Archive for the ‘Recreational Writing’ Category

NaNoWriMo Completed

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

I finished my novel, ‘Never Be Unsaid’ and hit the 50,000 word target for National Novel Writing Month. All up the novel has nearly 90,000 words and is currently being reviewed by my literary friend and fellow author, Ginny Lowndes. I can’t stress enough the value of having a critical friend review your work. Ginny has given me some great tips and ideas for improving my novel. It will mean more writing, but this project has taken a couple of years to get from idea to manuscript, so a few more weeks will be worth the wait and the effort.

I learned my lesson with the 2011 Nanowrimo event. That produced the 2012 Miles-Franklin Award entrant, ‘Twenty Seven Seventy’. It was rushed, not so much the writing but the vital background work; the editing, proofing and reviewing that makes all the difference between a good novel and a literary masterpiece. I’m hoping this year, ‘Never Be Unsaid’ will be that literary masterpiece. I have said everything in it I have to say for now so my next work will be more commercial. I have chosen YA, or young adult (also known as teen fiction) for my next genre. I recently completed a YA novel for a client as a ghostwriter and enjoyed the work. I also consider ‘Twenty Seven Seventy’ to be suitable for a YA audience (12-18+), but y next work will be aimed at the market and the vocabulary used will be far more simple and easy to understand by the major group of readers too often passed by. Boys.

I know from my own work as a tutor many simply hate reading because they aren’t very good at it. A lot of that comes down to not being interested in the book’s characters and plot. I’m going to see if I can add to the body of work available, give them the modern equivalent of Biggles, The Famous Five or Swallows and Amazons, without resorting to witches, wizards, zombies, vampires or orcs. Wish me luck.



NaNoWriMo Once More

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

As November approaches I am readying myself for National Novel Writing Month once again. NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to get that novel written, or finished. They have a word count calculator so you can track our progress and this year are offering a free hard cover book of finished manuscripts.

I plan to complete ‘Never Be Unsaid’ although my word cont will only include new work written during the month. You need to write 50,000 words, about 1,667 a day. Clear your schedule and set aside your writing time now. Plan your novel and get stuck in! I like to set out a scaffold showing me the chapters and basic plot thread as well as separate notes on characters, setting, plot and theme.

I missed out last year as I was at the Singapore Writer’s Festival. The year before I wrote ‘Twenty Seven Seventy’ and entered it in the Miles-Franklin and Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. This year I won’t chase Miles-Franklin’s prize as it is due too close to publication and I want to have the manuscript properly edited in early December. I might chase the Prime Minister’s Literary Prize, though. Just like the Lotto, you have to be in it to win it!


The Die Is Cast

Friday, December 9th, 2011

I sent off the seven copies of ‘Twenty Seven Seventy’ along with a money order for $75, the entry fee to the Miles-Franklin Award for 2012. The die is cast, the rest is in the lap of the gods, or the judges. If I had it to do all over again I would do what so many writers say one should do with a manuscript once you finish it. Put it in a drawer and leave it for a few weeks, then come back to it. W.Somerset Maugham, Stephen King and Ernest Hemingway all said to do that and no doubt so have many others. Just reading the book in print at last instead of onscreen I have seen so many things I would like to change but it is too late. I can change the text but not the printed copies that need to be submitted. So it will remain as it is and it will be a lesson to be remembered. Next year I will probably write my NaNoWriMo entrant in as short a time but then spend a lot longer on the editing and re-writing stage. Maybe print a copy to hold in my hand and work with that because as soon as it is printed, the bad things leap off the page at you like they never do on screen. This is the beautiful thing about eWriting. The technology allows us to do so much more and to edit, proof and change as we like. In the not so olden days it was a heck of a lot more work, a lot longer process. Perhaps though, that wasn’t altogether a bad thing.

2012 Miles-Franklin Entrant Published!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

‘TWENTY SEVEN SEVENTY’ was written, proofed, edited, formatted and published in 30 days and so far the people who kindly helped to proof and edit as I wrote it are all saying how much they like it. Perhaps it’s a little too early to say but it is indicative that you don’t have to agonize over every comma and preposition to write a readable novel. I also like the short novel length, 50,173 and hope to see more offerings instead of the seemingly mandatory mega length books that are really just the size they are because of set up costs and buyer perception of value. I think if a story can be told well in x number of words, why try to drag it out just to justify the economics of the exercise? Easy to say when you run your own publishing imprint as I do (StreetWise Publications). That is the true power of the internet. It has allowed writers to regain authority over their work and, provided they are willing to invest the time and effort to promote their books, the chance to actually make some money from their writing.

