Story Writing Ideas – Just one image can start a great story

30 Jul 2014

I loved Jackie French’s comment at the CYA Conference in 2009 so much it still is posted on my wall. “It doesn’t take one idea to create a book, it takes THOUSANDS.” So, where do ideas come from?

I have the good fortune of being part of a local writers group.  Yes – one of those often told truisms – it really is INVALUABLE to be a part of a writers group… but I digress (more of this later!)  There was talk of imposing a ‘deadline’ for writing, to ‘keep us honest’.   The deadline was next meeting.  I had a terrible flash … I simply did not have a couple of days to wander aimlessly in the streets, letting my head empty for it to then be overtaken with a brilliant idea, which then brewed and simmered until clarity befell me.  (You have a huge insight now into my writing habits and possibly the exact understanding of why I don’t manage to produce much of it!)  What on earth was I going to do!!!!

Image – get an image and free write… it is a method I use in the classroom and it actually works.  The image I used was a little boy in a Telstra advertisement.  He was ‘old fashioned’ looking, with a creamy coloured woollen vest which came from a thick cumbersome knitting needle, yet an lopsided smile which generated trust.  Where did ‘he’ come from, who were his parents, who influenced him, who tucked into bed each night, having supported his every whim… Slowly, his world emerged.

The trick to the process is to not actually over think the image selection.  Have a folder you have already filled with images that you simply like.  It may be the colour, the room layout, a face, an event.  Don’t intellectualise it, just cut it out, put it into a folder and then walk away.  When you need a flash of inspiration, just close your eyes, rifle through the images and when you can feel you have one, pull it out.

If it is a setting, then who would live there?  If it is an event, who would participate?  If it is a person, who are they?  Answer the questions and you will find you are on your way.

Have fun

X Em

 

Adventure, Perilous Journey for 10-12 year olds, reviewed

24 Jul 2014

Perilous Journey by Antoinette ConollyZachary and Mactavish return to Cauchemar to rescue Randy the bear from the robots in Metallicka and to try to bring Marilla back home from Dragonshire to Earth. Their journey is exciting and at times extremely dangerous as they battle wits with wicked magicians, evil robots, mysterious aliens, predatory dragons and even carnivorous dinosaurs. Will they succeed in their quest?

Let’s find out what the writers’ web reviewers thought about Zachary and Mactavish’s perilous journey back to Cauchemar.

“I really enjoyed this book, a lot! As I did the first book of this particular series. This book was about a boy (Zachary) and his ginger cat companion (Mactavish) and how they returned to Cauchemar to rescue Randy the bear from the robots and Marilla from Dragonshire. Their journey was exciting and at times extremely dangerous as they battle wits with wicked magicians, evil robots, mysterious aliens, predatory dragons and even carnivorous dragons.” Caitlin Shore

“This book is a children’s fantasy adventure. The book is the second in the Cauchemar Trilogy. It is set many years after Zachary has come back from the magical land of Cauchemar and he has forgotten his time there, believing it to be a dream. I liked the magical creatures and found some of the characters to be complex and interesting. I especially like Blaze the dragon. I think anyone can enjoy this book, but because of some of the language it would be suitable for children aged 12 – 14 years. Abbey English

Perilous Journey is a fantasy adventure for a middle years target audience of 10-12 year olds. Unfortunately my 10 and 12 year olds had a look at the cover, read a couple of pages, flicked through the chapters and said they were done. I believe my 10 and 12 year old would have loved being hooked on the first page. Instead, when they read about Zachary being ‘tired, bored and hungry’, they both seemed to be ‘tired, bored and hungry’! They also are usually more responsive to books with a larger font and maps or pictures by way of additional information. The ten year old struggled with the language.

I wanted to give a more in-depth review, so here is an adult opinion for you: The lands are interesting and well described. My favourite land this time was Aquatica under the sea, where they used magic to breathe. I enjoyed the variety of mythical and magical creatures, such as the gryphons, dragons and basilisk. Blaze the dragon is still my favourite and I’d love for him to have a bigger part in future stories. Also Esmerelda and Murgatroyd sound interesting, but are only briefly mentioned. I enjoyed the rhyming spells and Mother Meg the Woolly Mammoth too.

