Archives for posts with tag: young writers

So you want to be an editor…

When you really think about it, everyone is an editor in some way or another. Every single day we edit – a writer revises his manuscript, a teacher stops mid sentence to enhance clarity in his coherency, a students edits their assignment.

But a professional editor doesn’t just do the tasks above, they have to focus on much more, asking questions such as:

- Is the spelling, grammar, punctuation correct and clear?

- Does it fit into the wider concepts?

- Is it interesting? Would strangers want to read this?

There are many types of editors – book editors, magazine editors, copy editors, and deputy editors just to name a few. Editors work across all kinds of industries from corporate to creative.

So what do need to be an editor? Well generally most editors have a university qualified degree in journalism, communications or professional writing and editing. Universities like RMIT, Monash, University of Technology in Sydney and University of Queensland all offer degrees in these fields.

The job of an editor significantly extends beyond the normal proofreading and spell checking tasks, in fact editors must be able to immediately organise ideas quickly and efficiently while recognising patterns and categories that may otherwise hinder the value of the work they are editing. Fact checking and research is another task they do – as accuracy is one of the first and foremost concerns that editors must pay attention to.

In addition to that, editors are familiar with the importance of deadlines. In fact, a good editor should be able to keep up with several deadlines at the same time, keeping an eye on important dates and events while keeping their clients in the loop about their editing progress. A creative streak is paramount as well – editors should not only edit, but be able to add to the written piece if they feel it lacks something.

If being an editor interests you, then consider taking this editor quiz to see if you are really cut out for the job. More information about being an editor can be found here.

The Review Review also has an interview article with Stephen Corey, editor of the Georgia Review. Check out the article here.

And just for fun, here are some clips of the ever so graceful Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada, because lets be honest, we all want to be badass editors like Miranda Priestly. Links here and here.

Best of luck folks!

Opportunities and events

Very exciting opportunity for third year journalism students – the Herald Sun have opened applications for their Sir Keith Murdoch scholarship, which awards one lucky student a paid three month internship at the Herald Sun and Weekly Times. Sounds amazing right?! More details are here if you’re interested.

Got an eye for fashion? Then read on – Style Magazine are currently seeking a full time journalist and stylist to work across their print and digital platforms. This is an excellent first step in the fashion journalism industry, so if you’re keen all the details are here.

“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” -Tennessee Williams

Have you thought about blogging?

Because technology has evolved so much over the past few years, nearly everything is available online nowadays. Blogging is a great way to put yourself out there if you’re tight on money or hoping to development an audience on an international scale.

It also makes you a better writer. How? Because you write when you want to – its not something that is forced upon you or obligatory, you want to write because just want to. The more you write the more fluent your communication skills become. And the best thing about blogs is that is doesn’t have to be professional, it can be personal or a hybrid between the two.

Plus, if you lead a very busy lifestyle, then blogging provides you with an outlet to let out steam and relax.

Your blog can even have theme. This is especially helpful if you are looking to attract a certain audience, whether that be other skin care enthusiasts or business entrepreneurs. However with that being said, having a theme on your blog makes it difficult for your to diverge and write about other topics.

If you’re a complete newbie, read this post from Lifehacker on selecting the best platform to host your blog. Writer’s Digest has two good posts on creating a simple writing blog and things blogging writers should know. Lisa Dempster also has an interesting series on her blog entitled Writers, Money and the Web (part one here) which is an excellent look at the place of digital writing and blogging.

Need unconvinced? Check out this article of 15 reasons why you should start one.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

If you’re involved in theatre and ever wondered about gender stereotypes and casting, then have a look at ‘Men Overboard: Performing Gender’ event held at the Wheeler Centre on 17 July. RSVP here.

Peter Babowski, one of Australia’s most renowned poets, will be holding a workshop with Queensland Writers Centre on June 25. Develop your poetic voice and learn from the best of the best. RSVP here.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

Today is all about the opportunities and events!

