pal. The vet has your nuts in a jar on the shelf too, right alongside mine, but mine are bigger. At least they were.

Steady on fella, you’re making that harness tight, what do you want to do cut off my circulation?

Okay I’d better pretend I’m keen to do this. A bit of tail wag after a stretch, a few pants and a couple of circles to show I’m excited and listen to him wheeze up to get the paper.

I stop to sniff the geraniums; Saliba’s mongrel has stopped to pee over my scent. I feel the lead tug and tug again. I don’t care about the bloody paper. I have to piss on this until I’m happy I’ve washed that mongrel’s scent away.
Jeeze, ease up. He is dragging me and I feel the arthritis in my old bones begin to ache. The cat is tripping along the top of O’Riley’s fence now, it leans out and Rob strokes its back. Bloody cat will just sit on the gate post and wait until we get back.
I see a dog coming and feel the lead strain, I just want to sniff butt and let her sniff mine. Humans have no idea how much you can find out about each other with a little bit of butt sniff. They think they are so clever and yet they haven’t worked this one out yet.
The harness snaps and it lifts me off the ground. Steady on, I’m coming. Bugger, now we are tangled, but it feels good to be close to another canine.
‘Sniff, sniff.’
We unwind and are away. The oxygen bottle makes his trolley rattle and the plastic tube connecting the gas to his nose sways, while his newspaper heroes wait.
Rob’s steps are shorter now, a shuffle and his breathing is faster too. His foot catches a raised chunk of pavement and he stumbles. The noise of the crash and all of the dust startle me. I pull, pull away but his grip doesn’t fail. Cripes who cares if Collingwood won or lost? I don’t want him to cark it, my mind wanders, if he did, I wonder if the players wear armbands for him?
A crowd mills around us, then lights flash. People with a stretcher and that open door slams behind him.

I feel my lead loose and Rob is gone. Who will feed me?