Good morning on this lovely Sunday, bright and warm in the study as the sun streams through.

Punctuation is not usually my favourite subject as I have to work very hard to get ‘it’ right. So, the thing is, that I learnt something very interesting about punctuation before, and during my last meeting with my wonderful supervisor. And yes she is, forever patient and yet, able to ‘speak it how it is’ when I need to hear some wisdom.

A few days before the meeting I was in the middle of reading a chapter in the early part of the novel and I noticed it was kind of lumpy. The text was okay, it conveyed what I wanted it too but something wasn’t quite right. Now don’t be judgemental…writing a  story can be a hard process. Anyway I made some changes and I was happy even though –  the adage of “kill all your darlings’ – rang loudly in my ears for days after.

The meeting with my supervisor was very interesting but a feeling of ‘dé·jà vu engulfed me when she said that my punctuation is really very good (get that!!!) but there are times when it doesn’t need to be, and that I might think about just writing what I want to without so many commas…they might be in the right places but they can stop the flow of the story…

And she’s right of course…and I’m really thrilled because now I don’t have to be so paranoid about the getting the ‘punctuation’ right. Instead I can make sure that the sentences flow and the story is readable.

Now you might think that I should have been writing that way all along and I am  certainly trying to make sure that the story is strong and well told. But, when I was ‘reading’ my chapters I went into my version of ‘editing mode’ and writing and editing became separate processes for me. I worried about the punctuation…and making sure that I had all my commas, and full stops and capital letters in what I thought were the correct places, without realising the other functions they were performing.

So the takeaway here for me is ‘get the story down on the page’ and make sure it flows…and that it’s okay to miss a comma or two.

On another note, today, it is 24th April 2016 and I can’t let this day go by without acknowledging all of the work and commemorations for the 1916 Irish Easter Uprising. Twitter has been running amok and I love to read all of the posts. I am intrigued that events so long ago, like ANZAC services tomorrow , still call on our emotions.

Have great day:)

After the Conference


“The 1916 Irish Rising: Australasian Perspectives” International Conference was informative, very interesting, and believe it or not, I had fun. Although I must admit that as I considered various themes such as mixed and divided loyalties, huge complexities via far reaching geographic and emotional ties, I wondered how we are not all completely addled.

Now back home I am catching up with emails and other outstanding chores, and before heading back to work on Part Two of the novel, I’m in the process of writing my guest blog which will hopefully be published in June…and I will post the link here when it is.

I am looking forward to working on Part Two of the novel because I have seen the story start to unfold and the mists start to clear in Part One. Meanwhile, of course, I can’t entirely forget the exegesis. The guest blog post will be expanded to a conference paper for presentation later this year, and it will also neatly form part of the introduction to the exegesis. I have found it a very interesting process to learn just how writing can build on itself…so, the main lesson for me is to keep writing and not be closed to the idea of where and what I write.

Have a great day:)





Part One, Third Draft!


Good news was received recently and I am now officially a ‘Confirmed’ PhDer. The sigh of relief must have flowed around the valley where I live as it caressed the corners of my ‘high blood pressure’ pumping heart.

So, now the next stage has begun and I am working on the third draft of the first part of the novel. There are three parts and while I often eschew working in a linear way, it makes sense even to this rebel brain that the story needs to build properly in and on each part.

That said I have just finished the first five chapters and I am really loving how the story is starting to shine through the research data that is currently a lot of words and sentences on the page. At first I was a little nervous because I have found it is one thing to do the research and write down everything that I think needs to be in the story, and quite another to actually write the story itself, even though I know the story I want to tell. Sometimes I find I am just the typist and the story is unfolding for me as I sit at the computer. An example of what I am actually talking about goes like this –

In chapter four I have two characters discussing someone they don’t like because they think he is rude, arrogant and a horror to work for. When I had finished writing the chapter it still felt a little one-dimensional and this is even though the characters refer to a rather serious incident.

I thought a lot about how I could improve the story, could I have more dialogue? could I provide more description? After a little while it dawned on me (I know you don’t need to say it) that essentially all I was offering the reader is what is termed as ‘telling’. So, what next…well another important discovery for me is that I don’t think well on an empty stomach. Thus, after lunch yesterday I was at the computer re-reading the chapter and the penny dropped…the story would work better both as a ‘whole’ as well as in this particular chapter, if the incident itself was included as it happened rather than being referred to as a past event. Yesterday afternoon was spent re-writing the chapter and wow what a difference. Whether it is well written or not, at this stage I can now see the story moving out of its chrysalis.

As I am off to Melbourne tomorrow ‘conferencing’ I am really thrilled that I can send the third draft of the first part of the novel to my supervisor as promised.

She sighs and leaves the study. It’s lunchtime.

Have you had similar experiences? Would love to hear what you think…:)