I would suggest a bit of refinement in the next edition to engage the younger readers. Some of the words and language used are difficult for this age group, such as: ‘reverie’ ‘supercilious’ ‘lammergeiers’ and ‘zaubernimbus.’ Even I have a little difficulty pronouncing the last one :-) Thank-you for the book and we will donate it to the local library, so others can be introduced to the series.” Kasper Beaumont

Antoinette-ConollyAuthor Antoinette Conolly (right) is a writer of science fiction/fantasy novels for children. She lives in Sydney and spends a lot of time visiting primary schools and libraries to speak to students about reading/writing and her books. A former high school teacher, Antoinette taught foreign languages (French, German, Italian) and was also a consultant in Training and Development for the Education Department of New South Wales. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Newcastle University and a Master of Educational Administration from New South Wales University. Her novels are suitable for 7 – 13 year old readers.

Antoinette’s writing is inspired by a love of reading (she still reads three books a week.). She wrote as a child and teenager when at Uni and had some poems published when in high school. Antoinette always wanted to write fantasy for children, but did not have time until she retired from high school teaching.

Perilous Journey is not available in the bookstore as a hard copy book.  Also available in the Cauchemar trilogy  is book 1, Zachary’s Odyssey  reviewed here  and book 3, Mactavish’s Destiny.  Anoinette’s other book involving time travel,  A Key to Time, is reviewed here.

The First Time… Ashtara ‘Are you a writer?’

22 Jul 2014

Ashtara.jpg

 

Ashtara (left), writers’ web author of  I Am An Experiment – An Extraordinary Spiritual Adventure reflects on her accidental journey toward becoming an author and the courage required to reveal herself…

Did I intend to be a writer? No. Did I intend to become a teacher? No. A mid-life career change involving intense spiritual growth and the learning of astrology, the esoteric sciences and metaphysics led to me being asked to teach these subjects. The weekly lessons I created morphed into eighteen years of regular weekly teaching and four astrology textbooks. My daily meditations became adventures into multi-dimensional space travel and interactions with, and training by, celestial and extra-terrestrial light beings. I recorded the unique experiences in my journal and, years later, was asked to write about them. I appreciate life challenges but this one was big, and a world away from writing educational textbooks.

Writing personal experiences into my Experiment book required a huge leap. This time I was to expose – myself. Take some brave pills, Ashtara, I told myself.

Persisting each evening in sorting through copious hand-written journal notes and typing them on my computer each day, became a way of life. Re-living my extraordinary inter-planetary space travels, and the amazing information I telepathically received, enabled me to appreciate how our brains can be trained to attune to higher frequencies, much like a radio.

I sought the help of Sunshine Coast editor and writer Rose Allen who became engrossed in my story and shifted her perspective on life because of it. We worked well together and I’m grateful for her expertise, encouragement and support.

Self-publishing seemed the best approach and Andy McDermott from www.publicious.com provided the support I needed. I created in my mind the fabulous cover and had it graphically designed.

And now I’m working on a sequel, The Magdalen Codes, having been asked by my readers to do so. My confidence level has skyrocketed because of the amazing reception to my book and the fear of ridicule has gone. Looks like I’ve become a memoir writer. I wonder what else is around the corner?

Ashtara

Short story Train Wreck reviewed

18 Jul 2014

Train WreckSara is afraid of trains. She’s always been afraid of trains. The creaking metal, thudding rubber of doors slamming together and clack of the track made her more than just squeamish but unfortunately it was the only way to and from work.

Today, she’s especially receptive to the noises. Amongst the teenage chatter and busy sounds of the people in the carriage around her, Sara begins to notice things not quite right, things that no one else has seen. Is her biggest fear about to become reality?

Let’s find out! What did the writers’ web reviewers think about Train Wreck?

