Friday, 1 August 2014

the perils of 'find and replace' - changing names

'James Sallys Chloe' isn't a phrase I expected to read in my manuscript.

Stumped for a moment, I realised the problem happened when I did a 'find and replace' name change.  My main female character  Emily has a younger sister who was called Carrie up until recently when I renamed her - you guessed it - Sally.  I didn't even think about the word 'carries' being affected and if I had, I would have thought it would be okay.  It was, essentially, 'carrie' with an 's' on the end of it - a variation of the actual word I was looking for.  As the saying goes, never assume anything or...

And needless to say, I now have to do another find and replace regarding all occurrences of 'Sallys'!

Has this ever happened to you?
What glaring mistake may you have missed in your work?
Does this equate to the time I signed a hand-written business fax*, 'lots of love' rather than 'cheers' out of sheer habit from letter-writing?

* obviously quite some time ago - and probably when faxes were quite new!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

July instagram - a mix of old and new

Instagram is my photographic 'hello'.  I like to put something up almost daily, whether old or new.  My winter garden has been a constant subject - it's been lovely seeing more bulbs flowering this year, their second in the ground.  My thrifted blue bird cage (bottom row, second left) is a feature no matter what time of year, but particularly beautiful against the stark, leafless apricot tree mid-winter.

Sophie's bed (top right) made an appearance in a shout out to Ken Done who was recently featured on The Design Files.  Mum made my KD doona cover at least in early 1988, if not before.  We couldn't afford one from the shop, so she cleverly pieced together one of my own which is still being used 26 years later!  Great work mum!

Are you a photographer?
What's your favourite subject?
What would fill your Instagram account?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

creative writing for children

How best do we inspire the next generation of writers?  One way is through copying out their favourite stories.  This was certainly something I did as a child and Sophie has carried on the tradition.

Encourage copying, I hear you say, shock, horror!  What is the woman talking about?

But think about it for a moment:

* It helps them find a preference for a writing style - they obviously choose something they're drawn to and this will help develop their own voice

* It teaches them about sentence structure, grammar and spelling - even if the kids aren't consciously aware that this is going on in the background

* It introduces a wider vocabulary than they would normally use

* It helps them learn about paragraphing, the next stage on from writing purely in sentences

* It helps with pronunciation as they read their work aloud to you and stumble across unfamiliar words

* Sophie says that she can also make up her own words sometimes and add them in, which I'd say is a great step in my first point, helping to develop their own voice (this has happened in her adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid)

I'd love to think we have children out their preparing to become the voices of digital natives - those who have been brought up in the age of the internet.  This is just one of many ways we can add to their toolboxes.  I'll discuss more as time permits.

How do you encourage children to write, either your own or others?  
Are you a giver of books, a teller of tales, a writer of stories?  
What tips do you have to share?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

photography collage: picmonkey

Whether they're levitating, holding a balloon or dancing like a wild thing, I love a good collage of the kids' photos.  This was via Picmonkey and you can push and pull the photo sizes to your heart's delight.  I left them without any spacing and used a green background to achieve the rectangle in the centre.  There's quite a few different options, so it's well worth checking out.  Going back through the photos reminds me of how many I still need to print… oh well, one day!

Do you Picmonkey?  If not, what's your favourite photo editor?

Monday, 28 July 2014

fiction writing: research

Authenticity is essential in writing, whether fiction or non-fiction.  My novel-in-progress has required a surprising amount of research, some of it still in progress.  I've had to look up things from the expected baby weight at four months, to what team Geelong played on 7 September 2013 and whether it was a home game.  Politics-wise, I needed to know when Kevin Rudd got back in and the date of the 2013 federal election.  It turned out that the Geelong-Fremantle home game, which two of my characters attend, coincided with the election, which meant a trip in advance to the polling station to vote…

I'm attempting to place these details lightly in the background of my novel, rather than actually naming dates, for example.  The baby weight is mentioned in a visit with the maternal child health nurse and is used to illustrate the scene.  There's also a coastal getaway associated with the Geelong-Fremantle match and it had to fit in with the male character's leave from the mines.  All very complicated, which is why I also have a 2013 calendar printed out and highlighted on my desk!

Do you write?  Where do you start with your research and how do you keep track of it all?

Friday, 25 July 2014

recent reading, viewing and books on the go… july 2014

It's been a Nashville and Girls fest this month.  I loved Connie Britton in Friday Night Lights (not to mention Coach Taylor mmmmmmmmm) and she's just as wonderful in this new-to-me series.  It's a brilliant story revolving around Britton, an older singer, having to stake her claim against an up-and-coming juggernaut in the form of Hayden Panettiere - great soundtrack, fabulous cast, love it!  Season two of Girls is darker than the first, but fantastic all the same. Lena Dunham is amazing - this series has further extended her acting abilities even though at times it makes for gruesome watching (cotton bud anyone?!).  On an aside, I googled Adam Driver, her on-off love interest in the show, and found he's in an upcoming movie with Connie Britton - wow!  Watch out for This is where I leave you, it looks as though it's going to be amazing!
Reading-wise, I'm almost beat by the glut of books on my bedside table.  This is just a small selection, so be another catch up soon!  The From-Aways by CJ Hauser features two new arrivals in a coastal Maine town, trying to find their place in an established fishing village.  Old meets new with not always successful results.  How Lucky You Are, Kristyn Kusek Lewis focusses around Waverly and her friends Kate and Amy.  I'm still reading this, lugging it around the house with me for whenever I get a quiet moment.  A lovely novel about friendship, a fabulous debut.  I must also give a shout out to Claire Brown who designed the beautiful cover - it's just gorgeous - see the detail in the spine alone.  Funnily enough I've been too busy to read Busy yet, but I'm looking forward to getting some tips!

I think I'll have to lie low on the reserves for a while or I'll never get through these books!

What have you been reading lately?  Do you have a glut like me, all of them equally enticing, or are you facing a book drought?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Links for writers July 2014

Have you ever wanted to turn your blog into a book?
Blog to book via Blurb and Melbourne Writers Festival is one such opportunity and it's my pick for this month's writing opportunities.  Three bloggers will be chosen to produce a Blurb book based on text and images from their blog during MWF.  Other prizes include tickets to two industry seminars and $500 worth of hard copies of their books.  Entry is open to bloggers across Australia and closes on Wednesday 13 August 2014.  Details here.

Looking to pitch?
Open Pitches is a new place to find opportunities for writers and editors.  Current pitches include Overland and Griffith Review.

Lane Cove Literary Award
Categories include short story, memoir and poetry.  Open to Australian residents over the age of 16.  Entries here by 27 August 2014.

Why you write - putting it into words
What's the overwhelming urge that gets you writing?  What are you working on now?  If you haven't done the meme Why I write yet, here's your chance.  Current on blogs throughout Australia and the world, this party has explored the creative urges of writers big and small.  Link to mine here.  When you've written yours, please let me know as I'd love to read it.  Then leave your link at Maxabella and Always Josefa so other people can find it too.

What opportunities have you found lately?  
Have you been able to participate?  
Or are you like me, trying to concentrate on one project alone currently, with no time left to spare?!