September 29, 2011

Last Saturday, a small but dedicated crowd of YA readers and writers* convened at Northcote Town Hall (which, BTW, has the fanciest loos I’ve ever seen in a council building) for the second day of A Thousand Words. My session with Tim Pegler and Bec Kavanagh was about making writing work – with work, with life, with family, with distracting pets and various, somewhat related tangents about publishing vs self-publishing, the rise of the ebook and whether writers have to have a social media presence. I love doing sessions like this because it's so interesting to hear other people's approaches to their writing and to being An Author.

As with all bookish festivals, the highlight for me was meeting other writers and readers before and after the session. I caught up with lovely Megan-Literary Life, met my YA book-to-movie doppelganger (we both gave the screen versions of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging the thumbs up and Nick and Norah the thumbs down), chatted with the next James Patterson (he’s only 14 but he’s already planned his first trilogy, a couple of standalone novels and the eight-book series that will rocket him to fame – I am in absolute awe of him!), and talked about the long and thorny path to publication with a fellow web-contenter.

Bec and the ATW crew are already brewing up big plans for next year’s festival. I know where I’ll be on 4 and 5 August 2012!

* mainly people who identify as both, if the ones I chatted with were any indication

September 20, 2011

A Thousand Words

 I'm very excited about A Thousand Words in Melbourne this Saturday, not least because I'm on a panel with the ridonkulously talented Tim Pegler and ATW director (and writer) Bec Kavanagh about how to make writing work as a career.

I don't know if I've figured out the answer to that conundrum yet, but as someone who has in the last 18 months worked full-time, freelance and - my latest incarnation - part-time while writing Book 3, I have plenty to share. (Including the fact that writing fiction full-time was probably the hardest job I've ever attempted.) It's a fact for most writers that their books don't pay the bills, so most of us have to take on some other kind of work, but something I only realised recently is that having other work - whether it's writing-related or not - actually makes you (well, me, anyway) more productive and more focused when you do sit down to write.

Saturday's program is aimed at writers and aspiring writers and includes sessions on creating great characters and getting over the dreaded rejectionitis. Check out the festival program for full details. You can buy tickets online (a bargain at $20 for a full day!).

September 15, 2011

Star picks: foxes and (police call) boxes

Fave finds in my blog feeds last week:
  • You give, we give is an inspiring initiative from three Aussie YA book bloggers - Jess, Brodie and Rachel are collecting un-used books (a great way to clear your Goodreads will-never-read and duplicate-copy shelves)and donations to be used to buy books to put under KMart Giving Trees in Tassie, NSW and Victoria this December (via In The Good Books)
  • illustrator Owen Davey shared the secret to drawing you very own fox (hint: start with a banana)
  • or, if foxes aren't your style, you could knit a cat (including this luvverly ginger)
  • Rookie asked some quitewellknown people how they survived their first year of high school
  • My Girl Friday shared great tips for beating book blogger's block (just in time for this blogger, thanks Steph!)
  • Craftzine shared a project to make a kitty Tardis (the inside's even more deluxe!)

September 9, 2011

Star picks

My new job is great (not least because it is in a library) but it's taking me a while to get back into the swing of working part-time and keeping up with what's going on in the rest of the (albeit, online) world.* It's been so long since I've logged into Twitter that I feel like my tweeting boat has sailed Facebook is a distant memory, I managed to miss both Indigenous Literacy Day and International Literacy Day, and I've fallen woefully behind on my blog reading. I have, however, fallen in lurve with two vaguely new things:
  • Wordplay, a weekly writing podcast from authors Nathan Bransford, James Dashner and J Scott Savage
  • Rookie Mag, a new site from Tavi of Style Rookie and a bunch of other talented young writers/artists/creators that I wishwishwish had been around during my tortured adolescence teenage years.
And, of course, I cannot survive without my regular dose of Maru...

* yes, full-time workers and students/workers who also study/students who also work, I do realise how ridiculously pathetic that makes me. I am in awe of all of you!

September 2, 2011

When the writing gets tough...

It's been a tough couple of months at my wee laptop desk. After a flying start, my work in progress stopped progressing and refuses to budge. There is obviously a problem, but is it with:
a) the plot?
b) the pacing?
c) the structure?
d) all of the above? (aka the triumvirate of first draft suck)

Hopefully I'll figure it out soon, but after yet another day of fruitless re-storyboarding there was only one thing left to do this afternoon: bake Freia's brownies.

I'm not much of a sweet tooth (I'll take a cheese board over a cheesecake any day), but the smell of hot, fudgy chocolatey goodness coming from the kitchen right now is pretty good. At least one thing worked out well today...