Reading Watching Eating Loving

Reading: The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. I am loving this book, it is a journey tale so far and the characters are well differentiated which I like. I hate reading a book where you can barely tell the characters apart. The story keeps hinting at what’s coming or what might be expected and this is another thing I love in a novel, and especially a fantasy novel. The main character is strong but also vulnerable, so you never know how he will manage the next challenge.

Watching: Bones (again). I just love this show, the main character is a woman who is very cerebral, like me, and is often confused by emotions, just like me. I don’t envy her that job of dealing with death. I used to read the books by Kathy Riechs and enjoy them a lot, except for the name of the main character, which is Temperance. I’m glad in the tv show she is called Bones by her main co-star.

Eating: I’m loving comfort food right now, as we head into Winter here in Australia. I made a split green-pea soup with a ham hock and we all loved it. Lamb stew is another one we love here when the weather is warm. I make a roast lamb dinner and use the bone with some meat left on it to make the stew. So good.

Loving: having my son home at last after years of him living overseas. He and his wife live with me here now and it’s great.

The Naked Ladies Writing Group part 10

Ashleigh looked down at her salad and her stomach lurched. This flu, or whatever it was, was lasting way too long to ignore. As soon as she got off shift, she decided, she would talk to one of the doctors.

She drank her orange juice and threw the empty bottle into the recycling bin. At least she could enjoy juice. This thought brought up a whisper of a memory, but she couldn’t quite catch it. Probably nothing, she thought, and walked back into the hospital.

Her work completely engrossed every thought for the next few hours, and she pushed past the nausea.

She was pleased to see Lin Lee come on shift and waited until changeover was complete before she went to talk to her friend who was an excellent doctor. But Lin didn’t know what to make of her symptoms either.

“Have you done a pregnancy test?” Lin said, eyebrows raised.

“What? No!” Ashleigh said.

“Do it,” Lin said. “I’ll get you one.”

Ashleigh stood in the hallway, silent, taking shallow breaths. It wasn’t that. She told herself, and she’d do the test to show Lin she was wrong and they could move on to other, better possibilities.

Lin came back with the test and pushed Ashleigh in the direction of the toilet. Ashleigh reluctantly shut herself in the stall and unwrapped the test. Her mind was blank as she peed on the stick and waited for the result.

She’d had glandular fever eight years ago, this was just a relapse or a flu that the relapse was piggybacking on. Not pregnant, not pregnant, not pregnant.

The pee crept up the stick and two pink lines appeared, changing Ashleigh’s life forever.

She grabbed her phone out of her pocket and started to call Ryan. Then she cancelled the call. This was best dealt with in person. Dealt with. That was how she felt about this situation, it was something that somehow had to be dealt with.

She stood up and pulled her knickers up without remembering to wipe herself. She didn’t notice the wetness. She didn’t flush. She washed her hands and walked out into the hallway, looking for Lin.

Lin could tell the result by looking at Ashleigh’s pale face. She jogged down to her and took her hand, directing her to a chair. Ashleigh sat down plop and almost dropped the phone and the test.

“I’ll call Ryan,” Lin said, taking Ashleigh’s phone.

“No!” Ashleigh said. “I’m going home now. He’s picking me up in ten minutes. I’m fine.”

“Like hell you are,” Lin said. “I’ll just tell them I’m walking you down. Wait here a minute for me.”

The walk from the ward to the carpark was shorter than Ashleigh remembered it being. Maybe it was the shame, regret and fear boiling around in her gut that brought her faster to the moment she was dreading.

There he was, driving up early, waving to her, and she was about to explode his world, upend his universe.

“Good luck,” Lin said as Ashleigh opened the passenger door and got into the car. She waved to Ryan and went back to the ward. She’d have loved to have been a fly in that car about now.

“Hey gorgeous,” Ryan said. “What’s that? Someone’s pregnancy test? Now you really are bringing your work home.”

Ashleigh said nothing. She stared through the windscreen at nothing. She felt absolutely nothing.

“Babe,” Ryan said. “What’s up?”

She turned to look at him. She felt like this was a last look somehow, the last time she’d look at him before she told him the news they had both never wanted, never anticipated. Ever.

He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, a nervous habit of his. He drove them through the city traffic, to their home. He held her hand as they walked to the door and he let them inside.

“Now, what’s up?”

Ashleigh looked at him, took a breath and held up the test.

“This is mine,” she said. Simple as that. “Ours.”

