Tag Archives: celebrate

Achievement Unlocked: Complete First Draft

First Draft!Remember last week when I wrote a post about how I was almost finished the first draft of my WIP?

Well, the seemingly impossible has happened.


(Yes, that did deserve all capitals.)

I typed the last word of my novel last night. (For the curious, that word was “do”.)

In total, the first draft is 88,760 words. That works out to 326 pages. If you’re like many non-writers, that doesn’t mean much to you. So if you’d like an idea of what that means in real terms, grab a handy paperback book and open it to page 326.

That’s how big my novel is.

Before you ask…

No, you can’t read it.

Not yet.

I still have a LOT of work to do before my novel is finished, and even a lot of work to do before I’ll willingly hand it over to beta readers. So, what happens now?

My plan goes something like this:

  1. Take a break for a few days. Because wine. And chocolate. And the accolades of my friends and family.
  2. Because I’m a pantser rather than a plotter, a lot of story elements actually changed during the writing process. I significantly changed the backstory of my protagonist at about 35,000 words. I significantly changed the motivations of the antagonist at about 40,000 words. I changed the setting at 50,000 words and the season at 65,000 words. So a lot of the early part of the story is, shall we say, inconsistent with the last half. So my second step is to address this.
    • I’ll read through the first half, making notes about structural and character changes that need to happen.
    • I’m not going to pay any attention to word usage, spelling, grammar, etc during this.
    • Then I’ll step into the story and make the changes I’ve highlighted.
    • Finally, I’ll make the relevant changes to setting and season where necessary for the continuity of the story. (But without getting bogged down in adding description.)
  3. Then it will be time to hand it over to my alpha readers and ask for feedback on the story, structure, and characters.

I don’t know how long it will take for my alpha readers to give me their feedback, but I don’t plan on touching this novel again until 2-3 months has passed from the time I hand it over. Then there’s a round of edits, beta reading, more edits, and possibly more beta reading. But I’ll think about all that later.

So what am I going to do during the upcoming 2-3 months?

I’m glad you asked.

You see, I have this great idea for a novel…


Filed under Writing

The Importance of a Supportive Environment


You’re probably wondering why my posts have been a bit more sporadic than usual over the last few weeks.

Okay, in my ego-driven imagination, you’re wondering why my posts have been a bit more sporadic than usual over the last few weeks. In reality, you probably haven’t noticed. And there’s a pretty good chance that, even if you have, you don’t care.

Leave me to my delusions, darn you!

Now, where was I? Oh yes.

You’re probably wondering blah blah blah last few weeks.

There is a reason — a reason I like to think of as A Good Reason, in fact.

My creative brain is locked inside a little room with the novel I’ve been working on for… well, almost as long as I’ve been blogging, (two years in April) and I’m finding it hard to write these little snippets of my life on as regular a basis.



Okay, the celebration may be a little premature. But not much. I’ve got about 8000 words left to write, and then I’ll be finished the first draft. And the last bit is, of course, the best bit. The high tension, high excitement, do-or-die, winner-takes-all, good-vs-bad, stand-off between the protagonist and the antagonist. It takes all my willpower to draw my mind out of my story for long enough to remember that my children need to be fed, let alone to remember to blog.

So, I’m sorry.

But not that sorry. Because this has been a long time coming, and I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft and starting on the long, and much-anticipated Road of Revision.

So I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported me while I’ve been writing. Thanks to my blogging friends and the great community I’ve found here and elsewhere on the web. Thanks to my family and friends. Thanks to my writing partner, Claire, who has provided inspiration and pep talks when needed (as well as a bottle of wine to open when my draft is complete!). And thanks most of all to my husband, Robbie, who has supported, encouraged, and believed in my writing and this story all along.

When I told Robbie I wanted to celebrate the completion of the first draft by purchasing a book that will give me extra insight into my setting and help me with my revisions, he said, “That’s not a treat, that’s a necessary tool you need for your career. You should get a massage or something.”

Thanks, Rob, for your support. And also for using the word “career” instead of “crazy, impossible dream”.

So if there’s a few days in between my posts, now you know why. I promise I’ll be back full-time when I type ‘The End’.

Who is your biggest fan and supporter?


Filed under Random Stuff, Writing

My Sister Jak: A Birthday Wish

I remember it well, the day my sister was born. I’d just turned six and my brother was nearly five. Dad picked us up from school and made the announcement:

Mum’s in the hospital, we’ll go and visit her now. You’ve got a little sister! Also, Bounce had kittens.

Amazing, right? We hadn’t even known our cat was pregnant!

So off we went to the hospital, where I met my new baby sister, Jak, for the first time. I remember looking down at her and thinking: I can’t wait to see the kittens. 

You know those Hallmark cards you get, where there’s a long verse about the special bond between sisters? Well, from the day Jak was born, I wanted to take one of those cards and hit her with it. Repeatedly. The only kind of “special bond” we had, was the kind that grows between tormentor and victim. Some kind of warped Stockholm Syndrome version of love.

I’m not kidding — she spent her entire childhood tormenting me.

Admittedly we got off on the wrong foot right from the start. A few days after Jak was born, my parents explained to me that, although the demanding, crying, boring baby was going to be a part of our lives forever (and ever and ever), we had to get rid of the kittens. I’m not sure I’ve ever really gotten over that…

As a child, Jak was passionate, creative, independent, strong-willed, and determined to follow her own path.

Hold on, that’s what she’s like as an adult. Let me try again.

As a child, Jak was intense, messy, selfish, stubborn, and completely unwilling to compromise. 

