Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Not so great expectations

I'm really too tired to be writing this. How sad is that? It's only 9 30 at night, for crying out loud. I should be... well, I'm not exactly sure what is expected of me at 9 30, but being tired in summer is not one of those expectations. Hence, I haven't gone too bed yet.

The writing exercise of the week has been journals. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to fill 33 pages in 11 days so as to start a new journal with the new year. This has only ever happened once before, after my first journal. It would actually be really good if I could do it again.

I don't know if it is because I'm getting lazy, or if it's because I' m running out of things to say, or what, but I don't write in my journals as much as I should. In fact, I don't write as much as I should period. (See, this all comes back to what is expected of me.)

On the subject of expectations, I intend to reread Great Expectations before the end of the summer. Last time I read it was early lower school and I didn't get it. Go figure. Same with Wuthering Heights really, although that's one of my all time favourites. Being a Lit student has ruined me!

Safe and Happy New Year's

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Fear as Inspiration

I'm terrified of snakes. I've never seen one in the wild (only at the zoo) but I am absolutely terrified. If I see them on TV, if i hear a rustling in the scrub as i walk home from the bus, I break out in a cold sweat that stings like needles.

Today, I decided to love my fear of snakes.

On a really great tip from a really great guy, I was instructed to have the natural habitat in my POW camp get a little unfriendly. So.... I killed off one of my characters. Cause of death? Technically he was shot, but snake bite.

Still, I was looking at the statistic from my novel, and technically, I started the idea on Anzac day, began the draft on August 17, and the last time I printed (which means approximately the last time I finished a chapter) was early November. That's pretty awful. It means I have been frustrated with my writing for about a month. OOPS.

It's all good now, I finished Chapter 7 of the first draft which makes me very excited because there are only three to go. If only I could work out how the story will end???

Also, as the TEE results were posted in the last 24 hours, I would like to congratulate all my incredibly smart friends and say WE DID IT, IT'S OVER!!!!

Merry Christmas, all.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Prodigal Penpal Returns

Writers...all artists in fact.... thrive on criticism and feedback; and no one gives better feedback than another writer. In my case, I have adopted a rather intellectual grump of a young man who lives out in the vast nothingness that is outside the CBD and surrounding suburbs to be my penpal, and it is M who sets me challenges and tells me when I simply have to improve.

I like it. I have to say that I can't stand it when someone tells me that my work is really good, when I know for a fact that I can do better. When this happens, it means one of two things. Firstly, it could mean that the person reading my work does not believe that I could do any better. This hurts my feelings. I am capable of a lot, and my readers had best not underestimate me. The second likelihood is that my reader is looking for light fluffy writing that doesn't provoke thought. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I'm not working for the Disney corporation. I write to get my point across. I don't like it when I feel as if I have to make my characters end up together in the end because it's comforting.

M understands all this. He is a cynic. He has very little faith in 'People'.

This week, he has advised me to flesh out the basic structure of the five chapters of my novel which are already complete.

I actually agree with him, come to think of it. The romance between my secondary hero and heroine is loose, and even I don't believe in the need between them to wed.

Whoops, did I just give something away?

EM

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Christmas Shopping etc...

A little too soon, December is upon us.

I've been off school for about two weeks now, although it feels like a lot longer. It also feels like i will be going back, but of course, i will not. There are only 14 days until the TEE results come back, and to be honest, i haven't thought about it at all. I'm not worried- is there something wrong with me i wonder?

The break has coincided with my novel's progress nicely. Right as all the nasty studying and homework is over, i have reached a point in my novel where a considerable amount of research will be necessary. Luckily i have stacks of time in which to do said research.

Good news also. Today i received word by the mail that i had won second prize in the Katharine Susannah Prichard Short Fiction award (under 20's). That contributes to my growing collection of credentials and is a testement to the power of goal setting.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Writer's Retreat

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, some friends and i will pack up the cars and head south for a little holiday to celebrate the end of our high school days. While i'm not necessarily going for the purpose of writing, I am going to relax, collect my thoughts and let myself slide into the long, 3 months of abyss... i mean break. (I'm the kind of person who thrives off of structure, and loves to be challenged if it means i get a chance to prove things to people... perhaps thats why i cleaned so much so fast at work today.) The best thing about going away is that it is a parent free retreat, which means the eight of us will be given a chance to act as responsible as possible, meaning that surely, hilarity will ensue. I'm looking forward to journaling it all, to file away for later writing (memoirs perhaps, at the end of a long, literary career) and more than anything else, i'm looking forward to cementing for the years to come, the friendships that will matter. Not that there aren't others that don't.

My thoughts here go out to a friend of mine who got stuck in Thailand with the recent protesting, and i hope that her trip doesn't have to get cancelled forever because of it!!!

Love and Happy thoughts... Emily

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Updates

And so it begins... exams and school are over; new jobs are starting; new friendships will emerge; older ones might become a little less frequently acted upon. It's time to learn a few truths about life.

That, I believe, is fast becoming a discovery which I am making in relation to the writing of my novel. It seems to be evident that growing up, being the age of about 17, becomes about learning truths such as learning about balance. Of course, the theme of my book works with this but on a much more historical tangent.

I'm still researching my novel heavily, I've been told that this is a good idea, because of the subject matter of the segment on which I am about to begin work.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Short-listed...

I can barely believe it myself!

I have been shortlisted in this year's Katharine Susannah Pritchard Young Writer's Award, and that feels pretty amazing. I don't know if I have won yet or not, of course, because all of that will be announced at the birthday celebrations for Katharine on Sunday December 7. I will not be attending, in case any of you crazed fans were wondering, and I'm terribly sorry to disappoint.

Actually, I lied there. I'm too pleased with myself to be sorry.

You see, when i first started this blog, I set myself a challenge... I was going to be a published Author by my twentieth birthday, and I have already been published in several minor ways since I made that goal (testement to the power of writing my goals down!).

A list of my publications is as follows:

* pieces in Inkfish, the anthologoy from Write-a-rama 2008 (January)
* a poem in Primo Lux
* a short story in the Mandurah Murray writer's group Scribblers book

And, on top of that, I have my third place in Scribblers, my KSP shortlisting, my Highly Commended in Tim Winton... all in all, I feel like it has been a productive year.

Next, I think I might tackle the TAG Hungerford award.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

"The Past is a Foreign Country"

Six down, two to go...exams that is. It feels extremely good to be this close to the freedom end of the year, and I'm finding a lot more time for writing as a consequence. To celebratethe end of the Lit exam, my friend Elisa joined me for some unneccessary journal splurging- the pair of us indulged something of a passion for empty notebooks to fill with our thoughts. Buying new ones, which I am eager to use, I have begun writing more religiously in the one i am currently up to- the seventh since i started keeping journals in 2005.

Strangely, the more writing i do; essays, journals, letters, the more i want to write my novel, and i have written some quality things in the past week, which i am sure makes up for last week's terrible entry- i truly am sorry for that effort!!

writing has led me to some avenues of questioning which i intend to pursue, for example:

How would an Australian who ended up in a POW camp in singapore during the second world war have known Japanese? That is, if he would have known it at all.

And, on that note, i will leave you to find an answer.

many best wishes and grammatical mistakes...EM

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Eh...

Can it be? Am I running out of things to say? I've been lying on the floor for a while now, not typing, just trying to think of something worth blogging about.

I suppose my third place is worth a mention- last week i received word that I had won third place in the Mandurah-Murray writing contest, which means technically I turned a profit of $30 in the form of gift voucher. I also get my work published in an anthology of the winner's work. That makes it three times in one year, but I could be more excited about that I suppose.

I haven't worked on my novel for a while, but I'm sending the first few chapters to a pen pal for critquing as soon as TEE is over. Bring on November 21!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

On the Subject of Poetry...

In celebration of the launch of the 2008 Primo Lux, i have decided to share a poem i wrote at 1. 11 am on Monday morning... I am also too lazy and pre occupied to write a blog.

The woman's love was far too pure
She wanted marriage, he was sure
He couldn't stay to hold her tight,
make literal "to spend the night"
But as he tiptoed through the door
He saw the nightdress on the floor
He thought about the 'fun' he'd had
Fun which would stop if he were 'Dad'
No more chasing single girls
Their pretty dresses, tightened curls
The way they laughed and told him "No"
The many times he watched them go
How hard he worked to hear them sigh
"I think that you're my kind of guy"
And here she was, laid out for him
A girl he'd picked up on a whim
Kind of bookish, not his type
Hair too short and jeans too tight
But receptive to his quirky charms
And when he held her in his arms
An instinct that he'd tried to fight-
His new girlfriend felt just right
So maybe he could try to change
Rescind a bit his wayward ways
He'd keep her, then he'd need no more
Coz she'll be what he's looking for

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Ch ch ch changes...

I have to say, you're never too old or too young to enjoy a little bit of David Bowie. The man is a genius. When he said "time may change me, but i can't change time", he wasn't wrong either.

At the moment, I am at the rather pointy end of a bumpy, loopy rollercoaster ride that some may prefer to call High School. It's a good time for looking back at myself a year ago and thinking... well i didn't realise that i would be where i am right now.

Like all human-types, i'm resistant to change. I don't like the idea that my favourite bands will start churning out music with rap influences (i'm looking at you, fall out boy). I don't like that my siblings will soon be taller than me, me taking more after my mother's side of the family in terms of height. Most of all, I don't like that i wasn't more aware of the changes themselves.

That's why i'm glad i chronicle everything. I am thankful now that i have documented my life in little exercise books, so i can look back and think "well, i certainly have grown up a little."

My journals are just a different door to mark my "height" on.

So, change is good. I need to be okay with taking out whole chapters of my novels and things like that. I need to learn from the people around me, like my mentor, who seems to spend more time editing stuff out than moving forwards, but always ends up with something impressive.

Deep breath, and take the plunge.

P.S. I have a poem published in this years Primo Lux and i am heading to a ceremony on Monday night to launch it with my compadres.

neato.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Way of the Future?

On Friday, I used a link from the Border's Bookstore website to read the first Chapter of the new Colleen McCullough book, The Independance of Miss Mary Bennet, which interestingly enough takes place about 17 years after the final pages of Pride and Prejudice. Having only just read that particular classic for the first time in entirety recently, a fact that I lament to share, the various aspects of it were fresh in my mind.





I've never read any of Ms McCullough's work before, but it's very... well its descriptive to the point of being adjective-heavy, which to me strikes as the mark of someone who wants to fill pages to say something that really would not take anywhere near as many pages. But this was only the initial impression of the book. I find that with me, I tend to look at the writing, rather than the story until such time as the plot can really gage my attention. Which, eventually, this book did.





I liked her use of perspectives, and the way that she shifted from the true love conquers all attitude of the original story. I especially liked the way in which, cynically, it appeared that all characters got what was coming to them, and it seems that Ms McCullough is of the opinion that people can never change.





I'm a little hesitant to accept reading books on the internet. It really does take away from the satisfaction of being able to hold this little....creation... in your hands, and smell the ink and pages and binding glue, and write little notes about what you were thinking, and put it in your bag to read on the train, and hide inside a textbook in class.... not that I have ever done that.





But is e-books the way of the future? I hope not.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Second (Midnight) Blog

It's late...
I'm tired....
But I'm here, as promised. By the time I post this, it will be Wednesday. I would have been in bed had I not forgotten to do this, woken suddenly and raced online.

Okay, so that's a lie, I was already online, but I did forget.

Today I made a collage, by way of wrapping a birthday present. Collages are fun, and I especially enjoyed collecting the crazy photos to go on it. So much so that I wanted to steal some of the better ones for my journal, to inspire me later, but I refrained.

When you compare doing a collage, and staining your fingers in ink, which is something very child-like and simplistic with the idea of me, rushing online to post this blog so that I would not feel like I'd let my fans (Ha, like I have fans) down, you start to realise that every human activity comes with a sell by date. It's impossible to consider what my life would be like without these deadlines, because its an ingrained routine.

In the end, I think its about standards, and what matters to you. People who mind getting in trouble, don't miss deadlines... unless they forget. Don't punish me!

What happens when I google myself...

I love google, and I have a funny feeling that this one will be an affair to last a life time. It's the perfect man. I need something, and all I have to do is ask. I don't even need to be making coherent sentences. He always has a back up plan.

When I'm bored, he lets me look up pictures of Hayley Williams (left) so that I can copy her hairstyles. Unlike my ex, Wikipedia, he doesn't let other people influence his opinions.

Sometimes I'm a little bad, and I cheat with YouTube. YouTube is entertaining, and we have a lot of fun together, but he doesn't teach me anything. It won't amount to much. But Google... well a girl can hope.

But what does Google think of me, you may ask? Let's find out. Well, this blog is the fifth link down. There are a few other Elimy's dearer to Google's heart it may seem. If I deign to spell my name right, he thinks about Emily the Strange, and Wuthering Heights. (I like both of these things.)

I'm heart broken. Sigh.

But as a special treat, I will blog again later tonight, because of how lazy I was last week.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Ah, the good old days of Analog

Technology is making us lazy. Think about it. I have a blog, so sometimes I don't feel like I need to write in my journal. I type most of my stories on Ralph here (yes I named my laptop after a Simpsons character) so I sometimes don't finish them. I guess, if you take the hard work out of the equation, the end product loses its value.

I was looking through a bunch of photographs that came from my year eight birthday party, and I was reminiscing on the old friendships that used to be so comforting, and how much blonder I used to be, and how carefree and happy we all seemed. But then I stopped thinking about the content of the pictures, and started thinking about the photos themselves. I miss having to take all my photos on disposable cameras. Now that I have my digital camera, I can just hit delete when a photo opportunity goes awry. But I also miss the moments of complete spazziness. I don't get to keep the cringe worthy moments. I don't get to catalogue the bad hair days, and I don't get to catch pictures of certain people hiding from having their photo taken, and I just miss that.

Some people might argue that having all your photos digital is a good thing, because you can just scan all your photos onto the computer, and then you can upload them to Myspace or facebook or whatever you want... and your entire memory based life is stored on your hard-drive.

I want to start taking non-digital photographs again. I want to be able to stick those moments into my journal (which I vow to write in religiously from now on) for inspiration. I want the bad hair styles and the wardrobe faux pas and I want to be able to sit down with someone and spread the albums out and just read the memories, and laugh until I am sick.

Yeah, I'm sentimental as far as writers go. I think that's pretty important.

So please, disposable cameras my way thanks.

Monday, 15 September 2008

"And then I woke up..."

The first person to end a story like this was a genius. We all know about dreams and how they are linked with the self and the inner journey, so the idea that a whole adventure could just be a dream is entirely relevant... but the fortieth time I read an ending like this, I will stop enjoying the novelty. Indeed is is wearing off already.

