Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

January 2, 2010

Asian Festival of Children’s Content

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Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous and prolific New Year.

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What better way to begin the New Year than with a notice about the Asian Festival of Children’s Content.

From: Jade Yong,

National Book Development Council of Singapore

Re: Asian Festival of Children’s Content

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to you Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC). I work with the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS or Book Council in short) – a nonprofit charitable organisation set up in 1969 and we are organising the first Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) from 6 to 9 May 2010. We are expecting about 300 to 400 delegates from all over Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North America and Europe to attend the event.

NBDCS has been organising the Asian Children’s Writers & Illustrators Conference (ACWIC) for the past 10 years and this time will take the lead and launch the inaugural AFCC. The conference will feature new programmes, including the Asian Children’s Media Market, Children’s Book Award, Children’s Writers Award as well as workshops and master classes.

The goals of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content are to:
·        Develop the writing and the illustrating of Children’s stories and content.
·        Promote publishing of Asian content.
·        Provide the world with access to such material created in Asia.

We hope we would be able to get your support on this by helping to promote AFCC on your website / blog or perhaps put a link to it. The link is: http://www.bookcouncil.sg/newsletters/afcc/eflyer.html

Regards;

Jade Yong
National Book Development Council of Singapore
DID: 65 6848 8292      Fax: 65 6742 9466       W: www.bookcouncil.sg

NBDCS is a non-profit organisation that promotes storytelling, reading, writing and publishing through a variety of interesting and innovative programmes.

For more information:

AFCC Fact Sheet (30 Nov 09)

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Today’s Writing Tip

Draft a children’s story with an Asian theme or setting, try aiming for the 8 – 12 year age group rather than the very expensively produced picture books for young readers. Remember to use the appropriate level of vocabulary, keep the story well paced and focussed, don’t over-do the descriptions unless you are deliberately slowing the narrative pace of the story. Really well developed characters involved in a well thought-out plot with lots of action will always appeal to readers of this age group. Try out your draft on some young readers who will give honest feedback and continue to develop your story.

October 4, 2009

The good news and the bad news

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 5:04 am

Congratulations to Gunilla Miranda for a very successful launch of her book ‘From Nobel Prize to Ride-on Mower’ at Gleebooks. It was well attended and Gunilla spent a long time signing copies of her book. She is now off to the Frankfurt Book Fair and to the London Book Fair and New York in 2010. Wishing you every success with your book, Gunilla. http://gunillamiranda.com


Congratulations to Roanna Gonsalves who completed her MA in Writing at UTS. Her novel was long-listed for the Australian Vogel Literary Awards and is being considered for publication. Roanna is working on her first novel for which she received an Ozco Emerging Writers grant last year. She also received a partial writers grant to attend a residency at Vermont Writers Centre.

More congratulations to Jeremy Fisher on the release of his new book “music from another COUNTRY”, published Fat Frog Books. The book will be launched by Libby Gleeson on 10th October at Taylor Galleries, Summer Hill. Jeremy has just returned from his residency at the Goethe Institute in Germany.

Plans are progressing for the imminent release of the Picador India edition of Fear Factor Terror Incognito and a March 2010 release of a Picador Australia edition.

Arrangements are also progressing for a visit by my co-editor Meenakshi, who is Associate Professor at the University of Delhi where she lectures MA writing students and students studying Indian, English and Australian literary courses. Meenakshi is the author of a numerous books, articles, essays and papers. She has spoken at conferences around the world. Among other appearances in Sydney in March 2010, Meenakshi will give a workshop at the NSW Writers Centre; and will speak at the Australian launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

In contrast to our good news here, the devastation from earthquakes and a tsunami in Samoa and Indonesia is shocking news. The loss of so many people is deeply felt by many. It’s hard to know how they will begin to put together whole villages. Samoa, in particular, is a special place for me. Pictures taken by members of my family only recently show a tropical paradise, a serenity and beauty that is rarely found today, along with smiling friends. I know that the owners of at least one resort spent thirty years building in an environmentally sensitive manner, doing everything by hand without bringing in machinery. News footage over the past few days show that it has all been levelled to the ground. Fortunately all the staff managed to reach safety and survived. It is a different story in the local village which has suffered loss of life, as well as property. It is sobering and shocking to see how a place of such stunning beauty, with such kind and heart-warming people, can be obliterated in such a short time. World Vision and Red Cross have already set up ways for people to donate to help those in Samoa and Indonesia. I hope you will all give help if you can. It will be a huge job to clear away the damage and begin re-building lives and property.


Today’s Writing Tip:

What would you do if your world suddenly changed through an environmental jolt? Try imagining yourself – or one of your invented characters – in such a situation. The protagonist is not another person or persons but the landscape itself.

August 31, 2009

Not Before Time – An Apology for the Forgotten Australians

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 6:47 am

Finally, Forgotten Australians are to be given a public apology for the horrific and brutal treatment they received as State Wards or inmates of Dickensian style ‘homes’ where they were put into ‘care’.

