NaNowWriMo – Setting the pace

NaNoWriMo Participant 2012National Novel Writing Month kicked off on Thursday and so far things are progressing well. I’ve set my characters in motion. They’re about to embark on a perilous journey across the high seas once the wind turns favourable.

Creative writing is an interesting process. You set the scene and the characters turn up to inhabit it. They’re kind of like self-generated Sims. You get to know them as the story unfolds. My main character is losing my interest at present as her excitement potential seems low – she’s just too nice. Her rambunctious sister has taken over and is demanding most of my attention. However, the mysterious servant of an eccentric doctor wants me to take notice of her, and then there’s the boy who hides in dark corners and talks to rats, and the woman with the child who has no past … Hmmm.

(I do realise I’m beginning to sound a bit like a crazy person. I think that’s a good sign. Apparently, it’s when you don’t realise you sound crazy that you’re really in trouble!)

I’m hearing comments from my fellow Christchurch Wrimos who are in turns excited, frustrated, on a roll, in the doldrums, drinking coffee, typing furiously, staring hopelessly into space and/or munching chocolate but they all have one thing in common – they’re all committed to writing and they’re in it for the long haul.

So, hang in there, Wrimos! The only way to climb a mountain is one step at a time and the view from the top is going to be brilliant. If you need some moral support or just want to get together with some people who truly understand what you’re going through, there’s a write-in tonight at Upper Riccarton Library.

I can’t wait to get home and discover what my character are up to. Looks like takeaways for dinner tonight.

Re-Draft: where publication is the prize

posterAre you passionate about writing? Always wanted to be published? Then Re-Draft is the competition for you!

This annual event for New Zealand’s teenage writers is organised by Dr Glyn Strange , director of the School for Young Writers, and judged by Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe.  You can submit poetry, stories, scripts or songs which are then judged.  Each entrant can submit up to three pieces of work. Successful writers will then be published in Re-Draft.

Here’s an excerpt  from a  poem written by Emily Adlam in last year’s edition of Re-Draft, The world’s steepest street:

It was not the same
Where are they, all my lost places?
I went back, but found only emptiness.
The smell was of cinnamon traces
instead of burnt varnish; the air
touched differently, as if it had learnt tenderness
for someone else.
The past was not on display in glass cases.
Maps and addresses are no use to me
and there is no convenient office
where I may reclaim my property.

Moving, moody, funny clever – there certainly is an abundance of talent out there.  Get your hands on a copy of ‘The world’s Steepest Street’, read it and re-read it, then write you own literary masterpiece!

Entry forms  can only be found in the back of the book  (which you can photocopy at your local library) or buy a copy through the School for Young Writers . Entries close 30 September 2011.

Writers dispense advice in song

Some authors make writing look so easy, pumping out several books a year, while others take their time, spending years on their one great book.  I’ve never found writing easy and I know that I’m definitely a reader not a writer but I envy those who have got these great ideas in their head and can get them down on paper. 

I came across a video on a blog last week that a group of American Young Adult authors have put together to give writing advice to writers young and old.  You may remember a song from the early ’90s called ‘Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen)’ which provided us with advice for life in a catchy and amusing way.  A group of 28 American Young Adult writers have changed the words of this song to give other writers some inspiration and hope so that they will continue writing and not give up, even when they keep getting rejection letters.

We also have a great selection of books and other materials that will help you improve your writing or give you some ideas so you can get started:

  • Creative Writing pages on our website for Adults and Teens
  • Authors pages on our website for Adults, Teens and Kids so you can get tips from other writers
  • Check out the Creative Writing courses available in Christchurch through CINCH
  • Check the catalogue to see the huge range of writing resources we have in the library