The Glass Marionette

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have seen the hashtag #theglassmarionette pop up now and again over the past few months. Quite possibly to accompany some pretty weird-arse hand-drawn diagrams or screen shots.

Today the mystery of #theglassmarionette is unveiled.

The Glass Marionette is my latest online collaborative writing project, partnering this  time ’round with my old friend and writing compatriot, Rus Vanwestervelt. We worked together on the Write Anything website back in the day, and Rus has written for Literary Mix Tapes. We’ve also been working with Adam on another collaborative venture, but The Glass Marionette is our literary baby.

When strangers, Will and Wainwright, meet face-to-face in a gas station at dawn, they realise their shared nightmare is something more insidious than a bad trip. Wainwright is trying to find his missing friend. Will is in hiding from his dead girlfriend and their angry lover. Meeting in reality might be their first step at making peace with the past. Or their last.

~ The Glass Marionette, blurb

We have been brainstorming, writing and project hashing since mid-June and this week we share a two part Q&A session, as a prelude to releasing the first weekly installment next week. The first part of the Q&A goes live today with the second part live on Friday.

The weekly installments will be approximately 1500 words, very raw and mostly uncut. It is unlike anything I’ve written. It puts the capital W in weird. It also knocks out the ballpark any of the big concept ideas I’ve experimented with in the past. A big shout out and thank you to Dave Versace who rose to the challenge of being our puppetmaster and master prompt creator.

The Glass Marionette is a metaphysical, time travel serial that pushes the boundaries of collaborative writing and the expectations of narrative and structure. It is the literary equivalent of a trust fall.

Based on the premise of ‘the unreliable narrative’ and built on ten randomly deployed writing prompts that effectively disable the authors’ abilities to direct the narrative, the serial is an experiment in writing blind and on the edge, and how to do both when fundamental control is handed over to a third party beyond the writing partnership.

The journey of Will and Wainwright seeks to answer the question: with every means at your disposal, is it possible to fix the past and dissolve one’s regrets?

~ The Glass Marionette, project description

I’ve always found my resurrection in writing through collaboration and this time is no different. While I don’t want to make a habit of getting up at 2am to write because the story is so far  under skin  I can’t sleep, it feels good to be writing again. It’s actually a relief to find I am still capable of writing after so much time away from the page, between  physical and mental health issues, family and personal upheavals over the past few years. I’m excited to be able to publicly share my fiction again.

Rus is absolutely writing at the top of his game at the moment. It was always going to be a joy to collaborate with him, but he’s pushed me to excel and to embrace writing dangerously again.

I hope you’ll join us, as we share with you the most unconventional of web serials over the next few months.

 

Advertisements

Practical Guide to Beta Reading a Top Hit

betareadingThere is no better news than the news that finds its way to you about making a yearly ‘best of’ list (or one of the many different iterations of the ‘best of’). I’m lucky enough to find myself on the ‘most read’ list over at Writers Bloc with my article “A Practical Guide To Beta Reading”. It’s a double victory because it was one hell of a difficult article to write and was the culmination of a number of ideas I’d had for a long time. To know it hit a chord with lots of readers is quite a nice feeling.

You can see the entire list here or do a quick click through to the guide (complete with a handy downloadable PDF). There’s also the companion piece Beta Reading As Translation.

Many thanks to Sam and the folks at Writers Bloc for their on going financial support of their blog contributors. Also a big thank you to my writing group, The Magic Puppies, especially Lois Spangler and Dave Versace, who slipped not once, but twice, down an Inception-style rabbit hole to beta read articles on beta reading!

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This post marks the 600th post on this blog! Even more reason to celebrate!

A Very if:book Week

I highlighted the exciting work of if:book Australia in my Snap Shots interview last month. This week I’ve been lucky enough to be part of two of their projects.

The n00bz

In July the word was put out on Twitter for digital innovators to blog their projects and have a chance to be part of the revised edition of The N00bz: New Adventures in Literature. This coincided with the opening weeks of the #6in6 weeks challenge and I was encouraged to write about it as an example of establishing digital communities. It didn’t seem terribly revolutionary to me, as I’ve been doing it since 2009 but this was the first time a community spontaneously sprung to life.

My tiny snippet of an article ‘#6in6: A Look at Accidental Community’ made it in and I can now claim (rather sheepishly) to share a table of contents with authors the likes of Sean Williams, Carmel Bird, and Benjamin Law.

From Simon’s preface:

… The intersection of technology and publishing is full of contradiction, competition, and conflict. Technology today exists in a kind of attention-deficit hyperspeed: products inspire anticipation, passion, adoption, familiarity, and finally boredom in an increasingly fast cycle. The book is drawn into this amped up environment—write, publish, write more—even as it clings to an authoritarian and timeless gravitas that may or may not still be relevant.

For writers in such an environment, the possibilities are as intoxicating as they are bewildering. Telling stories is a craft that adapts and changes to meet the technology of its time and writers are a generally curious bunch.

It was with such thoughts in mind that if:book and Editia pitched the idea for The N00bz to the writers collected in this volume.

We challenged twelve Australian writers[1] to step outside their comfort zone and try a new professional experience – something related to their craft that they had never tried before, whether it was a tool or a technique at the cutting edge or whether it had been around for centuries. It only had to be new to the writer.

The n00bz launched on Tuesday in Sydney and is available here as an eBook ($9.99) or paperback ($23.99).

Open Changes

https://i0.wp.com/open.futureofthebook.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/LTC.jpg

Open Changes is a flash-fiction/remix project from open to all writers, artists, musicians and film makers and is part of the Lost in Track Changes project for 2014.

This week my story ‘Poppies Grew Scarlet From Her Tears’ is one of four stories up for remixing as part of week three of the project. I was inspired by the line: Somewhere in there lay her true name, buried beneath the rubble she’d left behind a long time ago from Omar Sakr’s story ‘Redback. Tiny. Queen Of Spades. Deserter.’ I threw ideas around with Dave Versace until his comment about a ‘sin eater’ filled me with the dark delight of what I could create.

Here is a little snippet of Poppies…

Somewhere beneath the rubble her true name lies, the syllables torn from each other and buried in the foundations millennia ago. All attachments to herself severed to step from the shadows of personhood into immortality. To abide forever in a delicious nothingness, freed from pain and disappointment. From longing, grief and uncertainty.

And the anticipation builds as to whether any of lines or imagery grab the next round of remixes, and what might come of it.

The deadline for the next round of remixes is this midnight this Sunday, AEST. Get to it!

PS: If you are a fan of Tiny Owl Workshop, the very lovely Sue Wright has a story, ‘Tulips’ in the Week Two remixes.