Firstly reader, I owe you an apology, I was totally caught out last week and Monday slipped past without permission. The rest of the week quickly followed suit and I only managed to work on my MS a total of 2 hours. I have consoled myself with the knowledge that 2 hours is a great deal more than I have done in previous months.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Part of my excuse for failing to write to you dear reader, is that I was completing my last assignments for the http://www.writeruniv.com short course. The Emotion and Body Language master class with Mary Buckham was as interesting as it was difficult. Interesting in that it gave me an insight to why there have been times in my life, when I just “knew” something or someone was not right. The things I have learnt in this course and the lectures have caused me to watch peoples actions with more understanding. That even though some actions could indicate one thing, with other subtle actions the cluster of body language cues may mean a different thing entirely. Difficult in that it’s hard to put those flickers, twitches and raised eyebrows onto the page in a fresh way, without reverting to worn old cliche’s.  For instance, I watched my Pastor as he gave a reading from the Bible, I tried to listen also, but I found myself focused on the cues he gave. As he spoke he often held his hands out to the side, palms up and wrists exposed. I’ve learnt that this is a cue to show that he “has nothing up his sleeve” so to speak. He was telling the truth. He had nothing to hide. His body language matched his verbal communication. Then I watched teenagers in a social situation. Slouched on a lounge, legs sprawled for the boys and leaning back, girls slightly curled torso, but leaning toward the boys, girls legs twisted around each other, almost double crossed. By watching this subtle conversation, and many others, you become aware of how you can convey the emotion of a situation without simply saying “She liked him.”

Another interesting byproduct is that I listen and read more carefully. I identify where the author is showing me an emotion rather than just telling me the character felt this way or that. I am sure that my writing can’t help but improve reader. Surely, for me to be able to cue you into a mood without pointing it out, will bring you inside my characters, rather than just to observe, but to immerse you in the moment. So onto the other short courses I have completed and learnt from. Active Settings, rather than to write a shopping list of furniture or plants in the landscape, I want you to move through the room with me, running your finger through the dust on the mantle, bumping you toes on the stool by the chair.   Pacing, this course has shown me how to keep the story moving, to slow it down to  give you, reader, a moment to take a breath. Then to increase the tension and keep you reading, wanting more. My next course is “Sex on the Page: Understanding and Crafting Sexual Tension” Now reader, settle down, this course does not mean that I am about to launch into graphic detail about my characters sexual exploits! Far from it, Maddy is a chaste gentlewoman and I am not about to cast any shadow over her good name. But she is a normal woman in love with a man. Therefore I want to convey her feelings and actions in the best possible way. So reader, I will join Mary Buckham on this month long learning journey.

So to answer my own question, Why all the courses? Reader it is for you that I push myself, to deliver, for your entertainment, the best writing I can. To allow you the easiest read. That when you read my story of Maddy and Daniel that you might be swept up in the adventure, cheering them on as they forge a life in the colony of New South Wales, 1831.