Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writers on rafts, upcoming events and a rather lovely surprise

The floods that have hammered Queensland over the last few weeks have drawn support from Brisbane's Mop Army to sports folk donating amazing packages.

The Queensland Writers Centre have come up with a fund raising project that offers something for everyone. Ever wanted your name in print? Well, how about your name turning up in John Birmingham's latest volume of all-explodey goodness? What about a book package signed and sealed by Emily Maguire? Or a visit from Linda Jaivin? I don't get out much, so I volunteered myself for a few things.

Five bucks will buy you a ticket in Writers on Rafts that's right $5! Prizes will be drawn on February 25. More information here.

I have a few events to update on the events page - until I do that, this is what the year holds so far:

List of upcoming events: 

Sunday, 6 February, 3pm
I'll be having a yak with Partners in Crime  at the St Helens Community Centre, 184 Glebe Point Road, Glebe. We're going to have a chat about The Place of Place in Crime Fiction. 
Cost is $10/ $5 (members). Contact:

May 6 and 7
I'll be at the Literati Festival, Gold Coast QLD. No website as yet, but I've seen the guest list and it's going to be a great weekend. 

Saturday 4 June, 10am - 4pm
I'll be at the NSW Writers Centre, for a 1 day Workshop Perfect Crime

Then in September back up to Queensland

17 and 18th September I'll be doing two workshops with the Queensland Writers Centre

17th September, Cairns 
Workshop From Cleanskin to Crimewriter

18th September, Townsville 
Workshop From Cleanskin to Crimewriter

#WIP is the twitter hashtag lonely writers wave from their desks to signal their engagement on the work in progress. 

As to my, #WIP, it progresses. 

The scary bits I've been putting off have started to appear and the first set of eyes have started reading. Doing it like Dickens - I'm sending out instalments. Keeps the pressure up on me not to succumb to the vortex of endless rewriting - so far so good.

About to clean off the big white board (as the breakdown of final scenes there no longer resembles the breakdown of final scenes in scrivener and in my head) and look at landing the plane in detail. While it's good to forward plan - it's also good to stay flexible. (Usually results in a bit of back-stitching - but it won't be the first, or the last, time things get unpicked, re-arranged and re-stitched.)

In a delightful bit of news this week The Old School has been shortlisted in the Debut Fiction Category of the 2011 Indie Awards alongside some very fine books indeed: Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer, Book of Lost Threads by Tess Evans, The Legacy by Kirsten Tranter.

As an unknown novelist you step into a very very very crowded agora with your first book. The difference between debut, and dead in the water, comes down to the enthusiasm of the Indie Booksellers, readers themselves who are prepared to pick you up off the shelf and put you in the hands of other readers. It's every wallflower's dream come true.

Thank you Indies!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

B2 D1.5

Realising that I've been a tad slack about updating the blog - the new year is here and already into double figures!

So Happy New Year to all. May it bring stories to tell for one and all.

Busy being busy here, still working away on B2 D1.5 (that's Book 2 Draft 1.5). The 1.5 is because the majority of it is first draft plus a read through and re-draft whilst a small but significant section is fresh - very fresh - smoking, steaming fresh - some of it, in fact, is still "cookie dough" to borrow an analogy. Which is to say, I'm still at the stomach knotting, knuckle gnawing stage where I wonder if the story I have to tell and the way I want to tell it is going to work. No way to know for sure until it's finished and being read, so press on.

I've started to send out bits to be read by a trusted set of eyes. We're "doing it like Dickens" - starting at the beginning and moving on. It's good because it gives me the sense that the story is in motion, so to speak. But I'm still to get my head around releasing it into the editing/drafting process in a much rawer state than The Old School. That's when I get the stomach churning, knuckle gnawing, yips again.

I did get to take my mind off my own long-dark-tea-time-of-the-soul for the traditional five day pilgrimage to the SCG for the New Years Test. Nothing like seeing a team of cricketers being comprehensively humbled, before a huge crowd to put things in perspective. The fact it was an Ashes Test just made it hurt more.

The Barmy Army were in full voice (have to admit, it is good to see them finally get the team they deserve). Twenty thousand voices singing "The mighty - mighty - English" (and other much ruder things to Mitchell Johnson) was rather traumatising by Day 4. That's how I felt and I was only in the stands - I imagine Mitch Johnson might need therapy.

I confess to returning home and watching the South Africa V India game on the telly at night, to remind myself of what a real contests looked like. Steyn and Tendulkar both at the top of their games. Magic.

And ..... oh yes.

Indulged in a little extra-curricular fun involving a short story and a cylon.