“What?” He said, putting his keys in the pretty ceramic dish on the table beside the front door. They’d bought the dish on one of their adventures overseas.

“Baby,” Ashleigh said, simply. “Ours.”

Ryan looked into her eyes without saying a word. The puppy had heard them come in the door, and she was whining to be let out of the laundry where she stayed while they were at work.

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The Naked Ladies Writing Group part 9

NOTE: Hi, and thanks for coming back to my blog in 2021, welcome if this is your first look.

As Fia sat in traffic, she found herself pondering the story she might write, in a tropical setting. Who would be her main character? A woman, a really beautiful woman with smarts and a sassy attitude. Someone who pretty much got whatever she wanted through her wits and her assets.

Who was she though, this character? What did she do for a living? Fia decided it was time to plot out the story. She decided she’d put time aside each day while she ate lunch and dinner to write. She’d create the bones of the story and then fill it all in. It would be fun.

How hard could it be to write a book? Millions of people have written books.

As for the writing group, she had to find a way to pull Ruby into line.

Fia’s phone rang through the car speakers and she answered it, partly to distract herself from thinking about how to tell Ruby she needed to be nicer, especially to Mia.

“Fia, love, it’s Sammy your favourite brother,” Fia immediately regretted answering the call.

“Hi Sammy,” she said. “What’s new?”

“All kinds of things, sis,” he said.

“How are the gyms going?” She said and noted the pause.

“That’s the thing I’m ringing about really,” he said. “Calling my brilliant sister for some business advice to be honest.”

“Advice?” She said. Advice had to mean trouble, and if he was calling her at all, the trouble was probably already way out of control.

“Advice, help, assistance, you know so much about business, girl,” he said.

“Is that the surf in the background?” She said. “Are you at the beach?”

“This is the thing, see,” He said. “I’m in Queensland researching a new business venture. I’m here for a month at least, and I need someone at the gym office, someone who can sort things out for me.”

“And you’re calling me why?” Fia said. Someone blew their horn from behind her and she put her foot down and drove through the green light.

“You’re the smartest one in the family, we all know that,” he said. “Dad said I should call you. I wouldn’t bother you, sweet girl except it’s mum and dads house on the line, see?”

“You borrowed against mum and dads place?” Fia said. She was looking for a side street to take, so she could pull over and have the argument she could feel coming.

“They wanted to support me, and Barton Gyms were such a great idea you know.” He said. “Anyway, you’ll need to call the accountant, talk to the managers at the gyms, sort things out for us.” He said.

“This, this is not my problem, Sam.” Fia said, taking a left and nosing into a no standing spot. “This is you, and your businesses, and mum and dad. Not me.”

“Bit rough, not caring about family, Fifi,” he said. “Hang on a tic love,” she could have sworn she heard him open a beer bottle.

“That’s crap and you know it, Sam,” She said. “who else have you called?”

“Oh all of them,” he said. “But none of them know about business like you do. In fact they all recommended I talk to you. Come on, Fifi, just take a look.”

“I can’t believe you’re putting this on me,” she said. “I have enough to do, running my own company.”

“Yeah, and I bet you’ve got it running as smooth as silk,” he said. “I bet it runs itself,”

“It does not run itself.” Fia said, punching the steering wheel with her fists. “I work every day of the week,”

“Geez love, that’s a bit much,” he said. “Maybe it’ll be good for you to have a distraction, a kind of side project. We all know you work best when you’re juggling a whole lot of stuff. Multitasking they call it. I’m so bad at that.”

“I’m on my way to…” she said.

“Fifi, I gotta go,” he said. “I’m needed, shall we say.”

“What the,” she said.

“Catch up with you once you’ve got a plan, okay? Bye, bye butterfly.” He said and the call ended.

Fia was breathing fast, her heart was pounding, she wanted to throw up. She started to call her father, then cancelled the call. She screamed. She jumped when she saw a man in a grey uniform standing at her window, looking into her car at her.

What? She mouthed at him, and he gestured opening the window. She pressed the window button, and lowered it just a few centimetres.

“Are you okay, miss?” The man said. “You seem upset,”

“I’m fine,” she said.

“It’s just that you can’t park here, at least not while I back my truck into the driveway there. I need the extra turning space, see?”

“Alright,” Fia said. “I’ll leave now, got to be somewhere anyway.”

