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In Episode 290 of So You Want To Be A Writer: We ask the tough question: should you cull your books? Meet Matt Stanton, author of the popular Funny Kid series. The Adventures In Reading event is this weekend. Plus, we have 10x double passes to the psychological drama/thriller Who You Think I Am to give away.

Click play below to listen to the podcast. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher Radio. Or add the podcast RSS feed manually to your favourite podcast app.

Show Notes

Shoalhaven Readers and Writers Festival

Word Mothers review of So You Want To Be A Writer book

Does It Spark Joy? Learning to Let Go of My Books

MS Readathon

Writers in Residence

Matt Stanton

Since Matt Stanton burst onto the children’s publishing scene six years ago, he has quickly made his presence known with eighteen original titles, four bestselling series and over half a million books sold. In 2017 his premier middle-grade series, Funny Kid, debuted as the #1 Australian kids’ book and is now finding fans all over the world. He lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, bestselling picture book creator Beck Stanton, and their three young children.

Follow Matt on Twitter

Follow HarperCollins Australia on Twitter

(If you click the link above and then purchase from Booktopia, we get a small commission. This amount is donated to Doggie Rescue to support their valuable work with unwanted and abandoned dogs.)

Competition

WIN double passes to ‘Who You Think I Am’

This podcast is brought to you by the Australian Writers’ Centre

Find out more about your hosts here:

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo

Or get social with them here:

Twitter:

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Instagram:

@allisontaitwriter

@valeriekhoo

Connect with Valerie, Allison and listeners in the podcast community on Facebook

So you want to be a writer Facebook group

Share the love!

Interview Transcript

Coming soon!

The post Ep 290 Meet Matt Stanton, author of the popular ‘Funny Kid’ series. appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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This week, thanks to Palace Films, we’re giving away 10 double passes to Who You Think I Am – in cinemas around Australia from 1 August.

Based on the novel by French author Camille Laurens, this is a gripping and teasing new film about female desire and identity. Academy-award winner Juliette Binoche stars as a divorced mother whose life is upended after becoming entangled in an online relationship with dangerous repercussions. Part psychological drama, part thriller and is sure to spark fierce post-screening conversations.

Check out the trailer below:

WHO YOU THINK I AM (2019) - Official HD Trailer - In Cinemas 1 August - YouTube

To win a double pass to see Who You Think I Am, we’d like you to watch the trailer and suggest a different name for this film. It can be serious or funny – just grab our attention to win one of the double passes! 

ENTER USING THE FORM BELOW.

Entries close midday Monday 29 July 2019, Sydney/Melbourne time.

GOOD LUCK!


First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
State *
Please select one NSW VIC QLD WA ACT SA NT TAS Outside Australia
Competition entry *

(NOTE: Film passes are redeemable in select Australian cinemas. If you win, we’ll contact you via email. Winners must acknowledge their win and provide a sending address within 7 days of notification or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be chosen.)

The post WIN double passes to ‘Who You Think I Am’ appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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Calling all primary school-aged children. Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand (OUPANZ) invites children across Australia to nominate their ‘Word of the Year’ and submit a short piece of writing based on that word. There are some great prizes up for grabs!

From the media release:

Primary school-aged children across Australia are invited to nominate their ‘Word of the Year’ and submit a short piece of free writing based on that word. The piece can be creative or factual, funny or serious – it’s up to the student.

The search comes as Oxford Dictionaries for Children this week announced its 2019 Children’s Word of the Year is ‘Brexit’. Brexit was identified as the Children’s Word of the Year not only because of its significant increase in use (a total rise of 464% since 2018) but also because of the political and social awareness that children demonstrated in their stories and the variety of contexts in which it was mentioned by entrants.

In the search for the Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year, a judging panel consisting of experts in children’s English language will evaluate writing pieces submitted by students, parents and teachers, based on a word’s popularity, use of the word in context, and frequency.

It is the third time the competition has been held in Australia. ‘Equality’ was named the winning word in 2017, and ‘creativity’ was Oxford Children’s Word of the Year in 2018.

OUPANZ Schools Publishing Director Lee Walker said the language used by primary school students revealed children’s engagement with current affairs.

“In past years we have been surprised by how aware Australian children are of what is happening in current affairs and politics, and I think the UK’s Children’s Word of the Year is clear evidence of that. Entries have drawn on themes of the environment and equality, as well as subjects that are closer to home, like family, friends, pets and sport.

