Posts Tagged ‘notes’

Guest Blogger:

Let me introduce myself – my name is Detective Sergeant Scott Backer, and I’m the lead character in the Operation Series of  YA crime fiction thrillers by DJ Stutley. She’s been working on Operation Romeo Sierra since 2003… Will someone please tell her to get busy and get this case solved! I’ve been languishing in the depths of DJ’s computer for so long, that after 4 successful books, I feared she was not going to be able to continue our successful association.

Let me tell you where she went so wrong.

DJ was one of those writers who never made notes. The whole story unfolded in her mind as she wrote. When she began typing, with just the smallest spark of an idea, the story unfolded page by page. Even she had no idea what was going to happen in the next chapter. Don’t ask me how she did this, but she actually wrote the first 4 books in the Operation Series this way. Not one note on a scrap of paper anywhere!

Then in 2003, along came a real villain, who attacked her with a baseball bat because he wanted her car. Her injuries were significant – recovery was long and slow. By the time she sat down to work on Operation Romeo Sierra, the storyline had gone from her head. It was like she was reading it for the first time. She agonised over it for hundreds of hours, followed advice from numerous other authors and friends, before finally facing the awful possibility that she may never write again.

Fortunately her good friend and fellow author, Simon Higgins, suggested that she put Romeo away and write something new. So in typical DJ style, she had an idea, and started typing. This time she had a notepad beside her and jotted down any ideas that could be used in the story. To her surprise, she discovered that she was actually plotting! For the first time, she could see ahead, make notes and fill in the details. 6 weeks later, the first draft of Operation Uniform Echo was finished. 2 weeks later she sent it off to her writing mentor, Marg McAllister, who sent her an email saying ‘… you’re back!’

During the past 18months, DJ has been able to pick up the threads of Operation Romeo Sierra again and has managed to write 10 chapters. And I am excited to see how the case is looking :) She keeps telling everyone that Romeo will be finished by the end of the year. So come on, DJ – get busy! you’ve still got 5 chapters to go and  hours of editing and proofreading ahead of you, and half the year has gone.

Lesson to all you writers out there: take notes, notes and more notes. Don’t leave ideas in your head where they can be traumatised away, never to be thought of again.

Scott Backer (& DJ)

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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The other day I found a note. The paper was folded many times and the edges were old and bit a tattered. I carefully unfolded it and began to read. It was written by one of my daughters many years ago and I was reminded how something so little – like writing a note – can bring so much joy.

It brought to mind the time I was rostered on to help make the school lunches at the canteen. Once a week I would turn up on a particular day and we would make umpteen salad rolls and sandwiches, and put dozens of pies and sausage rolls on to heat. It was always with a sense of anticipation that I searched through all the lunch orders for the one with my daughter’s name on it. Her orders were never just the regular ‘salad roll’. Instead it would read something like, ‘Most gracious, indulgent, loving, patient mother in the world, your most darlingest daughter desires a bread roll cut in half with a faint scraping of butter on both sides, followed by a slice of tomato on a sprinkling of shredded lettuce. This would be nice topped with a smattering of grated cheese and carrot. A slice of ham will do nicely on top of the vegetables…’ And of course I would reply by writing all over the wrapping of her salad roll, ‘Most darlingest daughter – please find encased beneath this wrapper…’ Once she wrote a rhyming poem that had the whole canteen in stitches of laughter. And one day, her teacher asked for the lunch wrapper so that she could photo copy my reply.

They were fun days – and memory creators. It’s never too late to create memories for those you love.


(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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