What I’ve Been Writing: DARE Dark Republic

Gosh, okay I am about… three chapters away from finishing book 2 of Dare.

This has been a long and complicated road for me, mostly because he is not an easy character to deal with.

He’s uneven, makes bad decisions, does the wrong thing… and yet he narrates this coming of age story about his life as a sidekick transitioning into becoming a super hero.

I love Dare, but he drives me crazy because even sometimes I roll my eyes.

In saying this, today I wrote basically the epicenter of some really excellent plot development I have in store for the final and third book.

Just before his final examinations to achieve his Heroes Administration License his best friend, a girl called Bright confronts him about the lies he’s told tangling it up in the real reason his girlfriend died in the previous book.

Check it out! I am so excited to finish!


Book Review: Mouse Wedding

I used to read these books when I was little.

The Mouse books by Michelle Cartlidge. I’d get them from the library and barely any of the little details hidden inside would be there because they’d been read by so many little kids.

Anyway I found this one in a second hand store todayBOOK1 book2 book3 book4 book5 book6 book7 book8 book9


I am aware this isn’t much of a review, but these books are adorable so if you find out, GET IT!

How It Feels When I Want To Write

Most days start like this for me.

I get up ridiculously early (around 5:30) and then have to drive into work, most of the time pretty pumped.

I get there at 6:20am and while you may look at me in shock and demand how I manage to be so excited to get to work at that hour here’s why.

From 6:20 until 7 I write. Generally I don’t get much done, maybe two pages or something but it’s awesome.

I sit at my desk, listen to music on my phone, and drink at least two coffees.

It has become my routine and every morning despite the cold at the moment and the dark I get this warm, fidgety feeling about getting to write.

This morning I realized what it reminded me of.

There was this one time we had to transport Manny in a cardboard cat box somewhere.

Now Manny is not a compliant creature, so once inside the box, which was held on my knee as Dad drove, he took to thrashing around inside of it to free himself.

He yowled, and pushed hard against every possible corner and side. Eventually taking a single claw and running it along the bottom a number of times before managing to slice a hole then proceeding to drag himself through it and eventually escaping.

We have never transported Manny in anything but a metal cat cage since… but that’s besides the point.

How Manny was in the cardboard cat box and how I feel driving into work each morning for that 40 minute writing time is basically the same.

Something alive inside, wanting to get out

Making Big Corrections In Your Story

Have you ever had that moment when you’re writing a story and you get like… a third, maybe two thirds, maybe even almost the entire way through and you are like… uh actually.

I was wrong.

You’ve set up a character development and it hasn’t gone according to plan, so what should have been a straight forward development has become rocky and uneven and just at the end of the day not working?

This has JUST happened to me.

I think it happens more often than most writers admit to.

And the problem is that when it happens you:

– Feel super crap about your writing abilities

– Feel SUPER overwhelmed because now you have to go back and fix it all

– Feel even more SUPER overwhelmed because you think you have to start all over again because it’s been wrong the whole way through

– Throw your story in the bin because it’s too hard.

Have you ever been here? Because I have.

Here’s the secret though, BIG corrections may feel big, but they’re actually not. Generally big corrections can be fixed fairly easily so whatever you do don’t panic, and certainly don’t throw your story in the bin.

The important thing to keep in mind when you feel you need to make a major correction to a plot line, a character’s development or whatever is to remember that the whole story doesn’t discuss whatever it is you want to change the whole time. Generally it is only a series of conversations or explanatory sequences that need to be adjusted.

It is exactly like Frozen. You know when the trolls remove all memory of magic from Anna’s childhood recollections? They change the circumstances but not the ‘fun’ or the experience.

I have been writing the second book of Dare, and there was this pivotal point where Dare and his friend Bright decided to be entirely honest with one another because both their lives are framed by deception in some way.

How nearly finished the book I have realized I have set this moment of honesty far, far too early.

I realized that they should decide to become friends at one point, and then should decide to be honest far down the track. The issue is that the whole way through there are little knots of conversation about being ‘honest.’

Here’s what I want to do: completely freak out.

Here’s what I am going to do: stop, and finish the story. Write it as I have now decided with the new conversation about honesty and continue on at this point with my ‘new reality.’ then once I have FINISHED take the whole script and high light rewrite points and systematically change and edit out what shouldn’t be there as it doesn’t make sense with the new story.

People try and change everything in the moment. That’s the worst thing because it would be like painting your nails one by one doing all three coats on each finger before continuing. It is better to get it down, then look at the whole thing and figure out what you have to work with.

I hope you find this encouraging… because I need to listen to this myself today.

A Few Years Ago…

So a few years ago I finished of my degree (this was 2012)

I’d studied a Bachelor of Ministries and when it came to finishing off my papers I decided to undertake a research project.

Was looking through things recently and found it again so thought it might be cool to post it here for anyone interested.

