Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Talking to Strangers About Your Novel

I was very fortunate to be able to go to SupaNova this year, Australia's main Pop Culture expo. I had a great time. But I want to relate to you an experience I had that I thought was odd.

I was visiting authors' booths, trying to find my next read. I stopped at one booth and asked the lady what her book was about. She pointed to a laminated card on her table. In tiny print was a description of this lady's novel. It was around 200 words long and with the author standing awkwardly and saying nothing I couldn't concentrate on the card. Thinking to give her another shot at selling her work to me, I asked her a second time what her book was about.
"It's all there on the card," she said abruptly.

I walked away, still with no clear idea about what the book was about. And to be honest, I don't want to know.

Ever since this experience I have been thinking about how I would like to come across to potential readers. I have been rehearsing what I would say about my own book. It really isn't easy. How do I fit a whole body of work into a couple of sentences? I am still working on my Spiel, because I want to get it right. I have also been thinking about images or artwork I might use to help convey my point.

Do any of you have any great tips on how to tell people about your book? I am facing having to have my own booth in a year or so, and I am starting to panic!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's Your Weapon of Choice?

People are often curious about the instrument a writer uses when creating their master pieces. Do they write on a computer? A typewriter? Felt tip pen? A pencil?

For me, I hand write my entire first draft. This blows the minds of many people, I don't mind telling you.

"WHAT?!? The WHOLE thing? Are you CRAZY?" they will often scream at me, spit flecking from their screwed up mouths.

"Why, yes," I say to them, "I rather believe I am."

The pen I use varies. For my previous novel I started with a ball point pen, but quickly switched to a disposable fountain pen for my first draft. I say pen - I mean pens - for there were many. The pens were not very hardy, and I would need a new one every few days. My reasons for choosing the pens, as expensive and flimsy as they may have been, were many. They did not blotch ink all over my page, they were smooth to write with, and they did not hurt the already massive callous on my middle finger. However, as I have said, the pens are expensive and do not last for very long.

For my current project I am writing with a Jetstream 101 UniBall ball point pen. It's kinda like a cross between a gel pen and a biro. It's smooth to write with and doesn't accumulate blobs of ink that invariably end up all over my hands, page and writing surface. They do not last too long, however. Well, maybe I'm just being picky. My current pen has written nearly 10,000 words. It has also nearly run out of ink. But, at a fifth of the price of the fountain pen, I am happy to stick with it for now. It is starting to hurt my hand, but I think that's probably my own fault. I have been rather manic with my writing lately.



Once I am up to my rewrite it is a completely different story (ha! a pun! I'll pretend I meant it!). I complete my rewrite 100% on my lap top. I use the programme Scrivener, and I find it much easier to use than any other word processor I have ever come across. The problem with working on the computer is that the internet becomes a huge temptation for me, and sometimes I find my productivity is hindered by my weak will and memes of catz. 

So, writers. Do tell. How do you write your novels? What is your writerly weapon of choice?


At the end of the day I don't think it matters what you write with, so long as you write. For as long as that has been my mantra I have been productive and happy with my work.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Booklaunch: Missing: Presumed Undead, by Jeremy Davies

I was fortunate enough to have been able to attend the book launch of fellow Australian author's latest novel, 'Missing: Presumed Undead'. I had a great night mingling with other writers and fantasy fiction enthusiasts at Notions Unlimited Bookstore (and I immediately fell in love with the place!).

The description of this book excited me from the first:

Reading Jeremy Davies is like Elmore Leonard meets Dashiel Hammett meets Terry Pratchett with China Mieville peering through the window (they got along fine until Terry spilt his tea all over Elmore’s Italian sports jacket . . .), dipped in funny syrup and set in a classical fantasy-style world with the mood and magic driven “technology” of a Casablanca-style 30’s detective story.
It isn’t so much hard-boiled as char-grilled, with a side salad.”

And the excerpt posted prior to the release made me desperate to get my hands on this book.

 Jeremy was even kind enough to sign my book!

(Images from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152685643861978&set=gm.1468553993373155&type=1)

I cannot wait to begin reading this book.You can grab a copy, too, direct from the publisher here or from Amazon.

It's so wonderful to see Australian authors being launched back into the market place. Only a month ago I was able attend the book launch of Adam Browne's short story collection 'Other Stories, & Other Stories'. I look forward to many more such events in the future!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Writerly Words of Advice

I (fairly) recently had the pleasure of meeting renowned author, George RR Martin. This was hugely exciting for me as he is a bit of a hero of mine. Martin has had such a long, successful and fruitful career, so I was super keen to glean some pearls of wisdom from this man on the writing process. I was very lucky to be able to sit in a small circle of people, perhaps a metre away from Mr Martin, and have a nervous but polite chat with him about my writing. He was enormously helpful and very kind.


His advice was simple, and yet extremely helpful. Without mincing words, George RR Martin's tips on being a successful writer were:

1) Write.

2) Keep writing.

3) Get your writing out into the market and keep it there until it sells.

4) Never revise once you have submitted (unless under editorial order).

I have taken this advice to heart. I am currently sitting on number 3 AND number 1 at the same time. This advice has helped me. I hope it will help you, too!

Happy writing!