“The Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year offers fascinating insight into the issues that are important to young people.”

OUPANZ has partnered with the Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA) for this year’s competition. PETAA and OUPANZ will provide resources and materials as part of more than $6,000 in prizes for winning schools and students. 

Want to take part?

Submissions close 20 September 2019.

For more information head to the OUPANZ website.

The post Now open – The Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year writing competition appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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Guest post by Pamela Freeman

If you’re planning out your structure, it can be overwhelming. All the graphs of three-act structures, all the pacing advice, all the ‘do I have a midpoint reversal’ panics… But there is a simpler way to consider if your structure is solid. And that is: does the climax and resolution answer the question of the book? What’s the ‘question of the book’?

In every book, the first third to one half sets up at least one overarching question. Specific genres have questions which define them, and which are generally the big overarching question in the book. This question drives the story.

For example, the big question in a murder mystery is either ‘whodunnit’ or ‘howcatchem’ – that is, ‘who is the murderer’? Or, when the murderer is already known to the reader, ‘can the police/detective bring them to justice’? In a romance, the big question is always, ‘Will these two people have a happy ever after?’ In an epic fantasy, it’s usually, ‘Will good triumph over evil?’ or ‘Can we save the world?’ In science fiction, it’s often, ‘What does it mean to be human?’ And so on.

If you read a genre a fair bit, you’ll be able to come up with the overarching question that genre (or sub-genre) usually poses to its readers. This is true even for literary fiction, which has a lot of sub-genres which revolve around specific ideas/questions.

For your structure to be successful (that is, for the story to be satisfying to the reader), you need to answer that overarching question. What that means is that the climax and resolution have to be directly related to the question. If they’re not, the reader may enjoy the book, but they won’t be satisfied by it.

It also means that many of the complications in the book will be about the obstacles to getting that question answered. And those obstacles are basically other questions, which are strongly related to the overarching question, and which make your book your own.

For example, in a romance, the question is ‘will they get their happy ever after?’ For the story to work, you need obstacles. Complications. And, typically, those obstacles will be both external and internal to the characters. So, you might have external obstacles like the two characters being so busy at work that they have no time for a social life. And you might have internal obstacles like one of the pair being afraid of commitment, and the other being still half in love with their ex. 

In the above example, each of these obstacles is a question:
Will they realise that work isn’t all there is to life?
Will the commitment-phobe find the courage to take a chance?
Will the still-in-love one realise that their ex isn’t worth their time?

You can see that, in order to get to the happy ever after – or, in a different kind of book, the sad ending – these questions need to be answered. Figuring out what these questions are is a great way to start plotting your story. Because, for every question, there needs to be a scene or series of scenes which pushes the character to an answer for that question.

Using this method is also a great way to edit. Because every scene has to have a role in either setting up a question, or in answering one. But that’s probably another blog post!

Ready to take your story to the next level? Check out our popular Novel Writing Essentials course. Eight weeks of group workshopping and support to help give your novel the strongest possible start.

The post The simple secret to a successful story structure appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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Each week, we chat about the quirks and anomalies of the English language. This week, we’re avoiding double faults with a few common tennis terms explained…

Q: Hi AWC, inspired by the recent Wimbledon tournament, can you explain some of the terminology used in tennis?

A: Certainly. One moment please.

Q: Okay, well—

A: Quiet please.

Q: ….

A: And play.

Q: Right. That was weird. You’re not going to do this whole thing like a chair umpire are you?

A: You have two challengers remaining.

Q: Ugh, okay. Anyway, let’s start by serving up an ACE. Why is it called that?

A: Okay, well an “ace” is when a serve is in but not hit at all by the receiving player. “Ace” was already a word when tennis came along – from Middle English (and Old French and Latin before that) marking one unit, especially the “one” on dice (and eventually the highest-ranked playing card).

Q: So, when did it get the sports meaning?

A: It would go on to mean a single point scored in a sports game from the early 19th century, and, according to the Etymology Dictionary, it made its way to tennis as an unreturned serve in 1889. The word itself exists as a noun, verb and adjective.

Q: How so?

A: Well, you serve an ace (noun); you ace your opponent (verb); and you might tell someone that they have an ace backhand (adjective).

Q: What a backhanded compliment.

A: That’s an official warning.

Q: Hey, that was a good joke.

