Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to Uni

Whoa, so I disappeared off the face of the blogosphere for more than a month... oops.

I'm back at uni now. In fact, I'm in the second week of the new trimester. Yay! I missed uni and res a lot, so I'm not sure how I managed to go the ENTIRE mid-year break without blogging excessively... But that happened.

So here's what you need to know:

1. I only have eight hours of classes per week this year. And I fit all of those classes into one day. In other words, I only have eleven days of class for the entire trimester (trimester=11 weeks). It also means I have a six day weekend as far as classes go. This is good because I now have optimum availability to work at the library as I am available for all of the shifts that aren't on a Monday. Yay! This also means I have a lot of time to study, edit, write, procrastinate, and socialise without getting interrupted by class. This could go one of two ways. Either, I'm going to utilise all this uninterrupted free time and be ultra productive for eleven weeks... or I'm going to melt into a pit of eternal laziness. I'm hoping for the former, but we'll see!

2. My units this semester are Power, Politics, and Texts for Young People (as a part of my Children's Literature minor), Editing and the Author (for the Professional and Creative Writing major), Ethics in Global Society (for the self-coordinated philosophy major) and Philosophy, Art, Film (also for the philosophy major).

3. I had to get an Australian Style Manual and Mackenzie's The Editor's Companion 2nd Edition for EATA. They are amazingly beautiful resources and I am going to keep them forever.

4. I read The Hunger Games again for the kid's lit unit. I maintain the opinions which I stated in this blogpost from early last year, though I would like to insert the word 'impersonal' to the part where I'm talking about the style of writing and the issues I had there. The class about it was pretty interesting and my first assignment is about the book, so I'll probably blog about it again in the coming weeks.

5. I didn't meet my own deadline for the WALLS edits. I was SO CLOSE to finishing it the night before classes started, but it was past midnight and I was really tired and I know I only had five pages left but I stopped and went to bed and haven't touched it since. I am a bad person. I really want to finish it. By the same token, I've enjoyed the task so much that I don't really want it to end, but I am eager to get into the next stage of edits and just generally keep improving the manuscript.

6. Although I still have five pages to go, my room looks pretty cool with all the pages covered in red pen and highlightings and sticky-notes stuck to the walls, if I do say so myself.

7. The next edition of Wordly magazine is coming soon with the edits well under way. We are expecting to launch in two weeks and start our call for submissions for the last edition of the year shortly thereafter.

What writerly things have you all been up to for the past month? 
- Bonnee.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Writer's Update: Subconscious Avoidance and Trigger Warnings

I've returned to res this week so that I can edit to my heart's content and do my first week of readings before  trimester 2 classes start next week. I'm very excited to get back into study-mode and also to see all of my uni friends again (Holmes, Watson, I miss you guys!). I'm also excited about my awesome timetable. I got all of my first preferences for my class allocations, and have ended up with all 8 hours I'm required to be on campus scheduled from 9-5 on Monday. I may not have a lunch break, but I have a six day weekend and optimum availability for work at the library and helping put together the next edition of Wordly magazine. Be jealous of my six day weekend.

But for this next week, I'm aiming to edit 10 pages of my manuscript each day in order to complete this first round of serious edits before classes start again. So far, so good. My pages (along with my hands and the cuffs of the sleeves of my hoodie) are covered in red pen and orange/pink/purple highlighter. On Sunday, I finished the first wall of pages, which just so happens to be the first half (70 pages) of the manuscript.

Not a great photo, but you get the gist.
I had plenty of chances to finish this wall of pages before I went back to my hometown. I had five pages left when I departed res and since I've finally finished those pages and continued to edit ten more on the next wall, I think I've figured out why I kept putting it off. It's most likely just coincidental, but it's not like I didn't know what those five pages that I kept avoiding contained. Yesterday and today, I have edited fifteen pages, and it has been emotionally taxing. I knew one of the sad parts was upon me for edits and I might have been subconsciously avoiding it because I of how dark the story was about to get.

I've passed the worst of the emotional sections for now, but I know there's another part coming up towards the end that is even more intense. I wonder if I'll find myself avoiding those pages when I get to that part.

This all makes me stop and think about the things people read and write. I know I've put my beautiful character Mil and Kovax through some really traumatic shit. But where does a writer draw the line? I tend to go with the philosophy that nothing is off limits, but does that lessen my chances of getting published later? WALLS is something I'm going to want to stick trigger warnings all over because of how messed up some parts are, even though I'd rather let readers go into the book without knowing what to expect. I've considered being more subtle about certain things which are currently heavily implied, but I don't want to beat around the bush with the dark parts of this story. That isn't my style, not in this book anyway.

I had this issue on my mind the whole way through NaNoWriMo last year when I was cranking out that first draft, but I set it aside and told myself I could come back and reassess the situation later. Earlier this year, an old friend of mine who used to get me to edit her fanfiction work (oh those were the days...) got in touch with me again for the first time in a couple of years and we started working together again, only this time I let her read some of my work too. I was giving each chapter of WALLS a quick proofread and then sending it to her for feedback. I had just sent her the third chapter when I decided to mention that later in the story there were some darker issues. With most of my other friends who have read a few chapters, I never bothered to mention it, but I wanted to warn this friend because of some personal stuff involving people around her that I knew had contributed to our lack of communication in recent years. At first, she seemed alright with it as long as I warned her when she was about to read the sad chapters, but when she asked for a bit more detail as to what I meant by 'sad', I told her truthfully some of the darker issues that were going to be covered and she never replied. It could just be another coincidence and she's dropped off the face of the earth again and will email again in a couple of years, but I can't be certain that her sudden silence isn't related to the touchy issues I warned her would be later in the story.

So I guess to end this blog post, I'm wondering what you guys think about story content worthy of a trigger warning.  Have you ever read it? Did the book come with a trigger warning? Have you ever written it? To what extent of detail? 

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Writer's Update: Holiday Blues

It's the last week of my uni holidays before o-week starts for the second half of the year, and I'm very excited for classes and work to start again!

My goal for these weeks without classes was to edit the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year, WALLS. I am still in the process of editing, but I've fallen behind due not having stayed on res for the whole of the holidays. I've spent about three weeks in my hometown, while the printed manuscript that I'm editing from is blue tacked to my room at res. But classes don't start again until the 14th, and I'm confident I'll be able to catch up to where I was to be before then.

I still feel like a crazy person every time I go into my room at res and see everything up on my walls. It's even crazier now that there's red pen and highlighters all over the first 70 pages, covering the wall above my bed.

But away from res, I have been working instead on submissions for the next edition of WORDLY magazine, which I'm having a pretty heavy hand in helping produce. After the 'time' edition came out at the end of last semester, we decided that the theme for the next edition should be 'awkward'. So I've been encouraging my writerly friends to share their awkward moments with us for the magazine. The 'time' edition was our best yet and so I'm really excited to be so involved in the 'awkward' edition.

Earlier in the month, I also submitted three pieces to Deakin's annual literary and arts journal, Verandah, which is scheduled to release it's 29th edition in August.

At the moment, I'm just sitting tight and waiting to get the last of my marks for the first half of the year. I'll be very happy if I maintain a distinction average.

What have you been writing lately? 

- Bonnee.

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