Varuna The Writers’ House

Varuna The Writers’ House is situated close to me, but I had never heard of it until today. I’ve spent some time today going through the awards, competitions and events and feel this website could be useful to me.

I have already put my name forward to be added to their mailing list. Unfortunately, they had the Sydney Writers’ Festival last weekend and the Sunday program was of interest to me, but I missed out which is a shame.

However, there is a short story program coming up that I’m thinking of submitting to. A selection of stories will be published in an anthology in 2011 in Scribe’s (not associated with me) New Australian Stories 2.0. I have to write a short story first!

Australian Writers Marketplace Online

All serious writers will eventually purchase a copy of their country’s writers marketplace. Most countries have them, as far as I’m aware, but they might have slightly different names.

Over the years, I’ve purchase a couple of these reference books. The first time I hardly used the book as I was over eager and purchased it too quickly. However, the fact that I had a copy sitting on the desk beside my computer often inspired me…and you can’t put a price on that. The second version I bought got a lot of use. There’s still post-it notes sticking out of it and pencil notations throughout the publisher section.

The only thing I have against these books is that they are 1) expensive (my last copy cost around $50), and 2) they are too soon outdated. I hate wasting money, but sometimes a writer really needs the information only found in these books.

So imagine my delight when I discovered the Australian Writers Marketplace Online website. Don’t be fooled, there’s no saving to be had here, but at least you’ll have access to up-to-date information.

It’s an option to remember for the future. 🙂

Gaming: Pacman turns 30

Back in the days when gaming was nothing more than a white dot going back and forth on the screen, which was suitable called Tennis, a new game emerged. Pacman. Everyone thought it was so cool and would play it obsessively. I honestly don’t know how the repetitive music didn’t drive us all insane.

Anyway, today Pacman turns 30 and I felt compelled to mention it here and share a playable version of the game for your gaming enjoyment.

Happy birthday, Pacman.

Whispering Caves: The Writing Begins

After all the planning, procrastinating and problems, I finally opened a blank page and started writing. And…to help myself get a good start I made a very public goal on Facebook – I declared I would write 5,000 words this weekend.

In all honesty, I went with my gut when I pulled that number out of the air and even though I published the goal I felt this overwhelming urge to retract it instantly as I thought I’d given myself a recipe for failure. I forced myself to ignore that negative feeling and immediately started to write. That was at about 9ish this morning.

It’s now almost 8.30pm and I’m pleased to report that I wrote a staggering 3,728 words. And I did it with ease. I’m so pleased with myself.

Yet, after all the planning, I was still in for a pleasant surprise when the story I began came out in first person. Now, that was a shock. It certainly wasn’t planned, but it’s given the story a whole new feel which I didn’t expect and have found quite inspiring. Hence the number of written words today.

On top of all this, I have discovered more about the main character I didn’t even know and I also have been given three items that fit into the storyline, which weren’t there when I started typing. Who said planning took the fun out of writing?

Whispering Caves already has a prologue and a first chapter. I’m feeling excited about this whole writing thing and I can’t wait to return to the story tomorrow morning.

Update: I managed to reach the goal set on Saturday morning. I wrote a total of 5,124 words, which was very satisfying.

Learning to Detach Yourself when Receiving Critiques

April Hamilton wrote a very interesting post called When Editing & Critiquing, Check Your Personal Opinions At The Door. This reminder comes at a great time because yesterday I sent one of my older short stories to a critique group for the once over.

Luckily for me, I’m not new to the game of critiquing and I’m not in the habit of flaring up when someone tells me something I don’t want to hear. In fact, if I receive a “that’s good” I feel cheated because I want to know what’s wrong and “good” isn’t the same as “great” which isn’t the same as “excellent”, so I’m wondering what needs to be done to make the story better. I want to hear the details, I encourage the reader to tell me whatever they are thinking. And just as the critiquer should view someone else’s message without trying to inflict their own opinion on them, the person on the receiving end must learn how to decipher other people’s suggestions. Because not all suggestions should be taken to heart or implemented.

