Season’s Greetings!

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, etc etc to all my readers! Hope you all have the opportunity to gather with loved ones and celebrate.

This year has been amazing and I am thankful for so many things: First and foremost, of course, is my family – my partner, who supports  and encourages me  in all things, and my beautiful children, whose smiles brighten my day. I’m thankful also for my writer’s group without whom I would NEVER have been motivated to get this far!! I’m grateful for all the editors who’ve read my work, those who’ve accepted my pieces for publication, but also those who did not, yet gave me words of encouragement to keep writing, and try again.

I’m grateful to Allen & Unwin, from who I have won numerous prizes this year, (they have filled my bookshelves! Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson, Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith, Sharp Shooter and Sharp Turn both by Marianne Delacourt, The Boy Under the Table by Nicole Trope, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton) and had some great opportunities – joining in the blogging read-along of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier, and another great opportunity I’m really excited about – The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. The book was delivered by my very friendly Australia Post lady today, and I was so excited about it I’ve put my current book aside (Cloudstreet by Tim Winton) and started on it already. (The Storyteller is due for release next year – look out for it – I only started it an hour ago and I’m already a quarter of the way through. It is brilliant! Jodi Picoult certainly does not disappoint with this one – the way she manages to delve so deep into the complexities of human emotion, and the human condition (I think that really is the best term for it), is absolutely amazing!!)

Oops – I seem to have digressed somewhat! I am thankful for you too – my readers and followers. It’s a bit strange sometimes – sometimes this feels a bit like a journal, a place to offload the random thoughts I occasionally have. So thank you for reading, liking, and commenting!

Again… I hope you all have a beautiful day where-ever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Blessed Be!

Young Writer’s Program

 

I am thrilled to say that my 6 year old son is joining in the Young Writer’s Program this year. (http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/)

We signed him up on the site, and checked out the Word-Count Goal Calculator, a brilliant device to help Young Writer’s set a word goal for themselves. He typed away for 10 minutes, with lots of distractions, and ended up with 30 words. Focus is not really one of his strong points at the moment – his world is far too full of excitement to concentrate on any one thing for too long, so we’ve set him a daily goal of 50 words, 1500 words for the month. Personally, I think he’ll get that easily, but I wanted something small for him to aim for, in his first year.

Then we downloaded the Young Writer’s Program workbook for Elementary Students. It is brilliant! It asks him to think about novels that he likes and doesn’t like, and what it is he likes or not about them. Then he begins the planning for his own novel. So far we have a character, whose name he picked out from a baby name website after searching for a name that means warrior or fighter (it’s going to be an adventure story), and the character has now been fleshed out with likes/dislikes, where he lives, what he looks like, and what he does best.

Best of all is that my son is so keen to work on it. He is so excited about his story, he’s been bragging to all who will listen about how next month he’ll be doing the Young Writer’s Program.

And we’ve already discussed his prize should he succeed, a YWP “Nanowrimo Brain” t-shirt.

Looking forward to next month, novelling away with my boy!! 😀

NanoWrimo 2012 – who’s with me?

The people at National Novel Writing Month have released the Nanowrimo 2012 website today!!

Nanowrimo is brilliant, and this will be the third time this year I have participated – having joined in the June and August Camp Nano sessions.

If you’re thinking about Nano but not sure if you really want to commit to writing 50,ooo words in 30 days: check out these 10 reasons you should sign up!! (taken straight from the Office of Letters and Light’s blog (OLL are Nanowrimo’s parent company…) (http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/32671611607/10-reasons-you-should-do-nanowrimo)

1. Because you get this deep down feeling in your bones after you read an amazing story; a need to drop everything right then and write something, too. Because every once in a while, while riding your bike, you mull over the dream you had last night and suddenly wish you were being chauffeured so you could whip out a pen and jot that bit of dialogue down and see where it takes you.

That feeling isn’t going away, is it? It’s because your spark of inspiration feeds off an inexhaustible fuel. There are people out there who think, ‘That would make a decent story,’ and then never bother themselves about it again. They are a credit to their parents in many other ways, but they don’t have the particular fire that burns in you. Don’t waste your light.

2. You’re afraid to try. Here’s the thing, ‘afraid to try’ is, like, the next-door neighbor of ‘want to try’. Heck, they’re basically roommates. ’Don’t want to try’ is actually four counties over.