She’d warned her parents not to get involved in any of Sammy’s business ventures. They’d laughed and told her they wouldn’t be so stupid. Wrong apparently. As she turned the car around in the side street, she called Ash. There was no way she’d be able to front up at the gym office until she’d had a chance to vent.

Ashleigh was sympathetic, and Fia was grateful she was able to talk it out, but Ash couldn’t help in any practical way. Fia called her accountant next, talked to her about the possibility of getting some assistance. The accountant told her to look at the books and get back to her, once Fia knew what she was dealing with. If it was too complex a problem, the accountant would step in right away.

Fia made a few calls, reorganised her afternoon. There was no way she could work until she knew the whole picture. Sam was right about one thing; Fia’s own company was running well.

Fia drove into a completely empty car park at Barton Gyms. Not a great sign right there. She walked in the front door to find six staff members sitting in the welcome area, laughing over a shared joke. None of them were wearing the uniform, two of them were in jeans.

“Hi,” she said. There were a couple of sheepish looks and one person wouldn’t even make eye contact.

“What’s happening here?” She said. I sound like an angry librarian, she thought.

“Hi Sophie,” one guy said, standing. “You are Sophie, yes? I’m Travis Linton the manager here. How are you?”

“I’m fine,” she said. “Is this usual for a week day? No customers?”

“Yep,” he said. “Ever since they opened that big chain gym on the main road, it’s been like rats jumping off a sinking ship here.”

“Haha, you’re so right,” one guy in jeans said.

“Hey, I’m Dee, have you seen Sammy?” One woman said. “We’re wondering if we’re getting paid this week.”

Fia bit back a snappy response. “Which of you are casual employees?”

“All of us, haha,” the manager said. “Ever heard of a manager on casual rates? Well that’s me, and the other two managers, Ray and Ian.”

“Go home,” Fia said. “All of you except Travis.”

“What?” Dee said. “What if people start coming in? Who’s going to meet and greet and who’s going to sign up any newbies?”

“Please go home,” Fia said. “Management is doing it all today, in fact management will be doing it all until further notice.”

“Are you kidding?” Jeans and sneakers said.

“Not kidding,” Fia said.

The group stood and went to the lockers to take out their belongings. The manager waved them off, shrugging.

“Sammy said his sister was a bitch,” jeans and black tshirt said not too quietly.

“Don’t you come back at all, mate,” Fia said.

“Screw you,” he said, flipping the bird at her.

“Nice,” the manager said.

“Go put the closed sign up,” Fia said once everyone else had left. “We need to talk. Point me to the office.”

Travis raised his eyebrows, but he closed the gym and pointed to a set of stairs on the back wall.

As Fia made her way to the back, she noticed dust and even dirt on machines, hand weights that had not been put away and a general untidiness.

The stairs led to a spacious, open plan office area with half a dozen desks and chairs. There were cordless phones and laptops on each desk. In one corner of the room there was a kitchenette and in the other, a door with a sign saying bathrooms. Between the two, there were whiteboards on the wall with names and dates and numbers on them. They were partly worn off, as though a lot of people had walked by and brushed up against the whiteboard.

“They were for Sam’s incentive plan,” Travis said. “to try and get us to do cold calling to get some more clients in.”

Fia nodded and made her way to the larger desk that looked out through the window to the gym floor below.

“Sam’s desk?” She said.

“Yes,” Travis said. “When he comes in, which isn’t often now things are quiet.”

“Doesn’t look quiet,” she said. “It looks dead.”

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice Christmas and New Years. We had a pretty quiet one, I think we’re all waiting for a sign that 2021 will go easier on us.

It’s day two of the new year and it seemed like a good idea to print out all I’ve written of The Naked Ladies Writing Group so far.

After I printed it out, I read through it with a highlighter pen and cringed more than once. It’s a first draft and they are always horrible, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to see the mistakes I’ve made.

It’s obvious that changes will benefit the story, but when you see where changes need to happen, you wonder how you didn’t see it in the first place. It’s so easy to beat up on yourself.

When you’re writing, you have to trust what you come up with in the moment, and get it written down. Overthinking can kill creativity.

As I write my first draft on my blog, I’m going to have some regrets. The idea that I’m putting imperfect work out there for the world to see is a bold one.

I’m what they call a ‘pantser’, which in the writing community refers to a writer who writes the first draft without plotting or planning, by the seat of our pants.

As the new year lies before me and my first draft calls my name, I’m tempted to take a wander in the land of the plotters. Maybe just plan out the chapters? Write a few pages outlining where the writing needs to go to tell the story I want to share.

