Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writing: Internal Thoughts

At the moment, I am editing my manuscript for KATHERINE with the intention of sending it into a competition some time in March, and/or to an agent later in the year. As I'm reading through, I've found myself adding a lot of description where I felt the flow was poor, and rewording a lot in other places. 

One thing I've found myself recalling is the show don't tell advise. I've noticed a lot of instances where I've simply told how the main character is feeling instead of showing it. One of the ways I'm correcting this is by turning the sentence from the narrator's point of view, into a piece of internal thought from the character's point of view. For example: 

She didn’t want to make friends, but at that point, she felt that it would have been wrong to push him away. 

Has now become:

I can’t be your friend, she thought. But I can’t push you away now. It would be wrong

But my worry is that I'm going to delve into my character's thoughts too often. I haven't gotten to the point where she's having an all-out internal monologue; I'm avoiding anything THAT full-on. So my question is, what do all of you out there think of using internal thought when writing?

Being somebody who, so far, as written mostly in past tense and third person, the use of internal thought gives me a chance to slip into the characters 'there and now' feelings. I personally think it can be useful if done properly, but what do you think?

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


After spending Sunday and Monday in both the outer suburbs and the CBD of Melbourne, I've decided that this year is going to be the start of a new little project. As well as working on WALLS (which, admittedly, I haven't touched in a couple of weeks now), I want to make an effort to write some short stories set in Melbourne and the suburbs. I've had some people in the blogosphere give me the idea of incorporating elements of Australia into my writing. Whilst KATHERINE was set in Australia, I think that making Melbourne the setting will help incorporate more of it into my stories. 

Having said that, let me show you around. 

Flinders Street Station. Located on the corner of Flinders Street (duh) and Swanston Street in Melbourne. This is the most used railway station in all of Melbourne and is used by all of the Metropolitan train networks and is the second-last stop when traveling into the city on a V-line train from the eastern countryside. Flinders Street is my favourite place to get off the train when I'm coming in from the countryside. I love getting off here because the surrounding streets are the ones I know best, with the places I always shop. 

Federation Square. Located right across from Flinders Street Station on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street/St Kilda Road. Whilst the building is often considered a bit of an eyesore, there have been many concerts and large get-togethers in the square. During a regular day, there are often awesome street performers and buskers putting on a show for the public. It's always fun to be walking by and check out what's happening over there. 

Breadtop. One of my favourite places to buy something to eat. This is a little Asian-style (not sure of which specific countries in Asia...) bakery, where everything I buy is always amazing. Like their red bean buns, or their bamboo charcoal bun, or their pork floss bun, or their chicken curry bun... There are several outlets around Australia, but my usual stop is on Elizabeth Street, not far from Flinders Street Station. 

Max Brenner. Do you like chocolate? What about hot chocolate? Well, it might be pricey, but heck, this place is amazing. Forget about Starbucks and Gloria Jeans. If you have some change to spare, find one of these place and spoil yourself. Usually, I stop by the one in Melbourne Central (our next stop in the tour). Outlets across Australia open between 8 and 10 in the morning, and sometimes stay open as late is midnight. 

Melbourne Central Shopping Centre. If you're looking for somewhere to buy stuff... you've come to the right place. Okay, so people in America or wherever have probably seen places much bigger than this, but for little country-bumpkin me, this place is HUGE! I get lost in this place so easily, and I'm not certain I've been everywhere inside it. It's filled with shoe shops, clothes shops, and plenty of places to sit down and grab a bite to eat or drink. There's a place in there that makes really nice crepes with ice cream... I THINK it's called Harajuku Crepes. 

Docklands. This is a cute little area in Melbourne which includes the Harbourtown outdoor shopping center (see picture), an ice skating rink and a glow-in the dark indoor mini-golf course. The whole place can only be described as cute by somebody like me. I don't know where it is exactly, but I DO know that if you catch the city-loop tram (it's free, last I checked), it does make a stop there. 

Southern Cross Station. Also known as Spencer Street Station, as it is located on Spencer Street, between Collins Street and La Trobe Street. This is the end of the line for all regional Vline trains, no matter which direction they're coming from. Of course, like Flinders Street, it is a commonly used station by all metropolitan trains. There is a huge DFO for shoppers who like bargains, attached to the station. This is also where buses to and from the airports start and terminate. 

Chinatown. The whole of Little Bourke Street is dedicated to the (very large) Asian population of the city. There are plenty of restaurants from all countries in Asia here. Anyone want to play Spot-The-Aussie? 

Of course, there are plenty of other places to go in Melbourne, but these are just a handful of my favourites where I'm likely to set a story. I also get the feeling that characters will be using a lot of trains and trams and buses... 

Hope you've all enjoyed this tour around Melbourne! There will probably be more to come :) 

- Bonnee. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Text Prize Competition

Some of you might remember that I posted way back in November about the 2013 Text Prize.

This competition is open to residence of Australia and New Zealand of all ages, both published and unpublished. Submissions open as of the 4th of March (my first day at university!) and submissions close on 3rd April, 2013. Please follow the above link for more information on the competition, including the entry form.

