Editing Poems with a Giraffe and an Ostrich

Where I live on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand, towns are the filling in a very beautiful sandwich. One slice of bread is the turquoise Tasman sea, which is garnished with Kapiti Island, a bush-clad native bird sanctuary and reserve 5km off shore. The other slice is the perpetually green slopes of the Waikanae … Continue reading Editing Poems with a Giraffe and an Ostrich

Creating Soundscapes: 9 Ways with Words

Last night was a crap-television night. We haven't signed up to Netflix or Lightbox, so rely on whatever offerings the free-to-air channels serve. Yesterday's menu looked more like leftover crusts of sandwiches from lunch than carefully prepared cuisine. Often I'd just tuck right in to a book instead but last night we treated ourself to … Continue reading Creating Soundscapes: 9 Ways with Words

Sanding Down and Polishing Up: redrafting short stories

Notes jotted in the margin in a different colour ink reminded me of ways of crafting early drafts of stories that I'd learned at a writing workshop by Vivienne Plumb, a New Zealand poet, playwright and author. She shared some great suggestions, and I have subsequently added more of my own ideas for writing short stories, such as character development, enriching themes and meanings in stories, and writing dialogue.

5 Ways to Distract Yourself from Pain

There's a change in the air. The tropical, coconut lemony smell of summer has faded.  The air is thinner, clearer. Last week, the air was thick enough to wrap around us like a blanket - now it's more like a filmy sheer curtain, with a window behind it letting in an uncomfortable draught. Most days … Continue reading 5 Ways to Distract Yourself from Pain

Crop Circles

We know August by how yellow our bedroom at dawn, how rich the paints nature daubs outside our window - blue slash of sky, ribbons of hedge, poppies, gold flag of corn. Our bedroom eyes this van Gogh view, our window a silent watcher of that instant our eyes never capture when the golden flag … Continue reading Crop Circles

Writing Retreats and Activist Writers

Writing, by its nature, is a solitary activity. If you're someone who thrives on a busy environment, that can be difficult. Unless you're collaborating on a project, the actual finger-to-keyboard/pen-to-paper part of writing tends to involve hiding yourself away in a quiet corner so you can focus on your current creation. But it doesn't have to … Continue reading Writing Retreats and Activist Writers

What Ifs

All that could protect them was pure blood... I don’t know how it was discovered that their blood was an antidote to the contamination, but a pint of it pumped through the veins of the contaminated could stop them turning for several tides.

Perfect Ways to Write Imperfect Characters

You know when you're reading a book and it's just not grabbing your interest the way it should? The title was quirky, original, eye-catching, enticing you to stop at that exact place in the bookshop or library and pull it off the shelf. The blurb promised everything you like best in a book, and a … Continue reading Perfect Ways to Write Imperfect Characters

Finding Ideas

Clouds billowed in from the north today, hiding the critical sun, with its nasty habit of shining a light on my housekeeping deficiencies. They are many, and the sun is far worse than my mother ever was at pointing out cobwebs in the corners, and streaks and smears all over the ranch-sliders. On a dull … Continue reading Finding Ideas

Moonlight on Broken Glass

Most writers know that procrastination is one of the biggest issues to stare down. Somehow, especially if you write directly on your laptop, Twitter always beckons with its enticing maze of opinions, arguments and random thoughts. Pinterest can soak up hours of time. You know if you just give it five minutes, you can beat … Continue reading Moonlight on Broken Glass