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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

It's been a busy week and weekend for me! Last Monday (21st), I sat my philosophy exam, which I've achieved 83% for, so I'm happy. Then it was time to celebrate a friend's birthday on Thursday, and then on Friday, Deakin University residents celebrated the final night of res. That was a good night and included having goon poured over us, sharing a shower with three of my housemates (wearing clothes, I promise!), getting muddy in a mud-pit/mud-slide, and consuming many alcoholic beverages. My dad helped me move out and back to my hometown on Saturday, and on Sunday I caught the train back up to Melbourne so that I wouldn't have to travel the whole 3.5 hours on Monday morning to be at the university for job training at 9AM. After job training, I started the trek back to my hometown and made it in time for dinner. I've spent today (Tuesday in Australia) starting to unpack my stuff and tidy my room. Progress has been slow.

I'm home and free of study until late February/early March next year! As I mentioned in my last post, I want to participate in NaNoWriMo 2013. After a lot of consideration, I've decided that due to the fact that my writing style has changed significantly since I started writing WALLS at the start of this year thanks to my university studies, although I haven't finished a draft yet, I am going to re-write it from the start this November. A part of me is mad at myself for making this decision, because it wasn't until I'd decided to do it that I realised the half-written first draft that I'm scrapping was already just under 25,000 words. However, I'd rather the first full draft be all in one style and up to the same standard so that it'll be easier to revise later. Also, I've forgotten most of what I've already written and I want to change a few things, so I'd have to read over it all again anyway.

The good thing about making this decision is that I've already got most of a plan already written, because I certainly haven't had time to plan anything else, and I like being organised.

How are everybody else's NaNoWriMo/NaNoRevisMo plans going? If you're registered on the NaNoWriMo website, be my buddy! 

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Writing Spaces: Editorial Practice

Greetings! As of earlier today, I have completed all of the classes, assessments, and the exam of my very first year of university. Now I'm considering participating in NaNoWriMo seeing as I'm free for November, though I'm not committed to it yet because I'm in the middle of writing WALLS and I'm not sure if it has a whole 50k words left to it or if I want to start something else before I've finished it.

Anyway, I thought that seeing as I'd finished university for the year, I should probably get the re-cap of the final Writing Spaces lecture out here. In our final lecture, we were visited by some of this year's editors of Verandah, Deakin's annual student-run literature and art journal. They shared some of their experiences with us and gave us some advice on editing not just our own work, but also editing the work of others.


Editing is an intervention on behalf of the reader, but editors also have a duty of care to the writer. This can sometimes be conflicting, especially within the context of being employed as an editor and having to apply what the publishers want to the situation. Because of this, editors have to be sensitive, tactful, and brave when identifying what the piece is, what is might be and what it could be. Another place editors have to practice extra sensitivity is when they undertake the task cross-cultural editing. This is for various reasons including making critical, aesthetic, and technical decisions, especially when translating from another language. Knowledge of the other culture is vital for cross-cultural editing to work smoothly, because you cannot edit in ignorance. The guest speakers used the example of an Australian children's book written by an indigenous author from the point of view of an Aboriginal child, which editors then tried to make 'white' because they didn't understand and couldn't accept the cultural differences that the piece presented.

There are a few different stages of editing, including structural/content editing, copyediting, and proofreading. The last two are checking for consistency, especially of spelling and punctuation. Editors need to be well-read and have good literary and writing etiquette skills.

The Verandah editors shared a few of their own experiences from their year on the journal's editing team. Being a part of the editing team wasn't just about editing for them, because they also had to take care of the business side of things. The Verandah team had to handle financing, distribution, production, design, and marketing. This is where I should mention that the Verandah editing team consists of a bunch of students in the third year of the same course that I am currently undertaking, which generally doesn't focus on such business skills, presenting them with a new challenging experience. Verandah is run by third year students of the Professional and Creative Writing major every year, so I will most definitely be applying for a position for the 2015 edition.

Of course, there was editing to be done. The team at Verandah followed the Australian Style Manual when editing and had to learn to work with the writers of accepted submissions to negotiate edits and get pieces to fit into the overall style of the journal.

The guest speakers also gave a word of advice for writers. Writers need to be able to separate themselves from their writing in order to edit. I think a good way of doing this is to have some time between completing the draft and starting to edit. There are two reasons for this. 1) A break from the piece will allow you to read with fresh eyes that don't automatically correct mistakes without acknowledging their incorrectness. 2) You won't take criticism from yourself and other people so personally and you'll find it easier to listen to, accept, and consider criticism.