What's worse is variations on this ending such as the author appearing as a character in his own book and telling the characters what his intended message was... ok so the example I'm thinking of was a great book, but the ending was rushed and seemed, quite frankly, to be a solution to the problem of not knowing how to end it. It ruined a good thing for me.

I'm going to cut all the writer's out there a little slack. Sometimes endings are hard. A lot of my own stories in the past have had rushed endings where loose ends are tied predictably for the sake of tying them. But something I have realised as a reader and a writer is that endings like this, endings that don't shock or satisfy the reader insult the intelligence of the reader. You have to imagine that the reader is someone smarter than you are. It's not about explaining something to them, the relationship between writer and reader should be at least a conversation of equals.

But because I haven't written for a while, I'm going to write a story with a "And then I woke up..." ending.

Cam stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in one of the monogrammed hotel towels. Barefoot, she padded across the tiles and stood in front of the mirror. The room was full of steam, her skin was pink and sore, and yet she felt clean. The condensation on the mirror began to fade, and she took in the sight of her own face. Long eyelashes covered azure pupils in almond coloured eyes. Her tan skin reflected her Greek ancestry. Her hair, althought wet, was still long and wavy. Cam had never had a problem with admitting she was beautiful.
"Honey?" called the man from the other room. She wrapped another towel around her head and stepped out of the bathroom. Her bare feet registered the change of surface, and the sudden drop in temperature from room to room made her shiver.
"We have to leave soon."
"Okay." Cam reached for the red dress lying on the bed and took it back with her into the bathroom to get dressed. She applied her make up and did her hair as if she really intended to go out. But then, she took a final look in the mirror.

From a toiletries bag hidden amongst her things, she removed the gun. She looked at the sleek black shaft, and she thought about the heat of the bullet leaving the cannon. She had been practicing for weeks and weeks at the shooting range, she was ready.

"Cam, get out here or I am leaving with out you!" called the man from the other room.
She placed the gun on the counter, and rolled up the hem of her dress to look one last time at the bruise on her thigh.

The door handle turned. She hadn't locked it. He was getting angry.

She reached for the gun and pointed it at the door. Her hands shook as the door swung open. In her mind she fought for control. He was her husband. He was a brute. They were married. He hurt her. She squeezed the trigger and felt everything melt away.

Cam opened her eyes. Tubes. Beeping instruments. The smell of pine-o-clean. She tried to sit up, but her arm buckled.
"He got you real bad this time, Baby," said the nurse, "Why don't you just tell someone?"
***
I hope that wasn't too bad. It felt good to be writing.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Initiate Countdown

That's right, I am officially less than a week away from my mock TEE exams. Needless to say, any writing I have been doing has been on the back of napkins and receipts, because really, who has time to sit down and actually write???



I thought today I would talk about the random places I go for inspiration, so I thought, seeing as I'm strapped for time and material, I would make a list of some of my favourite things.



Here goes:



1) The Tudor Court novels by Phillipa Gregory

2) Folk music, such as Clare Bowditch or Bob Evans

3) Old movies like Casablanca, Little Shop of Horrors

4) Gilmore Girls

5) Walking along the river

6) The "Zits" comic strip, and also "Calvin and Hobbes"

7) Old photos (for example, today I found the album from our trip to the Gold Coast)

8) Greek islands, like the one in Mama Mia and the one in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

9) Disney movies (guilty pleasure)

10) The Rat Pack- Sinatra, Martin, Davis


Now I think I should study.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Little Recognition with my Ambition

Exciting news!

On Sunday, Mother and I decided to take a gander at the Murdoch University Open Day. Seeing as this is where I am intending to go, I don't think it was the worst idea either of us have ever had. Thanks to the information provided by my friend W, I knew that there was to be a creative writing competition on campus, and this definitely peaked my interest. I was expecting to find lots and lots of likewise inclined future students also trying for the prize, but no, there were four of us. Two adults, a lovely girl from Iona, whose name I forgot to ask (but I suspect I annoyed her a little anyway) and myself. The briefing was simple. We were asked to write a short short story in which there is a beginning, middle and end, and the characters and their situation develops quickly. The winning story would be turned into a play.

To my absolute joy, mine was chosen, and later that afternoon I had the pleasure of watching my work on stage. I didn't even mind that most of the "adoring public" had better things to do, because I managed to impress several of my future professors and the head of the English department. My name is now familiar to them.

Plus, winning does feel a little great, even if the iPod they gave me is evil.

So here, for your enjoyment, I will include my short short story, entitled Boys Who Smoke.

"Kiss me?" he asked, laughing, and popped a cigarette into his mouth but didn't light it. Abbey remembered his lighter, lying in her pocket from before but made no move to return it.
"It was only a hypothetical!" Abbey complained, her cheeks flushing until they burned. Scott gave up on the cigarette and turned so that he was lying upside down on the couch. Abbey wondered how her living room looked from that angle. Could he see all the mess that had been so carefully hidden from the prying eyes of guests?
"Ok, so hypothetically, if I were to kiss you, then what?" Scott mused, rolling the cigarette through his fingers.
"Well we most certainly wouldn't have to get married!" Abbey snapped. She wondered what had come over her, asking Scott to kiss her. Who was she to him? No one, except perhaps the girl he cheated off on his maths homework... which was what they had been doing until Abbey had ruined everything. She folded her arms crossly and sat on the chair farthest from his.
"Abbey, look..." he said, awkwardly, paying more attention to the cigarette than to her.
"No, I don't want to hear it."
He sat up properly, almost falling off the chair in the process.
"Why me, Abbey?"
She thought about this for a moment.
"I don't know. You smoke, and we fight all the time. You couldn't do your own maths homework if your life depended on it, you track mud through the house and I get the blame for it."
"So why then?"
"I just wanted to know what it would feel like." Giving such an honest answer made Abbey feel exposed, cheap. He came to stand beside her now, and offered her the box of cigarettes.
"You know I don't smoke, Scott, that's disgusting," she said quietly, trying not to cry in shame. He continued to point the box at her until she took it.
"I know you hate them. So take the box away from me."
She looked at him, puzzled and he grabbed her by both shoulders. Abbey was a little frightened; she did nothing but stand there dumbstruck as he kissed her on the lips.
"So what was it like?" he asked, his face milimetres from hers.
Abbey thought for a moment, her eyes scanning the shleves of the living room, searching for a polite way to say what she had to say.
"Like kissing an ashtray," she said quietly, and they both laughed. He grabbed his backpack from where it had been dumped on the floor.
"I better go, Teach," he said, and she waved flippantly. Then, as always, he let himself out.

Abbey slumped into the chair and locked her arms around her knees as though she were on a plane about to crash.
"Oh. My. God!" she whispered, and smiled.

***
So that's my piece. I hope that you didn't find as many questions as I did just then when I was typing.
Some things I have learned about writing from this experience:
1) Know your purpose and target audience
2) Memories are a great place to find inspiration, even if you distort them horribly
3) Doing writing courses will sometimes get you free stuff.
thank you, and good night.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Weekly Obligation

Hello Cyberspace.

My brain is a little frazzled today, so no one really knows how well this will work as a blog.

Yesterday, I sent in my entries to the KSP short fiction award, and also to the Scribbler's competition. I have my fingers cross on both of those, because it would be nice to win a few commendations before I go to uni.

Well, that's if I get into Uni, but I'm thinking I probably will.

