18 The Anthology – Get your copy

18 Anthology

On one of my recent posts I mentioned that my Writers’ group – Vision Writers’, were producing an anthology. Well, I am happy to announce that ’18’ is here! Woohoo, I hear you all shouting. And believe me, I am just as excited as you are.

The anthology celebrates 18 years of Brisbane based writers’ group – Vision Writers’. The group has a number of published members, including our founders Marian De Pierres and Rowena Corey Daniels. Vision Writers’ has a variety of characters from all walks of life, and as a member of the group you’re sure to get honest and invaluable feedback on any stories you submit for critique. I have learned a great deal from this fantastic Medley of Sci fi, Fantasy and Horror Authors.

18 Showcases the talents of some of our current authors with thirteen stories to lose yourselves in. The anthology covers tales of Wizards, Dragon’s, Spirits, Mobsters and much more. These stories will take you to new worlds; worlds of fantasy and worlds of horror. Thanks to all who helped put this anthology together: Trahern, Belinda, Talitha, Meghann, and all the other writers involved.

18 is available as an E book on Amazon for 99c today, and if that’s not cheap enough it will be available for free on the 9th, 14th, 19th, 30th & 31st of May 2014 from Amazon.

So enjoy and once you’ve sated your reading appetite, please let me know what you think.

How do you get creative ideas? maybe this will help.

Photo by Jeff Kraus

I was sitting out on a friends back deck the other day, working on some ideas for a writing project. It was a beautiful spring morning and as I looked down I noticed the reflection in the glass top of the outdoor table. I saw a couple of fluffy white clouds, floating aimlessly in an ocean of pure blue. As I admired the beauty, a plane glided smoothly from one side of the vista to the other, it was so far away that no sound broke the serenity of the scene. Being a reflection, the image was upside down. Then I thought to myself, what if the bottom of the plane was actually the top, and suddenly, I was watching a spacecraft soaring across the sky.

The lesson I learnt – Simple things can stimulate the mind, try looking at them from a new angle.

I continued to work on my ideas, looking for inspiration and direction. Then my friend joined me and suggested we brainstorm ideas. So I wrote my character’s name in the centre of a sheet of scrap paper and she asked me a series of questions. Where is your character? how did he get there? How did he know that? where did he learn this? where is another character? How does he feel about them? With each question, I drew a line from my character’s name and placed the answer at the end. Each question that came from the answer had its own line with its own answer at the end. Within 20 minutes I had a full page of questions and answers that filled my head with new ideas and connections to them that branched out from the web of information on the page.

Lesson learnt no.2 – Talk about your story with a friend, get them to ask about it and write down the answers.

Vision at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival

Vision at BWF

So, what have I been up to this weekend you ask. Well I’ll tell you. I attended the Brisbane Writers’ Festival with my Critique group “Vision Writers”. What were we doing there? We held a free open session for anyone interested in finding out what actually goes on at a writers’ group critique session.

This session involved four of our usual members submitting short stories for critique prior to the event. Other members of the group (including myself) then read and critiqued the submissions, making notes for feedback, just as we would for one of our normal monthly meetings. We then set up in one of the auditoriums at the State Library down at South Bank, in Brisbane City, and each took turns to provide the written feedback to the members that made submissions.

Once we had all provided our feedback, the individual writers got to give their right of reply. This is where they answer some of the questions raised during the critiques, respond to any comments they may not agree with, tell us what they were trying to achieve, why they have written the story the way they have and give us a greater understanding of what is driving the story, the world behind the characters, or the like.

The session was a great success, we had around thirty people show up to experience what goes on at one of our group critique sessions (which filled most of the small auditorium), with plenty of interest at the end of the event from writers keen for more information.

When the session wrapped up, and in true Vision fashion, it was off to a local establishment for something to eat and a chat among friends. In this case it happened to be the Ship Inn for an after event dinner, but usually we would hit up one of the local cafes for coffee and lunch.

So there you have it, a day in the life of a writer.

I would like to thank all those who attended the session, both the participants and to spectators, together we made it happen and with a bit of luck, we’ll see some of you at our next critique session in October.

Life is hectic sometimes.

Picture by Colin Harris   ADE

Hello readers, writers, bloggers, followers and friends alike. I thought I should write a quick post to let you know why I have been slacking off a little with my blog posts over the last month. Truth is I have a list of things to do and little spare time to do them in. I’m currently trying to read three books, keep up with my critique group submissions, update my blog posts and edit my novel. On top of that I am trying to clean up my yard and do some home renovations, among other things, all while maintaining a full time job.

Most of my time has gone into editing, as I want to publish my novel before the end of the year. I’m also attending the Brisbane Writers Festival and have to get critiques done for the upcoming event, so everything else has been pushed to the end of the queue. Life is so busy, sometimes it’s hard to get everything done.

The point is that I have not forgotten about my blog, I have just been temporarily diverted to other tasks. I will still be posting when time permits, so don’t forget to stop by and take a peek every now and then.