A: We’d say it was on the line… Anyway, as a noun, an ace is also typically someone very good at something. So: “She’s a tennis ace” makes sense too. “Ace” is slang for awesome, as is “aces”. It’s everywhere.

Q: Got it. Okay, so what about “deuce”? Where did that come from?

A: This one is a little trickier. If you’re familiar with tennis, a scoreline of 40-40 is instead called “deuce” – derived from “deux” – the French word for two.

Q: Ah, so it means that someone is “two points from winning that game”?

A: Pretty good guess. But it actually translates as both players being on the same score: “à deux le jeu”, meaning “to both is the game”.

Q: That’s so French. Okay, last one. Why is it called “LOVE” for zero points?

A: As they say, “love means nothing to a tennis player”…

Q: Yes, you’re hilarious. But why does it mean zero?

A: Well, it’s another one with a few theories. Some say it comes from our pronunciation of “l’oeuf” – the French expression for “the egg” – because an egg looks like a zero. (Apparently cricket’s no-run “duck” came about from a similar origin, as in duck’s egg.) A more warm and fuzzy theory proclaims that before the start of a game, while the scores are on zero, players still have love for each other.

Q: That’s absurd.

A: Probably. Another theory points to the English phrase “neither for love nor for money”, where “love” means “nothing”. Or the Dutch liked the 17th century expression “play for love,” meaning to play without any wager; for nothing. It’s bound to have come from one of these. Take your pick.

Q: Well, I’d LOVE to stay and chat, but I think you’ve ACED this one. We might just be wimbleDONE for the day…

A: Code violation. Please leave the court…

If you have a grammar gripe or punctuation puzzle that you’d like our Q&A to explore, !

The post Q&A: The origin of ace, deuce, love appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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Australian Writers' Centre by Australian Writers' Centre - 6d ago

This week, we invite you to take part in a small writing task. What is it that drives you to write? Why do you do it?

Writing can bring you incredible joy – but it can sometimes feel like a chore. It depends on your mood, what’s gone on that day, and whether you got out on the right side of the bed! Without a deeper motivation, it can be hard to stick at it.

That’s why we’d like you to tell us – in 100 words or fewer – what is it that fuels your writing? What motivates you to want to write?

There are no wrong answers, because we all write for different reasons. Simply share with us your sources of motivation – the touchstones you turn to on those dark, fuzzy days when you need to refocus. The things that drive you. It might be tricky to put them into words but we’d love you to try, and we’ll share some of our favourites over the coming weeks.

Complete the form below to share your thoughts. Submissions close midnight, Sunday 21 July 2019.

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
State *
Please select oneNSWVICQLDWAACTSANTTASOutside Australia
Story entry *

(NOTE: Submitted stories and the author’s name may be published on our blog.)

The post TELL US: What fuels your writing? appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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In Episode 289 of So You Want To Be A Writer: Historical short story competition is now open. Meet Alex Landragin, author of Crossings. We also have writing tips for kids, and Allison Tait will be at the Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival. Little Bookroom has a charity drive. Plus, we have 3x signed copies of The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner to give away.

Click play below to listen to the podcast. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher Radio. Or add the podcast RSS feed manually to your favourite podcast app.

Show Notes

2019 ARA HNSA Short Story Contest

Writing Tips for Kids

Whitsunday Voices

Little Bookroom

Writers in Residence

Alex Landragin

Alex Landragin is a French-Armenian-Australian writer. Born in France into a family of champagne-makers, he migrated to western Victoria as a child. Now a freelance copywriter, he is a former Lonely Planet author of guides to Australia, Europe and Africa, and has previously been an online content manager for the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. He holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne and is a past recipient of an Australia Council Emerging Writer’s Grant. Now residing in Melbourne, he has also lived in Washington DC, Paris, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Alice Springs and Marseille

His novel is called Crossings and it is set across centuries and continents and can be read in two different directions.

Follow Alex on Twitter

Follow Pan Macmillan on Twitter

(If you click the link above and then purchase from Booktopia, we get a small commission. This amount is donated to Doggie Rescue to support their valuable work with unwanted and abandoned dogs.)

Competition

WIN ‘The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers’ by Kerri Turner

This podcast is brought to you by the Australian Writers’ Centre

Find out more about your hosts here:

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo

Or get social with them here:

Twitter:

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Instagram:

@allisontaitwriter

@valeriekhoo

Connect with Valerie, Allison and listeners in the podcast community on Facebook

So you want to be a writer Facebook group

Share the love!

