Winning NaNo! I just crossed the 50K line after writing just over 7K in one day. I think that's my biggest word count in a single day ever. I'm not saying they're good words, but they will be after a lot of revising. But first I need to finish the book. Although I did write the ending today. I usually do it earlier in the process, but I've been struggling to figure out what the ending will be. Then today, it all fell into place. I have a new job too! I start on Monday as a Marketing Executive at the New Zealand Film Commission. I'm super-excited about it too. After working in cinemas for most of my career, and as a chef for the rest of it, I've never had a job with regular hours and weekends free. I feel like this new job will change my life in many ways. And I'm really looking forward to working with all those talented local film makers. I spent a couple of days in Auckland this week with my best friend. She's starring in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the moment, and I got to see the show on Wednesday night. It was fantastic, and she was the toughest Mary Magdalene I've seen yet. But even better than seeing the show was just getting to have a chance to hang out with her again. We don't see enough of each other. What are you celebrating this week?
This week I plan to win NaNo. Yesterday I crept over the 40K mark, so I'm confident I can crack the 50K by Sunday. The book won't be finished, but that doesn't matter. I always knew 50K wouldn't finish my story. My books always end up between 70K and 85K.
I'm going to Auckland tomorrow, so I know I won't get any writing done then, but I have a plan for the rest of the week that should get me over the finish line.
It's a little hard to be celebratory this week because I was made redundant at work. It's the second time in two years, so it kind of sucks. On the up side, without having to go to work, I've had a lot more time to write. I'm almost back on track to finish NaNo on time. Yesterday I went to the library for the day and managed to knock out 5863 words. I'm hoping for 2 more good days like that next week. I'm pretty sure the book I'm writing is terrible, but at least I'm figuring out my characters and their voices. What are you celebrating this week?
Today marked the end of my career in
cinemas. It has been 23 years now,
and it was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I walked through the theatre doors for the last time today after being made redundant for the second time in two years.
I never planned on a career in movie
theatres. I love movies, sure, but
I always thought I’d be a filmmaker or an actor. I went to drama school in London to make the second one a
reality, and it was there I fell in love with film. Thank you, Museum of the Moving Image.... When my drama school class fizzled out because of the number
of drop-outs, I decided to go to university instead, majoring in theatre and
In my first year, I joined the local film
society and soon became a member of the committee. One of the committee members’ jobs was to run the projectors
for the society’s screenings. In
those days, most of the films we screened were from the society’s 16mm film
library. I quickly became
confident in running the 16mm projector and eagerly waited for the days we had
35mm films so I could learn to project that too.
I volunteered to work for the International
Film Festival and was given numerous chores from ticketing (in the days before
computerized ticketing systems), publicity and marketing to carrying films
When a new cinema opened in the city, I was
first in line to apply. After a
chaotic opening night, I was one of the first of the new staff to be picked as
a supervisor. I didn’t know it
then, but my career was born on that night.
I only worked there a few months, as a
supervisor and a projectionist, before disagreements with the management led me
to leave. It was temporary. A year later I was called by the
then-operations manager and asked if I’d like to return as assistant manager. I accepted.
A year or so later, I took over as the
manager when the then-manager left to pursue other things.
After that, apart from a six-month period when
I moved to Sydney, I’ve managed cinemas.
I managed a large (and growing) complex in Melbourne for five years,
then moved back to New Zealand after my first child was born and was headhunted
for a role here. I was at that job
for over 8 years before being made redundant when the business changed hands
for the third time in my tenure as manager.
I was lucky enough to get picked up by
another local art-house almost right away. But now, after a year there, restructuring of the management
team has left me redundant again.
There have been so many changes to the film
business in the time I’ve been in it, most significantly, the move from 35mm
film to digital. Reporting and
ticketing has been computerized and is so much more efficient and easy. The whole way films are released has
changed, with almost every title going to almost every cinema in town. With so much competition for people’s
entertainment dollar, and the number of platforms films are now available on,
audiences have shrunk and changed.
When I was a student, going to the movies was a very viable form of
entertainment; almost every Friday night we went down to the Paramount for the
late show. Now students rarely go
to the movies, preferring to download movies to their iPads or computers.
But there will always be a place for
cinema. There is nothing like
sitting in the dark with a roomful of strangers, sharing the highs and lows of
a great story playing out on the big screen. Even after 23 years in the business, I still get a little
thrill when the lights start to fade and the screen lights up.
Sometimes the film is great, other times
disappointing. But going to the
cinema to see a film will always beat seeing it on a TV screen in my book….
My good friend, Nyrae Dawn, has a new book out today. And I'm lucky enough to have had her over to answer a few interview questions, and to tell us a little bit about her book The Weight of Destiny.
So nice to see you back here on Fiction and Film.
If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?I think I would pick Laney from Facade because Adrian owns my heart. I would listen while he wrote and recited poetry for me all day.
In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?I think the tie to Virginia Woolf. Also Virginia's ongoing story she has within the book, if that makes sense. Her little snippets that start some of her chapters.
What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?I loved writing the growth with Ryder and Virginia. That was hard at the same time because I needed so much to get it right.
Which of your characters is most like you? Virginia, all the way.
Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you. I'm pretty shy. It's much easier not to come off that way online.
What other interests do you have outside of writing? Reading. LOL. Movies, I used to scrapbook a lot too.
Do you have a nervous habit when writing? A guilty pleasure when writing? (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write) I like to write at the bookstore, does that count? I seem to get more work done there.
Thanks for coming along, Nyrae. Always good to see you. Now, let's find out a little about your latest book.
“crazy” runs in your family and your namesake is known for walking into a river
with a pocket full of rocks, a girl kind of wants to avoid tempting fate at all
costs. For Virginia Nichols, the only way to dodge that bullet is to be perfect
at everything: school, student council, life. Too bad it’s all a lie, and
underneath the perfection...Virginia is lost.
Blackstock knows a thing or two about being born into fate. The talents passed
down from his father aren't exactly normal; instead of learning how to throw a
fastball, he was taught to hot-wire a car like a pro and pick any pocket in
sight. He’s got criminal blood, just like his old man. And as soon as he turns
eighteen, he’ll be living life on the run with his dad.
Ryder and Virginia meet on the beach, it seems they couldn't be more different.
Soon they discover they’re both trapped in their lives—Virginia denying her
fate, Ryder embracing his. Like the rocks in Virginia Woolf’s pockets, the
weight of their destinies will pull them under. But being together brings out
pieces of themselves they didn't know existed—pieces that make them want to
take fate into their own hands and rewrite their destinies...if it’s not too
I read Nyrae Dawn, I am reminded that words are her art, and she wields her
paintbrush with all the skill of Rembrandt. The tender romance of Ryder and
Virginia is palpable on the page, and the story sings with all the complexities
of the interwoven plot. I read late into the night to finish this one, and once
again, Nyrae has managed a masterpiece. LOVED." ~ USA Today and New
York Times Bestselling Author Courtney Cole
Weight of Destiny unfolds like a storm. It is dark and electric and
incredibly romantic. I lost and found myself. The characters are so vivid, so
alive, you'll forget anything but them exists." ~ David James author of
Between the Stars and Sky
Weight of Destiny is YA at its absolute finest. Nyrae Dawn flawlessly
brought two seemingly broken characters to life and showed everyone deserves a
second chance at love and life. This breathtaking storytelling will blow you
away." ~ USA Today Bestselling Author Tiffany King
Weight of Destiny is art at its best, Ryder and Virginia canvasses on which
the good and bad of life and love unfold in brilliant, true color." ~ Author
“It’s just a different
kind of strength. You are who you are, and you don’t care what people think.
You don’t care that you’re sober at a party where everyone is drinking. You
don’t give a shit if you’re the girl who leaves to do her homework, because
it’s important to you.”
“Is it still strength if
the reason behind it is fear?” She sounds like she’s drifting away, her voice
getting softer and softer. I need to reel her back in, keep her close, so I
roll to my side, lean my head into my hand and let my elbow prop me up. With my
other hand, I brush her cheek with my thumb.
“I don’t know. You’re the
smart one. Regardless, I know you’re strong.” Because I know she’s dealing with
more than I’ve seen; I just don’t have a clear picture of what it is.
“We’re still different,
though, so why me?”
Words get trapped in my
throat. I can tell her it’s because of what I said—she’s beautiful and strong.
I can tell her it’s because sometimes the loneliness in her eyes mirrors mine,
only I didn’t know it was there before her. Maybe it’s to prove I won’t screw
up with a girl like her the way Luke thinks I will. There are a million
possibilities, not all of them good. The only thing that manages to come out
is, “Because the weight isn’t as heavy when I’m with you.”
Her breath hitches. I let
my fingers gently glide against her neck, her throat. When she speaks, I feel
the words vibrate through my fingertips. It’s a crazy-wild feeling, and I want
it to keep going, want to touch all her words.
“The weight of what?” she asks.
I don’t know… I shrug. “Of everything.”
But it’s not my words that
settle into my chest. It’s hers. Virginia shakes her head and answers her own
question. “Of destiny.”
This week it's all about catching up. I'm about 9K behind in NaNo because I had 6 days where I had to revise for my agent instead of working on my new story. But I'm back with the NaNo book now, and pumping to try and get back on track.
I was made redundant at work yesterday, so I should have more spare time to write before the end of the month. I have it worked out in my head how I'll manage to hit the 50K by the 30th, but whether I actually manage to make the plan work or not is another question entirely.
You'll probably find me at the library a lot this week.
I managed to finish my revisions for my agent relatively quickly. So my MS, along with some ideas of where I might be able to make significant cuts to it, were sent off on Thursday night. I also sent her STUMPED to read, so now I'm sitting here biting my nails while I wait to see what she thinks of it.
Having finished the revisions, I dove back into my NaNo book yesterday and managed to whack out over 4K in a single sitting. A couple more days like that, and I'll be back on track for finishing by November 30th. Fingers crossed I can find the time and energy for more 4-5K days.
It's been a hard week at work, so I'm celebrating it being over.
I am a writer, cinema manager, film reviewer and mother to two boys. As you can imagine, with all that going on, I don't sleep much.
My first book, AN UNSTILL LIFE is available now from Musa Publishing and all good e-book sellers.
Rep'd by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary.