Musings

It’s the end of New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week, and I missed yesterdays post – I’d been going to tell you about some stuff and then today I was going to post the final version of the short story I started two years ago during the very first Blogging Week.

Yeah, not gonna happen – sorry about that. My touch pad and buttons on the laptop started failing a couple of days ago, and doing anything on the computer has been incredibly frustrating. So I avoided it. As much as possible. Which means that the house is looking very tidy (hooray for those spring cleaning vibes!), but I haven’t managed a lot of anything writing related for the last wee while and the short story is very much not in a ‘final’ state.

That’s life sometimes, isn’t it.

So while I have not been writing, I have been thinking, mostly about how one goes about bringing a Kiwi voice to their writing. I’m thinking about this because my current work in progress, Saving Tomorrow, is set in a future Wellington. I’m thinking about it because I’m still breaking down the walls I have when it comes to using New Zealand as a setting.

It’s what I know, it’s what I love, but there is very much a barrier there. I think, because most of the fiction I grew up on was from elsewhere. The TV shows, the movies, the cartoons. So much of everything we had access to growing up was from other shores, and it makes me ponder – which parts of my writers voice are New Zealand?

In some respects, I think this is a redundant question. Part of being a NZer is that we are a cross between a colony and a native race. We’ve got this blend of what was already here and what was introduced – that’s still very true for today, as it was for years gone by. So naturally, we draw from a whole range of things and our language, our way of communicating with the world is influenced by everything we are exposed to.

The thing I need to remind myself is that NZ is rich with possibilities and that if I have no particular setting in mind, then it’s a positive and not a negative to make the most of my country of origin. I frequently um and ah about where to set something, and I just need to plug ‘New Zealand’ in as my default. My writing will be stronger for it – and hell, there are less of us, so in some ways its more original than your typical medieval fantasy, or other overdone settings 😉

I hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks, and checked out some of the other posts written for it.

Tomorrow I’ll be raving about how getting a dishwasher has revolutionized my life…

And, I’ll leave you with another pic from the beach. Isn’t the blue of the sky amazing?

seagulls in flight, after eating our sandwich crusts

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2 thoughts on “Musings

  1. I find your hesitancy fascinating; I have never shied from writing about where I live, the landscape I know. Granted, that’s California, also England. So much of my fiction dwells in those places; I find I need to tear myself away, not to get stuck in a rut! 🙂

    But other authors do this too; Stephen Kind immediately springs to mind, John Irving as well, both staying close to their northeastern American roots. I think it behooves a writer to invest part of their work in their native location. No one else could write about New Zealand the way you could!

    It also sets a tone to the work; yes many (maybe most) of my novels sit on the West Coast of America, or are hanging around Northern England. What’s wrong with that? Does a setting make a reader say, ‘Hmm. This place holds no interest. I’m choosing another book.’ That’s only true if the writer makes that place utterly without merit. Sure California might sound cool, but it’s just a state, a collection of streets and houses, or more rightly some of the biggest stretches of no-man’s land. Which is also wondrous, if approached correctly. I see the snapshots you include, not of your gorgeous girls, but that land, the vistas, mountains and seas, deep uncluttered blue skies; oh Cassie! You’ve got a diamond right under your nose!

  2. I can understand your thoughts regarding using a location you are very familiar with as a setting, especially when most of the fiction you’ve read tends to take place in other places.

    On a side note – I find it quite amusing that the majority of the films that are currently being made (or have been made in the last 10 years) have no qualms about filming in NZ due to the vast differences in topography from one end to the other.

    I do agree with Anna above. As far as a setting goes you are sitting on a gold mine…I think what you might really be struggling with is how to give a voice to the setting itself.

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