Interview Transcript

Valerie

Thanks so much for joining us today, Alex.

Alex

You’re most welcome.

Valerie

Now you have written a book that is getting a lot of chatter around the place because it’s a little bit different. Now for those readers who haven’t grabbed a copy yet of Crossings, can you tell us what it’s about?

Alex

Well, it’s about… I don’t know how much of it to give away. But I always describe it as being about a couple of characters who have the ability to cross from one body into another by looking someone else in the eyes for a few minutes. And that crossing, as I call it, is an exchange. So the protagonist passes into the body of the other person, but the other person’s identity or soul passes into the protagonist’s body. So it’s a swap.

Valerie

Now it’s a pretty unique… You’ve written it in a pretty unique way. And I swear, I was sitting there going, how in the world did he do this. But basically, your book can be read in a couple of different directions. You could probably better explain it to listeners than me. Perhaps you could explain how that works in this book.

Alex

Okay. So I should mention that the book is a historical novel. It begins in 1791 and ends in 1940. And is set mostly in Paris. I initially wrote it a little bit in the style of David Mitchell’s The Cloud Atlas, and that was definitely one of the influences while I was writing the book.

But quite late in the writing process, I realised that I had the opportunity to do something that had never really been done before. Although there are other books that are quite similar, notably Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch. I realised that I had the opportunity to write a book that could be read in two completely different directions. Same book, but different beginning, middle and ending.

And I found that idea very compelling for a number of reasons. Not just because it’s never been quite done before as far as I know. And not just because it’s fun and exciting and compelling. But also because it really takes up a number of the themes in the book.

There are two different directions. But this is also a book about two lovers who separated. It’s a book about exile. It’s a book about multiplicity. It’s a book about a choice that is made very early on that has repercussions that last 150 years.

So it just made so much sense, even though it came quite late in the writing process, to follow up on this idea and to make it work as a book that could be read in two different sequences.

Valerie

Now I have so many questions about this. But before we delve into that aspect of it, which is fascinating, the premise itself. So your story, the spark of the story. How did that idea form in the first place?

Alex

Well, that is a long story in itself. So I decided that I wanted to be a writer when I was 16. I’m from a very dispersed or cultural dispersed background. French, Armenian, but not just Armenian, but Armenian from different places. Came to Australia as a kid. When I was 16 I decided in a vocational sense, almost like a conversion experience, that I wanted to be a writer.

But my problem was that I didn’t at the time identify really as Australian, although I do more so now. That’s been a process. A lifelong process. But as a writer, I really struggled for a long time. And I had to explore for a long time to come up with what I wanted to write about.

For example, I did a creative writing degree about 15 years ago and wrote a realist rural family novel, similar to many others that are around. But I didn’t really strongly identify with it enough to want to pursue that to the very end.

So around the time when I was 40, so by that stage I’d wanted to be a writer for more than 20 years and I’d been calling myself a writer for more than 20 years. I’d had a career as a travel writer and as a freelance writer. But creatively, I was still at that same impasse where I just didn’t know what to write. And I knew that I associated myself with a tradition that was not mainstream in Australia at the time. And that was the tradition of, for example, Borges and Cortázar and Georges Perec and the metafiction. Umberto Eco is another good example.

But when I read David Mitchell, I realised – and also especially Roberto Bolaño – I realised that there was an opportunity for me to really fully explore the tradition that I identified with. And so I launched into a project where – I called it the Daily Fiction Project – and as part of that I wrote and published a story on a website every day. And I wanted to do that for 12 months.

Valerie

Wow.

Alex

Yeah. Every weekday. So I took the weekends off. It was five stories a week. And I loved it. I really plunged into it. But the weird thing was, about two or three months into it, I had a couple of very significant personal setbacks. And I decided to continue with the Daily Fiction Project despite these setbacks, because I thought, I had a hunch, that when you combine creativity with personal tragedy, that the creativity can help you through the personal tragedy. But also that the personal aspects can really deepen and make more interesting your creative work as well.

So I went through this process for eight months. By the eighth month, I was getting really desperate for ideas, as you can imagine. And I started really having to dig deeper than I ever thought possible.