My research question basically looked at the ways that ‘salvation’ is talked about in the context of youth ministry. I found it super interesting so if you’re interested in the same things check it out!

Youth and Salvation

Book Review: Emmet’s Guide to Being Awesome

It is book week at my mum’s school and when book week happens they usually set up these huge book buying tables.

Yesterday my mum brought ne a book from one of these book buying tables.

Here’s the thing. I LOVE the Lego Movie. Like… it is 100% my sense of humor, my fiancé and I went to see it when it came out and laughed the whole entire time.

So I was pretty pumped with the book mum got me.

Anyway it’s hilarious so I took some photos for you to take a look at.

One day, I am absolutely positive I will show this book to my kids. It both captures a really, really excellent thing (Lego) as well as offering some very funny but useful pieces of advice.

CoverThe front cover – obviously

Back coverBack cover… so good

believe Benny contents goodcop tricky situations Valid advice Where are my Pants

Review: The Cookies In My Top Drawer

So there’s this epic new New World Supermarket in Browns Bay.

I’m not sure why but shopping there is a gazillion times more fun than other supermarkets. Everything is so fresh and awesome looking.

Anyway, my mum went there last week and came back with these vanilla and chocolate biscuits. They were pirate themed and awesome.

Went again last night with my mother and found that not only did they have the same biscuits, they had two other versions! One being astronaut and the other pop star.

Obviously I went for the pop star biscuits.

Here’s the packet, they are so cool because the back describes the characters I am ultimately about to eat!

backofcookie frontofcookie

Just A Reminder: Check Out My Videos

Hey super awesome people who read my blog

I just wanted to remind you that if you haven’t already, you should TOTALLY check out my videos

A few weeks back I got to host two sessions on why telling stories is important.

During the sessions I discuss the benefits of various kinds of writing and communication and why it matters to remember and hold onto things that happen around us

It is actually super exciting and if you haven’t seen them, are interested in stories OR just want to laugh at my accent here they are below!

Session One here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEomD22M3C0

Session Two here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9B2Zh7aNEs

Tuesday Story: Pukekos

This morning I had an appointment out at a site in East Tamaki.

I drove out with my dad (who is also my boss) and we pulled the car up to a parking space.

Almost instantly, a crowd – and I mean a crowd – of Pukekos began to mass around our car.

There were at least nine of them.

In case you aren’t from New Zealand or haven’t been here before and have no idea what a ‘Pukeko’ is, I’ll tell you.

It’s not some strange mythical creature it’s a bird with long legs, that is a sort of purple/blue with a red beak that stalks around swamp lands.

This was weird because generally you’d think animals think ‘oh no a car, I will run away FROM it.’

But Pukekos are different.

Pukekos are a pretty aggressive kind of bird. They love food, and aren’t afraid to ask for it.

I suppose this was what they were doing around the car this morning.

Anyway, here’s a photo of my new friends.


Blurred Lines: Social Media Isn’t Your Diary

Guys, look.

You need to know something.

I am one of those people who sees Facebook posts and at least forty percent of the time rolls their eyes.

Over zealous posts about political statements… ten zillion pictures of babies doing things that are generally treasured most by the parents of the baby than random strangers (it’s not that I hate your baby…)… over the top shares about their life/health/food that they just ate/what they read on the news.

I like social media as much as the next person. It is excellent for helping you remember people’s birthdays, living vicariously through friend’s fantastic holiday places and a higher RSVP success rate with event invites.

But sometimes, I think people are forgetting that social media is a forum not a diary.

I know you know someone like this. Someone who uses Facebook, or Twitter or whatever as their own personal diary as opposed to what it is.

A forum upon which to share some of life’s experiences.

This is where the lines have been blurred.

Understanding what a ‘forum’ is.

The word Forum is actually a Latin word which means ‘out of doors.’ in other words, public.

These days because it is so easy to click ‘post’ to share an idea or thought or photo your-kid-may-not-thankyou-for-posting-in-the-future or even worldview rant. As a result people have lost the realization that not everything needs to be shown out of doors.

If social media really were a diary THEN of course, by all means post your quiz results, pictures, internal emotional states and the like. The problem is that it isn’t.

The fact of the matter is that it sets people up for disappointment. Some people use Facebook or other social media platforms in order to self assess. ‘How many ‘likes’ did that post get?’ ‘how many comments did that picture or thought get?’ To see how we should feel about ourselves by what other people feel about ourselves.

Social media, as I said before, is awesome. It is a window through which we can put on some fairly awesome displays and feel connected and united with people whether they are close or far away.

What we need to ensure we don’t do is blur the lines… is forget that no matter our privacy settings it IS a public forum, and we ought to keep that in mind before posting, especially if our intention is to self assess.

At the end of the day if you need a diary, get a diary…