“This is the second story of Serenity’s I have read. I enjoyed the first one “Madison” and have enjoyed this very different one – “Train Wreck”. Maybe it’s time to put your short stories into a novella Serenity. The paragraphs were interspaced with good sound words -”CREAK” and “BANG” which alerted the reader to imminent catastrophe. The descriptions of the old train carriages are shown in great detail to add authenticity to the story. The accident about to happen to Sara, raced ahead of the words – and then there was a twist to change the outcome of the story. I just love twists in stories.” Judith Flitcroft

“This short story is about a young girl, Sara who is travelling by train. She starts to hear weird and scary sounds coming from the train she is travelling on. I enjoyed this short story as I found it very suspenseful and scary for the main character, Sara.” Abbey English

“The title and synopsis of this book had me intrigued.I enjoyed the concept and wish Serenity luck with her future writing.” Belinda Starkey

“‘Train Wreck’ is a story with many possibilities; I was wondering when the zombies were going to appear or perhaps the dawning realisation that this was a ghost-train travelling deep into the distant past. Trains have a certain romantic appeal to most of us, the rattling-clank of carriages and the ‘click-clack’ of the wheels on the tracks, but most of all, trains invite us to explore exotic destinations such as Siberia, Nepal or the Australian Outback. ‘Train Wreck’ opens all of these possibilities and more, and it will be interesting to see where Serenity McWilliams takes us next.”  Brent Rogers

SerenityMcWilliamsAuthor, Serenity McWilliams (pictured right) has been writing since she was 11 when she woke up at 5 am and typed out her first story. Her writing is inspired by, “the need to create something new and exciting as well as an insatiable desire to escape reality into fantasy worlds.”

Serenity, a self-pronounced dreamer, is writing books in a range of genres but is particular to faeries and likes to write alone wearing headphones and fueled by an energy drink or iced coffee.

Short story Train Wreck is now available in the bookstore as a PDF eBook.

Need stamina as a writer? You must have a regular date with your inner artist!

16 Jul 2014

Have you experienced the sense of frustration which comes from staring at a blank piece of paper (or a blank screen, or a blank canvas) and honestly questioning the validity of you being there in the first place? Merely moments ago, you may have been wishing to write, and you have probably even started. Now, nothing happens. What if the conversation is no longer valid; when did I think my contribution was even worth making; how is it possible to be creative when there is a list a mile long to conquer; surely there is a better way to use my time…

This is a very different experience to what happens when you can’t think of an idea. When you are bereft of ideas, it can be a simple process of accessing the many tools to ‘spark’ an idea – using lists, images, sounds, experiences all as a departure point. You can be thoroughly exhausted and reach for your file / folder / drawer to access reference material of some sort and then just write.

No, this is much more serious than that. This is when you seriously doubt your ability to contribute to the conversation at all.

Julia Cameron is an award winning writer and the author of thirty books, fiction and non-fiction. It is the non-fiction books which are the bestselling works on the creative process. To simplify this amazing body of work into one book is not my intention, but if you have experienced the wracking emotions outlined in the introduction, The Artist’s Way, which is a self-read 12-week boot camp for creativity, designed to release and renew creative energy and help the artist (or would-be artist) focus on a life littered with creative pursuits. It may just provide the solution!

‘The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly ‘artistic’ – think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.’

So – I did… take myself on an artist date. It was an incredibly blissful, beautiful, inspiring couple of hours.

Firstly, I went to a new kitchen shop. Yes, a shop. It is located in a stunning old building, the original brick work peeks at you from obscure vantage points around the roof line. The space is full of the accoutrement which we are seduced into thinking we couldn’t do without. It also houses a cooking school – and as I dropped in, all I could hear was the gentle hum of creativity as a group were massaging dough on the benches. I promised myself I would actually stay for longer next time I dropped in, to have a coffee and soak up the energy.

Secondly, I remembered Simon Cleary’s book launch. Closer to Stone, was launched here in Toowoomba. He had ‘come home’ to share his success with his parents, school friends of old, and even past teachers. Here I learned that passion for writing can and does start at school, but this doesn’t necessarily translate into being the ‘best’ student.

Then finally, I recalled to an ADFAS lecture delivered by Robin Haig on the The Ballet Russes. Other than the incredible collaboration which exists across the arts – Picasso was inspired by the dancer Nijinsky, and Coco Chanel designed costumes – it was Diaghilev, Director, who managed to demonstrate an incredible talent for developing the talents of others! After the lecture, I made mention of this ‘fact’, yet the others around me had not taken this away at all. This helped me experience a huge paradigm shift. It is not what we say that is important, it is how the reader ‘hears’ it.

As I arrived back at home, the detritus from the family making an evening meal, the laundry which seems to have taken over another room, the confronting list on the fridge as to what ‘has to happen’ all didn’t look so bad. I had arrived completely liberated, ready to be creative and continue to nourish my inner artist.

I ate, left the sink burgeoning with the dishes, read a story to my youngest, happily laying there talking about the day, had a glass of wine with my husband… and as the house slipped into a lazy slumber, I booted up the computer and wrote,

And wrote,

And wrote.

Em x

 

Romance Walk Back in Time reviewed

12 Jul 2014

Becky has always known thaFront Cover Walk Back in Timet she has lived a past life. After an emotionally abusive marriage abruptly ends in Australia, and urged on by the bequest of elderly neighbour, she goes back to Galway Bay in Ireland, to retrace her precious previous footsteps.

Finding her little stone house, she sees Daniel waiting for her. She walks back in time to 1913, to her former life, lived through David and Bridie. And like every great romance, there are twists and turns involving the Great War, flying, pilots, horses and jealousy in this love story that spans decades

Here’s what our writers’ web reviewers thought about romance, Walk Back in Time

Walk Back in Time, set in Ireland, is a story about the intertwining fates of the past and present. Becky has left Australia in search of her fate that awaits her in Ireland, explained to the reader by the story delving into the past characters of the place she seeks to find.

The story commences with the present character Becky, before fading back to a past where main character Bridie, a Catholic, goes to work on the family of a family of Protestants and in doing so meets the love of her life. Bridie starts out as a meek, obliging girl who finds her inner strength and courage to pursue what she wants in life. The character grows as she persists in her determination to make a difference in an unwanted war. The novel focuses heavily on the effects of war while creating a love story that spans decades.”  Kylie Dungey

“Walk back in Time is a love story that spans three generations. It starts in the present time and then flashes back to WW1. The author has very cleverly interwoven this scenario making the reader fall in love with her characters, who are very easy to relate too. It is a happy, sad and heart warming story….I would have no hesitation recommending this book to anyone who enjoys a good romance novel.” Coral Nichols

“The setting moves from a beautiful Irish countryside by the sea, resplendent with beautiful horses and the elegance of an established family, to war-torn London and war-torn France, going full-circle back to Ireland in the end. The writing style is simple yet mesmerising. From the beginning, the book had me captivated. However, the book is an easy, pleasurable read with surprising twists and turns.

Initially, Bridie believes she is a simple girl who is of a lower social standing than the family she now works for in Galway. Consequently, she allows herself to be intimidated by some of the other characters. With each experience, however, we see her character develop in self-worth, self-reliance and strength. She actually holds the story together when other main characters falter.

As I read the book, I appreciated how the author was deeply connected with her characters, female and male. She allowed an early ‘villain’ to develop and show good qualities. Another aspect that appealed to me was the way she graphically and in detail described the many and varied experiences of the characters both in peace and war-time with researched accuracy.

The book would mainly appeal to women who like to be moved and enjoy a fast-paced read. It’s about a woman who conquers incredible odds at home and in two other countries during World War I to finally be with the love of her life. Animal lovers will also find this book appealing.” Gloria Hamilten

Judith Flitcroft Head ShotAuthor, Judith Flitcroft (right) wrote sporadically, until seven years ago, when “I really caught the fire to write”. She says, “There has always been a story in my head. I still go to sleep working out plots. The real catalyst was a counsellor I was interacting with after the severance of a forty-two year long marriage. She told me to write down everything in my heart and burn it! I found my story spilling out and thought that it was too good to burn ! The first book was born!

Her writing process involves, “Research, rewrite and cut, cut,cut is the process. I recently joined a writers group and have now developed a proper pattern for writing with a special place overlooking water and the countryside and try to write every day. It is so helpful to have other writers to bounce off.”

She is currently working on a book set in the time of King Arthur.

When she is not writing, Judith cares for her animals, plays piano, helps in the local museum and run a children’s theatre group. Judieth is one of the foundation members of the Stanthorpe Writers Group and a life member of the local museum and Little Theatre.

 Walk Back in Time is now available in the writers’ web bookstore as a PDF eBook.

Best Tips for Editing Yet!

09 Jul 2014

Melaina Feranda has been writing for an eternity. When she was booked for a school visit, and was expected to be there first up on Monday morning, she had not choice but to do a sleep-over in Toowoomba the night before! In a clever bid to make the visit as productive as possible, she offered an editing workshop the day before and googled her way into contact with all the local writers groups and rustled up a full class. Impressive.

