Thursday, 1 December 2016

End-of-year check-up

Goals check: AKA Things I forgot to do

This year has been big. Busy big. Lots of unexpected pluses big. Lots of hits and misses big. BIG. So big I didn’t do my usual mid-year goal check.

In my usual tradition, I’ve left it to the almost last minute to look at my goals, when I have about three clear days between now and the start of School Holiday Hell. So anything not done now won’t be. And I’m okay with that.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Beta readers are 'gold'

A step not to be missed

A photo of a Comment o Word with the following text: Who said that?
You’ve written your manuscript, redrafted, polished. You’re ready to send it to a publisher or agent. But there’s a vital and valuable step to take first: beta reading.

A beta read is when someone who’s not an editor or other industry professional looks at your entire manuscript; the concept being that you are your own ‘alpha’, or first, reader and your beta readers are your second readers.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Real mates kick your arse when you need it

Status update: exhausted. But in a good way.
a photograph of Clyde House
I had the chance to check out one of
my favourite buildings in Melbourne:
Clyde House in Collins St.

I arrived home in the wee hours of this morning after four days in Melbourne. Last night I had about three hours consecutive sleep (which was the most in several nights thanks to a dodgy rented room in the city), due to drinking caffeine on the train. But I made it home in one piece. So that’s a win. However, after so little shuteye this post might ramble a bit. Bear with me.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Crisis talks

I’m having a crisis of confidence.

There. I’ve named it. Like one of the online articles on having a crisis of confidence says to do.

However, I wouldn’t have looked up ‘crisis of confidence’ if I didn’t know what I’m going through. It’s not writer’s block – I know what I need to do, and I have another story tunnelling its way out of my skull. The article also says the mind doesn’t know what’s really going on, that the body and the heart know. But I feel like I’m the opposite – emotion’s overriding logic to the point where I can’t bring myself to open my WIP.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Writer, care for thyself

I’ve been thinking about self-care for writers a lot lately.

A photograph of papers spilling off the printer and across the floor.
Life. Sometimes it's like this.
A friend has recently left her job to write full-time, and this triggered a discussion among some of us who’ve made that transition, either temporarily or permanently, about what to do and what not to do.

And I realised during an interview with IH Laking for his blog, when he asked me about tips for moving into writing full-time after a career in another field, that I fall firmly into the 'learn from my mistakes' camp. In hindsight, I tried to do too much too soon and it contributed to an episode of depression.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Knock, knock…

A different take on gatekeepers

A photograph of a locked gate
Image: Evans 

There’s an author coming to my child’s school. I’ve met this author several times. After learning a lot from sitting in on workshops earlier this year during the Maurice Saxby Mentorship, I thought I’d take a chance and ask if I could sit in on Author’s school visit (details kept vague for privacy reasons).

Monday, 9 May 2016

Two weeks in the City of Literature

Creative immersion therapy at its best

A photograph of the dome reading room.
The dome reading room
at the State Library of Victoria.
The past month has been Huge. Life-changing. One of those periods that could prove to be a pivotal – or starting – point in my creative writing career.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Review: Frankie

“Don’t judge me, bitch. This is a high-stress situation.” - Frankie, p. 9.

A photograph of the novel Frankie with the following text: "Frankie, Shivaun Plozza, Frankie's a gutsy character with a lot of heart, Melina Marcheta."
Shivaun Plozza's debut YA novel Frankie.
Shivaun Plozza’s debut YA novel Frankie (Penguin, April 2016) will slice you like an electric knife through kebab meat. The title character’s sassiness, cynicism, mistrust and anger hooked me immediately, and I seesawed between wanting to hug her and boot her up the backside throughout the book. The writing is smooth and immediate, and pinballed me around the full range of the emotional spectrum.

Frankie Vega’s 17 and lives with her aunt Vinnie in a flat above Vinnie’s kebab shop. Xavier contacts Frankie claiming to be her half-brother, and she’s suspended from school after breaking a boy’s nose. When Xavier disappears, Frankie reluctantly accepts help from his partner in crime (not a euphemism) Nate to help find him.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Review: Forever

Judy Blume
Macmillan (2015 reprint)

A photograph of the cover of Judy Blume's Forever.
The 2015 reprint of Judy Blume's Forever.
My son pulled Forever off a shelf in a bookstore. It was next to Enid Blyton in the young readers’ section.

He thought I’d like it because it had a cherry on the front, and I like cherries. He’s a young, innocent child. Thoughtful – but innocent.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Why the message matters

We’re sending our children mixed messages. 

On one hand – be confident to be yourself. On the other – don’t be too much like yourself, because difference is something to be feared.

Between the failings raised by the current inquiry into institutionalised child abuse, the treatment of asylum-seeker children in offshore detention centres and the attacks on the Safe Schools program, which provides “resources and support to equip staff and students with skills, practical ideas and greater confidence to lead positive change and be safe and inclusive for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families”, Australia is not acting like it’s kid-friendly.

Make that Australia’s not kid-friendly to those who don’t fit into a constructed view of ‘normality’.