Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

No more waiting February 13, 2011

Filed under: General strangeness of life,Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 11:50 pm
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There’s been a lot going on for me this week, a lot of things I don’t really want that have brought me to a decision point. No more waiting.

I’ve realised my sister was right when I started this blog and she commented that it was kinda negative, to be passively waiting for the Call. I didn’t get it then, I do now. I’m gonna be out there chasing that Call instead. Life’s too short to sit back waiting for things to happen.

I’m reinventing myself. My new policy is to say yes to everything, as long as it’s not illegal, immoral, or waaaaay too fattening. Already opportunities and possibilities are opening up for me.

A couple of things triggered this. One was the recognition back around the start of the year that although I had an active web presence, nothing at all linked it to the name I’ll use for my writing. I’m not going to have mulberry, or waitingforthecall on the covers of my books! So I had to reinvent my internet presence sometime this year anyway. But the biggie was finding a breast lump last week. I’m waiting now to have that investigated.

No matter how much I know that the odds are it will be benign, there’s that little voice that whispers “But what if…?” And my answer to that is that life’s too short to live the way I have been living, pushing my dreams to the perifery day after day, eaten up by the resentment my life isn’t how I want it to be. If this lump turns out to be a nasty, I’ll be making some big changes in my life. If it’s not, I’ll still be making changes, but a little slower.

Starting with changing the name of my blog. I’m tired of waiting.

Next post I do will be the last one here, linking to my new blog. Now I gotta go get it set up!


The Manslator December 19, 2010

Filed under: General strangeness of life — Autumn Macarthur @ 3:43 pm
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Just had to post this- it’s sooooo funny! (Thanks Maisey!)


Where we can go for our English romance heroes? December 9, 2009

Filed under: General strangeness of life — Autumn Macarthur @ 9:41 pm

I walk past here every day on my way home from work.

Haven’t seen any Alpha males yet, sadly. Maybe they are all in storage.

Or maybe because, as you can see from the rubbish photo, I’m always in too much of a rush to catch one.


Love and books November 30, 2009

Filed under: General strangeness of life — Autumn Macarthur @ 6:43 pm

Just read this about a small bookshop in NY who started a matchmaking board for singles in the store. What a cool idea!

One of the things that attracted me to A was his love of books (at last a man I could have an intelligent conversation with!), though he still doesn’t totally understand the purpose of fiction, being more of a just-the-facts kind of guy.

Our favourite date place was the Borders bookshop on Charing Cross Road (now sadly in receivership), and we always bought each other a book.

Makes me smile remembering…


On not writing August 16, 2009

Filed under: General strangeness of life — Autumn Macarthur @ 8:26 pm
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I’ve been feeling low. Maybe it’s because I’m tired, maybe it’s because I’m post-viral, maybe it’s because I’m staring down the barrel of 50, and I haven’t achieved a single one of my life goals. Yeah, that’s it,because just writing it makes me want to well up in pathetic self-pitying tears.
I also think I have gone very wrong with my writing. I’m trying to write what I think I “should” write, not allowing myself to discover what comes naturally for me.
I know I need to just drop Luk and Emma’s story and start on the next one. Luk and Emma’s story has served it’s purpose. It was a learner story, not one that was ever meant to be submitted. I only started it because I hate those royalty stories second only to sheik stories (though I’ve read some good stories of both, I think it’s such a crazily unreal premise), and wanted to see if I could do one. Then I made that promise to my writing group that I would finish it, so I’ve kept going with it long after I wanted to dump it. Quite simply, the story sucks, because it hinges on the hero doing something too stupid- losing control and kissing the heroine where they could be seen, in the town square the night she is announced as the next princess. He just wouldn’t do that, no matter how tempted he was, because what he stood to lose was too important to him. To avoid that I created a whole convoluted kidnap thing, as a device to force them to spend the night together. But for that to work, the heroine has to do the stupid thing and run away and get herself lost. Only way to avoid that is to have a real villain kidnap her, but then that got even more complicated, with the villain a more interesting character than the hero. So I went back to the first idea, but I keep getting stuck on the fact that my hero would simply never make that mistake.

This story was never going to work, because I started with a premise and then tried to create the characters to fit it. I like Emma, but Luk has never felt real to me. It might conceivably work redone in first person, purely Emma’s POV, in a more chick-lit style. That idea excites me. If Luk doesn’t have to explain why he does something so out of character as kiss Emma in public, because the reader is in her head only, reeling with her shock and surprise, it could possibly work. I like the way what goes on inside the hero’s heart and head is a mystery in first person heroine POV, it’s more the feel of old romances before hero’s POV came in. Less emotional intensity, but more like real life.
Our lives are already too full of miserable things that have to be done, whether we like then or not. Writing was starting to feel like yet another one. I am going to forget about the NWS. There’s no point putting in a crappy story that bores me silly- what’s the point of wasting the reader’s time giving a critique unless I intend to follow through?

The idea of rewriting Luk and Emma in first person is interesting, and I’m tempted to do it, though maybe that’s just an avoidance strategy so I don’t start on Nell and Mace’s story.

On the plus side, taking the weekend off from writing has let me do the big clear-up at home I’ve known for ages was desperately needed, but had been putting off so I could write. I’ve thrown out loads of old paperwork I’d been saving for some unknown reason (every bank statement since I arrived in the UK thirteen years ago, for example- why?), and rearranged my bookshelves. I had dusty books packed solid two deep on the shelves in my bedroom, but the new shelves in the hall and the sitting room I put up months ago were inexplicably empty.

I’m hoping this represents something symbolic, some sort of getting my house in order on an inner level too.


General freakiness July 12, 2009

Filed under: General strangeness of life — Autumn Macarthur @ 8:28 pm


This post has nothing to do with writing, just the bizarreness of life in general.

I was searching for a picture on internal conflict for the last post (I am a visual person, I like pictures that give me the feel of what I am trying to say). 

I found this, on a Google Image Search for “internal conflict”. 

Okay, a picture of a cat food bowl coming up on a search for internal conflict is a bit odd.

The thing that is really freaky is- we have the identical bowl, full of identical food. It’s on my kitchen floor right now. And the picture was on a Neil Gaiman website. 

I’m not sure if it means anything or not, like I should read a Neil Gaiman book, or at the very least watch “Stardust”. Probably means nothing except that life is surprising. 

I know I’ve seen this discussion somewhere before, but which Neil Gaiman book is best to start with, for someone who’s never read his stuff before?