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

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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.

#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.