Do you have a Children's or Young Adult manuscript of over 20,000 words that you'd like to enter for a chance to win a $10,000 contract with Text Publishing?

I will be submitting my manuscript for 'KATHERINE' after re-adding the scenes I took out for the Novella Writing Competition in December to get it back over that 20,000 word mark, and giving it another proof read.

Today, I printed off a copy of the first draft of 'KATHERINE' (with the deleted scenes included) to give to the woman who was my English teacher for most of high school. I have my fingers crossed that I will receive some helpful feedback from her at some point, and that putting the manuscript into the Text Prize competition with the deleted scenes re-added is a little more successful than last attempt. I firmly believe that the story is better with those extra scenes and events.

Thanks for stopping by, and what are you doing with your manuscripts and W.I.P.s right now? 

- Bonnee.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Post - Why I Write

While I prepare to take off to the big city at the end of the month to begin my university education, I thought I would take the opportunity to host one of my favourite bloggers, JeffO, for a guest-post. Well, here you all go! 

First off, thank you, Bonnee, for hosting me this week. I've never been to Australia before. It's nice to get a little bit of summer in what is currently the armpit of winter here in the northeastern US.

So, I'm here because Bonnee asked a question on her blog, and after getting the right answer I was obnoxious and asked, "What do I win?" The joke's on me, because I get to write a post about why I write, and that's a heck of a lot tougher than shipping off the first ten pages of a manuscript for critique, or getting a cute little blog button or something like that. Be careful what you wish for, right? The joke may really be on Bonnee, though, because I never know what I'm going to write until I start, and now that I have, I'm not entirely sure I can even answer the question properly. In the interest of international relations, I'd better do my best to answer the question, or Bonnee may drop a funnel-web spider in my luggage or something.

Why do I write? I could give some glib answer of the sort you see on writing forums all the time: "The voices tell me so." Or the ever-popular "If I don't, my head will explode," but that would be a lie. My brain is not so overstufffed with brilliance or stories or characters that the only way to let stuff out is to write. I don't have constant conversations with characters, though I do frequently have narratives running in my head.

I'm also not one of those people who writes to work shit out (can I say that here? Bonnee: Yes, yes you can.). A good friend in my writer's group wears her heart on her sleeve; you can always tell what's on her mind based on her week-to-week writing. Me, I'm not so transparent. Real-life events work into my stories, but they're touchstones and starting points, places to depart from. They color my characters a bit, but my characters aren't used to relive my life, or to live out my dreams.

As I mentioned in a post I did for a bloghop some time ago, I was once an avid fiction writer. In sixth grade, I was going to be a novelist, period. That lasted for about a year, then went dormant for many, many years, I don't know why. I also don't know what woke it up, but about four years ago, it did, especially after my father passed away. Growing up, my life was pretty normal. I wasn't abused physically, sexually, or mentally. I got along with my brother and sister about as well as brothers and sisters get along, which is to say, alternating between horrible and great. I'm not writing to exorcise demons or deal with childhood trauma, because there aren't any. I do believe, however, there is a connection between my father's death and the re-emergence of my writing. During the three months or so he was seriously ill, and in the five or six months after his death, I spent so much time with other people — doctors and nurses, my brother and sister, aunts and uncles and cousins — that, when it was finally over, I needed 'headspace'. I sort of retreated into myself a bit, and came back up with fiction-writer me, raring to go. I can't say for sure why, but I'm glad I reconnected.

And that brings me to another part of it. Fiction writing is just plain fun, dammit. I like creating characters and manipulating words into (hopefully) coherent sentences, paragraphs, and stories. I like discovering a story where there was none, finding meaning in. I like the thrill of writing something good, that feeling of "Damn, I nailed it!" that comes when everything goes right, and I like crafting, too, where you take that still raw sort of story and shape it into something even better. I even like writing when the words tangle on the way out and don't make any sense at all, when you spend half your time trying to decipher what you meant. It's hard, but still fun.

Humans need for creativity. We need some kind of artistic outlet in our lives. Art enriches us, and not just when we receive it, but when we create it, too. It gives us a way to express ourselves; a way to interpret the world outside AND the world inside. Sometimes it helps us deal with our shit, and sometimes it allows us to express things that can't be expressed in other ways. For me, writing is the way to do this, because I'm clumsy and self-conscious as a dancer, have a terrible singing voice, and can't play music to save my life.

Hey, it looks like I found a way to answer the question after all. Hopefully, I didn't ramble too much and bore you all to death. Thanks for hosting me, Bonnee, time to go back stateside. Let me just check my luggage before I go…looks good. Before I go, I guess I should ask the question of all you out there: Why do YOU write?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reading and Writing Goals, 2013

I know it's over a month since everyone was supposed to set their New Years resolutions, but I was wondering who out there had a goal they wanted to reach this year in the department of reading and/or writing?

