On The Run


I’ve been reading a lot about beginnings, watching one too.

The reason for my choice of reading material is that I’ve done the ‘slash and burn’ of my last post, brutally editing my WIP, and now I’m on to the tweaking and fussing. Having cut the beginning drastically, it gets into the story quicker, but does it hook the reader? Thanks to Kristen Lamb’s Blog, http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-single-best-way-to-sell-books-or-lose-a-sale/ , I bought Les Edgerton’s Hooked, a book about beginnings, and it’s got me thinking — and running.

I seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time running up and down our stairs, figuratively speaking of course 🙂 — I’m not allowed to run. Every task is punctuated by sudden flashes of insight into a better word, a better phrase, a better sentence, all to try to hook the reader, and I have to dash to the computer keyboard to ‘tweak.’ It’s such fun — but exhausting.

The beginning I’ve been watching is this:


Now this has had me running as well, figuratively, of course 🙂 and it has a lot to do with ‘slash and burn.’

At the end of last summer, our son helped my hubby drastically ‘slash’ the height of the high hedge at the bottom of our garden, in order for us to better enjoy the view when sitting on the patio. This was not accomplished without a lot of nonsense, I have to add.

After the ‘slash’ came the ‘burn,’ but not until the wood dried out sufficiently to burn. This took time and several bonfires, so there was still a pile of old hedge trimmings waiting to be burnt this spring.


Meanwhile, we noticed a regular visitor to our garden. Every day, we could hear and/or see a female pheasant in the garden and she kept disappearing somewhere up the back of it. We wondered if there might be a nest, but couldn’t see it. Then, one day a few weeks ago, we noticed a courting couple strolling in the field behind the garden. The male looked magnificent in all his colours and he fair strutted.


His modest companion began to scurry across the last few yards of the field then flew up and over the hedge and into our garden.


Pheasant photos courtesy of Wikipedia

His strutting now took purpose and, for quite a time, he patrolled the perimeter of our garden, strutting and marching to and fro, checking the boundary was safe.

When he decided all was in order, he strutted off and we went to search out the nest. So much for ‘burn!’ There’ll be no more bonfires in our garden for a while, for there, deep in the middle of the old, dried-out cuttings we found Phyllis the pheasant:

IMG_1757You have to look close; she is amazingly well camouflaged, but she’s there all right, ‘cooried doon’ and ready to sit it out till her eggs hatch. I run in and out several times each day in the hopes of sneaking a photo when she leaves the nest to feed — which she doesn’t seem to do very often. But, patience is rewarded. I got my photo of the ten eggs nestled there.


And what a beginning her chicks will have.

The fox who used to steal the farmer’s chickens seems to have moved on from the nearby woods


The neighbour with all the cats has moved away, leaving our garden free of their stalking presence, and me free of the frights I used to get as they jumped out at me from their favourite hiding place behind our hut


and our next-door neighbour has decided she is too old to cope with the dog walking/dog sitting service she used to provide for her family’s dogs. So all is quiet in our garden and Phyllis can get on with her ‘tweaking’ undisturbed, and trust me, she can ‘tweak.’ Every time I check things are okay up in that corner of paradise, she has changed position, facing another few degrees round from the last time.

So I can get on with my ‘tweaking.’ A word here, a sentence there.

I looked up how long the incubation period is for pheasants. It’s 23-26 days. The incubation period for my novel will have been somewhat longer, but the race is on. I wonder which will hatch first, fly first, leave the nest first.

I’m on the run, hoping ‘Here at the Gate’ will be first to venture out of the garden.


20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda Staley
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 18:38:14

    I love this post Christine! You did an excellent job comparing the tweaking of a novel to gardening and the pheasants in your yard. I must say I envy you in having a wonderful garden! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


    • cicampbell2013
      Apr 29, 2014 @ 21:39:10

      Thank you, Amanda. Yes, I am very blessed to have such a beautiful garden and I feel very honoured too, to have pheasants nesting in it. We often have birds nesting in our hedges and trees, but never before have we had pheasants. Today, we were watching a dove taking twigs and things into one of our trees and my husband investigated. Sure enough, his mate was sitting in a partially made nest as though trying it for size while he built it. It was so sweet.

