Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A nice review about writing character

Melton Library
My writing colleagues and I often go on about the importance of plot and if one of our stories is strong or seems to lack something. As my Wordsmith's of Melton friends are a critiquing group, discussion can be quite robust and at times it becomes difficult to subject a piece for critique, then an unexpected review comes into our inbox. This is one of those.

I had passed out a few final drafts of my Detective Voss novel 'The Price of Innocence' for the members to read and identify strengths and weaknesses in the manuscript. To say I was chuffed with Sonia Doherty's review is an understatement and I have pasted it below.. Thank you Sonia.

I have started reading Voss and one thing you do really well is relationships and people. You create interesting characters and how they interact. You make us like them, flaws and all, and not like others. Some we watch grow throughout the story and some we laugh at how they behave. In all your books this is one thing that has stood out to me.


For anyone interested in writing I would recommend working with other writers within a community based critiquing group similar to ours because your writing will grow from it. Check out Writers Victoria. S A Writers and your local library should be able to help direct you too.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

A little bit from Les Gillespie's Gold

Coffee scene set in Maggie's in Orroroo South Australia.

‘No..., toys, stuff to tantalise tease and explore. You know the gear I mean.’ Fiona was laughing too.
Tilly raised her eyebrows. ‘I’ll leave all that to your imagination, but I think you have offered me an insight into your seedy side.’
‘What can I say, some girls just want to have fun.’ She winked, as the police car pulled into the kerb in front of them. ‘Not a word to John now. Deal?’
‘Not sure I can keep all of that information to myself.’ Tilly laughed.
‘No afternoon babysitter if you squeal, girl.’ Fiona’s laugh had grown louder.
‘You drive a hard bargain, friend, but we have a deal.’
‘What are you two giggling about’ John said.
‘Just the things that little girls say, Em is a crack-up.’ Fiona said.
‘I was just on my way to the hospital when I saw you two out here, sunning yourselves and drinking coffee.’ He kissed his wife. ‘Just thought I’d let you know I won’t be home for lunch, love. After this I’m off to Port Augusta, should be home a bit after six.’ He bent over and kissed her again. She ran her hand through his hair and held his kiss longer than he expected.
‘Love you.’ She said.
John felt somewhat embarrassed, looked around and gave a low growl. ‘You hussy,’ he said. ‘I’ll attend to you after the kids are in bed.’ He winked at Tilly, waved and walked back to his car.

‘And that, ladies, is how it’s done.’ Fiona remained in her chair, put her arms out and bowed until her nose almost touched her cup. She laughed, and felt her mood lighten. ‘Now you get those legs polished and book a luxury suite somewhere in Adelaide. You’ve got your own love song to play.’ She drained her cup and stood up, Fiona’s chores were calling.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Stories, where does it all come from?

Well I know where this passage came from, it's a similar conversation that many of my friends had with our bankers during the eighties. Some businesses and farms didn't make it, some people couldn't take it and a piece of rope or a rifle was their choice of escape others like Ron persevered for as long as they could. This piece from Les Gillespies gold is some of my story.

A bit of  history from my Orroroo Days
Mk 1 Cortina trunk-lid Danny Probert's
Dirt Circuit Car
Ron Reardon pushed a hand through his greying hair, he and his banker were walking around the paint and panel shop. Grass had died between the back walls and the fences, everywhere between was cleared by the four, pet sheep laying in the shade of an abandoned four-wheel-drive. A few wrecks in a line against the back of the used car yard fence. Ron had never used the second-hand yard and to him it was useless real estate.
Two months ago, a major customer declared bankruptcy, Ron had hoped for thirty cents in the dollar, but after the tax office and the first mortgage holders, there was nothing left for creditors. Now he was in trouble and the banker had told him as much only a few weeks ago. He had to sell, his latest loan application could be approved, but only with more security and at a higher interest rate. The last thing they could afford was more interest.
‘I can’t do it to Polly, there’s no way I’ll put the house on the line.’ He said.
‘I’ve known you a long time now, mate and I know how much you’ve invested yourself into the business. If you don’t find the security, maybe it’s time to call it quits. Look, if it were me, I’d declare the business bankrupt and walk away. Ron, you’re not fifty yet, start again.’ The banker tried to keep their mood upbeat.
‘The house is freehold. If I did it, we’d still keep our home, yeah?’
‘I don’t think so.’ He shrugged, ‘personal guarantees...’ He rested his backside on the front tyre of a tractor. ‘I don’t expect you’d have much to pay creditors either.’
‘Just my debtors’ ledger?’
‘First mortgagee. There’s the personal guarantees too, so the bank ’ll take that too, I’m sorry.

