International Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo

November for writers, well, at least this writer, means NaNoWriMo. The time to go for broke, to put as many words on paper or monitor, or scratch on paperbark, that you can.

(Special note from Editor: Writers don’t have to sign up to be part of NaNoWriMo. All they have to do is write.)

For me, NaNoWriMo started a few days earlier, or rather, the set up did.

Five years ago I began a story, but soon became bored with it. So I started another, and another after that. I had so many characters clamouring for their story to be told, the poor first story slunk into the corner and sucked its thumb, sad and depressed that it had been forgotten.

Had I forgotten it? No, but other stories came before it. I still didn’t have the right idea of where the story needed to go, what twists or turns would it have?

Two NanoWriMos came and went. Entangled Destinies was the product of them.

I knew this year would be my forgotten word child’s turn. I would either finish it or come damn close. I sat down at the keyboard and nutted out fifteen chapters and one Epilogue. Yes, happy with what I’d semi-plotted, I waited for November to begin.

Blueeyed-cat

Cat-ch me if you can

The first day dawned. I found slumber had not come easily to me the night before. Plots and sub plots ran through my mind, giving me some extremely weird dreams where my cat, Pookie, spoke to me. That was it, I had to get the words out, the time had come, but first I had to contend with a day’s work.

Work over, I hurried to my trusty computer, kicked up the gizmo inside that makes it work, and waited, fingers paused over the keyboard, itching to get the words buzzing in my brain out where they belonged.

That first day, I typed 1808 words. Not a lot, but it got me off the mark and it was more than the 1669 required per day. Over the next twenty-five days my word count fluctuated between 549 and 3889. Some days the words didn’t want to come. However, all the headaches, scratchy eyes and frustration ended on the 26th when I completed the 50,000 words.

Is the story finished? Not yet, but it doesn’t need to hide for another year or more. The end is in sight, as long as all characters decide to play nice, and do what I want them to do.

On another note, November also saw me turn another year older and launch my 107,000+ word novel Entangled Destinies at the Gin Gin Courthouse Gallery.

 

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10 qualities of successful authors

      1. WritingdownthebonesAmbition – Many of the best writers choose not to publish.
      2. Technical skills – this goes way beyond the basics of punctuation and grammar. Good basics equip a writer for report writing, not authorship.
      3. An eye for detail – writers look beyond the superficial.
      4. Their stories illuminate what isn’t spoken about. [Tweet this!]

      5. Creativity – making is craft. Making something out of nothing is creating. The first story in a successful series is creation, the stories that go with it are examples of craft driven by that first creative pulse.
      6. Tenacity – for the blue days, to get you through the days when creativity has flown, the grammar checker makes more sense than you do, and the people in your house want you back in their lives.
      7. Legal knowledge – enough to know the difference between libel and defamation, to realise that the law doesn’t give a fig about what a writer wants (relative to everybody else’s needs). And enough knowledge to understand what it is the law thinks the people need, just so you know which mark is their line in the sand.
      8. Networking skills – a writer cannot easily do it alone. Pick a network that suits you – offline and online – and make friends.
      9. Digital skills – technology is becoming simpler and simpler. A free iPad app can create a movie trailer using camera stills.
      10. Professional skills – authors have a career to grow and to manage. If you don’t have professional skills, they can be learned. Your creativity makes it an easy task.
      11. Marketing skills – see above. Authors are in charge of growing their career.

Losing Kate out in April 2014

2013 WriteFest Masterclass participant Kylie Kaden is thrilled that her first novel, Losing Kate, will be published by Random House in April 2014. In March 2013, Kylie undertook a Writer’s Surgery (through the Queensland Writers Centre) with Sandy Curtis, the Director of WriteFest, and encouraged by Sandy’s enthusiasm for the story, submitted a partial for the Masterclass with editor Deonie Fiford. 

Kylie said, ” I was signed up in July, not long after doing quite a few rejigs after WriteFest (and your Writer’s Surgery sessions with me) so I am very thankful for your contribution and encouragement.  I am still shocked it happened so quickly though!”

