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Archive for January, 2010

Every so often I have to helicopter out of the jungle to conduct a flyover on┬áA Yankee Down Under. I love when I’ve completed enough writing to assess where I’m at. I chart┬áthe name of each completed chapter, a brief description, its length and the month and year that the action occurred. Before I started keeping track like this, the book meandered all over the place in time and length and I often forgot important events.

For example, Chapter three was almost twenty pages long, while the other ten chapters range from 6-10 pages. I split chapter three into two chapters: one about the kids’ first day of school and one about navigating the roads and new friendships in Canberra.

The chart also pointed out huge gaps of time when I knew the kids had school holidays, but I hadn’t written a thing about them. How could I have forgotten about trips to The Great Barrier Reef, Stradbroke Island, Noosa and New Zealand? I’ve been so worried about avoiding a travelogue style that I’ve left some pretty cool material out.

The risk is spending too much time on my chart, finding fancy borders and making headers in bold. Time to ‘copter back into the jungle and write some more.

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  • Finish my memoir
  • Attend a writer’s conference
  • Support other bloggers by commenting now and again
  • Continue to follow and support Australian authors
  • Enter a contest/submit to a literary journal
  • FINISH MY MEMOIR!!

Short and sweet. Black and white. Posted and no turning back.

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In a fit of bravery (and encouragement from MaryJane) I submitted an excerpt of A Yankee Down Under to the East Hampton Star and it was accepted! It is a chapter about spending Christmas in Australia and it was published on Christmas Eve.

file:///Users/beth/Documents/Scanner%20Output/ThinkBethlehem_EHStar.pdf

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After three tries, my writer’s group likes the first two chapters of my memoir, A Yankee Down Under about my family’s move to Australia. Maryjane Meeker, the head of the Ashawagh Writer’s Group stresses the importance of getting the beginning of our books right. Not only are the first twenty pages or so most likely to be read by an agent (if we’re lucky), but it helps establish the voice for the rest of the work. In my second draft I wrote paragraphs about my family’s life in the Connecticut suburbs before I launched us over to Australia. In the third draft, with a couple of strokes on the keyboard I was able to summarize our life in Connecticut and get to what Maryjane calls ‘the gold’, which for me is Australia. This was a great Christmas present, but now we’re at January 6th and it is time to get back to work. Many more chapters to be written.

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