Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Class Gone.

And so my senior students have finished the English course for the year. I taught the course, they attended the classes, and some of them even may have learned something.

They sat their exam last week, and from all accounts they seemed pleased with the questions. My colleagues and I were happy - we taught the course well, and covered all that the exam required.

So that's a load off my shoulders and my mind.

Now it's back to the writing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Follow Your Heart, Not Your Head.

The rewrites are going well, and I should have them done in the next few days. On top of that I have new ideas for a couple of markets coming up soon, and further development on a couple of older ideas.

One piece of advice I received recently from an editor (with an invitation to rewrite and re-submit - Yay!) was not to force a rewrite.  Take my time with it and allow it to happen organically, just as the original piece happened.

I've tried writing pieces in ways I think they should be written (Including more similes and inner dialogue - just because I think I should be writing more) and then, without fail, my readers/critiquers always seem to pick those parts as not working.

One thing I've learned is to trust your own instincts. And go with them.

I suppose that applies to a lot more than writing too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mud, Bikes And Ideas.

This one is a day late. But that's because I spent the weekend at the Moto GP down on Phillip Island.

Not that I'm into bikes, or even motor sports, but a friend of mine is and invited me along. I figured I'm right here in Melbourne, with a world class event right on my doorstep, and the perfect opportunity to go along to something I would never usually buy a ticket for.

I'll never be 'into' motorsports or motorbikes (although I have a motorbike licence) but I must say I had a fabulous couple of days.

The practice runs on Friday were a complete washout. We trudged through mud, and lots of it. And the bikes didn't come out until several hours after they were meant to. So they did their runs on a wet track while I stood ankle deep in mud and watched.

Saturday was better, with clearer skies and little rain. The time trials went smoothly, and Casey Stoner took pole position. And, of course, the actual races were fantastic to watch.

But most importantly, I got a couple of ideas for stories. Now all I need is the time to get them written between rewrites.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Renovating And Reconstructing.

Spring has finally arrived in all its glory. What a beautiful weekend. Which means that for the first time in many months, I had no excuse not to finally tackle those jobs around the house that I've been able to postpone for so long.

A couple of mates came over and we built gates so my dogs can no longer escape. Not that they ever do, but now there's added assurance. I removed an old heating system and replaced the flooring where it once sat. (The room is now so much bigger!) And there were a number of smaller jobs in the garden and on the roof that were finally crossed off the list.

Chateau Cameron is looking good. The only problem is that I really should have been dong story re-writes for my mentor, Paul Haines. He sent me back two stories last week. One is getting closer to being complete, but still lacks something. The other is a ways off yet, and needs a major rewrite. Paul pointed out all the stuff that needs work, and (damn him) he was right every time. It was so obvious once he showed me.

But I have ideas there that should solve a lot of those issues. Until Paul adds more to the list.  Which is fine, I asked him to be strict and he's doing that.

A couple of the bits he picked up on, I'd actually questioned myself. Which means I should pay more attention to my instincts and not include stuff just because I think I should.

Oh well, maybe I'll get a few lines written this week - in between hanging gates and rebuilding skirting boards.

Unless Paul wants to come over and swing a hammer with me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

If Only I'd Hung A Mirror In The Corner Of The Story.

It's back to school tomorrow, but in the meantime I've had a fantastic vacation.

The writing continued well from last week, with another rewrite, and another story pouring out of me. This is another one that's been developing in my brain for a while, but it just seemed to coalesce into existence without too much effort from me. I even drafted it a good three or four times, and then decided it was the one I would send off to Writers of the Future for this quarter.

Of course, with the new online submission process they now have (Yay!) I was able to keep it until almost the last minute, and even received confirmation it was received in time.

Now K.D. just has to recognise it for the piece of brilliance it is. (hehehe)

Above and beyond that, I subbed another story elsewhere.  Things are all go here at the plush Cameron writing studios.

One thing I've been intrigued by recently is what I refer to as the 'Feng Shui' of writing. Like if you hang a mirror in the corner of your room you'll suddenly become rich because the money won't pour out - or something like that. As you can probably gather, I'm not really into it. But writers do something similar after a rejection. "If only I'd added another character in the last scene, or written another couple of metaphors in the opening, or if I'd called him Mike instead of John." That sort of thing, as if a single change would push the story from a reject to an acceptance, or, in the case of WOTF, up to a finalist.

From all accounts, WOTF receives over 2,000 submissions each quarter, with approximately 8 of those becoming finalists, another 8 or so being semi finalists, and forty of those being honourable mentions.  Receiving any of those awards means you're doing pretty well.  I'm not convinced that there is a simple 'fix' in most cases. The story I received an HM for needed a major rewrite, not just a change of name. And even now I'm not convinced the new version would have fared a whole lot better.  I don't know where my HM sat in the imagined HM rankings. Near the top? Near the bottom? If one of the finalists was withdrawn, would mine have been the next in line and pushed up to Semi finalist?

Still, I was pleased that story did as well as it did there. And now it's out on submission and will hopefully be bought at some point. But there were potentially somewhere between 16 and 40 stories better than it. And each quarter I try to write the best story I can. And, hopefully, improve as a writer. One of these days I'll make finalist.

But that will only be the beginning.