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

If you’re a woman who has had trouble thriving in the publishing industry, it might be a good idea to take a look at ‘Writing Forums: Women In Publishing’ featured during the Emerging Writers Festival. Read it here.

Creative Drinks, an online publication that features news about Brisbane’s amazing drinking culture, is currently on the look out for more journalists to join their team. More details are here.

If you’re looking to expand your writing skills in music journalism, then Renowned For Sound (based in Sydney) are seeking more writers to join their team. More details are here.

Western Australia’s Writing Centre and their 2014 T.A.G Hungerford Award is about to close on June 30, so if you’re interested in submitting your manuscript take a look at their site and guidelines. Good luck participants! More details here.

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” —Ernest Hemingway

Today we’re going to talk about the importance of an author and editor relationship.

It’s such a great feeling when you learn a publishing house is interested in publishing your manuscript. After gleefully dancing and calling everyone you know to talk about your newly found success, you go through the entire business process, contracts and all…and then you get your own editor.

Uh-oh.

As writers, we totally empathise when we say that whatever we write becomes our baby. We want to protect it and we want to nurture it. But editors can pose as a threat to all of that, and because of this we cave in and tell ourselves that we don’t need an editor to read our work.

Not to sound harsh or anything, but you’re going to have to suck it up. Everyone can improve in some way or another, and editor are there to help you not rip you apart. It’s an editor’s job to edit and provide constructive feedback. An editor that deviates from this notion should not call themselves an editor.

Look at your editor not as a critic of your work, but as a teammate. After all, you and your editor are a team, and as a team you should both be doing everything to help each other. Communication with them is important – if they don’t understand something in your piece, then explain to them. Don’t get all hurt and flustered at their comments – they simply don’t understand and seek clarification.

While you may think self editing is efficient enough, written works are never in perfect form until they have another pair of professional eyes editing it. They make find errors you may have missed. They may even give you another good idea or theme to add to the piece, getting it from good to great, from great to brilliant.

If you need more information, check out this online article about the importance of the author editor relationship.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

Digital Writers is an online group that caters to Australian and International digital writers of all kinds: oldskool, young’uns, established and emergent. This is an excellent group to join if you’re looking for more help on your NYWM goals and writing your pieces. Follow them on Twitter and check out their online site here.

Another group to look into, Written Revolution, are a deviantart group for emerging writers and getting feedback on their work. Check them out here. Follow them on Twitter as well.

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” ― Dr. Seuss

There has been a lot of focus on novel writing lately, so we thought we’d change it up by giving a shout out to all the blossoming poets out there. With that said, today we will be talking about how to edit your poetry piece.

But before we go on, if you’re unsure whether or not poetry is for you, take a look at this list of different types of poetry out there and see what tickles your fancy.

Editing a poem is a lot more difficult than editing a unpublished manuscript. This is because you need to pay more attention to the analysis stage of the editing, that is, the structure of the poem, the themes present, and whether or not there is consistent flow throughout the entire piece.

The first stage should be reading the poem back to yourself, and this should be done aloud. We emphasise this because while it may sound plausible when silently read, it may actually sound obnoxious when read out loudly. At the same time, reading aloud makes it easier to spot mistakes in your poem, because if you can’t read it back smoothly without getting tongue tied, then something is clearly wrong. What could be wrong with your poem can be several things – the pace may not match, words may not rhyme, or the consistency in syllables may be incorrect. Nonetheless, reading aloud helps with all of this, which is why we highly recommend doing it.

Furthermore, have a thesaurus with you at all times. Unfortunately, our brains can only remember so many words before we’re driven to insanity, so a thesaurus is a good fallback option if you’re ever at a loss with what to say.

What separates a good poem from a great poem is the imagery present throughout the piece. Imagery creates interpretation for the poem, but remember that the imagery has to be consistent. Now we’re not saying have one main image (because that can be boring and pedestrian), we’re talking multiple imageries that all relate to each other in some way or another that then enhance the overall theme or message you are trying to convey to your audience through your poem.

