On Year Nine school camp, at Apollo Bay we divided our week away between the beach (and residence at a convent!) and camping by a river in the Ottway Ranges (my girlfriends from MacAuley and Connell houses will remember this trip well!) We did a two hour hike into the Ottway Ranges to our camp site, with ruck sacks etc as a prelimary ‘rough it’ for Outward Bound the following year. By sunset it was obvious we were lost, the PE teacher deciding to go a different route to usual. Just before the sun went down we came to the edge of a massive cliff and below, the mouth of the river we were meant to be camping on.
We spent the night on top of the escarpment, looking down on the lights lit on the beach for us, in a creepy adventure (which earned us front page on the Colac Times the next day!). The entire episode was made all the more bizarre by the lack of food and water, but George Michael blaring out into the wilderness from my friend’s hot pink tape deck (which she’d carried all the way in!)The next morning we turned around and started back, met half way by the local SES who loaded our rucksacks into their utes, passed around the water and shared lots of smiles amid rather grim faced 14 year olds.
The failed bushwalk and the sinking moment of realisation, seeing the huge valley below and knowing we couldn’t get there easily without turning back, came to mind last week when I sat down to do the fourth draft of ‘Kissed by the Sun’ – very aptly renamed by the wonderful Lily Mulholland. It felt like being caught on one side of the creative divide knowing I had to be on the other… and wondering how the hell I was going to get there. I should have played some George Michael simply to lighten the mood!
And yes, there was a moment of turning back when I got to the edge, realising I couldn’t get to the otherside with what I had. Sadly no creative SES volunteers arrived to help shoulder the burden. Instead lovely, writing mates kept my spirits up, especially Carrie Clevenger who gave me thumbs up on the first two sections I rewrote, giving me the confidence to keep on going.
And I got there… I ploughed through the massive rewrite to get me to a cohesive POV, mourning the loss of the male POV in the story, to end up with a solid fourth draft of around 5,500. And it has all been pretty much plain sailing from there, with minimal line edits, and then minimal proof reading corrections. Thanks to Paul Anderson and Lily Mulholland for the line edits, as well as Stacey Larner and my own darling, Dave, who did the proofreading. Also my heartfelt thanks to the original beta reading team who helped me see the light, Jason Coggins, Carrie Clevenger, Dan Powell and Rebecca Dobbie. Again, this adventure in writing has proven to me, writing is a team effort.
‘Kissed by the Sun’ went into Ticonderoga Publication’s submission machine at 9am this morning. An auspicious way to celebrate the Sagittarian new moon and hopefully a fruitful month of submissions else where.