Sunday, October 15, 2006

Floods of Words

I think I'm having a mental revolt against rewriting. I have at least two things I need to be looking at seriously right now and rewriting, and I can't bear to go near them. Not that the rewrites are necessarily that difficult (especially when you have comments to help you along) but I just feel like I have spent nearly all of this year on rewrites. So I keep launching off into new stuff.
Finished a short story for the 'Age' newspaper short story competition. This is big deal stuff here. Writers who win this competition get asked by publishers for their (unpublished) manuscripts. Entry is free. The 'Age' is getting more and more secretive about advertising the closing date, hence this year they had to extend it because nobody knew about it.
Then a couple of different friends sent me information about a fantasy publisher in the US who is open to submissions of pirate short stories (for adults) for an anthology. I went to check out their website and discovered that they have another anthology/competition open right now, closing 15 October. I happened to have a short story that fitted their category guidelines, only it was barely half-finished. It had been sitting on my laptop for 6 months or more. Aha! I could surely write the other 1500 words and finish it in time?
Certainly could. Except when I started writing, it grew ... and grew ... and finished up at nearly 8000 words. Luckily their word limit was 10,000 - and I made the deadline!
Aren't deadlines wonderful things?
Now someone needs to give me deadlines for those rewrites.
On Saturday I ran another Children's Writers' forum at the uni where I work. We had 28 writers come along to listen to Lorraine Marwood talk about writing children's poetry (and teaching it), Carmel Heron from Harcourt Educational Publishers, and then a Picture Book Slam. That's where writers stand up and have three minutes (not a second more) to read their picture book to an audience who then vote for the winner.
It was a lot of fun, and was also a very interesting session.
The notes from Carmel Heron's talk will be up soon at our website:
www.staff.vu.edu.au/profwriting
Follow the links for the forum - other publisher's notes already up from previous days.
At the moment, for a little bit of research, I'm reading a few different books about Melbourne's underworld crime scene. There's a never-ending series called "Underbelly" by John Silvester and Andrew Rule, as a starting point. They cover other crimes as well as the "Melbourne mafia" stuff. I have to say the books are not nearly as well-written as the feature articles that both writers publish in the Melbourne newspapers. Makes me wonder if they've "dumbed down" the books for some reason.
However, they're perfect for taking into my Short Story 2 class as examples of straight non-fiction writing as compared to "creative non-fiction" and personal essays, especially in terms of style and language.

2 comments:

Snail said...

Best of luck with the Age and the pirate tale. (Arrrr!)

Are you doing the research into Melbourne's underworld for a novel or because you're planning to become a crime boss now that various positions have been vacated? Either is good.

Sherryl said...

Only research!
For a minute there, I thought you were talking about positions vacated at the dreaded workplace, which set off a whole new train of thinking...