As much as we talk about the guilt monkeys that will plague you during the month when you let your word count languish, if December 1 rolls around and you haven’t reached 50,000 words, they are surprisingly compassionate. They will pat you on the shoulder. They will point out that you’ve written 100 words more than you would have if you hadn’t bothered. They will stroke your hair.

That last one isn’t out of compassion, but hunger. Still, it’s nice.

3. You have an idea.

4. Everyone agrees that November is a totally boring month; worse than August. Mostly, there is absolutely nothing of worth happening. “What about Thanksgiving?” I hear many of you asking. Fun fact: the only other country that even celebrates Thanksgiving is Canada, and theirs is in October.

“But I’m so busy with school/work/other!” others of you cry out. I, too, used this reasoning once, to convince my mom that I had absolutely no spare time to play the piano at her dance class’ rehearsals.

Her reply? “Let’s talk about how little time you’d have if we sent you out to your cousins in Korea, and you were engaged in rigorous academic study from seven in the morning to nine at night.” Turns out I had a couple hours, actually, to plunk out waltzing triplets.

All joking aside, November can be a tough month to find the time to write, but the only way to guarantee that you will not have time to write a novel is to make no attempt to look for it.

5. You love writers. NaNoWriMo comes with a community of a quarter million creators like you, who will be breathing life into their characters by your side. On October 31, you can feel a collective inhale starting in New Zealand, and traveling west across the globe, and then a whoosh when November 1 hits. It is epic. It is awesome.

When I spend a lot of time with bro-ier friends, I start speaking the language, complete with a strong peppering of ‘dude’, ‘sick’, ‘swole’, etc. We are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Sometimes, this doesn’t work out for the better (as my example could demonstrate; your mileage may vary). With the right people, though, it can be very real and uniquely human magic power to compile individual resources of will into one giant pool to push each other to achieve the improbable.

6. Do you hate pep? Are encouragement and optimism and persistence distasteful to you? Do you wrinkle your nose at can-do spirit? Good news! We have a place for you over here in the quiet corner, where you can steadily write, consult your stats, and self-motivate to your heart’s content.

Everyone else, brace yourself for advice from published authors, tips and relevant anecdotes from NaNo HQ, word sprints run by your MLs, and pop culture references galore. (We cannot promise these references will be either up-to-date or cool. I will, however, spare you the rendition of ‘Write Me Maybe’ that we belt in the office.)

7. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, and are hoping to avoid sunburn and the possibility of skin cancer, let me introduce you to the indoor sport we call NaNoWriMo!

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, and hoping to avoid snow, rain, general chilliness, haaave you met NaNo?

8. There are people out there who will say, “NaNoWriMo is a waste of your time.” Sometimes, they will go on to say, “You cannot write a novel in a month, and any first draft that comes out of a rush to pen it in 30 days will be completely useless to you.”

If you are a patient person who would like to engage these naysayers, there are two responses to this sort of person, which depends on how they answer the question: “Have you ever written a novel?”

  • If they say, “No, I have not completed a novel,” you are allowed, even encouraged, to pause, smile kindly and say, simply, “Interesting.”
  • If they say, “Yes, I have completed a novel,” you might say, “That’s fantastic. High five—come on, up top! I think this is how I’m going to push myself to do something I’ve always wanted to do, like you did. I don’t know if I’ll end up trying to publish a novel, but if I do, I know writing one is the first step towards doing that.”

If you are not patient, a pretty solid response is, “Cool, I think I’m going to do it anyway.” There’s a decent amount of satisfaction to be found in openly disregarding the haters.

9. Because you have a story worth telling. First, here is what we’re not entitled to: being listened to by the masses. The honest truth is that attention is earned. But there can be incredible epiphanies that come from telling yourself your story. There are so many possibilities inside you. It’s a worthy thing you do, exploring those paths.

Everybody starts with an audience of one, and nobody has the right to silence you, not even your own inner editor.

10. You love to write.

And I would add my own reasons: Because by trying something that seems completely insane you learn that you can, in fact, achieve the impossible, and upon achieving the impossible, that sense of satisfaction is absolutely brilliant! There is also the sense of community if you take an active part of the forums – even though you may be typing away all by yourself in your own little room, there are thousands of writers to chat to at the drop of a hat – so many people experiencing the same issues with their stories, or ready with advice and motivation to keep you on track!

(And I forgot to say – if you’re under 18, and would love to try this but don’t think you can make 50k there is always the Young Writer’s Program – Nano for youngsters! – where you can set your own word goal! Check it out here: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/)