Elizabeth Jane Corbett

writing her way home

Shut up about the novel and let the festivities begin

Okay, I’ve been slack, I mean, sick and, as a consequence, haven’t blogged for a week. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. As soon as those antibiotics kicked in, I launched from my bed like a rocket land let my pent up thoughts fire out across the page (how’s that for an overextended metaphor). As a consequence, I have finished re-drafting the female protagonist of my novel.


It has been an interesting process, this round of re-drafting. Much less painful than I’d envisaged. I asked five people to read the novel. Three sets of comments were aligned on the most important points. The other set, were an outlier, but nevertheless important. All said that my protagonist was not active enough absent from the most crucial turning point in the narrative. All agreed she needed to be there.

Damn, even I knew she needed to be there.

But…how exactly?

Fortunately, my fifth reader, Euan Mitchell, has a good head for story structure. He can talk archetypal story principles like no one else. He said, your protagonist needs to be there, and she needs to be making all or nothing decisions. We debated this back and forth by email. Me, trying to work out how to do this by making the minimum of changes. Euan, urging me to think beyond pain, and in the interests of the story. Eventually, I came up with a plan. And full of jet fuel (yes, I know, uber corny) I wrote. After we get back from holidays, I’ll test it out on my writing group. But…it’s heading in the right direction, because I liked the aspects of my character that I found in those re-written scenes.

Hey! I hear your say. Shut up about the novel. What’s this about holidays?

Well, here’s the thing. I turn fifty today.

Yes, I know. I don’t look a day over forty nine.

But…there you have it. I’m fifty.

In addition to my recent fossilisation, Andrew and I celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary in January. As a consequence we are combing business with pleasure. I am looking forward to speaking Welsh. Cycling in the Cotswolds. Travelling in Wales. Swanning around London with one of my Welsh speaking friends (while Andrew works). Taking Andrew to the Camden Markets. Visiting friends in Wales. And Essex. Seeing the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge and Monet’s Gardens, for the first time. Oh, and did I mention I may get a chance to speak Welsh now and then.

Sadly, my ambitions of learning travellers French have not got far beyond je suis Australiene and je suis algergique. I’ve been too busy practicing Welsh, which, I am sure you will agree is a far more useful language.

What? You don’t agree. Let me tell you, forget Mandarin people, Welsh is the language of the future.

If only more people realised…

Anyway, regarding my lacklustre performance in French, I have masterminded a strategy. If I get in trouble. Or worse, mistaken for an English tourist, I will simply revert to the Welsh language. There is only one small downside to this plan. My husband might divorce me. But…we all know he’s only jealous because he doesn’t speak an up there, on fire, and all-round-useful, second language. It’ll come out in court, I can tell you.

If I wasn’t a writer, I’d say see you in five weeks. But…here’s thing. I multiply the pleasure of events by re-hashing them. You can therefore look forward to being assailed with sub-ordinary photos of Andrew and I in remarkable locations. If you are lucky, I’ll even write the captions in Welsh and English.

Meanwhile, it’s my birthday. So, let the festival of ageing begin.



Go for it Scotland!


Notes on flying


  1. Festival of aging? Festival of remaining remarkably youthful is more like it. Happy Birthday, Liz. I don’t believe you’re 50 though – me thinks you fib. And have a wonderful time away. Your excitement sings through your post and I can’t wait to hear all about it and see the photos of Andrew in front of misty landscape.

  2. Wow, Liz, I’m not seeing 50! But I am seeing a brilliant, happy, fabulous time away on your trip. Happy, happy birthday and happy anniversary to you and Andrew. Enjoy every minute, take lots of photos (of both of you), stay safe and safe home in a few weeks. xx Chris

  3. Ah, you are such nice friends. Fifty is the new forty the say. 🙂 I’m sure hoping so.

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