But no, I don’t seriously consider giving up my pantser style. What will I write next? Who knows? Probably something that will need some serious editing later on.

Bring it on, 2021, this pantser has a story to write. I can’t wait to see what comes out of my fingers and onto the screen this week.

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Good luck with your writing!

What I Learned About Writing by Watching Ever After

What I Learned About Writing When I Watched the Movie Ever After

I’m a sucker for a Cinderella story, and it doesn’t take Freud to work out that this stems from my own difficult childhood.

Ever After is a classic Cinderella story set in France some hundreds of years ago. Drew Barrymore is fantastic as Cinderella and Angelica Houston is great as the step-monster.

For the first half of the movie I didn’t recognise Dougray Scott as the prince, he is just such a perfect spoiled royal.

The movie was more than just entertaining for me, it taught me about writing. The main characters are as they should be, but the minor characters really flesh out the story, taking it from simple to extraordinary.

The character of Leonardo DaVinci first seems a distraction in the story, and a hindrance to the prince, but ends up being a crucial part of the tale and he is nicely woven in by the detail that Cinderellas childhood buddy is an amateur artist.

This taught me that clever associations can add to a story as long as they carry things along.

Jacqueline De Ghent, the younger step-sister, is written as the lesser daughter, the imperfect and to her mother not at all useful extra child. In the story she acts as our bridge between Danielle, Cinderella, and her mother and sister.

Gradually Jacqueline becomes more and more outspoken about her unhappy life and in the end sides with our heroine.

This character taught me about writing a gradual shift of allegiance and why it might begin. At first, the character doing their best to fit in, all the way through to rejecting the very thing they thought they wanted so much.

Fictional characters are a lot like us in that think they know who they are and what they want. When a character gradually realises that they need to pursue a different course, we can relate to that.

As a reader, or a writer, we want what we want from characters and when they surprise us it’s a gift.

When we watch a movie or read a book, we see from the outside looking in at the lives of the characters and we recognise parts of ourselves in each one.

The Baroness Rodmilla De Ghent, the step mother, doesn’t change at all throughout the story, and that works well. She knows what she wants, which is to have the regal life she feels she deserves, and she is ruthless in her attempts to push her elder daughter forward to achieve her desire.

This taught me the importance of sometimes creating a character incapable of shifting from one single-minded attitude.

There’s one scene where Cinderella and her step mother are alone and the step mother speaks about her upbringing by a mother who sounds a little unhinged.

The one small fact that the step mother shares is enough to make you think that there was a good reason why she turned out unbalanced herself. From this one scene I learned the power of a single detail.

The character of Gustave is Cinderellas friend from childhood. He is a simple character; friend and amateur artist, but the story-tellers use him to show what Cinderella is thinking through conversations.

This taught me to use seemingly insignificant characters to show rather than tell what is going on for the main character. This is a really important part of writing. Finding ways to show, not tell, is part of the business of good writing.

I love this movie so much,and being able to learn from it is the icing on the cake.

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a creative day.

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Write your life, know yourself,


Character Development: Ashleigh

Ashleigh Julia Maiden was the third of five children born to a mother who went from simply not coping to being almost bedridden with depression.

Wendy, Ashleigh’s eldest sibling, did her best to run the house while their father worked fourteen hour days away from the home.

When Ashleigh was ten, her mother made her first suicide attempt, swallowing a lot of pills.

Ashleigh learned one thing that stayed with her her entire life; never have babies. Never, ever have babies because they only break you, make you miserable, keep you down.

Ashleigh met Ryan Austen on their first day at university, they were both studying to be registered nurses. Ryan asked her out the second time they took the same lecture.

They went out for a Chinese meal, and got on like a house on fire.

Ryan was the eldest of four boys and they swapped stories about growing up in a big family.

On their first date, Ashleigh had blurted out that she would never want to have children. Not ever. Ryan had laughed and said me either. They had fallen in love quickly.

When they went out, if they saw couples with kids, they’d share a secret smile. Crying babies had them reaching out for one another’s hands.

Ashleigh used to joke that she was born without the ability to get clucky, without a biological clock.

Their siblings, meantime, produced nieces and nephews at a fast rate. Ashleigh enjoyed playing the favourite Aunty. She loved and spoiled those kids. She hosted girly sleepovers and she and Ryan took the kids camping. They did it all on their own terms.