I have just finished David Morrell’s ‘The Successful Novelist’ and I recommend it to all writers. He makes it clear there is an awful lot of work for the author once the writing is done to help sell the book I personally see little value in not doing it yourself. For now, check it out at or by clicking the link below for the paperback version from

50th Year Of Living

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

It is my birthday today, I am 50 years old. While that is not much of an achievement for those much older, given I was dead for 8 minutes 28 months ago, I think it is worth celebrating. I was placed in an induced coma and given a 20% chance of surviving. Well, here I am and I plan to stay around for quite a while longer. So what about those who never made it to 50? George Orwell died at 47, just as the fame that had eluded him all his life finally caught up. Jane Austen never made it to fifty, either. Anne and Emily Bronte and Sylvia Plath passed away young, as did Anne Frank. Shelly, Byron, Keats and Kerouac as well as Stephen Crane. Hemingway did himself in with a shotgun at 63 but W.Somerset Maugham was in his 90s. Speaking of fossils, there are still a couple of great writers aging away as I speak including Jose Saramago, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

So what is age and what does it give the writer other than a lot of material and a certain smugness to know you made it this far? When I was a young bloke I knew I wanted to write fiction but I decided I would wait until I was 40, then I felt I had something to write about. I was 35 at the time so I got started the next day, no point waiting. I haven’t written much inthe way of fiction of late, too busy with the stuff that (hopefully) pays money but this month I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I have thoroughly enjoyed crafting ‘Twenty Seven Seventy’ and I plan on writing more about this post code in the future. This is where I live and the people int he story, as will be those in the short story collection to follow, are the people I share this community with.

Where I live is a low socio economic area in western Sydney and it has a reputation as being rough. Well there are plenty of rough people here but there are many who are good and decent and appreciate art and literature, too. We just got a terrific new library here in Mt Druitt and it is the equal of any in the upscale, money suburbs. It gets used a lot too and that has to tell you something. So why shouldn’t I write about where I live, the stories here are as rich as those anywhere in the world. It’s how you tell them!

Writing Up A Storm

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

It is the second day of NaNoWriMo and so far I have written 8318 words and am well ahead of the average required. At this rate, according to the Stats page of my account I will have it written by the 12th. I won’t because on that day there is a 50th birthday party I must attend, right after I tech one of my courses at the local community college. As it is my birthday party I will be attending and at the end of it probably in no fit state to write coherent passages.

So how did I manage so many words in so little time. Part of the reason is that I planned the novel before I started writing. The other secret is that the 1st of November started in Australia many hours before it began in the USA where the contest is managed from. A bit of a head start you might say. The big secret though was the pre planning. I had the idea all sorted including characters, plot, structure, setting, conflict and theme, all written down before the start. That meant I had time to write a few sample paragraphs and get my voice sorted out and clear up a few issues. Not that I have ever been one for writer’s block, just doesn’t happen to me. If I can’t think of something to write about topic X, I write about topic Y instead. By the time I finish or get bored with Y, something has come to me for X.

I also don;t have any paying clients at the moment other than my own Internet Safety Essentials web project where I am providing the content and writing the units of learning for the online writing course. Those I do one week at a time so that the students don’t get swamped ahead of time (my excuse) and as work is down and it is the worst time of the year (more bills than income opportunities) I need to spend time marketing my business.

So the NaNoWriMo is actually recreational writing for me, even though I fully intend to publish and sell the finished product. I like the way you have a word target to reach within a set time period and you know there are many others out there also writing away. I have several other writing projects in various stages of undress I need to address. One is an autobiography, the others are novels/novellas. I used to write a lot more short stories until I started writing for a living. Now, like a mechanic with a clapped out car, my writing tends to be factual for clients more than fictional for my pleasure. Now, all I need is that six figure advance and I can turn my hand to novel writing full time!