I also wrote a poem yesterday, for the school yearbook because the editor has been on my case to write a poem for the year twelve section. I'm not kidding, she actually slapped me with a pile of papers on the shoulder and said "Elisa Thompson can do it, why can't you?" The answer to that question is because Elisa Thompson is a very talented fiction and poetry writer and I am not. I don't write because I'm good, and especially not because someone expects me to, I write because it strikes me to do so. Luckily for her, however, it struck me to imitate the style of TS Eliot a little yesterday. She had better be happy with it, and definitely should not expect a repeat.

When I gave it to my English teacher to hand in, she and i started up a very bizarre conversation. I told her i wasn't usually a poet, but she said that she could imagine me going home and writing endless poems, as apparently i seem to have a great deal of poetry in me. Encouraging i suppose.

I am actually rather growing to like her.

Shh, don't tell, it will ruin my reputation.

Until next week,

E

P.S. you can find the work of Elisa Thompson in the blog on her Myspace
http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=29722496

Just a warning though, the blogs may contain themes which could offend certain people. Yes, Grandparents, I am talking to you. Love you guys.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tribute to the Postman

I'm sure all of you out there in cyberspace share with me the feeling of excitement that comes with receiving mail. I'm not talking about the kind of mail that pings up on my computer screen while I'm trying to study, and I'm definitely not talking about the kind of mail which forces my mobile to vibrate frantically until it falls off the table. No, sirree, I am talking about your honest to God, dinky-di MAIL. In the mail box, delivered by a post man, stamped and processed, sealed in an envelope.

I get mail quite frequently for a person who pays neither tax nor bills. This is because I often have overdue library cards, or because I've done something at school that they felt like telling my parents about (don't worry, folks, its usually a good thing), or because I have sent away for something. Recently, I have come into possession of a pen pal too, and he sends me mail from time to time, although lately we have taken to sending each other writing challenges which mean that the reply takes a gargantuan amount of time to be ready. But the mail I got yesterday was the kind of mail that inspires crazy dancing, and hugging strangers and calling Grandparents, who can always be counted on to rouse up some enthusiasm (Love you guys).

This mail came from the City of Subiaco.

It was a letter that included a certificate. I received a Highly Commended in the Tim Winton award, which is not a placement, but its also not a Participation certificate. The accompanying letter said that they really liked my writing style and I have been encouraged to continue my writing.

So yeah, I feel pretty good about myself right now.

And I love mail!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Hanging out with the Literati

This week has been something of a literary tea party...

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post something about becoming a reading anomaly? Well, that dream was, sadly, not realised. Time and duty conspired against me, and while I have been reading more than usual, I have yet to make much of a dent in that large pile which dominates the top shelf of my baby-library.

Nonetheless, this has been a Lit-filled week. It has lead me to the following conclusion. Next year, I intend to begin the task of becoming:
Phillipa-Emily-Jane-Edith-TS-Stephenie-Ian-Gregory-Bronte-Austen-Wharton-Eliot-McEwan.
In other words, the hybridized protege of all my idols. This week, I think I will devote a post to why I look up to these people.

Phillipa Gregory: She's probably best known for being the Author of The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a movie earlier this year. I am absolutely obsessed with the Tudor era, and it is through the medium of this woman's work that I have learned to love the genre of historical fiction. She is amazing, and I would one day love to meet her and talk about the thought processes she goes through when she is exploring the psychology of history's biggest figures.

Emily Bronte: Only ever wrote one book; Wuthering Heights. Many can easily dismiss this text as being flimsy, a romance built on little substance, with an unsatisfying ending. These people miss its more intricate meaning. It is a story which doesn't fail to ignore the failings of the human race; we are a selfish, vindictive, power driven people, who care about status and will ultimately torture those we love most mercilessly.

Jane Austen: Well, honestly, do I really even need to say much here? She's just amazing, and everyone is familiar with her work. Currently I'm reading Pride and Prejudice. I just love the depth she goes into with her characters and their relationships right from the start. And will somebody please tell me its not impossible that a Mr Darcy could really exist?? As a very clever English Lit teacher once said, "There is no Mr Right, there is only Mr Darcy."

Edith Wharton: Amazing woman. Lead such a colourful and exciting life. Didn't care that most people couldn't respect her because she didn't fit in with their narrow minded ideals of 'living'. The Age of Innocence, which i just finished studying for English Lit, is a great book which can relate to life of any era. Best of all, its a book I can love even when I hate the main character.

TS Eliot: I know he's a poet. I really do. But how can I go past those lines from The Hollow Men "The world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper." He was a genius.

Ian McEwan: I read Atonement earlier this year. It's perfect. It's everything that I could ever want to write myself- it has clearly developed themes and issues, its characters and their relationships are wonderful, the protagonist is a writer and it doesn't have an unrealistic ending. I do feel however that the ending feels a little like one that reads "And then I woke up and it was all a dream..." It almost finishes too quickly, leaving the audience screaming "Wait but what about..." Made me cry though, and for a book, that's a hard thing to do. I also loved the movie.

So there you go. One day, perhaps, an ambitious young author will put my name on a list of role models just like this one. Next to my name, I hope it reads: Some of the most insightful writing I have ever had the pleasure to critique.

More than likely, this will be followed by the words: I am given the impression that the author is a little batty.

I don't mind though. I just want to be up there with the big names.

I'm off to be insightful now. Keep it real.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Dymocks Chat

With the release of Breaking Dawn yesterday, there has been a lot of talk about Best Sellers. Most of this talk, went on inside my head. For those of you who don't know, Breaking Dawn is the fourth installment of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. It fits roughly into the genre of fantasy, but could also be classified as Teen Lit or Romance. Personally, i think it is a waste of time categorizing things these days anyway, seeing as we are creating new hybrids all the time.

Interestingly enough, this time around, it wasn't me who caught onto these literary gems. It was my sister, N. N doesn't read much- her life is filled with different things, but she can sure pick a good book when she has to. With the euphoria associated with the release of the final book, and also the impending Movie this December, i figured i had better jump on the band wagon and start reading the damned things. I have to say, i am now in love with these books, the character of Edward Cullen and also with the Romance genre again.

But the topic of this blog isn't about those books really. It's about creating a best seller. It's about hope.

Yesterday, when we went to pick up N's pre-ordered copy of the book from Dymocks, we ran into the son and husband of my mentor, who were picking the book up too. Someone made the comment that the book had only just come out yesterday, and yet it was already on the top of the best seller list. Two of the three other books in the series were up there too. And the adults began talking about their writing family members (me and my mentor) someday writing a best seller or two as well.

Thanks guys, way to put the pressure on. I'll try.

In other news, today for Phys Ed, we did health. Because my regular teacher wasn't there, we had a sub, and the sub was someone i have recently identified as being a local published writer. Cool, hey? I forgot to ask him about it though. Gosh.

Well, this best seller isn't going to write itself.

Any questions?

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Elimy in Blunderland

Blunderland: A metaphysical state within my own head, in which I am permitted to trip my way merrily down the path of life until I get to where I need to be.

Blunderland is a wonderful place. It is the part of myself I have created to get me through "The Dark Times." Whenever something begins to really stress me out... say I get very stressed over a project... I strip the situation back to its most simplified form, until the story becomes just a chance for me to say what I think, and I find myself in Blunderland.

Contrary to how it sounds, Blunderland is wonderful. Expectations are low, and disappointment is minimal. The entire population are very accepting of the human tendency to make mistakes. Best of all, by spending my days in Blunderland, I am able to find something I love about everything I do.

My happy place is not one of coconut palms and a sunny beach. It isn't even the gothic, turn of the twentieth century library many of those close to me have often heard me describe. It's a little filtering station inside my brain that looks at the real world for all its imperfections and says "You're okay as you are"

Sometimes, things are as bad as they seem, and its wonderful. You know yourself all the better for it.