And last but not least, have someone else read it aloud and see what they think. Yes, we’re well aware that your written piece is practically your baby, but as writers one of the best ways to improve is by getting feedback and even some occasional tough love.

Best of luck poets!

If you’re struggling on rhyme, check out this online rhyming thesaurus – it literally finds other words that rhyme with the word in your poem. Convenient much?

Need more hints and tips? Have a read of this article entitled ‘7 Tips for Editing Poetry’ by Power Poetry.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

The Queensland Poetry Festival are currently accepting submissions for their ‘Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award for an Unpublished Poem’ and their ‘Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize for an Unpublished Manuscript’. If you’re a young poet or emerging novel writer looking for a good challenge, this may be it! More details about both competitions are here.

If you’re looking to hone your poetry skills then the Australian Poetry have online courses and workshops now open. Read more about them or enroll here.

 
“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” – Rita Dove

windows-7-wallpaper---number-7-1920x1200The structure of your novel is something that should be considered very carefully because essentially, there is no point in writing a novel if their is no coherent structure. It not only makes for bad reading, but it also creates thousands of loopholes in the plot, making your audience feel underwhelmed and disappointed.

One of the best things about structuring your novel is that there are plenty of ways to tackle it. Here are two of the most popular ones:

The “simple” structure:

This is the most basic writing structure of all, and it’s something our primary school teachers used to instill in us when we would tackle storytelling. It goes in this formation:

Complication —> Evaluation —> Resolution —> Conclusion

These are defined as:

Complication – What major event(s) happen that introduce the plot?

Evaluation – How does the protagonist react?

Resolution – What does the protagonist do to fix the complication?

Conclusion – The ending.

The Eight Point Arc structure:

If you pride yourself in being a refined writer, the basic structure above can be further elaborated on through the Eight Point Arc structure, created by Veteran writer Nigel Watts and published in his help book Writing a novel and getting published. The points are:

  1. Stasis – The setting of the story.
  2. Trigger – Something beyond the main character’s control occurs and introduces the plot.
  3. The quest - What the protagonist does to recreate the happy setting (stasis) the story was initially set in.
  4. Surprise - Also known as the twist that takes the reader by surprise.
  5. Critical choice - The dilemma of the protagonist, where he must make a crucial choice that will affect the outcome of his quest. Think ‘life or death’ kind of situations.
  6. Climax - The highest point of the story, usually caused by the twist and influenced by the protagonist’s critical choice.
  7. Reversal – How the critical choice has developed the main character and what’s changed from the beginning of the story.
  8. Resolution – The ending, which can be happy or sad – whichever takes your fancy.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

Music is an excellent way to garner inspiration for your story, and Ricochet Magazine have compiled the best soundtracks to listen to when writing.

“How To Self-Publish Your Passion” is a seminar held in Melbourne on June 14, where self published leaders in food, health and wellbeing will offer their hints and tips on how to get published. Good opportunity to network as well! Register for the seminar here.

“The writer is an explorer. Every step is an advance into a new land.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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It’s time to address a writer’s worst nightmare: writer’s block.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all suffered from it before, and unfortunately this condition strikes us at the worst of times, usually when the ideas are flowing and our writing is in tip top shape. Stumbling upon it is like hitting a brick wall: it hurts and there seems to be no one around it, no matter how creative you get.

Our good friend Wikipedia can sum up the definition of writer’s block in one neat little sentence: “Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.”

So how do we overcome this particular nemesis, you ask? The answer is simple as it is perplexing: just stop writing.

Now we don’t mean stop writing indefinitely *gasp* – after all, writer’s block is only a temporary condition that usually doesn’t last very long. With that said though, it’s important to not let it get to you emotionally and mentally whenever you encounter it or else it will stop you from continuing further. Instead, take it as a sign of your brain needing some rest.

Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to alleviate the big brain block. As writers ourselves, we’ve found that simply stepping away from the computer and not thinking about our writing diminishes writer’s block almost instantly. Going for a walk can also do wonders.

