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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Australian Literature

So I graduated last week. Classes are finished and school is out! Over the first 19 days of November, I will sit 5 exams which will hopefully give me the score I need to get into my first-preference course at Deakin University next year.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what this summer will hold for me, and I've narrowed it down to four main things: Reading, Writing, Working my ass off and Socializing. Of course, I've already made a big start of that second one, as I told you in my previous post about what my NaNoWriMo endeavours are. But yesterday, I decided to kick-start the reading aspect. It was a toss up with what to read first: The Hunger Games trilogy, or the 7 books of the Tomorrow series. Considering I'd already read the first of the Tomorrow series (three or four years ago, admittedly), I decided to pick up the second book and start reading that.

I heard about the Tomorrow series around the same time I heard about The Hunger Games, but before THG became a big thing in Australia. After talking to some of my international friends, I realize that a lot of you probably have never heard of Tomorrow, When the War Began or the other books in the Tomorrow series, but they are bloody amazing, Australian-written books by a great author, John Marsden. In short, the Tomorrow series is about a group of eight Aussie teenagers who go bush-bashing (camping) one week over their summer break, and return home to find that their town and country has been invaded by an unidentified foreign nation. The series follows this group of teenagers through their fight to avoid being killed or captured while they try to do what little they can to fight the enemy, guerrilla style. I loved Tomorrow, When the War Began, and now almost 150 pages into book two, The Dead of the Night, I'm eager to finish reading the whole series this summer.

But reading this series makes me think about literature written and set in Australia, by Australians. And especially when it focuses on aspects unique to Australia: our cities, wildlife, climate, etc. Some of these things, I hope to incorporate into Katherine, but that isn't the focus. Katherine is focused on issues that are can be experienced all over the world. Then I thought, there's nothing stopping me from writing something that has a bigger focus on Australia as a setting after I finish the things that are already on my to-write list. I am an Australian, living in Australia. There is plenty I could write about and share.

The question is then, what do you guys want to read about if I write about Australia? Do you even want to read about Australia at all? Or do you think I'd be better off making other Australians my target audience?

- Bonnee.

26 comments:

  1. Congratulations! Wait a minute, you're officially graduated before taking all your exams? Or are these more like placement tests? Good luck with those. You managed to convince your mother about the school that's further away - I guess that was an emotional discussion, but I think it's important you get to go where you want to go.

    What do *I* want to read about Australia? Thank you for asking. Honestly, I don't know! I suppose I just want to read a great story, no matter where it's set.

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    1. Yeah, it's weird how the system works here. I'm not sure if it's just my state or the whole of Australia, but you only need to do exams if you want an ATAR score (the thing that says you can go to University), otherwise you just need to do the coursework to pass yr 12.

      It was a very emotional discussion and peace is far from made... I wouldn't say I've exactly convinced her, but I've at least exhausted her. For now.

      A great story, no matter where it's set. I'll see what I can do for you, JeffO :)

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    2. Also interesting how it differs from country to country. Our kids take standardized tests (SATs-scholastic aptitude test-and ACTs - can't remember what that one means) in the first half of senior year. The scores help colleges decide how much they want you. By the time senior year is finished, pretty much everyone knows where they're going for college.

      I'm sure she'll come around; she wants what's best for you. It's just hard to let go sometimes.

      Uh, does she read your blog?

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    3. Hmm wow that's really cool. We don't know for sure where we're going until January! (two months after final exams, a month before it's time to actually start uni). Though we have a better idea by the time we get our final scores for the year in December.

      She doesn't know I have a blog. She won't let me make online accounts because she's certain I'll end up with a stalker and get kidnapped, raped and murdered. You should have seen how long it took for her to let me have facebook...

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    4. As a fellow member of the Parents' Union, I understand exactly where she's coming from.

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    5. I do too, but the bottom line is, I need a platform and the sooner I can make one the better. It's not like I'm telling people my address or something. I haven't even said what town I live in.

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    6. My comments about her reading this blog and being in the parents' union were partly in jest, which probably didn't come across. I don't do smilies and emoticons well.

      I get where you're coming from, though I believe that social media as 'platform' for fiction writers is overrated (someone who is a best seller because of social media, feel free to chime in and correct me) in terms of sales and audience-building. It can help, but I think its biggest benefit is how it allows us to connect with other writers. I've learned a lot from other writers (and agents and editors, too) via social media; I think (hope) what I've learned about writing from these people will help me sell more books in the long run than a 'platform.'

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    7. I like that through blogger I can connect with other writers and I feel I have learned a lot since joining; things that will help me with my writing both now and in the future. Social media in general is overrated, but if a few people know who I am before the books start coming out, I feel a little better.

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  2. Congratulations on graduation! :)

    Also - I'd love to read anything about Australia. I've always been so interested in the country - especially its landscapes - and would soak up the information!

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    1. :) Sounds like something I can write. Haha, admittedly, I've only been to 'the outback' once, and that was 5 years ago... But I remember it vividly, and intend on making another visit!

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  3. Wow, sounds like you are really reaching your goals!!! Thumbs up)) That is sooo awesome!!! Yeah, I had never heard of the Tomorrow series before.. and deff write about Australia!!!