Spread the Strength,

Em

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

Why indeed...?

An examination of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland for today's drama workshop has lead me to believe one thing about the English language... It is a weird, weird, weird... wonderful thing.

That to say what i mean is not to mean what i say.
That to see what i eat is not to eat what i see.
To sleep when i breathe is not to breathe when i sleep.

Magic.

What makes language even better in this case is that there can be so many levels of meaning in one book... that to read it as a child i might have learned one thing, and that in reading it again now, i learn something else.

I also revel in the freedom which comes from the fact that all the absurdism came from a mathematician purposefully denying logic....

My mind jumps all over. I am perhaps a little mad. Mad as a hatter in fact.

Until next week, when hopefully my thoughts are a little more linear.

Em

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

"The Last of the Diehard Romantics"

Oh to write you a sonnet!
But I couldn't find the words
So instead I watched Titanic
And I cried until it hurt
And I wondered what it was
That struck a heartfelt chord in me
For I'm too young to know of love,
And loss, and tragedy
It must be that same thing that
Knows the lines of Juliet
And is waiting for a Romeo, but
Hasn't met one yet
Is this sad romantic thing
A figment of myself?
Or is it an invented thing that
I could quickly shelf
I don't mean to immasculate,
Belittle or confuse
But perhaps I am in love with "Love"
And not in love with you?

Written 26/6/08

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Ad Astra Per Aspera

"A Rough Road Leads To The Stars"

Have I mentioned I love latin? Everything that gets said in this language sounds uplifting and wise. This week's phrase is actually the title of the interlude on the "Phantoms" album by Acceptance. Until Saturday, I hadn't ever bothered to translate it, but now I am glad that I did.

I have lately been reading the classics, and so today I visited some local op shops and second hand bookshops with one of my close friends in Fremantle (in my opinion the cultural heart of Sleepy Perth) and I have acquired copies of Lord of the Flies, Dracula and Vanity Fair for less than $20. I was pretty impressed with that effort, but now I come home to look at my ever growing "To read..." pile, and I feel as though there will never be enough time in the world for me to finish them all. So I start the sport of extreme- reading tonight. I will read in the shower, while I sleep, eat, watch television and all manner of bizarre places, until i have become the most well-read, super human, bizarre author of teen fiction that Sleepy Perth has ever known. But I digress.

We closed up work on Away for the last time on Saturday night, and I am not only glad that all is finished, I am actually proud of what we achieved. Not bad for a drama perfectionist such as myself. I have also come to the conclusion that I do not want to pursue acting any further, and if I am ever involved in the theatre again, it will be as writer, or failing that Director, or possibly even work with stage makeup, as i have discovered i quite like to draw on my friends faces. Thank you to everyone who came to watch, it was much appreciated.

And so i exit, stage left, to read something grand.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

I'm at a place called Vertigo

The thing about me is that I am incredibly afraid of heights. I'm terrified of the actual height itself, I'm terrified of falling, or of seeing someone fall. So if someone were to lean over a balcony at a dress rehearsal say, I might just break down into a shaking, blubbering mess. I've always been this way. I'm not even terribly fond of the upstairs of our house, which is a shame, because our house is reverse-living, and therefore the kitchen is upstairs.

But I digress. My point is this: all protagonists have some sort of flaw which may prevent them from having reached their goal before, or may eventually aid the plot in some way. Let me give you a few examples from what I have been reading lately.

Catherine Morland reads entirely too many fantastical novels, and has an over active imagination.
Stephanie Plum eats too much junk food and does not work out enough.
Arabella Hicks has writer's block.
Georgie Jutland has insomnia.

Minor set backs. Things that a person could go through life without being bothered overmuch, unless perhaps the person were to experience something specific to the malady itself. So despite the fact that my fear of heights frequently means I encounter roadblocks on my quest for a normal life, I will persevere, because, that is what I would have my characters do, and I will not be a hypocrite. I will not be one of those writers who writes because she cannot do. Who knows? One day I may even bungee jump... but it is not likely.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The End of Jane Austen Season

I haven't done any writing in a while, not even a reply to my pen pal from Toodyay, and while that is upsetting, it is also understandable considering how much rehearsal I am doing for the school production which opens in 9 days. I still don't have my lines completely memorized... whoops.

In other news, the Jane Austen season finished on Sunday night, with Mansfield Park. I would have liked for them to also play Sense and Sensibility (although we have it on video) and Pride and Prejudice, but i suppose they did only promise a month.

After last week's blog I looked up the winners of the All Saint's Lit Festival... not really surprised that my name wasn't there, but I was still insanely disappointed. I was really quite proud of my entry and it's a shame. Still, congratulations to any of those people. I'm now placing all my wishing, hoping, dreaming on the Vignette Press, Tim Winton and West Australian
Competitions. (As well as intending to work on my Scribbler's entries. I say intend.)

I'm also still considering my 1938 novel... we went to the Army Museum with my history class last Thursday, and I think I will be either sending my protagonist to Darwin or Singapore. Maybe Crete. Definitely not to Europe.

Sorry about the weak post.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest

"The Brave May Fall, But He Will Not Yield."

When time and circumstances are against me, this is what I will be thinking. When I am rejected by the 27th publisher, this is what I will be thinking. When I miss out on something I really want, this is what I will be thinking.

Things I am currently working on:
* Challenge set by Morgan- proving more difficult than I first thought
* Entries for Scribblers
* Novel
* Research for novel set in 1938

Things I am awaiting Notice on:
* Vignette Press Short Story Contest
* Tim Winton writing contest
* All Saints Lit Fest contest
* West Australian Young Writer's contest.

I have a funny feeling that for at least one of those, I should have heard by now if i won anything.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The Formula

Let's get one thing straight right now. Life is NOT a romance novel. Of all the genres, in fact, i could safely say that the romance genre is possibly the most over written and far fetched. Sure, i enjoy a good Jane Austen, but can i point one thing out here? Most romance writers are middle aged and unmarried. It is a genre built on fantasies.

I have been set a challenge of late, by my writing compadre in Toodyay. He is something of a cynic when it comes to the genre, and has asked me to write something which would impress even him. Hence this sudden bitterness towards a genre. How do i write a believable romance story in five days???

Step One- get inside the mind of my target audience: in this case a slightly secretive but highly intelligent teenage boy. Easy.

Step Two- create a character he can relate to. Also easy.

Step Three- create a female lead who would capture his interest. Ah. Problem. My cynical compadre has little interest in girls. Right, well i'll just have to make one up...and this is where it all falls apart.

Situations such as these make you look at life as though hanging upside down and peering down a hallway. Suddenly things make a little more sense. You stop and say to yourself "So that is human nature, i see now."

Depressing, really.

And so i go to write another story of teen angst and sacrifice, possibly ending in an over zealous kiss. But hopefully not.

Stay Alert. If anyone finds any outrageous cliches, i want to hear them.

E

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Attack of the Rampaging Cliche

Greetings, Cyberspace...

It's officially winter now, which is a great month to cuddle up in front of a heater with a superb book and a cup of hot chocolate. Pity I'm unable to do that because of exams. Oh well, i'm almost halfway through my written exams.

That's not to say i haven't been reading at all. I've been reading quite a lot to tell the truth but its been in private. And one thing i read lately was so laden down with cliches that i decided i just had to have a rant about it.