The Jak Stare - Age 3

By the time she was two years old, she’d developed the “Jak Stare”. This stare was the bane of my childhood; a vaguely amused and superior look she would get when she couldn’t decide whether you could possibly be that stupid/ignorant/clueless.

I remember one of the first times she gave me the Jak Stare. I was eight and she was two. Mum called us to the table for lunch, and I raced in and sat at the table, waiting for Mum to finish making my sandwich. Jak looked over the scene, pushed a chair up to the kitchen bench, and proceeded to make her own sandwich. Because no one else would do it “right”.

Did I mention she was two years old?

(I have it on good authority that she would do the same thing today. Minus the chair.)

When Jak was 14, my parents had to move interstate for a year. Rather than disrupt Jak’s schooling, I volunteered to look after her. Much to my surprise, they agreed, and I moved back into the family house and took on the role of guardian to a teenager. It was then that Jak and I actually started to bond. (Although I still didn’t escape the Jak Stare.)

The Jak Stare – Age 17

Now that we’re adults, I can read those Hallmark cards in a whole different light. Rather than thinking they’re all crap, I read them and think: Yes! That’s exactly what it’s like to have an amazing sister!

Of everyone in the world, Jak is the one person who I know with absolute certainty will understand and listen to me — even when she doesn’t agree with me, and even when she’s about to bestow upon me the adult version of the Jak Stare.

Jak is one of only three people who will ever understand what it was like to grow up in the family we did, and one of the few people who understand what it means to be “normal”, the importance of having only half a banana on a sandwich, and why Plebian the turtle has a removable shell.

But Jak isn’t just my sister and my friend. She’s an inspiration.

My sister is passionate, creative, independent, strong-willed, and determined to follow her own path. She’s open-minded and curious, interested in people and places and experiences, and endowed with an almost childlike sense of fun and adventure. She’s wise beyond her years, but young at heart. She’s generous, brave, and cynically idealistic.

Wait… what?

Bring cynically idealistic isn’t possible, you say?

Then you haven’t met my sister.


 Happy birthday, Jak.

Have a great night celebrating. Have a drink (or two) for me.

P.S. You’ll notice that, even though you called me a day late for my birthday, these birthday wishes are on time.

P.P.S. I’m not sure if that actually means that I’ve “won”, or if it just proves that I’m unwilling to go through with my threats…


Filed under Random Stuff

100 Posts! It’s all about me, I mean you, I mean me.

No Tuesday Flash Fiction again this week. Why? Because I’m celebrating!

This is my 100th post!

I figure this is a good time for a quick retrospective of The Happy Logophile since it began, 100 posts and 5 months ago. My original intention in starting this blog was to… Actually, I had absolutely no idea. I’d made the decision to focus heavily on writing this year, and was web-browsing writing competitions, markets, publishers, and tips when I realised something that changed my life: Everyone who’s anyone has a blog.

So I started one.

With absolutely no idea of what I was going to write about, or what I was going to do with it.

For a couple of weeks, that was fine. I’d post interesting words and their etymology and long, self-indulgent ramblings about my writing. My husband would read my posts once they went live, and tell me they were great.I sat down and gave myself a pat on the back. I was done. I could cross “Set up a blog” off my list of “Things to accomplish this year”.

And then the unthinkable happened. Something so dreadful, so terrifying, and so completely unexpected that it left me unable to do anything but stare at my monitor in horror.

Laura Stanfill subscribed to my blog.

I read and reread the email at least a dozen times. Who was this “Laura Stanfill”? Why was she reading my blog? And what the hell was I going to do about it?

Eventually, I clicked over to Laura’s blog to find out more about her. That’s when I discovered that she’s an author from Portland, and she was running a series of articles on Flipback books. (Check it out if you haven’t done so already.) I was overwhelmed, outclassed, and even more terrified. This woman I didn’t know, who wrote about intelligent and important writing things like new book formats, was reading my blog. What could I do??

When the panic cleared, I realised my only option was to keep writing my blog, but make it better. Bigger. Stronger. I could rebuild it! I had the technology!

And thus, the modern Happy Logophile was born. So if you don’t like it, pop over to Laura’s blog and blame her.

I’ve had a great time getting to know people in the blogosphere, and to build a community of friends online. I’m thrilled to have so many people read and comment on my posts, and to have such great blogs to read in return. So thank you to my 63 subscribers, regular non-subscribed readers, and occasional visitors. And thank you to you. Yes, you.

No retrospective would be complete without a round-up of some stats and a few shameless plugs, so here goes:

Top 3 Most Popular Posts

Top 3 Most Under-Appreciated Posts (that I really like)

Top 3 Strangest Search-Terms used to find my Blog

  • movie sociopathic psychopathic antagonist
  • your an awesome wife
  • pink glass horn of plenty

I’m so thrilled to have made it to 100 posts, I figured I should do something to celebrate. “Open a bottle of wine!” I called to my long-suffering husband. Then it occurred to me that I celebrate everything by opening a bottle of wine. Just got published? Open a bottle of wine! Just had a baby? Open a bottle of wine! Children survived the whole day without any serious injuries? Open a bottle of wine! Surely there’s another way to celebrate…

This is where YOU come in.

Leave me a comment telling me an interesting way you celebrated a personal achievement. I’ll choose the one I like best, and send the winner a prize.

See, I told you it was all about you.

The prize-winning commenter will win a PDF copy of A Visit from the Duchess.

(That’s the anthology of speculative fiction that includes my short story ‘A Rose by Any Other Name’. So, maybe it is all about me…)


Filed under Opinion, Random Stuff