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    1. The series is so good, I finished The Dead of the Night the same night I posted this... or very early the next morning, I should say (I stayed up til 1:30 reading it, what of it?) Hoping to start the 3rd book today. I really hope I can smash those goals and hopefully I'll have a more Australian-orientated project to work on over the summer :)

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  4. Congrats for finishing highschool and good luck in the exams and getting into Deakin Unibversity. It's very difficult to get published, so it's better to take advantage of being in Australia. From what I know, the publishing industry in Australia like to help Aussie authors so making KATHERINE more Austraian will help you to get it published in Australia. Once you get a book/novella published it's much easier to publish the next book. Australia is well know in the world so readers, young and mature, will not deter raeding a book becauser it's set in Australia. On the contrary. Some people love Australia. Check my profile for my two favourite movies from Australia. Put as much as you can from Australia in the novel, but explain to the readers about new things. For example, if Katherine reads the book "Tomorow .." in the storyline, tell to the readers in two sentences what is the book all about. If there are popular young singers now in Australia, popular TV shows ect. you can put them in the novel. Afterall, Katherine like all teens listens to music. If there are special dish that are well known in Australia, you can have Katherine siting at dinner with her parents eat them. Making your novel more Australian gives you a competitive edge and also will help you to get published in Australia first. But Australia is just the background. As you said, the storyline and Katherine have to appeal to all readers. Theer's no difference between what an Australian girl wants from her life and what an American girl wants. So, tell us about Australai as much as you care to tell. I'm hear to read it.

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    1. Thanks for all of your encouragement and advice :) With the month to edit it, I might see if I can fill in a couple of extra Aussie moments for Katherine, though I do have one particular reoccurring reference which I think you'll like. At the moment, there's even a scene set specifically in Melbourne (though unfortunately, it is one of the first scenes that will be taken out when I'm cutting down the word-count for the competition...) I'm loving the idea of adding pieces of Australia to my novels. Thanks again for all of your support!

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    2. I found John Marsden's books in the bookstore in my building and read last night the first two chapters of Tomorrow series #1 and liked it. The first sentence is 5 lines .. maybe that's where you picked up writing long sentences. It's not clear what ages are Ellie and her friends. She drives the Land Rover so must be at legal age in Australia to drive it, but so far her age is not mentioned. I didn't know if it was set in a real place in Australia. I googled for the places mentioned, but not sure if they exist. What I really like was his description of the teens, and I'm reading mainly to pick up how to do it in my second novel. I laughed at pages 21 about Fiona (Fi) ringing a nightgown, just in case she'll meet someone. As I told you, Australia likes to support its author and I read that John Marsden got money from the government to write. His first published book was at age 37, so you no need for you to rush. The book was made into movie in 2010 and you can check on YouTube parts of the movie. Sadly, they didn't find anyone to bring it to North America. By the way, this book was recognized in the US as one of the best books for teens. I'll keep reading it in the bookstore, waiting to see how he writes about the three romances among the teens.

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    3. There are a couple of things I can tell you: the kids are school-aged, they're on their summer break in the part where Ellie is recounting what's happened. I'm pretty sure they're all 16 or so, but I'm not 100% sure. Legal age for driving (without adult supervision) is 18, but keep in mind that they live in a country town so they make their own rules. Ellie and Homer are also farmers, so they would have learned from a young age.
      I really love Marsden's portrayal of the characters in the book. He's so honest and it's very real to life, the way I as an Aussie teenager thinks and feels. Fiona is gorgeous and she like all the characters develop so much in the series.
      The movie version was actually surprisingly good. The actor's of Kevin and Ellie are well-known because of their roles in Aussie television dramas 'Neighbours' and 'Home and Away'. I've seen it a few times now.
      Yay for US recognition and definitely keep reading. Can you tell who's going to end up with who yet? The book might surprise you. It surprised me :) Hope you enjoy the read.

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  5. Congralutations on graduation !! :DD
    xx
    Morgane

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  6. congrats on graduating! i'm not too familiar with Australian history, but the Aborigines intrigue me. maybe you could write any interactions you've had with them.

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    1. Aah the natives... A good book I can recommend to you with Aussie history and interactions with the Aborigines is The Secret River by Kate Grenville. I'll have to share some of my own interactions at some point, not that there have been many.

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  7. Yay!! Congratulations on graduating, Bonnee!!! :D I know what an amazing feeling that is! :)

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    1. :) Thanks so much! It is such an amazing feeling!

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  8. heya Bonnee!
    OMG I am a HUGEEEE fan of the tomorrow when the war began series. ive read all of them except the last two, i think.....
    but they are amazing! ♥
    i know they were released years and years ago but they are still so amazing to read. Good choice :D
    who's your favourite character?
    Love EJ
    xxx

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    1. Hey EJ :)

      I hadn't even heard of the series until I had to study the first book in 2009, but I know they were released long before that. But I find that's the way a lot of books go. They start off and then after a while, if they're good, they're suddenly all the hype even though they were released ages ago. That's basically what happened with things like Harry Potter and Twilight. I'd hardly heard of either until the movies were about to come out.

      I don't think I could pick one favourite character, though I can narrow it down to three... Ellie is perfect as the narrator, but Lee and Homer are amazing characters too. Oh who am I kidding, they all are, but I love those three most. I'm around chapter 10 of The Third Day, The Frost now (or The Killing Frost as it is apparently alternatively titled...).
      Who's your favourite character?! :D
      - Bonnee xx

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    2. hey again Bonnee :)

      I agree, it seems now nobody reads them anymore. but i think they will forever be read because they're amazing♥

      ive got to say i really like Ellie, probably because she is the narrator like you said. but i also love Homer and have a soft spot for Fi too. :D

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    3. Hey EJ,

      I'm definitely keeping my copies and reading them again when I feel like it. I'll have to buy a new copy of the first book though; mine has disappeared off the face of the earth!

      Fi is just gorgeous.... Love her to death!

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