Cliches make a book boring. Don't use them. They ruin the most tantalizing of plot lines. I'm not talking about run of the mill situation cliches either. im talking about situations where the main characters are talking to each other in an everyday conversation and they're saying movie impact lines....it just does not happen. And when a character is talking to his girlfriend, he does not say sappy love lines.

The whole way through the book this was happening. It was so obvious that the book was written by a woman. Half the so called romantic cliches included were women's fantasies, and definitely not plausible.

It makes me angry.

The moral of the story, fellows, is that write like you, not like everything you've ever heard before.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

"A Royal Spectacle"

Henry did not care for venison. It was the kind of meat which looked down its nose and sneered at him, which was unacceptable. He was the King of England, after all. He held a great chunk of it in one hand, meeting it eye to eye like a challenge. Hot, powdery grease stained his raw hand, and he squeezed the flesh, sneering back as its juices evacuated in dribbles down his arm. Beside him, his wife Catherine Parr sat serenely, controlling an urge to be disgusted by his behaviour. Henry could sense, from her rigid posture and tight-lipped smile that she was nauseated, and rightly so. The stench from his festering leg wound permeated that morning's dressing so strongly that even Henry was aware of it. But that stench was his, and he took misguided pleasure in the uncomfortable politeness of his courtiers. Catherine reached gently for the decanter of wine and poured him another glass. Henry threw down the meat, licked his fingers and drained the cup. Catherine smiled at him encouragingly, but there was something else behind it. A pity, perhaps, that belonged to a mother resolved to her dying influence over a favourite son. It was not love. He did not look for love.

Henry belched loudly and began to prod again at the venison. The court watched him, too scared to touch thier own food until the King took his first bite. Catherine leaned forwards to refill his glass but he waved her back angrily. He was incensed, and would not be pacified with drink.

Finally, he raised the slice of meat to his puffy, cracked lips and allowed the venison to infiltrate them. He drew back his lips to show displeasure and chewed slowly, while all around him, the courtiers hurried to do the same.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Competitions vs. Exams

I wonder if all the competitions start to open up this time of year on purpose because many of the older competitors will be too busy to enter? This somehow seems likely.

I however am not deterred by these sneaky tactics, and am planning on entering 2 new competitions: The West Australian Newspaper's Young Writer's Contest, and the Scribblers contest (in which i can enter not one, but five! stories)

I have discovered now that being absolutely positively miserable or lost in my own head is to my own benefit, being that i can twist and manipulate details of my own life to write really great literature. well okay, not literature but getting there. At the moment, my stuff could be described as striving to forge a midpoint between Tim Winton and Melina Marchetta. It is definitely Australian however.

Writing is joy. I want to leave school forever and live like a bohemian in the cobbled streets of...some place with cobbled streets... where i can stare out my window and churn out page after page after page.....

Exams in less than 2 weeks prevent this.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Just some notes on a busy week...

How was my experience of the Tim Winton literary event? In one word? INSPIRATIONAL. Things like that always make me want to rush straight home and let my fingers fly across over the keys. It wasn't even that what he was saying was life changing. It was how he was saying it. The way he stumbled across words as he spoke about his life and his experiences, and how he seemed to settle into his true self when he began to read. I wanted to close my eyes and slip into the world of the book.

It seems that competitions are on again, so i'm trying to get some nice pieces written to send into those. One of them is the West Australian newspaper's young writer's contest, the other is something called scribblers which i have never heard of. Still, exposure is exposure.

I don't know whether i wrote about this or not, but sometime in the not too distant past, i managed to somehow corrupt the file that my current novel is in... and much tears and tearing out of hair resulted. Luckily, i've been in the habit of printing as i go (thanks to Jenny Doust) and all is not a hopeless shambles. It seems that at the moment i am running out of momentum on that one, and rather than ruin the story with substandard plotlines, i am planning on focussing on short stories. And exams.

Over and out.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

My Life in the Cultural Wasteland?

Murphy's Law, after that last post, i discovered equally fantastic uni courses at two other universities, and now the jury is hung. Shucks.

Hello to cyberspace, and hello especially to any family members reading this post. I know that i am developing something of a cyber-entourage. That's pretty cool, so thanks, you guys.

So what to write about this week? I haven't spent this week composing insightful reviews of well loved classics, because, well, i haven't been reading any. Equally disappointing is my lack of writing discoveries this past week. It's all about the future, in the very near portion of which i will be meeting someone very inspirational... wanna guess who?

No new writing music... slow progress on my novel, although i am enjoying reading my own work which must be a good sign... no word on any competitions... no camps or courses... how dull...

So as i said, it's all about the future. I'm excited about my busy schedule, and about the culture i am going to be exposed to.

I'm really surprised that lots of people think that Australia and Western Australia are so lacking in culture... (sorry about my overuse of the ellipsis) It's just that i love Perth so much, it's clean and pretty and surprising. I guess because i'm a drama student i get to see a whole lot more of the culture side of things but, it's just a really great place to be. We have plays and concerts, and local bands up the wazoo, and then on top of that, we have whole districts like Fremantle full of artists and writer's and generally culturally in tune people. I'm friends with a lot of budding artists, and sometimes i don't get the whole bohemian thing, but still...culture. I love it. I love the atmosphere. It's like a permanent courting of the muse.

And on that pensieve note, i will leave to do something inspiring... or homework... whichever.

Bye everyone.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Juicy Writing

This week, being the first week back at school, i thought that i would educate myself. So i got myself a copy of Brigid Lowry's Juicy Writing and i settled down to read it. All in all, this took me three days, and i have emerged from hibernation feeling clearer about several things.

A) University.

For a while now, i've been having a difficult time deciding what university to pick for my first preference. The time to fill out applications is nigh and this decision could not have come at a better time.

The choice was between the prestige of UWA or the incoventionality of Curtin. On the one hand, i am much more familiar with the grounds at UWA. They have a Tae Kwon Do Club, and massive libraries, and the building is extremely beautiful. On the other hand, Curtin offers a specifically Creative Writing oriented course, is where several of my friends will be going, and has a drama club.

When i got the chance to read the work of someone who used to teach at Curtin, i.e. Ms Lowry, my mind was made up. I'm Curtin bound. I hope.

B) Editing.

The way I edit is, to be frank, confusing and inefficient. It's also a good way to make me give up on a project. Now i am adapting a colour coding method, which so far has been helping.

And some exciting news to finish: On the 8th of May, i will be getting to meet Tim Winton. Yay.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Upon my Return

Home again. Everything is back to normalcy...i've never realised before but my room has a smell to it. And not a disgusting one, just one which is there. I guess it smells like me. Strange that the smell of me should become more apparent after an absence.... hmmm.

So now i have a lot to write about. About eating octopus and jellyfish and raw tuna. About airplane trips that never end. About walking and walking and walking and walking......

But mostly what's been on my mind for the last few days is The Outsiders by S E Hinton. I started and finished it within the last week, and something in it has just called to the writer in me. I was thinking about why that was, and in the annoying way i do, i started to delve beyond the answer "Because i liked it."

Why did i like it? Because the language of the main character is so poetic in all its colloquialisms? Because the plot is straightforward and to the point whilst still connecting the reader to the emotions of the protagonist? Because Jodi Picoult said i would in the preface????

I can't really be sure. But i'm sure that all of those were contributing factors. I also really enjoyed the way that she didn't try to wind too many subplots together in a tangled mess. Short, sweet and to the point.

So i highly recommend you read it...or re read it.