‘Sorry bullshit, what your saying is, I’m fucked. Twenty years of slog down the drain. Got any good news.’

The Port Fairy Priest

Another novel is gelling in my mind, this morning I couldn't sleep and rather than try to finish a piece of poetry I have had in my head for days, I pulled out a short synopsis I was working on for my Voss series. I like seascapes and have an affinity with boats and the people who use them. So finding a setting was not so difficult.

How I feel trying to get the wrinkles out of my thoughts.
This story will feature the mentor who pointed Voss onto the straight and narrow by encouraging the police force to take him under his wing. Father John was more than a man of the cloth he was someone troubled kids could talk to. Secrets are safe with him. However, when Voss finds him in Port Fairy, he is no longer a priest and has become a loner in a town living with people who despise the retired priest.

Now using the name he was born with, Gunther Wiseman is a fisherman who can't swim with a fear of the sea and Voss is intrigued with the change in his nature.This man is aggressive and shows none of the trust he had when he served God.

Now to Visit Port Fairy and see where this detective story takes us. Wish me luck.

Friday, 7 April 2017

A New Work or my thoughts on writing

When I started to record my yarns and stories on the computer I gave little thought to the way they should look, or what made them easy or difficult to read. Many writing courses later and weekly meetings with my critiquing group have prepared me well. Now with four novels sitting around waiting to find a publisher I have started to make notes about my writing journey. This is not intended to be a step by step guide, more the memoirs of an author's addition. 

Over time I hope to make it an interesting read, but for now here's a little bit of back story to put somewhere in a longer work.

Since my children have blessed me with grandchildren I have gained a better perspective for the importance of good stories in a child’s life. I remember with my own children sitting on their beds and reading Dr Seuss, Enid Blyton, Rudyard Kipling and Australia’s own Colin Thiele to them.

It didn’t matter that Mr Percival was lost we knew Stormboy would save the situation. Noddy and Big Ears shared many scrapes and came out the other side better for their adventure. The Famous Five taught us courage and Anne of Green Gables helped my girls discover the enjoyment of reading. While they were reading they also watched movies and listened to music. Every piece a story told in its own way. Sure some of the stuff served up was trash, but over time they learned to differentiate between the two.

Who didn’t sing along to Achy Breaky Heart when it came out, Billy Ray had a story to tell too, and the song did very well for him. Everything we do has a story to it and hopefully we can teach our children to be confident when they speak. Helping them to understand the stories they see or hear helps them to craft their own presentations. We are assured this century will be spoken of as the, Information Revolution, in much the same way as we speak now of the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. If that is to be the case then reading and understanding what has been read is important and the best way to understand is to learn how to craft your own story. Therefore we need to help our children see the subtleties of good writing.

Now it's time to find a publisher for one of my manuscripts, good luck with your own writing.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Just Who is D.I. Sam Voss?

Name’s Sam Voss and I catch killers.
Born sometime in the winter of 1968 at five days old I was left on the steps of a South Melbourne Police Station. All they had to identify me was the beer box that served as a bassinet, a Jack Daniels bottle full of formula or breast milk, no one bothered to test it and a copy of Patrick White’s Voss. Desk Sergeant Vaughn Samson took care of me until child services arrived, when the paper work was finished I’d been tagged Samson Voss, a Christian name I’ve hated ever since. Friends can call me Sam, but not often.
A weak and ugly child I was overlooked by many, loved by none. After years, living in an endless roster of foster homes, I became convinced I was always destined to be an outsider. This coupled with the never-ending fights with teachers and Nuns and every one of them making me believe I was born of the Devil’s spawn. For years, those bastards made me feel despised and unworthy.
That was until the day I asked an old man in a cassock to describe evil. That old German priest dismissed that any notion I had of being the work of Satan, was rubbish. I remember him saying that every child is born innocent. However, he did point out that if I didn't sharpen up soon, I was headed for death or gaol.
Neither of those options held a lot of hope, or interest for me and for the next few years he kept an eye out for me, pushing, prodding me to do better. This old man in a worn and tattered clothes cared for people, street people, working girls and the wealthy. It didn’t matter, in his eyes everyone was the same. He taught me to care, he showed me it didn’t matter where people came from, they could fall or fly, the choice was theirs.
At seventeen, he passed me into the care of the police academy. I finally found a place I fitted into, something I was good and a career that interested me. I had somewhere to learn about structure. Not just about how a building is put together or what makes men and women different, but everyday structure. Rules, the framework a free society is built on.

So here I stand on the page before you, a seasoned and accomplished police officer determined to put killers behind bars.