And I thought back – it was story 151 – I thought back to a story I had been told by my creative writing instructor, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, at Melbourne Uni in first year uni, in a creative writing class I did at the time. And the story was very simple. I can remember it vividly because it really struck me so hard at the time. I was 18. And he came in one day and he said, I just read a marvellous story. It’s about a ship that discovers an island. And on this island, the people can cross from one body to another, and by the time this ship sails away you don’t know who’s left and you don’t know who’s gone.

And I remember hearing that story and thinking, having that feeling that I wish I had come up with that. Because that’s what I want to do.

But out of a sense of propriety, I never really followed up on that. Even though that story came to my mind many times in the intervening period.

But eventually, by story 151 of the Daily Fiction Project, I said, to hell with it. I’m going to write my own version of that story. And I’m going to attribute it at the bottom of the story. Which I did.

But the following day, I was thinking about it and I realised, it was obvious and I had never thought of this before, the real story, the most interesting story, begins when that ship sails away. And any islanders that have crossed with sailors, when they sail away on that ship, what happens to them? What’s their journey? And it was from, at that moment, that crossing, it just kind of fell into place in a series of visions, you might call it, that occurred in the space of a day or two.

Valerie

Wow. And how did you feel? Because obviously you realised something amazing was happening. Or converging together to create something that was greater than the sum of its parts. So how did you feel that day?

Alex

It was monumental. My life changed. And I realised that what I had been looking for for 25 years had finally come to me and that I’d had to dig so deep to find it. But I really fell in love with the idea. It was like a profound life-changing moment.

Valerie

Wow. So you have this idea though. Now an idea can just stay an idea. You obviously took it to the next stage. What did you tell yourself you had to do? Or did you have some kind of plan, then, after you realised this is the thing I need to act on? Because it’s so easy to not act on it.

Alex

Well, so remember that I had written 150 stories for the Daily Fiction Project before that.

Valerie

Yep.

Alex

As well as the countless other projects I’ve written in the 25 odd years that I’ve wanted to be a writer before that even, including a database of ideas that I’ve kept with hundreds of ideas. So in a sense, Crossings is not my 151st idea, it might well be my 400th idea or my 500th idea.

So I’d had a lot of training. I was 40 at this point. I mean, I had gone through this lifelong process. A quarter-century of looking and digging and trying and experimenting and failing. Failing over and over again.

And I think that what that meant was when I came across Crossings, I had an utter conviction in the idea. I knew it was right. I don’t know, but I told everybody about it. I don’t know what they thought. The must-have thought I was mad. The conventional wisdom is you don’t talk about your projects while you’re doing them. I told everybody! I never doubted Crossings for a moment.

Valerie

Wow. But at that point, you had not… You had the premise. But you had not yet decided on the format. So that came later.

Alex

Yes, that’s true. Well, not really. So as part of the Daily Fiction Project, I’d been working on another kind of… So what happened with the Daily Fiction Project is that I started experimenting with overlapping stories, intersecting stories. I started creating a kind of labyrinth of stories.

And one of those stories that had several chapters in it, I guess or had stories within stories, was about the final days and hours of the life of Walter Benjamin, the German writer who committed suicide running away from the Nazis in 1940.

And I must say I’m not the first writer to have been interested in this. And it does exert a certain fascination over some writers. And there are at least two novels that I know of that have been written on that subject. So it’s a good thing I didn’t tackle that subject on its own.

But what I was able to do when I had the idea of Crossings was to kind of integrate with this idea of the death of Walter Benjamin. And the reason why that worked was because Walter Benjamin was fascinated with Charles Baudelaire. And so it meant that in a sense, in terms of the chronology of the back story, I had my beginning in 1791 with the ship discovering the island, I had my ending with the death of Walter Benjamin in 1940. And suddenly I had my middle with Charles Baudelaire.

And of course, I was familiar with Angela Carter’s great story “Black Venus,” which is about Charles Baudelaire’s muse, Jeanne Duval. So I knew that there was a great love story there between those two, and a very complicated love story between those two. And so suddenly it all kind of came together in that sense. I was able to kind of create this figure of eight story, if you like, with those three nodes connecting them.

Valerie

So how far into your first draft were you before you decided that you were going to do it this way? That you were going to change the format from a conventional format?

Alex

I was probably well into my 12th draft…

Valerie

Wow!

