Randomly Shelves or Something

My brilliantly aptly distractingly named new series continues. Where I randomly select two books from my shelves and attempt to find a link. I do not promise it will be a good link, only that it will be a link. It might be anything at all. One thing I do promise is that the link will not be due to the books both containing words such as ‘and’ or ‘the’, although having said that it’d be really awesome to now find two books totally missing both of those words.

The books I chose last week were Freelancing in the Creative Industries by Karen le Rossignol and Claire Rosslyn Wilson and Verandah Volume Nine. Stay tuned to find out if I’ve actually got a link.

The Books

Freelancing in the Creative Industries is one of my current textbooks. It’s one of those books that anyone doing freelancing should buy and work their way through. I won’t be passing it on when I’ve finished with it, this will be one textbook finding space on my increasingly crowded bookshelves.

Freelancing in the Creative Industries by Karen Le Rossignol and Claire Rosslyn Wilson

Verandah Volume Nine is a magazine filled with wonderful fiction. I submitted my third short story to them a couple of weeks ago. I’ve not heard back so I suspect it’s been rejected. It’ll be a short story for my bottom drawer to be reworked some time in the future when my emotions aren’t as tangled about it.

Verandah Volume Nine

The Link

I pulled these off the pile of books on my desk last week. I’m sort of swamped and couldn’t be bothered standing up to look on my shelf. I had no idea how I’d find a link or if there would be one. But there is a rather tenuous link. So tenuous I’m using more words to put off typing it up.

The link is Deakin University. Freelancing in the Creative Industries is a textbook used in my course at uni, I mentioned this earlier. Verandah is a magazine produced in conjunction with the Toorak Association of Students, Deakin University and partly funded by the School of Literature and Journalism, Deakin University.

Next Week!

Next week we have some interesting books. Scary! 2 edited by Peter Haining and Tangram: The ancient Chinese shapes game by Joost Elffers. No ideas, don’t even think about asking. This might be the pair of books that completely stumps me and I have to make it up.

Writing and editing and critting

Why am I writing yet more thoughts on this? Because I’ve got another short story in for publication. This one I had no time so I ignored my rules and submitted without having it edited. This is something I deeply regret, truly. Although they’re still publishing it and sent it back to me with some structural edits. It’s a funny thing. These suggested edits highlighted some major holes in various parts of the piece which I only saw after it was sent back to me.

This is why editing is important. You need someone else to help you see the holes, the big problems that, when fixed, can make the piece ever so much better. And it’s entirely possible for the editor to miss these holes but having their red highlights all over your piece can make you look at it differently.

And while I’m on about colour. I was watching a friend highlighting specifics throughout her novel and I now understand much more why she was doing this. Her reasoning was because it’s easier to see the various specifics but I’m wondering how much the colour has to do with finding the holes. It was very boring work, she complained.

Part of my degree is learning how to edit your own work, other people’s work and also learning how to crit other works. I know, I’m using jargon again. Crit is short for critique and it’s what every work needs to become a better piece. I’ve spent the last few weeks critting my partners’ pieces and next week it’s my turn. I’ve just put up my piece for critting and on Wednesday I get to sit while they pull my heart to shreds. Actually, my words, but for some people it’s the same thing. But to be honest I want to know what I’ve missed out. Have I got the descriptions right? Have I written enough imagery? Have a left enough to the reader’s imagination? I find out on Wednesday, not just from my partners but also the teacher. And when this piece is submitted I’ll be wondering where I can send it for publication. Assuming I can, there might be too many references to other writers. Or it might not be good enough. There is always the chance I’m a two short story author and that I can’t write anything more for publication.

For the record. When you’re finally doing what you’ve wanted to do for far too many decades it’s interesting how it effects your health. I’ve had high blood pressure for years and I’ve medicated it as the doctor wanted me to, I’ve tried to lose weight and do some exercise but that’s a lot harder than taking a tablet. I’ve been feeling a little off colour recently and when I went to the doctor for more medication promptly rolled up my sleeve for a blood pressure reading. I almost fell off my chair in surprise. It was really low and he’s adjusted my meds to hopefully account for that. Who’d a thunk it? That finally fulfilling my dreams would impact my health in a good way.

Writing, and writing, and writing…

It’s another of those articles because I haven’t the brain space to find something about books and what other people are writing. It’s all about me and my degree today.

I’m now one third of the way through my Bachelor of Arts in Professional and Creative Writing. As they say, practice makes perfect, although in my case it just makes it easier to get to the word count. I have eight out of the 24 units I need and this year, being second year, they expect a higher level of competency than last, next year will be even higher, but I’m leaving next year to next year for some strange reason.

I have it easy compared to some of my fellow students. I was talking to one lady this week who is doing all three units (subjects) I’m doing plus Screenwriting. Everyone is complaining about the amount of reading and that we’re all behind. I’m not so fussed by this as it’s the story of my life, I started uni on the back foot and nothing’s going to change there.

What am I doing that has so much reading? Creative Nonfiction, Fiction Writing and Poetry. Each one has a couple of hours reading every week plus some writing. For Creative Nonfiction I have 4,000 words to hand in by the end of the trimester, that’s over three different assignments; they make this a little by making us write a short piece each week for three weeks and submit that for workshopping. Fiction Writing is easier as it’s only 3,500 words but it’s over two assignments; there’s also a little workshopping here. Poetry has 3,200 words over two assignments plus an online quiz. Not to mention I try to write on this blog three days a week and I’m trying to write some short stories for publication. That’s almost 11,000 words just for uni alone, although it is spread out from March to June.

You know about my first short story which they published, I submitted a second story for the next magazine this week. I fully expect a rejection for this second story, I did the unthinkable and didn’t ask a friend to edit it, I am regretting that. My Fiction Writing teacher is also encouraging us to submit for competitions and as there are no age limits for this one I’m seriously considering working up one of the ideas I have scribbled down.

And that’s one of my problems. Because I’m starting this writing journey so late I’m not eligible for many of the competitions or grants. They’re mostly aimed at the young emerging writer and only one of those words fits me (unless you believe me when I tell you I’m 18). Some don’t have age limits and I’m going to do my best to submit to those but I don’t know when I’m going to find the time. There’s a few external pulls on my time over the next few weeks and you’ll never guess when the submission date of this competition is…go on, you’ll never guess. It’s the 12th April and I’m wondering how I’m going to add in taking an idea and making it into a short story with everything else going on. I’ve demonstrated that I can write a 700 word short story in about an hour but then it needs a lot of editing to be sure it works.

Writing? I’m not doing much at the moment, you can tell by the assignments…

I bin writting

I feel almost like a real writer this week. I’ve been doing lots of writing for uni and for the magazine, Wordly, put out by Deakin Writers. Don’t get me wrong, I need to do lots of writing this trimester, there’s good reason there. Let me ramble for yet another Friday and talk about what I’m studying this time round.

First up is Love, Death and Poetry. You know what I think of love, poetry isn’t that far behind. I can read a little poetry and be alive the next day but it is a challenge. Having finished three weeks of it I feel I’ll be able to write the necessary essays and get through, but I’m going to skip attending the lectures. I will still watch them, thanks to the magic of the internet I’ll be able to watch them that night and there are bonuses to watching lectures online. One of the downsides is that I don’t get to see my lecturer but I do get to pause the recording to take notes or even to take a walk around the house and bring my mind back where it should be and not wandering around the world.

Next is Creative Non-fiction. It’s not entirely what I was hoping for. It’s the personal essay so this first assignment is looking at the personal, the ‘I’ and situations ‘I’ve’ been in. This bit is rather challenging as I’m not good at putting in the personal stuff, it may not show on my blog but it does show on social media as there’s very little about me. But there’s a big focus on helping your fellow student through the wonders of workshopping so I’ll get through there too.

The last subject is Creative Fiction. For this I have to write ‘mindfully’. What on earth does this mean? It means that every word must count and that I must be able to justify my choices within the arena of the story. If I set the story in a particular setting then there must be a reason for it. And what qualifications does my teacher have? Here’s her website, have a look for yourself.

Yesterday I attended my Writer’s Group, the one what I done start up last year. Yes, the focus is on writing but we do so much more than that. Today I worked on some background for the story I need to submit for critting for Creative Fiction. Critting? Critiquing, it’s where people pull your heart out by the guts and tell you where you’ve gone wrong. I look forward to it as I can’t tell if my writing is any good and this points out the holes.

I left there early as Deakin Writers were having a Write In to try and encourage people to write something for the next magazine. I already knew the theme and had something in mind. When I finally stopped being silly and sat down I put fingers to keyboard, almost 700 words later it’s just needing a polish or three then an edit by a talented friend before being ready for submission in less than three weeks. I did use one of their prompts to start something else incredibly silly. If there’s time I’ll polish that and submit both, giving them two ways to turn me down.

I’m finally doing what I’ve wanted for so, so long. Maybe I should write a piece about that.

It ain’t here

Last night was the launch of the magazine that has my short story. I know you’ve been waiting and waiting but there isn’t an online version of it and I’ve been asked not to share it until after the next magazine comes out. In three months time after the launch of the next issue I’l be able to scan it in and show people, or just forget I promised and move on. Just because I can here is the front cover.

Wordly: Harmony

If you’d like to read articles by other Deakin Writers members I’ve included the link to their blog in the photo above.

So, back to last night. It was a pleasant night in a pub in Hawthorn, my old stamping ground. We talked books, writing and many other things. I parked near the Hawthorn Town Hall, I have good memories of getting my Polio vaccine there when I was very young. I always hoped I’d be able to get more the following year as it tasted nice, I knew it was a once off though.

Walking back to my car I decided to take a couple of photos for you.

Mr Barrett Foundation Stone Hawthorn Town Hall

Mrs Barrett Foundation Stone Hawthorn Town Hall

The suburb of Hawthorn was founded in the late 1830s. It’s not far from the CBD and I always treasured being able to hop on a tram or a train and be there fairly quickly. Now I treasure the lack of trams in my area as they clog up the roads and make driving ‘interesting’ but they do get more people around than a couple of cars can.

It’s an affluent suburb and was when I lived there as well, we had little money so were the odd people out. But what I remember well from those days is weather related. Don’t ask me what this has to do with books or writing, I’m digressing from the topic as this is where my brain took me last night.

We had really good soil, it had been market gardens and we were on the buried tributary of a stream. I used to grow vegies there, Mum was always happy to add my little contribution to the table; the pity was that I wasn’t good at the task back then.

I remember one year the drought broke and we had substantial amounts of rain. I’m told one of us blocked up the drains next to the road to see what would happen; the water was too deep for me. I’m not sure how they unblocked it but I do recall watching the water coming up the front garden almost to the front step.

Anyway, if you’re writing about this kind of thing contact me for more details.