She acted as birth partner for one of her brothers wives and the experience, as incredible as it was, only confirmed her and Ryans choice.

Ashleigh got a plum job as a critical care nurse in a big city private hospital. Ryan went into Aged Care, working in a nursing home in the suburbs.

They had their perfect life. Nothing could spoil it. Except maybe an unplanned pregnancy.

Character Development: Mia

NOTE: Here are my notes on my Mia character. I enjoyed exploring her world, and I quite like her. I hope you enjoy this peek into her life.

Mia Rose Martin was born in Melbourne, and lived her first five years in a high rise apartment with her parents, Glenn and Rosie and her older brother Max.

She was a quiet child and her dad always called her Mia mouse.

They moved out of the apartment and into the penthouse of a building her father partly owned.

Mia and Max loved the rooftop garden and they tended it faithfully, planting according to the seasons.

Her brother was her hero. He’d been born deaf and mildly intellectually disabled. He and Mia had their own way of communicating, beyond the sign language they used on a day-to-day basis.

Mia and Max were Irish twins, born a year apart. They were as close as kids could be.

When Mia had learned she was being sent to a different school to Max she’d cried for days. She didn’t want to try on her uniform, she didn’t want a new, pink lunchbox and drink bottle, she wanted to go on the bus with Max and his friends, to their school.

Any chance she got, she was at Max’s school, watching plays in the evening and cheering his team on at the after school soccer matches.

At her own school, Mia made friends easily and she was lucky to be a part of a big group of girls with similar temperaments who ended up going all the way through school together.

She’d met Ruby towards the end of high school, and Ruby had taken her on a trip off the rails for a while. Mia’s family had no idea what to make of her acting out. It all came to an end when Mia’s dad had had to pick her and Ruby up from the police station after they’d been arrested for shoplifting.

Max had told her she needed to get her act together, told her she wasn’t that kind of person. Mia always listened to Max. Even then, when she was trying on a whole different persona, trying to be the tough girl who didn’t care what people thought; what Max thought mattered.

Ruby had called her all kinds of names, but remained a friend. Ruby said Mia was selfish and everything had to be about what Mia wanted. Mia said nothing about that, she was glad to get back to her real friends, the ones who’d known her almost her whole life. The ones who were glad she was almost back to her old self by graduation.

After high school, Max got a job in a local plants nursery and he loved it.

Mia, graduating a year later, went to uni in Bathurst and did a teaching degree. Alone for the first time in her life, Mia made new friends. There wasn’t a lot to do on the weekends, so carloads of people would head for the city for a few days.

Mia met Jordan at one of these weekends and they started hanging out exclusively right away. Jordan was a born-again Christian who did his best to convert Mia and her crowd. It didn’t go down well, but there were some pretty full-on discussions had between the religious, the agnostics and the atheists.

Mia realised at this time that she was actually pagan. She never told Jordan this, though. He eventually met someone in his church that he liked better than Mia, and they broke up. Mia decided never to date a Christian again.

In her final year of her degree, one of the girls in her crowd, Lindsay, asked Mia out on a date. Mia said yes. Lindsay was pagan, too, and a witch, and their relationship was beautiful magic, as Mia texted home to Max.

Her first teaching position was in south east Queensland, and so she’d said goodbye to Lindsay and moved her few boxes and bags north.

Teaching took her around Queensland and NSW until she’d settled in a city school where she could be close to Max.

It hadn’t taken Ruby long to find her again and they’d been friends since. Mia was surprised to find that Ruby hadn’t changed at all. She still had that drive to control and dominate. Mia understood her friend better than anyone else could, and she allowed Ruby the space to be herself. Mia felt it didn’t cost her anything to be kind.

Character Development: Alice

There’s a wild part in every woman’s heart.

Alice Summer Wright started her life in Katoomba, in The Blue Mountains, an area west of Sydney.

Her parents, Felicia and Felix, had been born on the same day as one another, the same year, the second of February 1975. They were both psychic mediums and shared a business in the family home.

They planned Alice’s birth around their shared birthday and yes, improbably, she was born on the second of February as well.

They all lived in one of the original homes in the area, an ancient, creaking house with an impressive herb and vegetable garden that wrapped the home in a blanket of green.

Alice grew up surrounded by mystical people; psychics, channellers, mediums, wiccans, pagans, witches and warlocks. None of it impressed her.

Alice’s younger brother, Edgar, named after Edgar Cayce, came into the world quietly and without a fuss, twenty years after Alice, and impossibly, also on the second of February.