I could go on about editing and my editing processes, but I will save it for a later post.

How do you feel about editing? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Also, who else is doing NaNoWriMo? Tell me about your plans for the month of writing. 

- Bonnee.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Imagine 2013

A group of writers from one of the other Deakin campuses runs an online journal called Imagine. After receiving a good mark for my final assessment for Writing Craft last trimester, I decided I'd polish the piece a little more and submit it. I'm glad I took the opportunity, because it paid off. My story can now be read as a part of the Imagine online journal on the Deakin University website.

I'm pretty excited by this.

I'd also like to give a huge shout-out to my friend Sarah, who had seven of her photographs published in the online journal as well:
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta1.php
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta2.php
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta3.php
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta4.php
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta5.php
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta6.php
http://www.deakin.edu.au/arts-ed/imagine/2013/sarah-bilotta7.php

I've officially finished all of my classes and assignments for the year and I have just one exam to complete on Monday before I can say I have successfully completed my first year of university. Where did all that time go? Who cares, this year has been amazing.

What has everyone else in the blogosphere been up to? 
- Bonnee.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Writing Spaces: Poetics/Industry Guest Speaker II

As I mentioned in the previous post, none of my lectures have covered poetry per-say, but a couple of weeks ago we looked very briefly at poetics before spending the majority of the lesson looking at An Oresteia, which was one of the texts we could respond to in our final assignment. I didn't like that we spent a whole lecture looking at it seeing as certainly not everyone was going to respond to it.

Poetics refers to the different ways of reading a text and the effect it then has on a reader through the way certain elements of the text come together. Different ways of reading a text, especially something like poetry, are as representationalism, symbolism, and by interpretation not only of the facts and certainties that are communicated, but also of the mysteries and questions that are left unanswered.

As writers, it might be useful for us to ask ourselves how we look at our own writing?

Another question to ask ourselves is a question my lecturer from last trimester asked in our final lesson and a question a guest speaker last week asked us: Why are you here? For me and the people being asked directly, they meant this question with regards to us being in a creative writing course, but the question broadens itself to why do we write, which is something I have asked here before.

Our guest speaker last week went on to talk about how working in the writing industry usually requires a level of flexibility, especially when working in small press. I write because I love writing and I want to communicate messages - truths, ideals, opinions, beliefs - with an audience. Whether I can make a living through doing so or not aside, that is what I want to do. However, to be able to support myself, I'll hopefully gain a role as a professional proofreader, editor, maybe even one day an agent.

How do you look at your own writing? Why do you write? 

- Bonnee.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Writing Spaces: Sexualities

I was recently told off for not keeping my blog up to date with my classes by a classmate who has another lecture on at the same time and usually goes to the other one. I'm a little proud that some classmates are looking at my blog in order to study. Unfortunately, the reason I haven't been keeping up with the lectures here is that they haven't seemed to relate to Writing Spaces. Instead of the lecture on digital media, we had an industry guest speaker, which I shared a couple of posts ago. Then we were supposed to cover poetry in terms of sexualities one week and in terms of rhythm and economy the next week. Instead the lectures were about sexualities without placing it in a writing space, and then the next lecture was about one of the readings. I'm actually really upset that we didn't cover poetry.

I thought I'd share the sexualities lecture regardless of the fact that they didn't end up teaching us about a writing space. Good writing comes from being truthful, open-minded, well-informed, daring, and inventive. One of the many beauties of our art form is that it can be used as a freedom practice; no one can tell us what to write and what not to write. The world is slowly starting to adopt a similar view on love and sexuality. I make the distinction between love and sexuality here because while heterosexuality was already widely accepted by society, there are still couplings within it - between different cultures, between different social classes - that have been frowned upon at least in the past if not today.

The fun that comes with writing about love, though not necessarily in the form of romance genre writing, is that it is something that is often unstable and unpredictable. For example, I'm slowly reading the book The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I wouldn't consider the book a romance by any means, but the portrayal of love, especially when it is forbidden, reoccurs throughout the text.

They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much. 
Feminism also ties in with the literary discussion on sexualities. Not only is it an issue that can be incorporated into stories, but people like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters became leaders of feminism through their writing when it was still considered a man's practice.

On a similar note, I've just gotten ready for a ressie block-party. The theme is gender bender. I'm feeling pretty manly at the moment. So I'll end the post here and join my housemates in partying now. Have a great night!

Have you explored love and sexualities in your writing? Can you think of any books you've read where this has happened? 

- Bonnee.

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