Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Novel Writing - Chapter One

 Novel Writing – Chapter One

In another lifetime I used to be a member of the Australian Romance Writers. Since then I’ve had two nonfiction books published by a traditional publisher and seven non-fiction books self published on Smashwords and Amazon. While I love reading fiction, it’s non-fiction that I’m comfortable with when I’m writing. 

Recently, while doing some spring-cleaning – as one does – I discovered a manuscript packed away at the bottom of a box and long forgotten. I realise now that as a member of a Romance Club, somewhere along the way I must have decided to at least givewriting a romance a try. The result was a romance that I must have written and then packed away never to see the light of day until now. 

Rereading it 20+ years on, it doesn’t seem all that bad. And the other interesting thing is that now that I can barely remember writing it, I’m beginning to look at details that make up the manuscript rather than the story itself. 

For example, the manuscript is approximately 55,000 words long, and has twenty-two chapters. This makes the average chapter 2,000+ words long. According to writing gurus the 2,000 to 4,000 words is a standard chapter. 

Believe it or not, over the many years of fiction writing, people have worked out the length a chapter should be for an adult novel. I’m not sure whether it’s for the benefit of the writer or the reader. 

Anyway, here is what one writing guru says. 

A chapter consisting of 1,000 words or less is too short. I have read books that have had short chapters, and which ended with 60+ chapters. After a while you do tend to recognise that this is the author’s technique – for better or worse. 

One that runs between 1000-1500 words is very short. Very likely, if the book is short to start off with, your chapters would be inclined to be short also. 

Between 2000 to 4000 words is the standard. 

A chapter that that runs over 5000 words is getting too long. 

What I found about my romance novel is that while my first two chapters were around 4,000 words, the rest were 2,000+ words. 

Reading through my manuscript I realise that the first two chapters where more or less setting the scene - the rest were the story tellers. In the end, a chapter stops when you’ve made your point, and you begin the next chapter when you are ready to make your next point. 

And so, as far as number of chapters are concerned, I think I’m doing all right with my romance. 

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What about you? Trying your hand at novel-writing. Tell us your story.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Unisex

Once upon a time perfume manufacturers assumed that it was only the woman who needed to play the siren. All fragrances were meant to be used by women. Those times are now gone. Well-known manufacturers of perfumes are now evolving perfumes for both men and women. Some of these include Avon, Aramis, Balanciaga, Balmain, Calvin Klein, Cardin, Cerruti, Chanel, Christian Dior, Coty, Dana, Elizabeth Arden, Faberge, Gievenchy, Gueralain, Gucci, Jean Patou, Jovan, Nina Ricci, Revlon, Rocher, Schiesedo, Weil, Worth, Yardley and Yves St. Laurent, to name a few.

More interestingly, many of the modern perfumes are beginning to be said to be unisex perfumes since they can, and are worn by both men and women. In the past it was assumed that a certain type of scent would be automatically appreciated by a man, while a sweeter, softer fragrance would appeal to the woman.

In particular, it seem that Guerlain Vetiver, a French perfume created by Jacques Guerlain's grandson, is popular both among the women and the men. Some of its ingredients include bergamot, lemon, mandarin, neroli and coriander, as well as vetiver and cedar. A fresh, light perfume with a touch of earthiness in it, its appeal seems to go beyond the gender lines.

As it happens, the idea that some fragrances are masculine and others feminine is a comparatively modern concept. The ancient Greek men and women both scented themselves with exactly the same floral perfumes while men of the Victorian period thought nothing of wearing such flowers as roses or violets in their lapels. It’s suggested that culturally women and men have been taught to choose perfumes advertised for their gender. However, left to themselves, their noses are not gender oriented. 



Monday, July 13, 2020

Packing your parachute

   Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, ' You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!   'How in the world did you know that?' asked Plumb.'I packed your parachute,' the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, 'I guess it worked!'  Plumb assured him, 'It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today.'

Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, 'I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.' Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, 'Who's packing your parachute?' Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours! Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do - you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

What Time?


I find it quite remarkable that with almost everybody running around with a mobile in their hand, some service providers have difficulty in telling you when exactly they’ll arrive at your home. Take my blood-taking people.

When they are to come to the house their idea of giving you a time is to say ‘we’ll be there between nine and two o'clock’. This means that sometimes you get a pleasant surprise by their arriving mid-morning, and other times you’re stuck at home till two.

One day two o'clock came and went and they hadn’t arrived. Half an hour or so later a phone call informed that they would be there within the next two hours – presumably no later than five. Long story short, they didn’t arrive at all. This happened to be a Friday.

Obviously they weren’t going to come either on Saturday or Sunday, but I did get a call to say that the matter would be treated as urgent and they would be there on Monday.

Now I looked up the meaning of ‘urgent’ in the Thesaurus and the meaning given include:

1.crucial
2.vital
3.pressing
4.imperative
5.serious
6.important

As the blood-test was supposed to have been taken on Friday, and it was now to be taken on Monday, I agreed that the matter was urgent. And visualised the person racing in first thing Monday morning. .

Talk about naïve. The person did arrive on Monday. But no earlier than normal.

Does that mean that when they give you that between 'nine and two o'clock' spill they really mean they may or may not get around to you? And only when they say the matter is urgent, that they definitely will come – at time that suits them.

But we should be grateful for small mercies. More recently I received a phone call telling me that they will arrive on a certain day, only to receive a letter telling me that they will come on a totally different day. (presumably in that office people with phones don't speak to people who type letter) lI have to assume that whatever day they come it will be between ‘nine and two’ or ‘two to five’ or not all. Unless. of course, it becomes urgent.

Today is supposed to be one of the days. As it’s already one o'clock there’s a good chance that today will not be the blood-test day.



Update: I was at my computer when there was a knock on the door. Yes, they did make it between 9 and 2 o'clock. It was exactly 1.59. Is there some power game going on?

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Men never learn

The first apple..

A woman ran a red traffic light and crashed into a man's car.
Both of their cars are demolished, but amazingly neither of them was hurt.

After they crawled out of their cars, the woman said; "Wow, just look at our cars!
There's nothing left, but fortunately we are unhurt.
This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days.”

The man replied, "I agree with you completely. This must be a sign from God!

The woman continued,
"And look at this, here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished, but my bottle of 75 year old scotch didn't break.
Surely God meant for us to drink this vintage delicacy and celebrate our good fortune." Then she handed the bottle to the man.

The man nods his head in agreement, opened it, drank half the bottle and then handed it back to the woman.
The woman took the bottle, immediately put the cap back on, and handed it back to the man.

The man asks, "Aren't you having any?"

She replies, "Nah. I think I'll just wait for the police."

Some years ago Adam ate the apple. Men will never learn!

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm" Winston Churchill


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