Her parents didn’t believe in restricting children, controlling them or pulling them into line. They raised Alice accordingly, and she was a wild child who was thrown out of two preschools before she was three years old.

At school, Alice excelled in almost every subject. Her favourites were maths and science, which confused her parents who had been doing spell-work since she was conceived to try and produce their own special Indigo Child.

She ruled the playground from kindergarten through to year twelve, but she wasn’t hated for it. She led her minions in a matter-of-fact way, never asking more than she knew could be given.

She ate whatever she wanted from anyone’s lunch box and the other children were happy to share with her. She always found it a little odd that people followed her so easily, after all her parents hadn’t taught her a thing about being in charge of others.

She’d always been bigger than the other girls, and the further through school she went, the larger she grew. Her mother was always buying her new uniforms, the next size up.

Somehow, in spite of her size and what that usually meant in schools, all the freedom they’d given her had instilled in her an almost limitless self-confidence, and self-belief. Somehow, a life without boundaries had taught her how to be the one who set the rules.

It wasn’t until high school that someone told her that everyone was dead scared of her parents and their home. Everyone, from kids, to parents and teachers.

Rumours abounded of heathen rituals, candles and black magic, blood sacrifices, naked midnight dancing around a fire. Most of it was true.

She always thought Felicia and Felix were seen as harmless kooks. Apparently not. It made her laugh.

Moving to the city when she got into a Sydney university, Alice decided she’d go by Ali, it sounded more adult somehow. Her dad had sorted a job for her, in a pagan bookshop, and there was a tiny flat above where she could live for some exchange arrangement between her dad and the owner.

Uni was another world, and Ali threw herself into her studies, her job and a busy adult social life. She went through boyfriends and girlfriends quickly, none of them her true love.

That was until she met Lily at their uni graduation ceremony. They were both sitting there, unimpressed with the pomp, one person between them. Lily had pulled out a tube of the reddest lipstick Ali had ever seen, and applied it to her already perfect lips. She’d noticed Ali watching her and held out the lipstick to her. Ali had laughed and refused it.

After the ceremony was over, Ali found Lily and asked her out for drinks. They’d stuck like glue to one another ever since, turning the tiny apartment over the shop into a real little home for two.

Lily was already working in a very junior role at a publishing house, and was able to get Ali a job there as well. Give us time, they’d said to friends and family, and time along with hard work and talent had paid off for each of them.

Saving and penny-pinching had them able to make a deposit on an only slightly bigger apartment, needing improvements but their very own.

They called it their little nest.

5 Unusual Habits of Women Writers

1. We Are Always Writing

If we get an idea at three am, we’ll probably get out of bed and write it down, and that’s if we’re in bed in the first place because if the words are flowing there’s no way we’re sleeping.

We write whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, including the waiting room at the doctors, while we are pushing a trolley around the supermarket, as we breastfeed a baby, while we plan and cook dinner; we have to write when we can, we are busy people.

When we sit down at our computers, we bring together all of that incidental writing and use it to build up our work.

An idea we had at the hairdressers might end up being central to the message in our book.

2. We Carry A Notebook At All Times

Okay, it might not be an actual notebook, but we like to carry something to record brilliant thoughts.

Our notebook, or equivalent, goes with us everywhere we go. Some of us use our phones now, taking notes on an app.

We can be choosing an avocado and bam, a truly inspired idea pops into our heads, so we put down the avocado and record that thought. Sometimes we might be asked to shift along, so someone can get to the fruit we are ignoring while we scribble in our notebook.

Some of us can’t resist a gorgeous notebook or journal from one of those stationery stores. Oh we love those stores.

3. We Write In Different Voices

We write in a voice that doesn’t always sound like our speaking voice. Especially when we write fiction, but not only then.

In the same way that your mother has a normal voice and a phone voice, writers have a regular voice and a selection of writing voices. It depends on what we are writing, who we are writing for.

When we write for our blog, we use our blogger voice, which we unconsciously chose when we started our blog. My blogging voice is much more confident than my actual voice.

4. We Listen In On Conversations

We know there’s no better way to get to know how people actually talk, than to eavesdrop.

We don’t always know the context of the conversation, but we listen to learn about tone of voice, unique expressions and the pot of gold; stories.

Now that we can get to know friends from around the world via social media, we gladly pay attention to everything people put out there.

5. We Turn People We Know Into Book Characters

Some people stand out to you; their way of talking, their mannerisms, the fact they’ve been arrested eight times.

People are really interesting, including the people who think their lives are boring. Quiet people who live simple lives often have complex inner worlds, filled with secret desires, hopes and dreams.

You never know what’s going on inside another human being unless you listen to them.

We writers most often mix a few people together to make one character. We might add some unique habits of an eccentric cousin to a kindergarten teacher who owns a dozen cats and come up with a complicated and somehow relatable character.

I hope you found this interesting. Find me on instagram if you’d like to connect, I’m rachelgracewrites. I also have a Facebook page with the same name. Ask me anything you’d like to know about writing in general, or my writing in particular.

The Naked Ladies Writing Group part 8

NOTES: Here is part 8 of my book. It took a lot of research and conversations with my muse Calliope, to make all these choices for all these characters. This being a first draft, I definitely reserve the right to make any changes I want. I added all of the facts I’ve written here to my book bible, which should help me keep it all straight. I’m ready to continue with the story now I’ve made these decisions and recorded them.

Fia was a tiny bit annoyed that she had to speak first. She wasn’t prepared to start, the whole idea had been Ashleighs and so she should be going first.

“Welcome to my home,” she said. “This group was Ashleighs idea, so she should really be speaking first. I plan on writing a novel, even though I should be working on the next eBook for my business.”

“Good, good,” Ashleigh said. “What will your novel be about?”

“Ah, I’m not one hundred percent sure, but it will be set somewhere tropical and there will be a strong female lead character,” Fia said. “I know that much.”

“Great,” Ashleigh said.

“I’ll go next,” Ruby said and Ashleigh nodded to her. “I’ve decided to write a novel set in L.A.. I lived there for six months and it’s the perfect place for a fast-paced story.”

“Wow,” Mia said. “Your book sounds good already, Rue. I’m writing a novel about a witch, and she lives now, in our time, in a not-real village in the countryside in England.”

“A fictional village and a witch,” Ruby said. “that sounds like your style. Will she eat little children?”

Mia blushed and shook her head.

“Me next,” Betty said. “I’m writing a lesbian love story, but it’s set in the seventeen hundreds in Mesopotamia where lesbian relationships were allowed, unlike other parts of the world.”

“Just an introduction, Betty, not the entire story tonight,” Ruby said, crossing her legs and folding her arms.

Betty raised her eyebrows and mouthed Okay.

“I’m writing a novel with a positive body image message,” Alice said. “It will be set right here, and now, and when women read it they’ll feel great about themselves no matter their size or shape.”

“Will you be using a photograph of yourself on the cover?” Ruby asked, leaning forward.

“No idea,” Alice said, pulling her top down firmly over her shorts. “Will you?”

“Why would I do that?” Ruby asked.

“You said you lived in L.A., your story is set in L.A., is it all about you?” Alice asked.

“My turn,” Ashleigh said, holding a hand up. “And I have absolutely no idea what my novel will be about.”

“What?” Fia said, laughing. “This whole thing is your idea, and you don’t know what you’re going to write about? Doesn’t that seem strange? I would have thought you knew what you were doing, more than any of the rest of us here.”

“I know what you mean,” Ashleigh said. “But nope, absolutely not. I have no clue. I guess I’ll start writing and see what happens.”

“That’s so not like you, Ash,” said Mia. “You’re the queen of organisation. The most put together person I’ve ever known. Aren’t you scared you’ll have nothing to write about?”

“No,” Ashleigh said. “For once in my life I’m being spontaneous.”

“There’s spontaneous and then there’s you, girl,” Alice said. “I have to say I’m shocked.”

“You’re the girl who colour codes her wardrobe,” Mia said. “I love your colour-coded wardrobe.”

“What can I say, people?” Ashleigh said, placing her wine glass onto a coaster. “It’s time I got a little wild.”

“This is going to be a trip,” Betty said. “We’re all writing such different books. I can’t wait to start reading them.”

“Oh, me too,” Mia said. “Especially yours Betty. I’ve never read anything like that before.”

“I doubt any of us have,” Ruby said. She gave Betty a smooth smile.

“Let’s drink a toast,” Alice said, lifting her wine glass. “To all of us, women writing novels, may we be our most open, honest and naked selves as we write, and be our kindest selves when we read.”

“Oh, cheers to that,” Fia said.

“To The Naked Ladies Writing Group,” Ashleigh said.