Luna’s stuck in the city – plus, a ghost!

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollinsSo my digital-writer-in-residence gig continues (until June 25!) – along with my story, Mermadelaide. (It’s about a mermaid stuck in the city and is being told via daily Facebook and Instagram posts.)

It’s funny that once you start writing a story, you see symbolism everywhere. Like the below oceanic wall at a play area at Westfield West Lakes, and the fibreglass whale at Mitcham Square shopping centre (which my twin lads are captured wrecking… er, having fun on).

Another funny thing happens when you begin telling a story. Naively, I thought I was alone in this, but now better understand the phenomenon since listening to a Longform podcast with Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert. (Did I mention I’m a podcast addict?)

Anyway, what happens is… another story idea sneaks in and tries to demand your attention!West Lakes WestfieldBoys at whale

So since telling the tale of Luna the mermaid, I’ve had another idea for a digital story about a ghost girl, dubbed Ghostelaide, vying for my attention. Here’s how inspiration struck…

I did an interview recently with TV writer-turned-novelist JD Barrett about her debut book, The Secret Recipe for Second Chances. It features a ghost chef and was a little inspired by the 1947 film, The Ghost and Mrs Muir. (My husband couldn’t believe I’d never seen the movie, so nicely got it for me!)

Then I listened to a podcast interview with US romance author Susan Elizabeth Phillips about her new novel, Heroes are My Weakness, inspired by gothic clifftop romances (hello Hitchcock’s Rebecca). And I realised I loved films like that, too, and all things ghostly. At the time of listening to the podcast, I was going for a run, which took me past Mitcham Anglican Cemetery. I went in and discovered it features heaps of cool headstones from the 1800s.

So I started imagining another photo shoot for a story, comprising lots of black, and cream lace, and red velvet, plus misty roads and grey skies in our wintry City of Churches. I began to wonder if I could even start my own business, telling digital stories like this for time-poor people. Or…

Was it just another crazy idea of mine, which I’d soon discard like my on-trend oversized winter vest?

Elizabeth Gilbert had this to say about the writer’s muse on the Longform podcast, and what can happen mid-project. “The tricky bit [with beginning a new story] is that you have to start from a place of: ‘This is what I’m most excited about, this is what I’m most curious about.’ And then you have to recognise, and know, what will happen is that six months into it, it’s going to feel very boring and tedious, because making things is often boring and tedious.

“And another idea is going to come along very seductively and do The Dance of the Seven Veils in the corner of your studio and say: ‘I’m a much more interesting, much more exciting idea. Why don’t you abandon this project that you’ve been working on for six months [Carla – or even less than six weeks!] and come and run away with me to paradise?’

“And you have to be smart enough to know not to do that, because six months from now, that project will also be dull and boring, and another idea will come and seduce you. And you have to be able to stay with it through the boring part and get to the end… When those other seductive ideas come along, you have to tell them to take a number.”

Point taken. So, Ghostelaide, take a number!

Pic: Ghosty inspo for me at the Torrens Arms Hotel recently.

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