It’s wonderful news like this that can come about as a result of the great opportunities available at WriteFest.

We wish Kylie a happy and successful career. Details of her book can be found at
http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/kylie-kaden/losing-kate-9780857983404.aspx and also on her website www.kyliekaden.com.au

LosingKateCoverFinal

Hustling Hinkler

Dr Darryl Dymock shares his story of publication in a blog on the Queensland Writers Centre website.

One of his milestones was attending WriteFest and scoring an interview with senior agent, Sophie Hamley, based on his 30 page submission. Her advice and guidance led Darryl on the path to re-write his young adult novel into the non-fiction narrative Hustling Hinkler: the short tumultuous life of a trail-blazing Australian aviator.

Hustling Hinkler will be published by Hachette Australia on 30 July, and will be launched at River Bend Books in Brisbane on 9 August.

Darryl has been invited to talk about Hustling Hinkler at the Bundaberg Library at 11am on Saturday, 24 August.

Congratulations to Darryl from all at the Bundaberg Writers’ Club and the WriteFest committee. It’s inspiring to learn that a prior WriteFest attendee has gone on to attain publication.

Check out Hustling Hinkler on the Hachette Australia website.

 

2013 WriteFest Review by Kez (Kerrie) Salaün

This was my first attendance at WriteFest in Bundaberg. I was excited before I arrived, and doubly so after the evening with author Sulari Gentill on the Thursday night at the (recently refurbished) Bundaberg Library.

Sulari’s talk was both intimate and instructive and we laughed along with her reflections on a writer’s life. To capture an audience personally and professionally is not a skill all speakers achieve easily. I noted the well-coordinated nods of most attendees’ heads agreeing with Sulari. All of us appeared to have experienced similar frustration and joy as writers, or even as family of a writer.

Sulari convinced us that if we dare, if we have the desire, we will certainly achieve. Writing is not just a passion; it is life for most of us. So it is fantastic to find people who live to help writers.

… I was fortunate to be part of Deonie Fiford’s Masterclass on the Saturday.  Having only ever sat anonymously amongst two hundred or more people at one other festival, this expected interaction excited and frightened me. How wrong I was to be afraid.

People in my class had published their writing, some more than once. Others had entered and won contests or, like myself, had little experience as writers. Every single person offered their wisdom with valid personal points of view, sharing the bond of writing.

Deonie Fiford is a woman of many talents. As an editor and publisher she presented her workshops professionally and with humour by affirming and constituting what we all hope to achieve.  In easy terms and with great examples, Deonie showed us how to make our work more dynamic. She used informative written and group exercises that were fun to do. Class sizes were such that everyone’s questions were answered because she spent enough time with each person.

… For me these were four days of communication, connection and learning. The passion for writing IS a drug. My passion for WriteFest is now an addiction.

… Thank you to all the people involved in producing such a brilliant one-day writers extravaganza, that became so much more. I will be there next year, with more ‘bells on’ and less shoes and clothes – so there is more room in my bag for books!

– Kez Salaün

The Amplified Author with Meg Vann

What does digital publishing mean for writers today? With the advent of new technologies and ideas, today we have a host of choices and opportunities for writers looking to connect with readers, and writers have a lot more options when it comes to driving their own careers. From traditional publishing houses, to e-books, to social media, in today’s world there are as many paths to publication as there are writers.

Join Meg Vann, manager of Australian Writers Marketplace, to learn about digital publishing options for writers today, and what it means to be an Amplified Author. [All participants will receive a free three-month subscription to the Australian Writers Marketplace online.]

Meg Vann is Manager of The Australian Writer’s Marketplace published by Queensland Writers Centre, Convenor of Sisters in Crime (Brisbane Chapter), and a tutor and guest lecturer in Writing, Editing and Publishing for The University of Queensland. Meg has a special interest in supporting aspiring and emerging writers to develop their creative works and pathways to publication.

The Amplified Author will be a morning workshop at this year’s WriteFest, Saturday 19 May.