Friday, 15 March 2013

Rack Off, Bunnies of Doom!!

Rabbits are destroying our fruit trees.  No, seriously, rabbits are all over the place at the moment, because it has been so hot and dry and all the creeks have dried up.  So they’re hopping into our place, searching for something tasty, and they see our beautiful young fruit tree saplings and decide they’re onto a groovy thing.

All our fruit trees have been nearly completely ring-barked, all the way up to the lower branches.  Leaves and fruit on the under-storey of the trees have been eaten.  And the trees are starting to look like tiny gnomes with whittling knives have been working on them

Rack off, Bunnies of Doom!!

It’s very frustrating, watching something you’ve planted and watered and mulched and fertilised and fussed over get attacked like this.  Of course we’ve put up mesh and wire barriers, but the rabbits seem to be really good at getting through these.

Our dog is hopeless.  She’s a herder, not a hunter, so she just stands there, tongue hanging out, watching the bunnies hop all over the place, and then she looks up at you with this expression of ‘Hey, aren’t you going to do something about this?’

  The only way to really deal with it might be to have a cull.  Yes, I know it sounds cruel, but there are literally thousands of rabbits, plague-proportion-level rabbits (listen to someone who lived on a farm in the 40’s, they’ll tell you about it), and the viruses that used to deal with the rabbit population has lost a lot of effectiveness in the dry weather.

So you have to be mean sometimes, and grow a thicker skin, is what I’m saying in my Clumsy-Metaphor way.  Which is a bit of theme at the moment, as I’m dealing with the nail-biting process of US submission, and also copyediting.

I’m not dealing with US submission – actually my agent, the amazing Catherine, is dealing with US submission (thank god, it would take 10 years if I did it).  She is good at breaking bad news to me gracefully, and I’m learning to stay upbeat about not being accepted for publication by the first US publisher who sees my Glorious Manuscript Made of Gold (‘What, you don’t want my work?  What could possibly be wrong with you?’).

I really hope Every Breath goes to the US, for so many reasons, but I will just have to wait and see (not my forte).  As Catherine pointed out, don’t get too depressed about the passes, and it only takes one publisher to like it and you’re on a winner.

I’m also doing copyedits, as I mentioned.  Argh!!  Hilary, you are a great copyeditor, but I am weak, and kind of pathetic.

All my lovely lyrical turns of phrase!!  All my sweet passages of unnecessary description!!  All my pretensions to literary wankery!!  All down the plughole!!!

I keep repeating that the book will be better and tighter, and in fact I can see that it will be.  But…*sigh*…some things I just want to keep.  The ones I’m really attached to in a serious way I will fight for (what ho!  with swords!).  But a lot of changes I will be happy to make, if it means that you the readers won’t be subjected to lines of dull description and awful metaphors (see the bunny one above, for an example).

I just didn’t realise, once I got through the editing stage, that copyediting would be so challenging.  But there you go – you live and learn.

Hey finally, I have to give a couple of plugs:

1)      The new website will be up soon.  The Amazing Jane from Blue Vapours is slaving away over it, and it will be ready once I stop being so persnicketty about stupid details.  It’s like a wedding dress or something (which I never had, so maybe this is a substitute), you suddenly want to get all fussy about the trim and the fabric and the beading around the neckline.  Jane is being very patient with me.
2)      I’m going to be appearing alongside the amazing Simmone Howell (fangirl squee!) and the incredibly talented Kirsten Krauth (who is a debut author like me) at the Castlemaine Word Mine on April 10 at 8pm.  We’ll be doing readings and talking a lot about the process of writing for teenagers.  So come along, even if you’re a teenager and hate listening to people talk about you in the third person (actually, we are kind of grown-up teenagers ourselves, so it won’t be that bad).
3)      3) I’m also going to read at the Newstead Short Story Tattoo in May, with OMG-Cate Kennedy.  Cate is wonderful, and gave me some lovely encouragement when I first started writing.  I’m really looking forward to seeing her again, and meeting with the other gorgeous writers on the day.

I’ll put up more details about the events when I have them, so stay tuned. And have a good weekend!!

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