Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Balance/Writing Craft: Beginning to Write

Look at me! I'm organized! Sort of...

So I must apologize to those I usually follow with a little more dedication here on Blogger, as I have not been very active lately. University is my main priority at the moment and unfortunately that means neglecting my blog and fellows bloggers is sometimes going to be necessary. I'm hoping to soon be able to find a sort of balance that will allow me to keep up with everything happening here without falling behind in homework. But just for future reference, if I disappear for a bit, I'm probably studying, so please forgive me.

On a related note, I'd like to say that I am still absolutely loving university life! In this post, I would particularly like to focus on what has been going on in my Writing Craft lecture and tutorial. We just wrapped up the study of 'How?' and over the past three weeks the topics has been 'Beginning to Write', 'Research: Observation and Accuracy' and 'Memory and Incident'. I thought it would be nice if I could share some things that were covered... but for the sake of not overloading you, I'll put them in separate posts.

Beginning to Write

The readings for this week were The Sopranos by Alan Warner (pages 1-18) and First Love by Vladimir Nabakov (pages 39-47 in Spring in Fialta).

We started this lecture with an interview of Jerry Seinfeld. While he talks mostly about comedy writing, the things he's saying can be applied to any genre of writing. Anyway, you KNOW your lectures are going to be awesome when they start off with Jerry Seinfeld.

Another tip we were given was that we will learn to write better through reading. That sounds obvious, but it was nice to just hear someone say it and to tell us HOW we will learn to write better:

- When we read differently, we learn to write differently. I like to write YA and fantasy, but if I start reading crime novels, I will learn how to write crime novels. 

- If I read more attentively, I will learn to write more attentively. This is something most of us should already be doing, but the more we practice it, the better we will continue to get at it. 

- If I read with more discernment, I will learn to write with more discernment. I can read something and think, I really don't like what the author has done there, or, I really love what the writer is doing here, and then keep it in mind when I then go and write something.

- If I read more widely, I will write more widely. Again, I write YA and fantasy, because that's what I read. If I start reading crime, I might start writing crime. 

- If I read in conversation with other text (that is, with the ability to draw links and references from another text) then I will learn to write in conversation with other texts. 

Some basic information and a lot of encouragement from Jerry Seinfeld, but still something I find writers find reassurance in when it's reiterated. Can you relate yourselves to any of these tips? 

I had to look over my lecture and tutorial notes to write this, so it totally counts as studying! What was I saying earlier about finding a balance? I'll be posting about the other two lectures over the next week, so stay tuned!

- Bonnee.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

First Week of Classes/Writer's Update

Well, that picture over there was me at 7am on the last day of O-week. The mentor's in each house came around before 6am banging pots and pans and telling us all to wake up and get out. That's Vegemite on my face, by the way. As much as I love Vegemite, I prefer it on toast. Most of us were still in our PJs and we were all given a bin bag to wear... I managed not to get any flour, eggs or milk on me, but I didn't get out of the jog. Well, I guess that's initiation for you. :)

Anyway, I've just finished my first week of classes. My units this trimester are Writing Craft, Writing for Professional Practice, Contemporary Journalism A, and a Philosophy unit of Love, Sex and Death. I loved every moment of classes, my teachers are great and the fact that I've got a four day weekend is just awesome.

My first assignment is due on 25th of March, and I have to sketch a picture in 500 words. I made the first draft in just under an hour, and I'm 300 words over. That's okay. First draft. I'll get my editing on and cut it down and make it better.

In other writerly news, the Deakin Writer's Club had their first meetup yesterday afternoon. I've got to say, considering it was just a meet and greet outside the on-campus bar and no writing was actually done, it was awesome. It was really encouraging to meet other student writers who were eager to share their work and workshop with others. It was also another great opportunity for me to socialize. I love how easy it is to make friends simply by starting a conversation around here. There's no shortage of people with things in common and I can just tell that this is going to be one of the best years of my life.

Last of all, seeing as JeffO was the only participant in last week's little competition, he wins by default. Congrats to JeffO, as little piece was quite awesome!
He stared in the mirror, appraising. Made minute adjustments to the tilt of his collar, the knot of his tie. Practiced the smile: indifferent, maybe even arrogant, but with just enough lift at the corner of his mouth to bring out the dimple. Ran his fingertips along the smooth curve of his ear, tamed a stray hair. Perfect.

He reached into his breast pocket, fingered the cold vial tucked beneath his silk handkerchief. Insurance, in the unlikely event the clothes, the hair, the smile, the attitude weren't enough.

"The night," he said to his perfect self, "is for hunting."

JeffO, I'm pretty sure you already have my email, so let me know what you'd like as far as a reward goes :)

I need to get back into 'Katherine' this weekend and work out a study plan (not that I'm likely to stick to it). What's everyone else been writing and studying? 

- Bonnee.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

O-Week on Residence/Writer's Update

So for those of you who didn't know, I moved in to my room on campus at my university on Sunday, and I am seriously thrilled to be a Deakin student right now. I'm sharing a house with nine other people from a range of different courses and origins, including a girl from Britain and an exchange student from Sweden. Majority of the people in my unit are girls and I have had people in my room till 11:30 for the past two nights, just socializing rather than hitting the clubs; as much as some of us like drinking, I'm not the only one who would rather do it in a relaxed environment at home. Fun fact about Australia: legal drinking age is eighteen.

As well as meeting a lot of new people, there are a few other ressies here who I already knew from high school. On top of that, I've met quite a few people who will be studying Professional and Creative Writing with me. I've also already taken the opportunity to join the Deakin Writer's club, who publish a small newspaper/newsletter containing member's written works on a ... I'm not sure if it's a weekly or monthly basis, but you get what I mean :)

In other news, I've done a huge redraft of the first five chapters of KATHERINE, which I'm really happy about. I feel like everything already sounds much better now that I'm not trying to avoid a maximum word-count of 20,000. In hindsight, the story was too complicated to be kept to the novella competitions required length. I've shot the word-count up to nearly 28,000 again (after re-adding the deleted scenes) and it's still rising. I feel much better about this project now.

Last of all, I randomly thought I'd write a piece of flash fiction. I had the line 'the night is for hunting' stuck in my head. This is the title of the 6th book in John Marsden's Tomorrow series (I'm only up to the 4th book, I think.) So I used the title as a prompt.

The night was for hunting. We wandered through the shadows, our eyes peeled. Mira had her crossbow loaded and at the ready, waiting for Arthur to point out a stray animal; an unfortunate creature that would live no more than a few seconds longer. I lingered at the back of the trio, ensuring that we would not become the hunted. The forests were alive with the howls of wolves whenever the moon was visible. We could kill them if we saw them in time. But if we couldn’t…
“There,” Arthur whispered. Mira aimed and fired. A creature met its end. 
Your turn! Write a piece of flash-fiction, no more than 150 words (mine was exactly 100) based on the prompt 'the night is for hunting'. You may use the prompt in the piece and change the tense to suit yourself. Leave your little creations in the comments below. I'll put them in the next blog post and everyone can vote for their favourite. You cannot vote for your own. The winner gets the choice of: a guest post on my blog; a guest post from me on their blog; an interview (interrogation) which can go on either or both blogs; or to send the first page of their WIP in for a critique on my blog.  So get writing!

How are you all?

- Bonnee.

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