Due to my university course, I'm probably going to write a LOT! The fact that I'm studying writing is definitely a good thing. Coursework aside, I want to finish my current W.I.P, 'WALLS', re-add the scenes I cut from 'KATHERINE' and submit it to agents and/or more competitions. Towards the end of the year, I would also like to get back to 'EVERGREEN: A FALLEN STAR', as I believe I am already closer to having what I need to make it worth reading. But I'm going to let that last won sit until I've finished the year at uni first.

In terms of reading - for recreation, not for studying - I am aiming for at least two books every month. I've already knocked off four, so twenty more to go. Fingers crossed that I well and truly out-read my goal for the year, but here's a look at what I've read and what to read.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
4. V for Vendetta, the graphic novel Alan Moore and David Lloyd
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Currently reading)
6. The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
7. The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
8. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
10. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
11. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
12. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
13. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
14. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
15. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
16. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
17. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
18. Darkness, Be My Friend by John Marsden
19. Burning for Revenge by John Marsden
20. The Night is for Hunting by John Marsden
21. The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden
22. The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
23. Inkspell by Cornelia Funke
24. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke.

Well, that's my current list, though there's no guarantee I might not swap some of those books around. I need to read and finish a few series this year... And of course, I will be leaving a review for every book I read, both here and on Goodreads!

What's everybody else's reading and writing goals looking like? Please share!

- Bonnee.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I'm a Comic-Book Girl / 'V for Vendetta' Graphic Novel

For those of you who didn't already know, my favourite movie ever is 'V for Vendetta', starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. It has been my favourite movie for years. About two years ago, I discovered that the movie was based on a graphic novel, and I decided I wanted to get my hands on a copy. Of course, I never went ahead and did it. I just put it on my Christmas wishlist.

Guess what Santa (or my boyfriend) got me for Christmas?

I got stuck into the 'V for Vendetta' graphic novel last week and finished it today. In all honesty, I only spent three days reading it (the other days were spent doing other writerly things), but when it was in my hands I could not put it down. I hate the fact that I haven't read comic books before, because this was so good, and yet I kept getting lost and confused because I couldn't distinguish some of the minor characters, but it was still awesome!

*SPOILER ALERT* There's definitely a severe difference between the movie and the graphic novel. Things were added and taken away from the movie. For example, I was most disappointed to discover that V never does the huge speech with words starting with the letter 'v' when he introduces himself to Evey in the comic. And then the movie omits the fact that Evey is actually a 16 yr old prostitute, or that she ends up having a sexual relationship with Gordon before he dies. On the other hand, I was severely relieved that both the graphic novel and the movie included the scenes were Evey is imprisoned and tortured and finds a letter from a woman named Valerie in her cell. It was my favourite scene in the movie and it's still my favourite scene in the graphic novel. *SPOILERS OVER*

I think that I might have to try for some more graphic novels and comic books. I already have 'The Watchmen' and 'Hush, Hush' on my list. Any recommendations from those of you elsewhere in the blogosphere?

Have you read the 'V for Vendetta' graphic novel before, or another graphic novel or comic that you loved?

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Just Sat Down and Wrote It

Have you ever read a blog post and then realized that it was exactly what you needed to read in that moment? After reading a post  by JeffO about the 'Just Write It' piece of advice that is often thrown about where writers are involved, I had that feeling, and after perhaps a short moment of procrastination while I mulled the idea over in my head... I just sat down and gave it a shot.

JeffO said in the post that while 'Just Write It' isn't always the right answer, sometimes it can be the best answer. In my case, it was the best answer. I have been sitting around for the last half of January trying to figure out how I should end my W.I.P 'WALLS' before I start to write it. After putting so much effort into planning the story - 11,380 words to be exact - it felt wrong to start writing without completing that final stretch of the plan. But I've been starting at the cursor in the word document and getting nowhere. 'Just Write It', I thought, after reading JeffO's post.

So I opened my planning document and I opened a new word document and called it 'Chapter 1'. Two hours later, the first chapter was complete at 2,700 words and I am so glad. I might not know how 'WALLS' is going to end yet, but it's only a first draft, and I don't need to know until I get to it. I can't go back and change anything that needs changing later. I can fix the inconsistencies during a proofreading and editing session. What I can't stand the thought of doing any longer is waiting unnecessarily when I could be writing.

A big thank you to JeffO! 'Chapter 2' will be on it's way tomorrow, I am sure. Until then, considering that it is currently 12:40AM, I might get some sleep.

When have you read the perfect blog post for your situation?

- Bonnee.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Writer's Update and Mockingjay - Review

Admittedly, I've been a lazy little author recently. While my plan for my new W.I.P WALLS is sitting just over 10,000 words, it's still incomplete and I have a feeling I'll have to backtrack and change some things, because I have no idea how to end it at this point. All part of the writing process I guess. 

Meanwhile, I wrote a short story that is loosely based on a situation I've found myself in. Last time I did this, it got published in the SpineOut Online Magazine. I think this might be one of my strong-points, so it's something I'm going to endeavour to do more often. Fingers crossed that this and all future attempts will be as successful as the first. 

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