Writing on, and about, an island

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Alain de Botton. Advertising. Creativity. And skulls on desks.

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on June 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Three things…

My ceramic skull by Tasmanian artist Marion Abraham

1. I have a turquoise ceramic skull on my desk at home. I bought it as a present to myself when I finished the first draft of my book. It alternately creeps me out, inspires me to write about death (something I think about pretty much all day long) AND reminds me to keep perspective (which is important when you’re predisposed to think about death all day long).

2. I work in advertising. That’s my day job. And every big campaign or teeny ad I come up with is arrived at by:

trying to find the truth of something;
the insight that comes from the truth;
the idea that can express that insight;
and then the execution that will catch the public’s eye…

3. After a hiatus, I am restarting my Masters degree next year (I’ve done a third of it so far). I’ll be studying philosophy – which I’ve always wanted to do yet somehow, until now, had felt was not practical or relevant enough for my pragmatic mind…

What do these three things have in common?

This cool Mumbrella post, and [thinking woman’s crumpet] Alain de Botton’s musings on skulls, creativity, advertising and philosophy – that’s what!

Seems I’m on the right track.

Snacks of the Great Scribblers

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on June 19, 2012 at 9:36 am

This clever article was originally in the NY Times book review, but I first discovered it on Sarah Wilson’s blog. I am obsessed with food, so cannot imagine writing slightly starved, like Lord Byron… and I am still learning how much wine I can drink before it goes from helpful to unhelpful.

If you’re interested in a murder-meets-food story, I’ve just added one of my short stories – Death is Served – onto my author site.

Enjoy!

Death is Served: A murder in four courses

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Writing on June 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I’ve just uploaded one of my short stories, Death is Served: A murder in four courses, to my author site. Would love you to read it. It involves food… and, naturally, death… and there’s a lot of my ‘olden days’ magazine life behind it.

The story was shortlisted for last year’s Scarlet Stiletto awards – I ended up with a Highly Commended.

I wrote the piece in about four hours, just before the comp deadline – and it serves as a reminder to me (a perfectionist-slash-procrastinator) that you should just ‘do it’. I almost didn’t write the story, and I almost didn’t submit the story. Boy am I glad I did.

Final tally: 30,000 words in 10 HOURS!

In Books, Career, Crime & Mystery Writer, Island Life, Tasmania, Writing on June 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – Alice in Wonderland

This weekend, I wrote a massive 3,000 words an hour for 10 hours.
That’s 30,000 words in total, written far faster than I’d expected. The words just kind of spewed out, so to speak – there was no writer’s block or anything.

I am mentally drained, and I can’t quite believe it, but I now have 30,000 words with which to play with.

I allowed myself to walk into this unfamiliar process with an open mind. I had decided that I would not take my finished crime-novel manuscript (Undercurrent) into the writing room with me. What I would do was write freely about my characters and the scenarios they were in, just to see what happened…

Hmm:

  1. Someone died (who I wasn’t planning to kill off).
  2. My main character, Cattis Cull, was accused of something by a colleague and had to be stood down, pending an internal investigation.
  3. And someone turned out to be gay…

Of course, I won’t be using a lot of what I’ve written (or perhaps I will – who knows?), but I cannot tell you how valuable it is to simply sit and write very fast, without over-thinking what you are doing.

Rachel Edwards, editor of Islet Magazine, was an excellent team leader, and hopefully we’ll be doing this again soon.

If you’re interested, here’s another post about the weekend, from one of the Melbourne Rabbit Holers, Little Girl With A Big Pen

Down the Rabbit Hole I Go…

In Books, Crime & Mystery Writer, Tasmania, Writing on June 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

The writing marathon starts tonight, at Hobart’s Salamanca Arts Centre. I’m going to attempt to write 30,000 words in about 30 hours – with a group of strangers. It’s a national thing, and is, like all my favourite things, COMPETITIVE!

We have an exciting weekend ahead of us! Teams in Melbourne, Brisbane and online will be watching the Tasmanian contingent closely! We’ve got a full house with a waiting list – so if you’re having second thoughts let me know early.

Participants in all states and online will be staying in touch via Twitter and Facebook. In these spaces you can update your word-counts as well as encouraging (or dissing) the other teams. If you tweet about the Rabbit Hole, don’t forget to include the #rabbithole and #ewf12 hashtags. To keep in touch via Facebook, join the group here: https://www.facebook.com/events/341870419210286/

Twitter? What’s that?

Anyway…

Here are two of my favourite posts on writing lo-o-ong…

How to Write 300,000 Words in 1 Year by Chris Guillebeau

How to Write a Novel by Nathan Bransford

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