I will be back with more regular posts when things calm down a little, until then I’ll try to come up with at least one post a week.

Cheers :)

 

When Is A Writer Right?

Picture by Shannon Hauser

I have been writing for a while now, but I still have a lot to learn and find that I benefit greatly from the advice of other writer’s. Sometimes I wonder though, which advice is right? Both readers and writers have such individual preferences that it makes it hard to know what is right and what is not.

I have my own style, and I know it needs improving, so in the pursuit of becoming a better writer, I do listen to other views. The problem is that it gets so confusing at times. Some people like flashbacks and some do not, some like action beats, starting a new line for a new characters actions, and some don’t. Some will swear that you should never start on a dream sequence or end on a character going to sleep. All good advice I know, but surely not in every situation?

So how do we become unique and develop our own style, our own voice, when we are following everybody else’s rules? On the one hand these techniques are tried and tested, and more importantly, they work! On the other hand, maybe it can be done different and…maybe, just maybe, that will work too. I suppose it is purely the writer’s choice, but that doesn’t always make it right.

I’m definitely no expert, but the solution as I see it can only be to try. Try it and see if it works. Whether you think it works or you’re not sure, get feedback from trusted sources before you go ahead and publish. If you don’t have any trusted sources – get some! There are, so it is said, many authors with blogs that are happy to help out. Another alternative is to join a writer’s group.

Writing, like everything else in life, has its own rules, but once we know the rules, we learn when they can be broken. Sometimes through our own trial and error, sometimes through other people’s mistakes. Without mistakes we wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t, I strongly believe that every mistake is a learning experience that gives us an opportunity to grow. So we should not fear them, we should embrace them.

So, how do you know what is right and what is not?

An Interview With Sharna Walsh

Picture by Eelco

 

An Interview with Sharna Walsh.

Sharna Walsh is a vibrant and talented young Brisbane author. At the tender age of sixteen she wrote her first published work, a short story titled – XVIII: Crazy He Calls Me. Born in London, UK and raised in Australia, this 17 y.o. ‘Aussie’ girl is a writer to watch out for. So I caught up with her for a chat. This is what she had to say.

Allan Walsh: Hi Sharna, it’s great to catch up with one of Australia’s upcoming young authors. So tell me, what made you want to be a writer?

Sharna Walsh: Initially, it was fond memories─ I always loved being read fantasy when I was a kid, and the idea that I could create my own little, magical worlds, and live in them, even momentarily, was something that stood out to me. So, really, I started out writing for myself. I didn’t really consider it as a profession until people started telling me I was good and encouraged me to do it. I’d never really had anything ‘recognisable’ that I could do well and it sort of got me thinking, ‘Yeah, sure, I could do this.’

Allan Walsh: There are many great authors, but who are your favourites and where do your influences come from?

Sharna Walsh: An old graphic novel my dad used to read to me is always the first thing that comes to mind when I’m asked this sort of question. It’s called ‘Elf Quest’, written by Richard and Wendy Pini, and it created the fantasy nerd in me. I wanted to hunt with the wolves, swing from the trees, run with the elf-tribe and hunt the evil humans with my wicked bow. It made ‘untouched’ nature seem like the only mystical spots of magic and perfection that still existed in our world, the one connection that we had to the undiscovered and the unexplored, like everything you’d ever dreamt of or imagined could be lurking between the trees, waiting to be discovered.

Allan Walsh: Was your story XVIII: Crazy He Calls Me, the first story you have written or do you have a stack of them hidden away in a box, a drawer or under your bed somewhere?

Sharna Walsh: Well it’s my first completed work, outside of school. I tried to write a novel when I was about 12 and had my cousin edit it for me. I read over it now and I’m like ‘I shall take it! I shall take the notepad to Mordor!’, but thinking about it, it’s the only hand-written piece I have and, at the time, I thought it was going to make me a famous writer. Ah, innocence.

Allan Walsh: When you’re not writing, what is it you like to do most?

Sharna Walsh: Gaming, I love gaming. I think it’s the same kind of thrill; you’re involved in the world and the story, you feel like you’re in danger and it’s the adrenaline and the panic you can get from being as involved in a novel. And really, it’s a similar form of art─ someone has created this world and invested parts of themselves in it to share an experience with someone else. It can be emotional, thrilling and terrifying, just like a novel.

Allan Walsh: With one piece published at such an early age, what are you working on right now and what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Sharna Walsh: Hopefully a lot. I’m currently working on a whole stack of things (a few short stories, some novels, I have a few folders of stuff), but between work, school and having a social life, it is taking me a while to get through everything and to organise all my thoughts into something I can mould into a story. This year’s a big year, QCS exams coming up before I go out into the big, bad world, so I’m trying to focus on my grades more than anything else, though I am a world-class procrastinator.

Allan Walsh: Well Sharna, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best with your writing in the future.

For any readers interested in picking up Sharna’s story, you can grab a copy in the anthology ‘18’ from Amazon for less than a cup of coffee.