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Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

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Historic Carcoar offers everything this writer could possibly want to inspire productivity – historic buildings, heritage rose gardens and solitude – so much so that I think this is the ideal location to hold a writer’s retreat during the cosy winter months that only the Bathurst/Orange area with its villages, fine food and wines, and romantic weather can offer (think log fires, foggy mornings and crisp, clear days).

Anyone interested in log fires, devonshire teas and uninterrupted time to write?

I’ve found the ideal location at an old nunnery attached to the local catholic church.

Stay tuned for details.

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In ‘Novel Writing, a Writers’ and Artists’ Companion’ Philip Pullman says, ‘Don’t make plans. A plan is not a map, it’s a straitjacket. Your imagination needs the freedom to roam wherever it wants to go, and if you constrain it the book will suffer.’

And I have to agree.

There is so much advice around now in the Indie Publishing world that says outline your novel, fill in the blanks, press ‘publish’, and you will make thousands. Alas, there is little written about the creative process itself in comparison, a process that takes time, lots of it, sweat, lots of that too, and tears…in order to to trust your imagination and give it the freedom to roam you have to step back at see where it takes you…and nobody can sell you anything to make the process any easier.

Remember, the best things in life are free. All they take is time, hard work and tears…there are no shortcuts.

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Adding to yesterday’s post, I found this article by Scott Atkinson in my Writer’s Digest Writer’s Yearbook, 2015…

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It seems that this is the time of year writers take stock (if the blog posts hitting my inbox are anything to go by) – what worked in 2014, what didn’t, and how to change one’s writing habits to increase the chances of success in 2015.

Leo Babauta over at http://www.zenhabits.net suggests ‘5 Ideas to Create an Amazing 2015’ which is worth a look, and his twelve month Sea Change course is a challenge I just can’t refuse. For $10 a month I get to complete the following Sea Change modules:

1. Meditation

2. Healthy Eating

3. Decluttering

4. Exercise

5. Unprocrastination

6. Learning/studying

7. Debt reduction

8. Quitting a bad habit

9. A good start

10. Gratitude

11. Creating

12. Letting go

Somehow, methinks the Art of Failing Well and my monthly $10 expenditure may have some cosmic link…but at least I don’t have to hand over my beautiful new ‘Ring For Chocolate’ Christmas present till AugustπŸ˜‡

 

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Over at http://www.brainpickings.org there’s a great article by Maria Popova, ‘Fixed vs Growth: The two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives’, that not only gives writers permission to fail but refers to failing as a positive way forward to greater achievement. For anyone setting goals for 2015 it’s worth a look. I particularly liked the idea of failing forward at this time of year when we’re all busy telling ourselves that 2015 will be better, that we will write more, publish more, sell more…I love the idea of setting my goals right up there in the stratosphere and then failing spectacularly. It might even make a good story…Happy New to all our family, friends, and followers. Thank you all for a great 2014 and we look forward to writing, publishing and selling at least a dozen Cracker & Gilly Mysteries in 2015…and a special message for my co-author and partner in crime who is wagging it in Hong Kong, 2014 was the year of our infamy while 2015 will be the year riches reign down upon our heads…

πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

 

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At school this week one of my students told me she was up to 35,000 words of her NaNoWriMo project…do the rest of us have any excuse if a fourteen year old can achieve such a result on top of school work, assessment and end of year co-curricula activities?

My student is aiming for 50,000 words and beyond. This is her first novel. And my excuse for not writing? I’m too busy…

What’s your excuse?

 

 

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When I grow up I want to be a writer…

When my brother grows up he wants to be a rock star…

When my Β children grow up they will look at their mother and their uncle and see a pair of old crazies doing what they wanna do and being what they wanna be, yeah…

When you grow you grow up, what do you want to be?

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To prologue or not to prologue, that is the question…our middle grade novel, Dirt Busters, A Cracker & Gilly Mystery, was originally called, Old Bones, and was based on the bones of a WW1 aboriginal soldier and and an ancient burial site. The site was being turned into a housing development and Cracker and the gang were determined to stop this happening.