Journey to Freedom is the title of the short story I have concerns with. It was originally written for a project that involved several writers, so it has had the benefit of other eyes apart from my own, but I’m still not 100% happy with it. For starters, it’s long for a short story. It comes in at almost 6,800 words and I’d like to cut it back to around 5,000 words. I’m hoping the critiques will help me work out where I’ve rambled on a bit much. I think the pace is OK, but I’m uncertain if readers will get the message behind the story, so I’m interested to see what comments are made (if any) about the theme/premise. And, of course, I want to be certain there’s no plot holes. To me, the story makes perfect sense, but what will other readers/writers think, see, not see? I eagerly await their responses.

Blogging: Online Privacy

Benjamin Solah responded to another blogger’s post about getting personal online with his post called Blogging: Getting Personal and the 365 Challenge. I read Benjamin’s post with interest and thought I’d climb aboard and share my own views on the topic.

Online privacy has always been very important to me. I’ve always been aware of what I’m sharing on this blog, which means this is a controlled place – I tell you only what I want you to know. Admittedly, I do share more than I intend to at times – which I usually regret later and sometimes I’ll go back and delete the post in question – yet most of the time I will only share things that I feel comfortable with and that will not lead a stranger to my door step. I’m very careful never to mention where I live. Sydney, Australia is all I’ll say and, believe me, the boundaries of Sydney stretch over many square kilometres.

Yet, during a time in my life when everything was at its worse, I shared the most intimate details on a public blog (not this one). Even then, I knew what I was doing and I was careful not to lead unknown readers back to this website. I guess I tried, in my own way, to separate what had happened in my life with what was happening in my writing life (which wasn’t much at the time due to the situation I was in). I can’t accurately say how successful that was. All I know is that people who know my family in real life found that other site with ease (and still are finding it), yet none of them have found their way here – that I know of, anyway.

And then there’s the other issue, the one concerning work colleagues. Mine know that I write, one even has a copy of the anthology so she knows my pen name too, but I definitely don’t want them invading my writing world. If any of them read this, I’m sorry, but I don’t want to share everything about myself with everyone. I need privacy of one sort or another. Online, I want my personal life to be private. Offline, I want my writing life to be private. Even I know how strange that last sentence comes across.

What I’m saying is that I don’t share everything about myself here, I don’t share everything about myself at work and I don’t share everything about myself to my family and friends. I’m a person who likes to keep parts of herself sheltered. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m guessing it’s a way of protecting myself from harm and unwanted attention.

Privacy is a personal thing. Some people will tell all, others will tell only what they want you to know. When we are talking about the internet, I think everyone should be cautious because we never know who is reading our words, or where those people are located, or what their intentions are.

eBook Review: Witch on the Water

Witch on the Water (Rowan of the Wood, #2)

Witch on the Water by Christine Rose

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Witch on the Water (Smashwords) is the sequel to Rowan of the Wood (Smashwords). I enjoyed the first book quite a bit, although I don’t think it’s suitable for the younger audience it’s intended for. The second book doesn’t have the sexual innuendo so is more suitable for that particular audience.

However, this book wasn’t as strong as the first. It was good, but not as riveting and the pace was much slower. There were some really interesting scenes and topics covered, but generally speaking the characters felt uncommitted to the storyline and this affected the overall reading experience for me. I especially found Cullen’s moodiness irritating. The biggest letdown was the climax, which sort of fizzled out and felt like a carbon copy of the first book. It should have been much bigger, stronger, getting the adrenaline going and leaving the reader eager for the next book, but that’s not what happened.

In truth, I have little else to say, which is unusual for me. I don’t think I’ll bother with any more books in this series.

Website is Up-to-Date

That’s it. All postings made at the other website have been transferred over to here. The only thing missing are the comments, but I don’t have the time to do those as well.

From now on, this will be my main place of residence. I apologise for constantly changing my mind and for any inconvenience I’ve caused, but as the saying goes “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone”. Luckily, I realised that before it was too late and the website ceased to exist completely.

The other site will remain in place. I will post writing related posts there too, but nothing else.