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!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 Fun Facts About Witches

One of the things I love about writing fantasy fiction is the research aspect involved. Today I have been conducting research for a new short story that entered into my brain particles last night. I wanted to share some of the interesting facts that I found out today.

1. The difference between a witch and a wizard is not the person's gender. It is much more specific than that. 
  • A witch is a part of everyday life. He or she may provide healing and good to the people, or they may be responsible for causing harm.

(Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/07/Baldung_Hexen_1508_kol.JPG/417px-Baldung_Hexen_1508_kol.JPG, accessed 04.02.14)

  • A wizard is more aloof. They tend to live apart from the rest of the world and, although they amass great knowledge and have terrible powers, they don't really apply this to the everyday world.
2. Clairvoyance is the art of spying on people from far away, using a crystal ball or looking into a brewed potion. It is not, as I thought, a way of peering into the future. 
3. A wise woman was traditionally a young woman who knew about medicinal herbs and womanly problems. A witch, on the other hand, was considered to be old and unpleasant.

(Source: Dedopulos, T. (2005). The Book of Witches: A Spellbinding Guide. Funtastic Limited, Australia.)

4. An amphithere is a cross between a snake and a bird and is considered to be the South American equivalent of a dragon.(Source: http://dragons.wikia.com/wiki/Amphithere_%28Dragonology%29, accessed 04.02.14)
 (Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Amphiptere.jpg, accessed 04.02.14)

5. When King James I became king he was horrified by Queen Elizabeth I's leniency on witchcraft. He hanged more suspected witches than any other monarch. Back when he was James IV of Scotland he was responsible for (and witness to) the horrific torture of suspected witches, and he naturally felt justified by his actions when, surprise surprise, the 'witches' confessed to all their crimes and more. I think I would confess to just about anything, too, if my legs were shattered into thousands of splinters...

 (Source: Dedopulos, T. (2005). The Book of Witches: A Spellbinding Guide. Funtastic Limited, Australia.)

 (Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b0/King_James_I_of_England_and_VI_of_Scotland_by_John_De_Critz_the_Elder.jpg/434px-King_James_I_of_England_and_VI_of_Scotland_by_John_De_Critz_the_Elder.jpg, accessed 04.02.14)

I must admit, it really has been the most enjoyable day. I also managed to spend the morning discussing my recently-completed novel with a beta reader and implementing their advice. There's nothing like the perspective of an outsider to help you figure out just what was bothering you.