Another point to raise. Writing music. I always write to music, so quite often there will be a moment of really intense emotion in my work from where i have become really into what i am listening to. Often this means i have to make adjustments in editing to level out my work. Right now i am listening to Search/Rescue's "right through me" off the album "The Compound." This album was not available in Australia as far as i could discern but i found it in Japan, which was where it was recorded.

But it's fantastic writing music because its so...melodic and prosaic. Another recommendation.

check them out at www.myspace.com/searchrescue

you wont regret it. it's beautiful.

Ciao.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

In Japan

Hello World, particularly my Australian friends!!! I've been gone three days and I'm homesick already. I miss English speaking television, my Smart-Rider card and fried chicken!!!

That's not to say that i hate Japan. I have been looking forward to coming here for as long as i have known, and i'm not sad that i am here. Already i have been burning a considerable hole in my spending money, buying such things as t-shirts with kewpie dolls on them and a CD that i have wanted for a long time which has not been available in AUS.

So far the cuisine side of things has been a bit iffy. I'm not the most adventurous of eaters at the best of times, and unfortuantely i have spent quite a fair bit of my total eating time trying things and then promptly washing my tongue. For example, last night i tried stingray. GROSS. My brother liked it though. What a weirdo!

Speaking of weird, right now i am watching the Japanese equivalent of Hi-5.

So obviously no writing has been going on.

Hope all is well.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

It's Tuesday Again Already?

This time next week, i will be blogging from Japan. Tokyo to be specific. Seeing as i have studied the language and culture for nearly nine years, i believe i always knew the time would come when i would get to go there. Perhaps not this soon, but in any case it is exciting.

Experience is the backbone of writing. Therefore any experience is a good one.

But what a week it has been, this last one! Aside from time spent frantically packing and homework-ing, i have also been writing as though my life depended on it. In the space of seven days i managed to complete nearly 10 000 words, which is a mean feat for someone doing year 12, i.e. me. This week looks to be particularly difficult to keep up the momentum, what with it being the end of term one and all, but i am not going to let that stop me.

This new piece is a novel, somewhat autobiographical, somewhat contrived, but i am really using it as an outlet to channel some of those feelings which have dogged me about teenager-ness for some time.

Seeing as i will be blogging from Japan next week (hopefully), i will say "Mata Raishyu", which means "Until next week" or something there about.

Good Luck with whatever it is you're doing.

em

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Homework, Birthdays and Terrible Jokes

This time of year is all about the above.

Today, I announced to my parents that someday I intend to win a Pulizter Prize just because I can. Or maybe a Nobel Prize for literature. Either way, I'd be quite satisfied. (Perhaps I should concentrate on getting published first???) My father, ever the comedian told me the following joke, and seeing as it it April Fool's Day today, I thought I would share his appauling sense of humour with you all.

It goes something like this:

There once was a farmer named Paddy, living somewhere in Ireland. One day, his next door neighbour was driving through the paddocks and he saw Paddy standing out in the middle of one of them. "That's a bit odd," he thought to himself. The next day, Paddy seemed to still be there, so his neighbour approached him to find out what was going on.
"I'm trying to win a Nobel Prize," explained Paddy, "And I've heard all you have to do is be out standing in your field."

Did that story elicit a few groans of disgust the way it did when my mother and I heard it for the first time? No doubt it did.

But if I am going to win a Pulitzer, I suppose I will actually have to write something first. It won't be the Thriller, that's already been scrapped. But i have something up my sleeve.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

I love easter. I love chocolate, and I love five day weekends, or six if you count the day I took off after the ball. I love staying in bed until after 10 am, and I love watching trashy movies to my heart's content. Some titles i have perused this weekend include Pretty in Pink, Titanic, Just My Luck, The Jungle Book, Ghostbusters and Bend it Like Beckham. My life this weekend has resembled something like paradise. That is until reality rudely intrudes to tell me about all the things I should be getting on with. Assignments for example. If i ever procrastinate as much as I have this term ever again, I may end up teaching PE. There's nothing wrong with that by the way if you are a PE teacher...I just don't like sports.

A lot of my writing lately has revolved around a particularly strange dream I had sometime last week, and just to break tradition, i have yet to type any of it. I am merely building a very rough, very...well bad... framework in the depths of my latest journal (Number 6 i believe) and I intend to make it much better when I finally decide to immortalise it on my hard drive.

The weirdest part is, it's a crime and adventure story. I never write crime. I barely read crime. I dabble, what with Stephanie Plum and Women's Murder Club, but very rarely. So what on Earth is compelling me to write a crime novel???? I'm not stupid enough to say no thankyou when a good idea comes my way, but I'm probably the biggest skeptic here. I don't want my first novel to be a one of a kind crime novel that I can never follow up in kind. I need my first novel to be representative of the alter ego within me. So "Thriller" as it has been dubbed, may be the hidden manuscript that is discovered in my estate centuries later.

Sigh.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A Resident of 2 Worlds

Week seven already... if anyone works out a way to freeze time momentarily, i would like to be among the first to know. I could really do with a good sleep, without having to worry about what isn't getting done. Still i suppose if i can survive this year, i will be ready for the big, wide world that's waiting out there. The faster time gets there, the better. In theory, anyway.

I'm still waiting for my copy of the Inkfish anthology, and i have yet to hear back from any of the competitions i have entered, including the Tim Winton Award, which i sent my entry to yesterday. It was a slightly bizarre fantasy about the way i feel about my upcoming TEE, entitled "The Quintessential Quitter's Paradise."

It seems to me that i actually live in two worlds. One is a world where everyone around me is intensely colourful and all lives are interconnected. Where problems fly thick and fast, often with little opportunity for heroics or grace under pressure at the least. But this is the world from which i draw my inspiration.

My other world is less cohesive. It consists of platforms that don't exist, romances that seem to burn for centuries and arguments which possess a degree of poetic irony. This is the world which populates my head, and this is the world from which i draw my motivation.

Until next week,
E

PS wish me luck...it's the school ball tomorrow

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Put a little feeling in it...

What exactly i'm referring to when i say that is entirely up to what is required of me; in most cases writing, sometimes dancing if i'm feeling particularly out of character and more often than not lately, song writing.

As the exams draw ever closer, time seems to be flying by. I still haven't heard from any of the competitions i have entered, but thankfully, i still have some time left before i would expect to do that anyway.

In terms of writing this week, i started and discarded several ideas for my Tim Winton award winning piece. items were discarded on the basis that they were not special enough- i want to capture a piece of Perth in my work and highlight it for all its glory. (I really do love WA) I hope to have finished a rough first draft by the end of this week never the less.

in other news, i failed my driving test for the second time today, and have decided to get myself a bus pass and a bicycle. it seems co ordination is necessary in this field.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Highly effective eccentricities

Not much happening in terms of progress this week. I was intending to enter the Hadow-Stuart contest which is running from the FAWWA (Fellowship of Australian Writer's WA) website but although it opening supposedly on March the first, the entry form is still for the 2007 contest. Then again, same deal with the Tim Winton award, and that finally opened. I finally have a great idea for that by the way. I am hoping my pride in it will surpass that which i feel about "Candle Wax, Cinderella and Chanel No 5". Perhaps not though.



Instead I have been practicing habits of highly effective eccentric writers - collecting cool pictures, buying books i don't have time to read, living in general squalor. But its all worth it, and next week i will tell you all about my ideas. I can't now, because im about to rush out and see "The Caucasian Chalk Circle"!!!