I was absolutely hooked from the introduction. Melaina uses the English language like a dancer uses music. To say that she has a broad vocabulary is an understatement and it was nearly hypnotising hearing so much rich language used in context. But I digress – you were reading this for editing tips!

1/ Hook (line and without it, a sinker!)

It is super important to have a hook, not only at the beginning of the first paragraph, but at the beginning of each paragraph AND at the end of each paragraph. You have to give your reader a reason to persist with your story. Their time is precious!

2/Sentences – vary the length / vary the tempo

Have you started with different words? Have you used different sentence lengths?   Consciously choose languorous when necessary or choose short bursts if it mirrors the action!

3/ Avoid proximal repetition

You will find you repeat yourself.  (Should I have used ‘you’ twice in one sentence!) Plus, if you have chosen an unusual word, it can stand out, so use once!

4/ Avoid too many adjectives

You have to trust that the reader is capable of interpreting the story without the handholding.  Avoid adverbs as well, use strong verbs instead.  Walked quickly should be strode or marched

5/ Consistency with the choice of ‘person’

First, second or third person – the choice is yours.  Once you decide, it is a useful exercise to rewrite in another person!

6/ Imagery – to be authentic, it needs logic and realism

Hemingway said, “You may have to murder your darlings”, in reference to those magical constructs that truly, whilst they sound ‘fabulous’ simply don’t make sense!

7/ Purple prose – ditch them!

Purple prose are overly lyrical and have way to many adjectives within a sentence.  Additionally, avoid the cliché – it is low hanging fruit and lazy.

8/ Avoid qualifiers

They weaken or soften a sentence.  Use strong verbs instead.  ‘Ing’ not ‘ly’

9/ Dialogue

Double duty!  Reveal the character and move the story forward.  Remember ‘said’ is nearly invisible, whereas ‘she shouted / he puffed / he roared / she whimpered’ are unnecessarily noticeable!  Get rid of the attributive verbs.

10/ Use active language

The girl picked the flower, not the flower was picked by the girl.

When you are writing, most importantly, strive for the virtuoso.  And finally; don’t rely on these notes, go to a short course by Melaina if you can – you will be languorously swimming in virtuoso!

Em x

 

How to write a children’s book – Child Writes reviewed

06 Jul 2014

Child Writes Front CoverHow long have you held the dream of creating a children’s picture book? Whether you intend to give the gift of words and images to your loved ones, write the next children’s bestseller, or help others bring their ideas to life… Child Writes – Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play is the book for you! Emma Mactaggart, picture book author, publisher and founder of the unique Child Writes program, shares her proven methodology for creating picture books. There’s no need to dream any longer

The writers’ web reviewers universally enjoyed this “how to” book, finding it a useful and information-packed read. Here’s their feedback…

“It is a step-by-step guide to writing and illustrating a children’s picture book. It could be used as the children’s story book writer’s bible. It is so comprehensive and covers, in plain English, all that you need to know when writing for children. It answers all the questions that an emerging writer asks and can rarely get the answers too. As the author of over 12 children’s books I have learned quite a bit from reading this book. Emma has put so much research into her books which it is shown by the multitude of knowledge she reveals to the reader.” Coral Nichols

“If only, are the first words which come to mind (I was going to say that) however, after reading Emma’s teachings, I am prone to never use THAT ever again! I said ‘if only,’ meaning, if only I had hold of this valuable Bible of information, as well as the physical help Emma provides, way back when I was a child, well I’m sure I would be the mostest read author by now! This book is an inspiration to the maximum. I truly feel this book is a masterpiece of correct advice, encouragement and most of all inspiration. Well done Ladies.” Doreen Slinkard

“This book has given me much to think about. I am currently the creative director for my husband’s series of children’s books, and every time I read a portion of the book, the great tips and thoughts about ways to improve the current manuscripts would make my brain run about. So it took much self control to just sit and read and appreciate this wonderful book, without wanting to jump at all the ideas flooding into my head.

The beautiful formatting and graphic design of the book make an it an even more pleasurable read and again get those creative juices flowing. Practical examples for sentences, particularly “show don’t tell”, were wonderful insights for me. I always felt as though I was carefully nurtured at Emma’s side all the way through the book. She was ready to assist with my curly thoughts and wayward thinking! So many times just when I wanted to say out loud “How do you do that?” the answer was right there in the following text.

Highly recommended resource for anyone who is currently, or wanting to be, involved with book processes, from concept to marketing, it is all there (even if you are not about children’s books so many of the principles apply to other genres). As one of the quotes in Emma’s book states “the difference between an author and someone who would like to write a story is simple – the author did.” Dyan Burgess

“The book goes from the pre-inspiration stage to the completed product, including marketing. Added to this are many useful resources such as essential websites, extensive chapter by chapter references, a bibliography, glossary of terms and recommended books.

Emma Mactaggart’s writing is clear, professional and easy to understand. There is no doubt that she loves her work and speaks to the reader in a mature, nurturing voice. It is a well-structured, informative book, visually attractive with bite-size exercises to guide the reader from one step to the next with ease. The author is clearly an expert in her field and she is generous in sharing her story of how she came to writing this book, what works and has included all this in great detail.

I particularly appreciated the simple yet evocative chapter titles to gain my interest. There are abundant questions to get the creative juices flowing as well as the cognitive side of the brain to work in unison with one’s creativity. In addition, there are many questions posed on “why” the reader wants to pursue creating an illustrated children’s book. That digs deeper and forms a strong foundation for a successful end result.

The methodology for this guide has been tested on children from nine to twelve years of age so this would clearly be a target demographic. These age groups would need an adult to facilitate the implementation of the many activities and other requirements. However, as an adult, I certainly gained from the way the guide is structured should I wish to create an illustrated children’s book. I found it very interesting, informative and entertaining. Nothing has been omitted.” Gloria Hamilten

“This book is a wonderful resource for authors of all ages, genres and stages in their careers. Writing and publishing books is a steep learning curve for anyone and I wish I’d found this book a few years ago when I was starting out. I like the way Emma has used a conversational tone and humor in places to keep a child’s interest. An example is in the ‘head-high ratio’ section: “Right, I can hear you now declaring I have gone completely bonkers … bear with me!” LOL. There are some great ideas that were new to me such as doodle drawings to wake up your creativity. I’ll have to try that one.

The sections on Vanity and Subsidy Publishing where you have to pay to get your book published serve as a good warning to new writers. I have heard of several new writers who were so excited to have been taken on by a publisher, just to discovered that they have a bill of hundreds or thousands of dollars before they can even see a copy of their book. I really enjoyed reading this informative book. I was given a free ebook copy to review, but after a few pages I realised that I NEED a copy and am heading over to writers’ web to get one straight away. My son has expressed an interest in co-writing my next book, so we’ll be devouring Child Writes piece by piece before we start.

I’d recommend this book to anyone with an interest in writing or illustrating a book. Happy writing everyone.” Kasper Beumont

Emma MactaggartAuthor, Emma Mactaggart (right), is one half of writers’ web and is inspired to write to share what’s in her head, experimenting with a number of genres.

Of her ell us about your writing process, she says,” I love working from an image, either real or created, so I start any story, regardless of the length or the format with visual reference, which may be a photo or a doodle drawing. It is really important for me to know the closing line; whether it be for a planned paragraph, a novel, short story or a children’s picture book. I have to know how it finishes before I start. Then it is a matter of getting first draft down on paper.”

She is fascinated about the relationships of those around me and what makes for a positive response in a relationship or a negative response. I am also particularly interested in what events need to occur for a person to be the one they are today – the ones which transition us from childhood to adulthood.

Emma’s favourite author is Haruki Murakami – “each time I turn the page, I know I don’t know what is coming! There is absolutely no predictability in his books other than the unpredictability. His books are the perfect foil to a day-to-day drudgery which commonly referred to as ‘routine’.

When she is not writing, Emma likes to read.

Child Writes – Creating a Children’s Picture Book is Child’s Play is now available in the writers web bookstore.

The First Time… Doreen Slinkard ‘The Writer’s Happy Lament’

01 Jul 2014

Doreen Slinkard, writers’ web author of children’s picture books, Little Thought Monsters (reviewed here), Lulu’s New Pony (reviewed hereand Peppi the Polo Pony (reviewed here) reveals where her stories come from….