      Liked by 1 person


  2. Yolanda Isabel Regueira Marin
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 20:54:48

    What a beautiful part of the world you live in. Everything in life has its time and and season. I enjoyed the post Christine.

    Liked by 1 person


    • cicampbell2013
      Apr 29, 2014 @ 21:41:37

      I’m happy you enjoyed my post, Yolanda. Thank you.
      I love springtime. All the new life, longer days and sunshine make me feel so good. I appreciate my garden and the countryside around me so much, especially at this time of year.



  3. Michelle Stanley
    Apr 29, 2014 @ 22:59:51

    Wonderful post and about slash and burning in your beautiful garden. The photos are awesome to look at. I can see why you wanted a better view from your patio. The nest of eggs is so nice in its surroundings.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Damyanti
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 01:48:15

    All the best to Phyllis for her tweaking, and to you for yours. Such a wonderful metaphor for creativity– loved this post.

    Liked by 2 people


    • cicampbell2013
      Apr 30, 2014 @ 11:30:56

      Thank you, Damyanti. I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading about Phyllis. I had a look this morning and she’s in yet another position, this time with her long tail pointing up in the air towards me, not her best side for a photo 🙂



  5. Teagan Kearney
    May 05, 2014 @ 17:06:20

    My apologies for not dropping by more often, Christine. I don’t seem to find time enough to visit all the blogs I want to – and yours is at the top of that list – but reading this post reminds me of what a good writer you are – and of the beauty to be found in life around us, if we have the eyes to see.

    Liked by 1 person


    • cicampbell2013
      May 06, 2014 @ 00:00:25

      Thank you so much for your lovely, encouraging comment, Teagan.
      I know exactly what you mean. I just don’t seem to have the time to read all that I’d like to read either.
      Having the pheasants nesting in my garden has made me take some time every day to enjoy the garden and the countryside around where we live. We have doves nesting in our garden as well now, and shell ducks must be nesting somewhere very near because they have been visiting the ‘pond’ in the field behind our garden every day for more than a week now. So, every day, I have to make the rounds of my ‘maternity’ ward, checking for hatchings. It’s wonderful.



      • teagankearney
        May 06, 2014 @ 13:56:59

        Hi Christine,

        I hope you don’t mind but I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award! I couldn’t see anywhere that you had received this award for up and coming bloggers – you can accept the award as an honorary one if you’re too busy to make it a post – although I’d love to read your answers to the questions involved!

        Best wishes,

        Liked by 1 person


        • cicampbell2013
          May 06, 2014 @ 14:01:31

          Of course I don’t mind, Teagan. Thank you. Trouble is, I don’t qualify to receive it because my blog has more than the stipulated followers. Tanya Miranda recently nominated me for this award too, and I had to tell her the same thing. Perhaps I’ll just have to do a blogpost sometime answering the questions anyway 🙂



          • Teagan Kearney
            May 06, 2014 @ 17:09:54

            Hi Christine,
            The following is an attempt to get you to accept – and no reflection on anyone’s number of followers!
            The research I did came up with differing numbers of followers as the eligible criteria for receiving the award. Sopphey Vance (link below) did a search for the origins & found the earliest number was 3000 – and that’s the number I used as I also have more than 200 followers – if that’s the criteria you were using. She also found that the number of nominees was 3-5, not ten or eleven as is often seen now. So……..you could always say you were harassed into accepting!


            Liked by 1 person

  6. cicampbell2013
    May 07, 2014 @ 00:12:07

    You are determined, aren’t you, Teagan? Well, in light of the trouble you’ve gone to to research this matter, perhaps I shall have to accept the award. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Teagan Kearney
    May 07, 2014 @ 21:51:56

    Yeah!! Oh, thank you, Christine! Jumps up and down, waves arms and grins :))
    On the positive side, that’s one post taken care of – and you answer whenever you want. Looking forward to reading your answers – and your questions for your nominees – when you post! :))



  8. Trackback: The Pheasants are First | cicampbellblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Follow cicampbellblog on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: