Coming to Bundaberg: How to Write Popular Fiction

 

Queensland Writers Centre and Bundaberg Writers Club will be hosting a two day workshop covering the A-Z of Writing Popular Fiction.

These interactive workshops suit beginners and emerging authors, or experienced writers who feel they need to refine their technique.

Venue: BWC Meeting Rooms, 80A Woongarra Street, Bundaberg Central.

 

 

On Saturday, May 18

10.30am – 4.30pm

Learn how to pace your novel so that a reader won’t want to put it down.

Develop and  improve your writing skill-set through practical exercises and group discussion.

  • Create compelling hooks and story questions
  • understand the different pacing required in different genres
  • understand pacing needs to vary within a novel
  • learn how to slow or speed the pace of your story
  • recognise the boring bits, and have the courage to leave them out
  • learn how to ratchet up the tension in each page
  • understand how structure affects pacing

Book Now

On Sunday, May 19

10.00am – 4.00pm

Everything you need to know about writing commercial fiction, in a nutshell

Explore key areas using practical exercises.

  • how to generate ideas and turn those ideas into a workable premise
  • investigate voice, and how voice relates to genre
  • Understand conflict, and how it generates plot
  • What is ‘classic story structure’?
  • Learn to develop a framework for your story
  • Learn about character arcs and how to show character growth and change.
  • Understand the commercial fiction market and pathways to publication

 

Book Now

Title Me Trivia October 6, 2018

Q: Aidan Turner loses his shirt in this latest television outing for Winston Graham’s story of 18th century Cornwall. Can you name the novel?

PS. Just curious.  Does the delightful Ross (played by Aidan) scything the field bare chested, or rising from the Cornish foam, improve the story, or enhance viewer experience, or both?

So, you’re writers, and readers, and movie goers. Right!  You know how, sometimes, the movie isn’t a patch on the book. And how occasionally the movie matches the book. And how seldom the movie exceeds the book. We could chat about this for ages, mostly because there are hundreds of adaptations to chat about and each is different.

The real question is, how many movies do you know of that started off as a short story or a novel? You might be surprised.

Why not CRASH the CRUSH Block Party, catch up with the club in Post Office Lane on October 6, and test your knowledge at AWESOME ADAPTATIONS. It’ll cost you $2pp to enter into a fast half hour of trivia testing, with three rounds between 5pm and 7.30 pm.

Yes, there is loot to collect. Books, naturally. We are a writers club.*

Kidslit                                                     AA Children's prizes

Mainstream                      AA Mainstream prizes

Comics                                                         AA Comics prizes

*

To be honest,  Shop 85, the comic book shop, as well as giving us comics, has included a little something unexpected, a $30 barber shop voucher for your favourite hairy hero. And for the true comic nerd, Bundaberg’s own Shane Foley (currently inking Phantom comics) has donated an original artwork, The Shadow King. IMG_1982

All you have to do for a chance to win is be there for the 7.30- 8pm slot – carrying that $2 entry fee.

Thanks to all the sponsors helping make Awesome Adaptations the best trivia event on the block.

 

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Oh, the answer to the challenge: Name the novel adaptation in which star Aidan Turner loses his shirt. It is, of course, Poldark.

Poetry’s Gift to Prose

Simon Kindt – Cool

Every now and then a book arrives full to bursting with an idea so thought provoking, or titillating, that nobody cares how well it’s written. Despite the novel’s faults, people who’ve hardly read books (let alone buy one) will see it for sale in a service station, or games emporium, or stacked in a toy store, and buy it just because they’ve heard the buzz this little slab of paper created.

Even while you shake your writerly head over them, you can’t deny the power of the ideas that gave us Fifty Shades, Ready Player One, Da Vinci Code or even those Potter books.

The rest of us can’t rely on coming up with a world defining idea.

We’re going to have to haul ourselves out of the ordinary with our word skills, and that’s where the gift that is poetry enters the mix. While prose is all about sentences and what comes next, it’s the poetic eye (or is that ear) that adds the colour and feeling to the prosaic. When your writing is too flat, too ordinary, too bolted down to reality, it’s poetry that helps writers add sensory detail, playfulness, and a rich imagery deftly drawn.

Poetry is about nuance, about showing and suggesting connections. Story should be about nuance too, but it’s so easy to forget all that when your main aim is to achieve a word count.

And, of course, poetry is about language and how it fits together to create an effect as well as create a story.

Simon Kindt – in action

On Saturday, May 19, Queensland Writers’ Centre is bringing Brisbane poet, arts worker and teacher Simon Kindt, to Bundaberg, to our rooms at 80A Woongarra Street.

The morning session, The Spaces Between: An Introduction to Poetic Writing   is an exploration of metaphor, imagery and writing for sound, designed for writers who want to test the notion that poetry can lift there words out of the doldrums.

The afternoon session focusses on bringing poetry off the page. Beyond the Page: Exploring Movement, Sound and Music  is for beginner and intermediate writers, and explores the power of sound and music intrinsic to poetry.

To book, click on the links above. Costs per session range from $30 QWC members’ concession to $55 non-member non-concession.

Two day Workshop: Writing for the Screen

Books and movies are like apples and oranges.  They both are fruit, but taste completely different.” Stephen King.

Do you dream of writing a movie – or a television show – but you’ve only ever written prose, articles, plays or short stories? What is it makes writing for a screen different than other forms of storytelling? Do you wonder how exactly you can take an idea from a blank page to a full length script?  Then this two-day workshop is for you. Bookings are now open for non-members of the club who might be interested in screen writing, but be quick, places are limited.

Bookings close Wednesday, April 4.  For more details or to secure a place, please contact The Secretary.

WRITING FOR THE SCREEN is a two-day workshop designed for storytellers who are new to the principles that underpin successful screen storytelling.

Over the two day workshop participants will be given a broad introduction to what they’ll need to know before embarking on writing a screenplay from scratch, or adapting a screen story from another source.

Participants will learn about the four pillars of story (character, plot, structure and theme). They will learn what differentiates screen writing from other forms of writing, how screenwriters develop their ideas into full scripts via the use of short documents, and, finally, what constitutes excellence/best practice in the screenwriting field.

Matthew Dabner, who was trained in screenwriting and producing at the University of Southern California’s school of Cinematic Arts. Matthew has been working in the film and television  industry for over twenty years developing and financing independent and studio-financed films, and working extensively as a script editor. Matthew has also taught screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio school.

Participants will be provided with a produced screenplay ahead of the workshop to use as a reference example and as a tool for further analysis.

On the second day participants will have the opportunity to workshop their own one-page idea for a screen story and will be provided with the tools to continue developing their ideas into the future.

Where  : 80A Woongarra Street (Club Rooms)
When   : Saturday & Sunday, April 21 & 22.
Time    : 9.30am – 5pm (Saturday); 9.30am – 4pm (Sunday)
Cost     : $50 (non-members) – covers Saturday and Sunday sessions, morning and afternoon tea and coffee. BYO lunches, or take advantage of the near-by cafes. Club Members’ booking closed.

Remember, bookings close Wednesday, April 4.  For more details or to secure a place, please contact The Secretary.

 

Authors’ DIY Publicist Class

Can you afford to ignore this Masterclass?

Offered as part of WriteFest, this Masterclass from Jaki Arthur, Head of Marketing Communications, Harper Collins (Sydney) provides a unique opportunity for regional writers who are ready to put their work onto the public stage.

Authors think the biggest question they have to grapple with is whether to publish traditionally, or to self-publish.

In reality the biggest question revolves around how they will make sure their works reaches an interested audience.

jaki-arthurAsk yourself, are you a proactive author, ready to work with your publisher and publicist to garner your novel the success it deserves? Or are you a writer who likes DIY, and needs to know how the professionals do it?

Jaki has over 20 years of experience in book publishing in New Zealand, the UK and Australia across retail and publishing sales, marketing and publicity. She has run her own successful arts PR agency and is currently Head of Marketing Communications at HarperCollins publishers,  Sydney. Jaki has worked and toured with authors from all over the world publicising books across all genres.

This is an interactive and feedback-focused workshop. Jaki lets you in on well-kept publicity secrets. You can gain practical skills to help place your book in the hands of your target audience. Learn how to make yourself heard over all the yelling and hallooing.

It’s a Masterclass for aspiring writers, self-published writers and traditionally published writers.

Now really, can you afford to ignore this Masterclass?

Limited places available on Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9Please book early

Jaki facilitated this Masterclass at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2015. Read The Guardian’s article about the Masterclass HERE.

Competition Winners Announced.

Thank you to everyone who submitted to this, our last short story competition for a little while. Although the competition has been especially successful, in our view, the club has decided to change focus for a couple of years to better service the needs of members.

Winner

Janice Williams for Tough Guy. Tough Guy

Janice describes the story as a ‘combination of working dog stories I have heard, and a recognition of the serious problem farmers face with depression.’

Judge’s Comment: Tough Guy is a gentle and moving story exploring the important and topical issue of depression rates amoung Australian farmers . It is well written with heart and humour, and a distinctively Australian voice. It builds powerful moments of drama through subtle characterisations and intimate moments.

Runner Up

Susan Bennett for Butterflies and Roses

Judge’s Comment: Butterflies and Roses has a sophisticated structure and delivers a great twist. Through clever writing and characterisation, it offers beautiful and unexpected insights on life and love.

Special Mention

Cameron England for  Close Contact

Judge’s Comment: Close Contact deals with compelling themes of climate change and isolation through excellent world-building. The dystiopian imagery and depth of characterisation are handled well through clear writing and subtle pacing, ending in a moment of high drama.

Short listed:

  • Mark Fowler Larrikin
  • John Pittmann Blame the Pink Umbrella
  • Carmel Lillis Submitted
  • Naomi Currie Honey Eater
  • Melanie Napthine Escape Artist

Meg Vann said: The standard of (short listed) stories overall was excellent. Each and every story offers terrific writing, characterisation and drama. The stories focussed on intriguing and topical themes, and all showed a sophisticated understanding of craft, using a high level of imagination and expression to create excellent narrative interest. It was very difficult to select the winners. I encourage all writers involved to keep honing their craft and sibmitting their stories to markets

Short Story 2016 Update

Meg Vann

Meg Vann

Meg Vann has agreed to be our final judge this year. She says she reads too much – loves crime and thrillers – eats too well, and is perpetually ready for adventure, which is undoubtedly why she is taking on our short list, which this year numbers eight.

For writers who may not yet be familiar with Meg Vann, she was for many years a core member of the Queensland Writers Centre, taking on the role of Chief Executive Officer for three of those years but always, always, always encouraging writers to dream of growing sustainable careers; to be valued and respected and enjoyed.

Meg is a writer, a digital experimenter, writing tutor, lecturer (now at University of Queensland) while studying criminology at Griffith, and convenor of Sisters in Crime (Brisbane Chapter).

We expect that we’ll be finalising the winner and runner-up by mid May, 2016, at the latest.

Good Luck to our final eight.

 

Is there a difference between Landscape and Setting?

I think there is.

But what I think doesn’t matter. On May 21, BWC will be hosting T M Clark, a writer born in Zimbabwe, now calling Queensland home (having also lived in England) to help us understand how writers need to be Inspired by Landscape, rather than settle for using setting as an atmospheric backdrop.TMClark

Bookings are Essential through the Queensland Writers Centre.

As you can imagine, setting features strongly in TM Clark’s books, which are described as African Suspense. Some might think Tina Marie is ‘lucky’ to have first hand knowledge of a landscape we Australians probably consider exotic.

One point might be that we are all living our own exotic lifestyles. We just don’t notice any more.

The other point might be that Landscape is much more than a location, exotic or otherwise. Landscape isn’t a relief painted with broad brushstrokes. It’s not an accessory. It is the living world your characters find themselves in.

Elizabeth George, American Queen of Crime, a writer of mysteries set in England (you might know the Lynley Mysteries), has this to say in her book, Write Away.

On the surface, it would appear that landscape and setting are the same creatures, identical twins given different names just to confuse the beginning writer. This, however, would not be the truth since setting is where a story takes place–including where each scene takes place–while landscape is much broader than that…Landscape in writing implies much the same as that which is implied by the word when it’s used to refer to a location in a country: It is the broad vista into which the writer actually places the individual settings of the novel, sort of like the canvas or other medium onto which a painter has decided to daub color.

“You need to think about the landscape of your book because if you’re able to make the landscape of place real, you can make the land itself real, which gives you a leg up on making the entire novel real for the reader.”

If you want TM Clark’s take on the Inspiration Landscape can lend to your latest MS, make sure to book early.