I’m sure the stories which possess us as writers, are deemed to burst through at some stage of our life.  They captivate, mesmerise and control, near every waking moment.  I knew from a very young age that I needed to write, but fortunately there were so many other things to discover and experience when young that thankfully it led me away from what has now become an obsession.  I now at the age of over sixty and after beginning to write in earnest, have had many people ask, how do you come up with this or that story.  Well, it’s simple the stories live quietly within, and once allowed through a need to grow, they overtake our senses to even surprise the writer most times.  Well that’s what happens to me, it feels like the story is being channelled through me. Maybe it’s my age?

I love to write short stories, as I can walk away in an appropriate time frame and feel satisfied with what I have written. I have been working hard for the past four years on an adult trilogy, history based in the 19 hundreds.  I’m lucky enough to have excellent proof readers, who I know would not tell a lie and so far, I am, and they are happy with my stories.  I must say though, for and old rooky it was with slight trepidation that I handed my work over to a well established author.  He agreed only to read the first chapter of each book. My confidence was later boosted when his favourable critique was emailed to me.  And so, I then breathed a great sigh of relief. I hadn’t been wasting my time.

I’m sure every author knows in their heart whether they have given a story their all, and then some.  They should be happy then, to hand it over for a constructive proof read and to face the consequences of maybe a further edit  or even a major change. Make sure you choose your proof readers well, not just mum or dad, who will always say. “It’s wonderful dear.”  They must be intelligent, well read and honest.  I think the main thing is that you believe in what you are doing, or in our case writing. Tell it from the heart and you are sure to touch people.  That’s what it’s all about.

Read more about Dorreen Slinkard here.

Memoir White Fella Dreamin’ reviewed

27 Jun 2014

Front Cover White Fella Dreaming by John Cosgrove Preview-3White Fell Dreamin is a collection of four stories, chronicling the changes that author John Cosgrove has observed over 60 years. There’s a German wanderer in Australia and his camels, holidays at Queensland’s Gold Coast, observations at a city shopping centre and a bloke contemplating on the meanings of life and after-life.

“The book is the life, the work, and the thoughts of the man on the land. Short stories about places, people, and times, form the book. We are introduced at regular intervals to three blokes whose thoughts and opinions of anything and everything are given full rein.

The author writes in a relaxed and easy manner. He has travelled, he has observed, and we read his observations clearly through his words. He describes events and surroundings in detail without the burden of boredom.

Waddie’s Corner and the Royal Oak is reserved for Waddie. He is a man who has an opinion on every subject, is staunch in his opinion, and is not afraid to voice that opinion. He is backed-up favourably by his mates Arthur and Merv. Each man is unique but complimentary to each other.

I like the way the author writes of the old times moving into the new. The author, in a number of ways, shows how on the land there is a smooth transition with accord from generation to generation. Although ownership of land may change, the author shows how memories of the land and the people remain.

People who appreciate the land and the men and women who live their life for it would find this book a delightful, amusing, and informative read. There is history in the pages. To round off an enjoyable read is the author’s collection of poems which are as good as the short stories he writes.” Angeline Beikoff

“I enjoyed reading this book as it was funny and sad at times and I could relate many people I know to the characters the author wrote about. I would recommend this book from young readers up to adult readers.” Abbey English

“Your book, John, goes with me every where these days. Like you, I visit retirement villages and nursing homes to entertain by playing the piano for sing-alongs and reading short stories and poems. I was running out of material and voila, along comes your well thought out book in the mail. I use it often.

The language flows easily, and I just love (and I quote) the words, “I wish I was as good as I never was!” My favourite story is, “The Last Time”. Every time I read it, I have tears in my eyes. It captures that moment in time when one has to pack up ones’ life and move on so perfectly. My favourite poem is, “Our men Who Went to War”. As it is coming up to one hundred years since WW1 began, it is particularly relevant and poignant. Thank you, John for your timely book on the observations of life as you have seen it. P.S. The little captions are hilarious!” Judith Flitcroft

John-Cosgrove-HeadshotAuthorJohn Cosgrove (right) has been writing for about 15 years writing poetry first, then short stories. Inspiration has come from his father. John says,

My father wrote poetry and told stories. When he died I started writing and I like to write of life the way I see it. My books are about Everyday life – funny and sad events that have happened – some are fiction – some are very true. I hope my stories cover incidents in the reader’s lives”

Once a farmer and cattleman, when not writing, John is developing a town block and helps his real estate son.

White Fella Dreamin is now available in the bookstore as a hard copy book.

 

 

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