SnapShot 2014

[SnaphotLogo2014%255B4%255D.png]It’s my first year involved with the SpecFic Downunder SnapShot and I have to thank Sean Wright for yet again investing in my writing career. In the interview I talk about new collaborative projects, the erratic nature of poetry, bending narratives, what Australian spec-fic I’ve read recently and loved, what it would take to get to the bottom of my to read pile and drop the news on a flash fiction collection.

You can read the full interview here.

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Beta Reading at Writers Bloc

betareadingI have a new article up at Writers Bloc. Over the years I’ve written quite a few articles about beta reading based mostly on my editing experience. This is the first article I’ve written while neck-deep in beta reading. The article picks apart the fundamental dynamic between the beta reader and the writer based on where the writer is poised within the development of the story. From the article…

A beta reader is a hunter of inconsistencies. At the broadest level they are looking at the context of the story and how the story fits (or doesn’t) within those parameters.

This falls into three categories where:

  1. the writer is exploring the story and is uncertain of what is in their head,
  2. the writer is certain of the story but works too hard to get the context across or is too close to the story to give meaningful context to events and motivations, or
  3. the writer has a clear picture in their head but the story demands additional details or insights originally considered inconsequential to the main story.

And how cool is the graphic? As a huge quotation fan, this fills my heart with the right kind of nerdy joy. Thank you Sam and the wonderful folk at Writers Bloc.

 

#6in6 Challenge: A look at accidental community

Writing is a solitary activity, but as writers we were never meant to be alone.

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 It’s easy to get maudlin when you’re mired in rejection hell. I know the temptation well. But instead of falling prey to it, I decided to hustle and write more fiction and used social media to make myself accountable. That’s how the #6in6 group (with a god-awful official name of no less than ten words including ‘magic’ and ‘puppies’) began.

Looking back, I have no idea why I chose to publicly declare I would write six stories in six weeks. Who knows? All I know is that there was something in it because within hours other writers were commenting and committing to the same challenge on my Facebook status.

Fellow Brisbane-based spec-fic author, Ben Payne, summonsed his inner admin genie and convened a closed Facebook group. It was all set up before we went to bed on the Friday night.

And they came.

As I write this, the group has 26 members. We are poets, scriptwriters, short story writers, novelists and academics. We are international in our representation. At any hour of the day it is possible to find someone in the group to write alongside or talk/bitch/moan with. Each of us comes with our own aspirations and demons. We are honest in our struggles; genuine in our support. We swap markets, ideas, brainstorming sessions, beta reads, reflections on the highs and lows of the writer’s life, and writing extracts—often hot off the press!

This is community at its best.

The overall opinion is words might have been put down without the challenge, but the group has ensured they were. And more words are on their way as we race toward the end of July and the conclusion of the challenge.

I have no idea what will happen then. While I have some sneaky suspicions about the future, it’s not for me to say. I’m just one twenty-sixth of a group lashing words together in a sea of possibility.

Image by Emdot via Flickr used under a Creative Commons License

This post was updated on 22nd July.

Nothing New to Begin – Tincture Journal

IMG_1185Earlier this year, my collection of vignettes “Nothing New to Begin” was lucky enough to find a home at Tincture Journal after a year cooling heels in competitions and slush piles.

I wrote it in August 2012 as I was waiting to hear back about “Elyora” (back in the days when it was a truly terrible barely second draft in the submissions folders at Review of Australian Fiction) and while Adam and I were neck deep writing Post Marked: Piper’s Reach.

I wrote it as a little bit of therapy. For those of you who read PMPR in its online incarnation, you’ll understand! I also wrote it as a challenge: to capture moments in less than 250 words. It was my hope that each section could be read alone, but together they would build and develop a shared narrative of the two main characters. I have Dan to thank for stripping it back to the bare essentials.

“Nothing New to Begin” is now available for free on the Tincture website.

The latest Tincture, Issue Six is available here, with stories by S.G. Larner, Adam Byatt, Tiggy Johnson and Sam van Zweden.