Alex

Yeah. So what happened was I went, I left Australia for a number of years to go and live in the US and France to write the novel, for a whole host of reasons. Mostly personal. But I’m glad I did that. I don’t think I could have written this novel if I’d stayed in Australia, because so much research was involved.

But as I said earlier, I wrote it like David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, in the sense that it was three stories that were mixed up together.

And then I finished a draft. It almost killed me. I was physically and financially spent. And I came back to Australia with this draft, which was very rough. And I shopped it around everywhere to anyone who would care to have a look at it. And I was rejected by everybody.

Valerie

This was still in the conventional format at this point?

Alex

This was in the conventional format, yes. So in the Cloud Atlas style, if you like.

And then so I went back to the States and decided to do another draft. I thought, well, okay, it’s not good enough. And it was while I was doing that draft, which was by this stage it’s been six or seven years since I’ve started this. So this was about two or three years ago. So it was about two-thirds of the way into the process. That’s when I had the idea of doing the two sequences.

And it was at that point that the novel began to attract some interest. I was able to get it to Picador Australia, who you can’t pitch to directly. But through a friend, Chris Womersley, to whom I’m deeply indebted. And they took it on.

And at the same time, I got an agent in New York. A highly respected agent over there, who also took it on. Just off the slush pile.

So I think it was the format conceit of the double sequence that started to get it the attention that it didn’t get previously.

Valerie

So I have to ask, on a practical level, on your 13th or whatever it is draft where you decide, I’m going to change the format – what did you then have to do? How did you actually break it down so that it would all fit together? It would all make sense. Did you use index cards, Trello boards? On a practical level, can you describe how you made it all work? Because it’s complex.

Alex

It is complex. But it’s actually… I was lucky because I’d already written in this mixed-up way where you had a chapter from one story… Oh, let me be a bit more clear. Let’s say, chapter one from story one, chapter one from story two, chapter one from story three, and in that kind of sequence.

So it was already very complicated. All I had to do was kind of extract all the chapters and bundle them together. And really that’s all I did. I didn’t at that point make any effort.

What happened was later, when Mathilda Imlah began – who is the publisher at Picador – began really engaging with the manuscript, she brought up all these issues that she had and I had to, at that point… So it’s gone through a couple more drafts since then. So it’s probably on its 14th or 15th draft now. I mean, I’ve lost count.

But I had to rewrite the middle section, “The City of Ghosts” section. I had to really do deep dive rewrites on several chapters in “The Tales of the Albatross” section to really make it work.

And it’s been two years since Picador took it up. And in that time, it’s gone through, it’s had a lot of work. So this was a slow process. But the initial idea of making it readable in two different directions didn’t require a huge amount of work.

Valerie

Okay. So, I just want to make it clear to listeners that the complexity is not, as a reader, it’s not a complex reading experience. It’s an enjoyable reading experience. But on the back end, because I’m always thinking about how it’s created, I kept wondering, you know, how does this all work?

So what’s your feedback from readers? Because it can be read in one of two ways: a conventional way, and a way where you jump around. So what has been your feedback from readers as to which way they’ve chosen to read it?

Alex

It’s really interesting. I can’t tell just yet how many people are choosing to follow the Baroness sequence. Mathilda did fear, initially, that most readers would choose not to read the Baroness sequence. But at this point, I’m getting the sense that people are going 50/50. So I’m not sure. And I’m looking forward to seeing what people think.

I have really made an effort with the setup of the book, if you like, to encourage readers to take up the Baroness sequence. So the Baroness sequence is the name I’ve given in the book to the sequence where you hop around.

And I explain that in a preface. And in the preface, I present myself not as a Melbourne-based writer but as a Parisian bookbinder. And in the bio of the book, I extend the fiction to the bio of the book, where I say Alex Landragin is a Parisian bookbinder. And I did that – and I even dedicated the book to the Baroness who is a fictional character in the book – and I did that because I wanted to really get people into the concept from the get-go and to encourage them to read the Baroness sequence. It’s a slightly more challenging method of reading, but I think it’s a more rewarding method of reading as well.

Valerie

I think also the choice you make must say something about you as well. I suspect.

Alex

No doubt! Well, yes. And the other thing too is that I think that both sequences have their own tonal qualities. So that I suspect that if you read it conventionally, what you get is, what is foregrounded is the puzzle aspect of the book, where you have to kind of construct the back story from these quite disparate clusters of information that you’re given. Whereas if you read it in the Baroness sequence, as the name suggests, what is foregrounded more in the Baroness sequence is the romantic aspects of the story.

