Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lucky Socks and Author Snoopy

When I was playing rugby league in the under 12's, I scored my first try. That was the day I wore my new socks. Obviously the socks were lucky. I wore them every time we played. The luck worked, not all the time but often enough to make me keep those socks until they were two sizes too small with holes that let my big toes poke through.

Socks - not those socks exactly - were lucky for me again when my first ever piece of writing was published in a very obscure and small print run anthology called 'Infinite Anythings and Lost Left Socks' There was no payment involved and I am sure very few people ever read the piece - that in itself is lucky because the writing was awful.

About the same time, McDonalds had a toy offer running with little Snoopy's engaged in different professions. When Author Snoopy came out, I brought one and he has sat beside my computer ever since. I don't know if he is lucky for me or not but when I start writing and he is there, I at least know not to start my stories with 'It was a dark and stormy night...' or other clich├ęd beginnings.

I have decided the luck comes more with hard work and constantly trying to improve my writing skills than from Snoopy.

Imagine the blisters I would have avoided if I realised this when I was still playing rugby league.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Bizarreness of Teen Minds

My middle son (18) asked me to take him into town today to buy a gift for a school friend - Something to cheer her up a little after her father died. I thought, 'What a nice sentiment.’

I dropped him in town on my way to the library for the meeting of my writers’ group. He was going to meet me there after he found a gift.

This is what he brought.

He was completely at a loss to my horror in his choice.

‘But Nightmare Before Christmas is her favourite show,’ he said. ‘What’s wrong with buying her this?’

What answer should I choose? There were so many. I finally decided on. ‘Her father just died and you are giving her a solar powered bobble headed skeleton to cheer her up! Nice.’

I know he means well, but the bizarreness of how the teenage mind works completely eludes me at times. This is not a good sign for someone trying to write YA fiction.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kids and Young Adult Literature Festival

Decisions, decisions!

The 2009 Kids and Young Adult Literature Festival is on at the NSW Writers' Centre over two days in July. Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th. Unfortunately I can only make it to one day. I'm already in Sydney on Saturday night (taking my son to the wrestling) so it looks like it's going to be Saturday. That's not a problem but the Sunday sessions look a little more personal and, I'd love to hear Libby Gleeson's 'Create Your Picture Book' presentation.

Perhaps, another time.

Now the only problem is picking which Saturday sessions to attend.

Session 1:

Publishers and their authors

How do you get published?

Two of Australia’s most successful authors, James Roy and Deborah Abela, and their award-winning publishers discuss the nitty-gritty of publishing.

Deborah Abela & Zoe Walton, James Roy & Leonie Tyle

Chair: Susan Hayes


Publishers reveal the inside story

Publishers from Penguin, New Frontier and Margaret Hamilton Books discuss what they are looking for and the real process towards publication.

Margaret Hamilton, Sophia Whitfield, Laura Harris

Chair: Laurine Croasdale

Session 2

Taking stories into scripts, film and web

Plays, scripts, blogs, novels, animation: open the doors to the power of writing in today’s forms.

Caleb Lewis, William Kostakis, W “Chewie” Chan, Melina Marchetta
Chair: Susanne Gervay


How writers can write for awards,
entertainment, education and sales

Three leading crime, romance and history authors reveal their markets, strategies and successes.
Laurine Croasdale, Gabrielle Lord, Chris Cheng Chair: Maire Sheehan

Session 3

X-factor rules for children's writing

Discover the X-factors that get books loved and published – from new idea to inspiring a publisher.

Cathie Tasker, Ursula Dubosarsky, Leonie Tyle, Deborah Abela
Chair: Val Noake


Fantasy: creating new worlds to explore our own

Australian fantasy authors expose how they create their stories and capture the imagination of the world.
Garth Nix, Kate Forsyth, Richard Harland, Jenny Hale Chair: Angie Schiavone

Session 4

Stars of picture books reveal their secrets

The inside story to writing and understanding picture books by some of the world’s best.

Tohby Riddle, Ursula Dubosarsky, Libby Gleeson
Chair: Margaret Hamilton


Stars of youth literature reveal their secrets

You’re invited to hear the inside story of how some of the world’s best authors create kids and YA literature.

Garth Nix, Gabrielle Lord, James Roy
Chair: Mylee Joseph

(session details obtained from NSW Writer' Centre web site)

So far I'm leaning toward

  • Publishers reveal the inside story
  • Taking stories into scripts, film and web
  • X-factor rules for children's writing
  • Stars of picture books reveal their secrets

Those choices may all change on the day. Either way, it should be a great day.