Thoughts from the Back of the Room ~ Writing Tips We Love

A series of notes from Club Members:

Angus Gresham wrote for many years before becoming a club member. Since then he’s passed through many stages of learning, including having to reframe what he thought was ‘only commonsense’.
Writing is something everybody does, but all wannabe authors need to learn how writers do it differently, often alone and sometimes in the middle of creative chaos.

Angus Gresham

During my five years membership of BWC I attended various workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials – all directed at improving one’s writing skills. I would hang on every word from the presenters and furiously scribble down copious notes – every word uttered seemed so important at the time; I couldn’t risk missing out on any of the gems of wisdom raining down. My notes were taken home, carefully filed and then largely forgotten. As a result a huge, unwieldy and somewhat illegible pile of papers accumulated.

Angus GreshamFinally I decided to do something about it. I pored over the years of note-taking in an attempt to determine what was worth rescuing. Some valuable writing tips were discovered among the mountains of more or less irrelevant scrawlings. Quite a few tips (the better ones) had been repeated over and over by various presenters. Some advice completely contradicted other advice.

The following is a sample of what I found useful. There has been no attempt to list in order of importance. For some people all the information provided may be of equal importance; others will find only some of the tips helpful.

**********

  • Don’t write unless you like doing it for its own sake. It would be great to be published and make lots of money, but if money is the primary focus, you won’t find writing enjoyable.
  • Read a lot, particularly in your chosen genre. When you read a good book, analyse what you like about it, and determine how you can use its positive elements in your own book.
  • Make notes, and plan months ahead of when you actually start the book.
  • You can use a working title which can be changed by you or your publisher at a later date.
  • One should only write for oneself, or for strangers; never for a set audience or family.
  • You’ve got to be happy with what you write. Do numerous drafts if necessary. Edit as much as you like.
  • First paragraph is crucial. You must hook readers from the very beginning. The real meaning of the first paragraph can be explained over the rest of the book. Conflict should start on page one.
  • End each chapter with a little bit of mystery, or even some excitement. This will ensure the reader keeps on reading to see what happens next.
  • Do emotions first, and structure last. You must feel compassion with, and become a part of, the characters. The reader should be able to identify with the characters and become emotionally engaged. Readers have to care about the characters – but they don’t necessarily have to like them.
  • Be aware of pace. Keep the pace moving. Delete all (or most) adverbs in your draft. This allows the story to flow much faster thus maintaining reader interest.
  • It’s OK to have short paragraphs; they give the reader breathing space. It’s OK to have short chapters; they give the reader a break.
  • Use internet research. It is much quicker than traditional library research. It may not be 100% accurate, but most of your readers are not experts on the subject you are writing about. The overriding importance is to tell a good, but believable, story. Wikipedia has a great overview on any topic.
  • Use your professional knowledge and life experience in your writing. Write about what you know. This saves having to do a lot of research.
  • Put your story away for a couple of months and then read it as if it’s someone else’s work. Does the story grab your attention and hold it through-out?
  • Read your story aloud. This will reveal any longwinded or awkward sentences.

Finally, you have to work out the system that works best for you.

 

It’s All Good for Today’s Authors

Which ever way you intend to publish –Justin_Sheedy
*Indie
*Self
*Trad
Whether e-books have peaked and readers really are re-committing to paper –

No matter what your publishing route, it’s all good news for today’s author.  The reading world is your oyster, assuming you have the tools to crack it.

Meet Justin Sheedy.

He knows his oysters, and he’s either built, borrowed or taught himself the tools he needs to get his words out to the world.

As he says, ‘I’ve gone solo, and am still flapping my wings.’ As publishing models continue to change, he’ll have to keep flapping, and we’ll all be there with him.

Justin’s wing flapping has seen him host six sell-out book-signings during 2015, including his last for the year at Dymocks George Street, Sydney (arguably Australia’s Premier Bookstore) with more event planning underway in 2016.

His first book, Goodbye Crackernight (2009), failed to interest publishers – it’s a memoir – yet Justin continues to secure feature spots in broadcast media, most recently  on 7 News Sydney and Radio 2UE.

He’s currently 60% through his fifth book, No Greater Love, Part Three of an Australian historical fiction trilogy begun in 2012 with Nor the Years Condemn, followed by Ghosts of Empire (2013).

He’ll share what he’s learnt at WriteFest 2016