Valerie

Now you have described this as a 25-year journey. And it’s one that you haven’t wavered from. You knew from when you were young, a teenager, that you wanted to be a writer. A) what sustains you to continue pursuing your dream? And b) if you could just give us some idea, a potted history of your career so we know what you did alongside what you’re writing?

Alex

Right. What sustains me in what sense?

Valerie

To keep ongoing. Because you said that you’ve written a lot, you said you’ve had failures, you’ve had some rejections. What kept you going?

Alex

Well, everything you could imagine. To me, being a writer..

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This week we have three SIGNED copies to give away of The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers a stunning debut from a talented new Australian voice in historical fiction, Kerri Turner.

It’s 1910s Russia and we meet Valentina Yershova – whose position in the Romanovs’ Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing keeping her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks, relying not only on her talent but her alliances with influential men. Then Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, and suddenly everything she has built is put at risk.

For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfils a lifelong dream. But in the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As civil war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is torn between his growing connection to Valentina and his guilt for their lavish way of life.

The Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other…

Want to win one of these signed copies? To do so, simply tell us YOUR favourite kind of dance, and why in 25 words or fewer. If your entry is one of our favourite three entries, you will win a copy of this book for your collection!

ENTER USING THE FORM BELOW.

Entries close midday Monday 22 July 2019, Sydney/Melbourne time.

GOOD LUCK!


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The post WIN ‘The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers’ by Kerri Turner appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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Congratulations to AWC alumna Petronella McGovern who launched her debut novel Six Seconds at Berkelouw Books in Mona Vale in Sydney last week. With over 160 people attending, it was so popular, the event had to relocate across the road to the Memorial Hall.

Launched by bestselling author Liane Moriarty, it was a wonderful event to mark the release of Petronella’s first book. “It was surreal to walk into a bookshop and see Six Minutes on the shelf, with my name on it!” says Petronella. “The day after Six Minutes was released, I went into my local Harry Hartog and introduced myself. They asked if I’d like to sign some books.

“Then I was so excited that this moment had finally come that, when I signed the first book, I spelt my name wrong! Luckily, I could fix it. At that point, I was just laughing at myself.

It’s even more surreal to receive reviews of the book on blogs and in newspapers. It’s so exciting that people are reading my book!”

The launch was also another first for Petronella. “This was my first public speaking event about the book, so it was a bit overwhelming. And I was worried about speaking to such a large crowd but then everyone was so lovely and welcoming that we just had a fantastic night.

“When I thanked Berkelouw for hosting the launch, I said that I’d been to many events at their bookshop listening to other authors, and it was wonderful to finally be the one standing up with the microphone! I met lots of lovely readers and book clubs, and signed lots and lots of books.”

Petronella has completed several courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre including the six-month Write Your Novel program. “I had my writers’ group there, who I’d met through the novel course at AWC. They were all very excited to see Six Minutes in print after all their feedback and encouragement.”

You can read about Petronella’s journey to publication here.


The post Petronella McGovern’s book launch for ‘Six Seconds’ appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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It can be hard to stop reading a good story. Chapter after chapter, there’s always something to keep you turning pages. With the very best books, you may find yourself wondering: how do they come up with these great ideas? Well for many it means careful planning and outlining followed by several rounds of editing. For others, it may simply come about in a flash of inspiration. For a select few, they don’t even have to work at their best ideas at all. Some authors come up with their best book ideas in their dreams. 

From Stephenie Meyer to Stephen King and even Charlotte Bronte, dreams have been a source of inspiration for many authors. Just like you may often dream of crazy ideas, or even mundane work tasks, the dreams of authors sometimes lead them back to their waking writings. Whether it’s the inspiration for a single monster, a whole scene, or the plot of their entire book, dreams have inspired many authors

For those of you creatives who ares struggling to come up with your best ideas, or writers looking for a brilliant place to start, the ideas may already be inside your head, waiting to be connected. Since dreams are only a synthesis of what we feel, experience, and think about, it’s possible you too can leverage your dreams to spark creativity. For a full list of books inspired by dreams, and tips for your own brainstorming, check out this visual below by Sleep Advisor:

The post 11 famous books that began as dreams appeared first on Australian Writers' Centre.

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