Goodbye Doesn’t Mean Forever

I’ve spent a lot of time with Rachel O’Brien, the protagonist in Up She Rises, but it’s time to say good-bye, although maybe not forever. The manuscript has been submitted to literary agents. I can either keep pressing refresh to check for non-existent emails or I can start working in earnest on novel number two.

Here’s what’s in my writer’s toolbox so far:

  • a working title (too awful to share here)
  • a plot outline
  • the beginnings of writing (fifteen pages of long-hand and five Word pages)
  • a pile of notebooks (I’m considering longhand for the first draft )
  • a nameless main character

Let me tell you a bit about Nameless. She’s a new lawyer from a small town who accepts a position with a big law firm in Toronto. Cue fraud, whistle-blowing and sexual harassment. All in a day’s work, right?


I plan to spend today world-building. What about you?





Dildo & Famish Gut: What’s In A Name?

When I started writing Up She Rises, I named the fictional fishing village in which its set Twig. I just liked the sound of it. But I might need to change it.

My lovely Newfoundland born and raised cousin recently read the manuscript. She loved it. (hear that agents?) She was fulsome and kind in her praise, with one small caveat. She didn’t think the name Twig worked:

“If you are planning to get the book published in Newfoundland, you should consider changing the name of the town. Newfoundland is known for its unique and colourful place names and Newfoundlanders take particular pride in their nomenclature. So the name really has to work for the Newfoundland audience to buy into the book.
[A] tree reference doesn’t really work. There are place names which refer to geographical features i.e. Rocky Harbour, Bell Island etc. And names that suggest refuge like Little Hearts Ease, Heart’s Delight, Comfort Cove etc.”
I could dismiss my cousin’s advice, but I value her opinion. As much as it kills me, it might be time to say good-bye  to Twig. I’ve been playing with names on this list of abandoned or resettled communities in Newfoundland. Twig could become:
Little Bay
Turnip Cove
Little Tickle
Pudding Cove
What do you think?
Now enjoy this video about another proposed name change in Newfoundland:

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Up She Rises is a work of fiction, but its genesis was a two year period in the mid 1980s when I taught in a small fishing community in Newfoundland. I lost touch with my former students when I left, so it was a pleasant surprise to receive an email from one of them this week:

I am sure you don’t remember me. I am a former student of yours from Patrick’s Cove . . .  I heard you have written a book and I’d love to read it. I hope all is well with you and that life has treated you well. You were so good to me.

Of course I remembered her and emailed back straight away. Then I started thinking about that time in my life, even digging out old photo albums:


That’s me back in the village. I taught high school, so these two gorgeous little boys weren’t students. Whoever they are, I am loving their freckles.

Where were you in the 1980s?


Here’s One I Made Earlier

Writers are often told to persist in the face of rejection. Send it out again. Keep submitting until you find someone that gets it, someplace that wants it. Mostly I follow that advice.

But this poor little baby has been seeking a home for so long now that I’ve decided to let it live here, on my friendly, inclusive, supportive blog.

It’s called A Google A Day and it was short-listed in the Writing Without Restrictions category of the The Yeovil Literary Prize 2015. Please give it a cuddle and make it feel at home.

A Google A Day

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