Peace out
Em

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

No Rest for the Wicked

Competitions, competitions and more competitions. As soon as i finish one, there is another one worth entering. Still, i suppose if i didn't want to do them, then i wouldn't google Australian Writing Competitions all the time...

THINGS I AM CURRENTLY ENTERED IN

1) Vignette Press short story contest in the eastern states. I entered a fairly prolific horror piece entitled "Homecoming."

2) All Saints' Lit Fest "Storylines" contest. My entry in this case was a highly emotionally sensitive think piece which i am immensely proud of. I entitled it "Candle wax, Cinderella and Chanel No 5." A friend of mine has told me this is quite possibly the most intriguing title he has ever heard- this is a good start. Personally i just liked the alliteration, and the way it seemed to tie together the plot.

THINGS I ENDEAVOUR TO ENTER

1) Tim Winton Awards. I have been checking the Subiaco Council website almost constantly hoping to download a form, and now that i have, i have absolutely no idea not to write about. Never fear, i will in the long run.

AND IN OTHER NEWS

I took in the Perth Arts Festival Writer's Festival a bit this past weekend, on invitation from a friend and inspiration. We went to a forum entitled "The Other Worlds."

Authors on the panel included Kate Forsyth, author of "The Starhorn Tree" (my copy of which seems to have been lost in the move), Bevan McGuiness, fantasy writer, teacher and geophysicist, and Anna Fienburg, creator and writer of "Tashi" (come on, who doesn't love a protagonist shaped like a Troll-doll???)

Although i generally avoid writing fantasy, i have to say i really enjoyed the experience and especially appreciated the insight into the thought processes of a published author.

Must run. The first test of the year happens tomorrow.

E

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Blog-kebab

Hello once again. I hope that cyberspace is treating you well.

After having stern words with myself following last week's dismal effort, things have begun to happen. Writing type things even.

1) I have submitted a piece- my horror piece in fact- to the Vignette Press Short Story Competition. That's in Melbourne.

2) I have begun writing myself motivational letters and proposals reminding me about all the fantastic ideas i am having. It's really only one step up from talking to myself, but i do that anyway.

3) I have aquired myself an entry form for the 2008 All Saints Lit Fest "Storylines". I would tell you what i am writing about...but i dont want to.

4) I have been invited to go to a writing festival thing on Saturday with one of my many local inspirations... although the theme of the event is sci-fi/fantasy, i am very excited none the less. Any writing is good in my books.

OH YEAH!!! And on a completely different chain of thought.... I AM GOING TO JAPAN!!!

Must study now...TEE+ ME = OMG

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Here's to the classics!

Doesn't Valentine's week just instill you with such feelings of joy?

No, me neither. The only rose I've sent this year is to my best friend Megan, because i thought she might like a pick-me-up.

In fact, the only thing i take away from Valentine's week is a desire to write something in which true love does not prevail, and somebody dies. Actually, very much like the book i finished reading last night- Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. True love most certainly does not conquer all... now that is my kind of classic.

But enough cynicism.

In terms of achieving my goal... that is to be published pre my 20th birthday... this week i have been rather... shall we say lax? No, preoccupied. It's only the second week of school, and already I am a very busy little girl. But I'm not making excuses, honest. I intend to work on one of my pieces, or even start a new one before the week is out.

Writing, i believe, is not just an exercise that involves my head. It engages the whole of me. This makes it virtually impossible to write when I am tired...as i have been lately.

No. Bad. Making excuses again. Must go write now.

Happy Valentines.

:)

Oh yeah and Dear Tom, if you are reading this like you said that you might... Your bouffant is rather spectacular. Peace out.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

In other news today...

I almost didn't get on tonight to blog because of other commitments...shock horror. Because i'm such a control freak, however, here i am, broadcasting live from the middle of a heat wave.

Welcome to February.

February is the month of Valentine's Day, family birthdays and getting down to business. Yesterday, for example, I started year 12. The teachers have already begun to pile it on... assignments, tests, gruelling physical challenges. The cherry on the cake was the Curriculum Council's course outlines...there was one for each subject...which meant i listened to the same speech six times in the last two days. The school has also decided to convert Phys Ed from sport to a housekeeping and mental well being support group. I'm not entirely sure how i feel about this.

So that is the work load that my writing is competing with.

Luckily, writing is winning. Last night, i sat down at about eight o'clock, and i said to myself "i want to write a horror story." Two hours later i emerged from a writing induced coma only to discover that i had created something that wasn't entirely terrible. i think that perhaps with a little tweaking it could be magazine submission material.

Homework beckons...

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

I'm kinda like a super ball...

Was it the Beatles who sang "I get by with a little help from my friends?"

It's hard enough just being a teenage girl, let alone a frustrated writer, and i'm not sure I'd be able to be so resilient if i didn't have a fantastic group of people surrounding me to inspire and encourage me.

It was at the KSP Write a Rama that i took part in recently that i picked up a writing book which stated something along the lines of "Writer's are notoriously solitary people who often isolate themselves from other people." I have a hard time believing that this could be true in any way. Sure, I can enjoy my own company, but I'm not content to always be alone and to tell the truth, I don't think that I could stand always having to listen to my own opinions without contention.

I'm fortunate to have a great support network in my locality. It consists of a group of people who are always vibrant, always challenging and most importantly, always there. I'm very fortunate to know that no matter what that book said, I am never truly alone. I'm always only a phone call away from somebody who'll listen.

And that is why I'm like a super ball, because I always bounce back thanks to my friends.

Now, back to the topic of writing. This week, I have still been madly compiling Inkfish because i only have three days left to complete that. I've also begun to rework an early novella length piece of mine into a novel length, and more cohesive, piece. All this is a distraction from the work I was trying to do on my novel, which was rejected for publication earlier this year.

Happy Tuesday, everyone

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Futures...

Today i felt like shaking it up a little and changing the font around...

There is nothing i love more than a notebook filled with my own hand writing, my own thoughts and my own ideas. It's like having a book filled with my own typing, only one better because i don't have to pour years of my life into making it make sense. Journal writing is encouraged by a lot of successful writers, and even some amateur ones for the simple reason that a journal allows you to collect your thoughts. Some day in the future i may look through my old journals and discover that all along i was sitting on my billion dollar book deal- figuratively of course.

This week has been a very writing-oriented one. I spent the middle of last week in Greenmount taking a workshop on creative writing at the Katharine Susannah Prichard centre. The Write-a-Rama series is facilitated by Dr Melissa O'Shea, and gave some worthwhile insight into the world of writing. I also got more out of it than i had anticipated...

I am now the editor of Inkfish which is the anthology that our group is putting together to celebrate the writing that we did over the three day course. This is excellent from my point of view, not just because it gives me something to do other than watch television, but because it gives me some real, serious editting work to do, so that i can try it out as a future career, and i have to say, i don't hate it.

So far this week, i made no ground breaking achievements on editting my first novel or writing my second... but i intended to. Slaps on the wrist for that one.

Until next Tuesday,

Elimy

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Beginnings...

I have been told that the beginning of a piece of writing is the most important...that some editors and critics will stop reading your work simply based on how boring they find your work. But beginnings are hard... sometimes i even like to write beginnings at the end of a story.

Here i have no chance. Here i begin my journey to publication. I intend to be published before i turn twenty. The definition of published here extends to magazines and journals but not to the school magazine, although that would be fine too. I have three more birthdays until that day. If you have opened this blog because you are genuinely interested by my progress, I thank you. If this is a pure fluke, please feel free to check up on me. Any kind words of encouragement would be much appreciated.

Happy trails, little campers,

Em