Despite rewriting the preface to our story a zillion times, I made an executive decision to cut it. That’s the advantage of being executive but my co-author is still mad…and that’s okay because our novels are based on sibling squabbles, and our co-aurthorship has more than its fair share – yep, exactly like Cracker and Gilly, and yep, Gilly always wins, sort of, because her creator is the one who makes the executive decisions in our co-authoring team. And Cracker always saves her because that’s what big brothers do.

And being an Indie author team, I figure we can always put the prologue back in one day, and change the name back to Old Bones…but here are the reasons I made the decision I did (yeh, I know, self-justification is no justification:))…

1. My beta readers – Yr 5 & 6 kids – wanted to get straight to the action

2. I’ve been following the prologue/no prologue debate for years and it seems the no prologue team always have good reasons not to prologue

3. I wasn’t confident of our material – I don’t know a lot about our aboriginal history

4. With the right research and help I can always include it in a future edition

5. It’s a great talking point in my writing workshops and my students always engage (maybe I’ll put it in our non-fiction writing book as a discussion point for writers)

6. I went with the old maxim, if in doubt leave it out…

7. Our publisher agreed with me

But I still like our prologue…as my co-author says, it has just the right amount of spookiness…what do you think?

 

PREFACE

Β 

THE night air was thick and pungent with wood smoke emanating from a fire built high above the tide line where a group gathered under the light of the full moon recently risen from the west.

It was a night like no other Tanjatjiri could remember and the thought made him uneasy. He sniffed at the air as he watched the men of the Wulbunga people dance the corroboree.

Namittitnan, middle-aged and spry, danced to the rhythm of the night, as did his son,Nappittitan, beside him. Karipcoycae and his son, too, danced and Tarijatjiri momentarily forgot his worries as his gaze rested on his own young son who swayed at the feet of his elders, ready to take his place amongst them although he was only seven.

These people looked up to Tarijatjiri, the men and boys of the Wulbunga, and as their leader, Tarijatjiri took his duties seriously, which was why on this night of dance he stood to one side and tried to understand what it was that made him uneasy.

Ochre outlines painted onto the skins of the dancers, with feathers attached by animal fat long horded, showed the care each man took to present himself to the β€œold ones”.

From his vantage Tarijatjiri could see the sea, the sky, and the land where the men danced and as he gazed around him there was nothing amiss. Yet still he was uneasy. The melodious β€˜r’ rurr r’ rurr r’ rurr’ of the dozen didgeridoos played in time to the pounding of the surf as it crashed onto the beach added to his unease.

As the dancers clapped the flats of two nulla-nullahs together, the sharp β€˜slap slap’ emphasizing the driving beat, Tanjatjiri turned back to the shadows where the sea met the sky and frowned.

And from deep within him came a guttural cry.

He began to run, his words of warning unable to compete with the ancient rhythms around him, of pounding feet and the fury of clapping wood sticks. It was the crescendo of the tribal dance and as Tanjatjiri ran his brain was filled with the sounds of the dancers, but still he heard it, above the sounds, louder than the sea and the earth combined, and he knew that his warning would come too late.

As the men of the Wulbunga tribe danced to a rhythm passed down from father to son for as long as Tanjatjiri could remember, the big wave struck.

 

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What are we doing to our kids? I arrive at school at 7.30am and already there are kids kicked back on the concrete like they’d always been there. I leave at 4.30pm and the quadrangle remains littered with student flotsam.

Are our schools places that inspire our kids to be all that they can be?

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it’s Saturday…the school holidays have begun…and our places of learning are silent.

But, without the camouflage of the everyday noises of a school day, their stories are exposed for all to see..

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It’s springtime in the tropics and the marigolds and nasturtiams are flowering, the cherry tomatoes are ripenings and the capscicums are starting to form. My garden is full of promise…

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And my current WIP? It, too, shows promise…but only constant nurturing and attention – and the promise of summer – will show if I get to reap the rewards of all my hard work.

How is your garden growing? Is it full of promise for the months ahead or is it dying of neglect? Only with hard work will you reap the rewards…

 

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