Really though, it’s all about giving your creative juices a rest so do whatever you think will keep you at ease. It could be reading a book, doing meditation and yoga, or walking your dog. Take your pick.

Hilary Mantel, journalist at The Guardian, summarises this perspective perfectly:

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” – Hilary Mantel.

Writer’s block comes in many forms, so if you’re curious to know which one you’ve got, check out this post by iO9 called “The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)”

Writer’s Digest have also published their own article on how to alleviate writer’s block. Have a look here.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

Writer’s Web, Australia’s online resource for emerging writers and authors, have launched ‘Write Around Queensland’, a program dedicated to showcasing the creative talents of Queensland based writers. Each submission will receive extensive feedback from the Queensland Society of Editors – so its a great opportunity to improve your writing skills. For more information, click here.

We want to reiterate that you’re not alone as an emerging writer – in fact there are thousands scattered across Australia. Think about joining a writers group if you’re in need of support or require assistance in brainstorming story ideas. Writers Victoria has a list of writing groups on their site.

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”  ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

 

 

 

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The importance of an opening sentence.

Imagine this:

You have spent months planning an amazing plot with terrific characters and themes. The storyline plays out vividly in your mind from beginning to end. The process sounds exciting, and your mind contemplates how this entire story could be a defining moment in your life.

You turn on your computer and open a fresh new document. The typing cursor blinks at you, waiting for your first move.

…But it just keeps blinking, because you haven’t the faintest clue where to start nor how to begin.

Sound familiar?

Unfortunately we live in a world where first impressions are very important. The same goes for novels. We read the first line and immediately decide whether or not we are interested. More likely than not, editors will do the same, especially when looking through dozens of manuscripts.

Trust us when we say you’re not the only one to fall victim to writers block before you’ve even begun writing. While the writing process can be a fun ride, it can also be a very frustrating one. You not only need to have a unique plot that stands out from the rest of the world, but you also need a first sentence that is alluring enough to captivate your audience.

Here are some examples of good novel openings:

‘“It was the day my grandmother exploded.” – Iain Banks, The Crow Road.

““It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.” Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep.

 

“In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.” – David Markson’s, Wittgenstein’s Mistress.

 

The first sentence should be short one – succinct but introduces the plot with a bang. If you’re starting with a climactic event, consider placing that first sentence in the middle of all of the action. Another creative way is by describing the five senses of your protagonist – what are they feeling? What do they smell? What can they hear? What do they see?

The next sentences that follow thereafter should follow the same consistency and build upon the theme you’ve introduced. American author Harlan Coben exemplifies this notion perfectly in the opening paragraph of Tell No One, his critically acclaimed thriller novel:

“There should have been a dark whisper in the wind. Or maybe a deep chill in the bone. Something. An ethereal song only Elizabeth or I could hear. A tightness in the air. Some textbook premonition. There are misfortunes we almost expect in life – what happened to my parents, for example – and then there are other dark moments, moments of sudden violence, that alter everything. There was my life before the tragedy. There is my life now. There two have painfully little in common.” – Harlan Coben, Tell No One

Notice how the first sentence is incredibly frank and to the point, but the sentences afterwards builds upon it and introduces the feelings of the main character. Now we’re not saying this is what you should try to achieve (after all, each of us has our own writing style), but if you’re stuck on how to begin your novel following this structure may be a good place to start.

If you’re keen to find more inspiration, take a look at the this article by Business Insider entitled “23 Sentence Diagrams That Show The Brilliance Of Famous Novels’ Opening Lines” – not only are they examples but they analyse why they were so good!

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

Lyre Journal, a Brisbane non-profit literary journal that publishes work by Australian authors and artists, are currently seeking submissions for their next issue. The theme is ‘Open’ – but be quick, submissions close tomorrow!

The closing date for Western Australia Writers Centre’s 2014 T.A.G Hungerford Award is fast approaching – the deadline is June 30. The award is dedicated to recognising and nurturing emerging voices in Western Australian literature. It is a biennial award that celebratesliterary merit and originality, and is given for a full-length manuscript of fiction or creative non-fiction by a Western Australian author previously unpublished in book form. For more details, click here.

 

Pitch, Bitch, an online resource for female writers to succeed in the publishing business, has just launched, and Kill Your Darling have just published this terrific interview with Chair of the Literature Strategy Panel of the Australia Council, Sophie Cunningham,about her experience in writing and editing. Check it out here.

“The true writer has nothing to say. What counts is the way he says it.” – Alain Robbe-Grillet

 

amelia dunnName: Amelia Dunn

Age: 19

State: Victoria

What is your NYWM goal? 

I want to be able to spread the word about my unpublished work. I’ve almost completed two different novels and I want to know about the industry. I want people to see my work before it’s out there so they know what I’m about.

What kind of writing do you do?

Teen fiction mostly, I loosely base my stories around people and events in my life. I am currently working on 5 different projects, some scripts for film but mostly novels. I like to separate my ideas and connect with a wide variety of people.

What inspires or motivates you to write and reach your goals?

I began writing because it was a way to express myself, to allow my emotions and thoughts breathing space. Once I began I couldn’t stop really, and I had to give my characters a life. Each book has meaning to my life. Each character is very important to me.

What are you currently reading?

The Harry Potter series is something I can and never will get enough of. I’ve read the series twice over and I’m back on it again because I simply love it. J.K. Rowling invites you into an entirely different world and this series is something I cannot put down at the moment.

To learn more about Amelia Dunn and keep up to date with her latest endeavours, follow her on Twitter @AameliaDunn

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Today we’re going to talk about writing short stories.

Before we begin, let’s clear one thing up first: short stories are not easier to write than regular fiction stories. In fact, they are more difficult to write because of the concise structure and length. Unlike regular fiction stories, there is no time for dilly dally, nor is there is no room for several characters and subplots. By the end of short story all loose ends need be tied up in a neat little package, with no loopholes whatsoever.

But that’s not to say writing short stories aren’t be fun. If you’ve got a busy schedule but wish to satisfy your creative writing juices, then short stories may just be the answer.

Being succinct and to the point is the key to creating a great short story (along with a unique and eye catching plot of course). The best way to start a short story is by immersing your protagonist in all of the action immediately at the start. Another way of saying this is by setting up the beginning of the story near the conclusion – after all, the time structure of many short stories only span to a few minutes, hours or even just a day.

What you decide to write about is completely up to you. At the risk of sounding like a self help guru, in order to find out what you want to write about, you must first explore the overall message you want to convey to your readers. Sticking to this message allows you to then create a plot that exemplifies what you are trying to impart, which then influences the personality of your protagonists and their experiences in the story.

To get your brain up and running read these short story ideas compiled by Creative Writing Now. Visible Ink have also created their own writing prompts to help you get started.

Still need some help with writing your short story? Read Huffington Post’s ‘5 Secret Tips to Writing A Successful Short Story’ here.

If you’re after some inspiration, here is an example of an excellent short story titled ‘Caitlan’ published by Your Friends House.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

Mildred Magazine, an online publication dedicated to everything in the creative arts with approximately 6,000 weekly readers, are currently on the hunt for editorial interns to join them for a three month period. This is the perfect opportunity to hone your craft as well as get your work published. Click here for the position description.

Elise Hurst, illutrator, artist and author of children’s books, will be launching her book ‘Imagine A City’ at Embiggen Books on June 14. This is her first ever book in the style of Moleskines sketches so its worth a look. Join the Facebook event here.

Writers’ Web, an online community that supports emerging writers, are seeking Australian writers looking to be self published. If you have suffered rejection after rejection for your (amazing) novel, this is certainly something to look into. Whether printed or electronic format, they want to read it. More details are here.

“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”

Edgar Allan Poe

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