Media release at:

http://www.forgottenaustralians.org.au/publications/mediaAFAapology.pdf

A great many Australians, if not most, applauded the public apology on behalf of Australia to the Stolen Generation. It was a moving, sincere and long-awaited recognition of the terrible treatment inflicted upon them. While there are still many issues to be resolved it was a great moment in Australian history.

Now, thanks to many dedicated and persistent advocates, not least Leonie Sheedy from Care Leavers of Australia Network (CLAN) and also the comments by forthright columnist Kerry-Anne Walsh, The Forgotten Australians have been promised a public apology with the same solemnity with which the Stolen Generation were given an apology. This apology is also well overdue and I hope fervently that it will be given and taken in the same spirit of generosity.

Kerry-Anne’s article can be read at: http://www.clan.org.au/news_details.php?newsID=143

Here is an article about the Forgotten Australians with links to websites giving more information and background about the Forgotten Australians and their horrific history.

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26002515-953,00.html

CLAN provides Australia-wide advocacy and support for those who have been in ‘care’ or ‘homes’ and/or were made State wards. It was started by volunteer Care-Leavers themselves and has grown from a small number to a large organisation that has at last been given some funding to operate an office and key staff. Leonie and Joanne and many others have worked tirelessly to advocate for Care Leavers of Australia and it is great to be able to congratulate them on all that they have done and especially for this huge achievement that they have worked towards—an apology from the country for the suffering of the children who are now the Forgotten Australians.

It is a flint-hearted person who can read through the history of what happened to these children, as well as the Mullighan Report into the Inquiry into State Wards and Children’s Homes in South Australia, without being at least concerned, if not angry and upset, about what they went through as children and how they continue to suffer to this day. This is not simply about the past and different times, it is very much about people who are alive today and trying to cope with life with very few life-skills and often with physical, mental and/or emotional damage from their experiences as children in ‘care’.

Most of the institutions that exploited and damaged these people when they were children continue to treat them with disdain and disrespect and continue to fight them in the courts with everything they can throw at them, despite the power and financial imbalance.

http://www.clan.org.au/

Another site dedicated to Forgotten Australians, with many links to papers, reports and other information is:

http://www.forgottenaustralians.org.au/

http://www.wingsforsurvivors.com/page/Saying+sorry+seems+to+be+a+mute+point

If you want to know more you can read the report by Justice Mullighan of the Enquiry at: http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Crime,%20justice%20and%20the%20law/Mullighan%20Inquiry

And the responses on the ABC Radio National website at:

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/australiatalks/stories/2008/2207795.htm

Writing Tip

Write about a incident from childhood. How well can you recall the details? What was life like then? What has changed? Can you remember the games you played? Focus on a particular event or incident and see how much detail you can recall and draft a story. It can be happy, poignant, inspirational, insightful, entertaining, confronting–it depends on your circumstances and the details that you remember. If you are interested in writing your life story or memoirs, I recommend the book “Writing Your Life” by Patty Miller.

August 27, 2009

Spring, Daffodils and Writing Events

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 12:46 am

Spring is (almost) sprung, or it certainly seems that way with the warm sunny weather, it’s time to be out and about enjoying Sydney’s literary events.

Spring also means Daffodils, so remember DaffodilDay on August 28 when the Cancer Council will be raising funds.

Lots of literary events happening at the moment—the Melbourne Writers’ Festival is on; Indigenous Literacy Day Fundraiser and Tribute to Oodgeroo; as well as Jack Thompson reading the short stories of Henry Lawson at the NSW Art Gallery. Recently, Storytelling at The Hughenden; and the Kid’s and YA Adults Writers Festival.


Tribute to Oodgeroo
Indigenous Literacy Day Fundraiser

Host Anita Heiss

Date: Wednesday 2nd September 2009

Time: 18:00 – 20:00

Price $10/17

Venue: Gleebooks
49 Glebe Point Road
Glebe

Phone 96602333

From Anita Heiss:

Oodgeroo was born in 1920 on Stradbroke Island, of the Noonuccal people of the Yuggera group. She was best known for her poetry, although she was also an actress, writer, teacher, artist and a campaigner for Aboriginal rights.

Please join us in this tribute to a wonderful Australian and make this a very special night and successful fundraiser.

Music will be provided by NADEENA DIXON-Wiradjuri/Yuin/Dharug Aboriginal Woman Singer/Songwriter.

Eric Avery, a dance student at NAISDA will also perform along with readings of Oodgeroo’s work by Anita Heiss, Rosie Scott and Debra Adelaide.

On Sept. 2 partaking booksellers and publishers contribute a percentage of ALL sales made on the day to the Indigenous Literacy Project. The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature will be available at a special price and all ticket proceeds go to the project.

For more information about Indigenous Literacy Day go to: http://www.worldwithoutbooks.org/Index.aspx


ART GALLERY of  NSW

Short story readings by Jack Thompson

Sunday, 30 August 2009,

11.30am

Entrance court, ground level

The legendary Australian actor Jack Thompson will read some of The Campfire Yarns of Henry Lawson and sign autographed copies of his new CD recording afterwards.

More at: http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/events/cal/jack_thompson_reads_henry_lawson?clicked_date=2009-08-30


Storytelling at The Hughenden

On Sunday 16th August I attended the Australian Storytelling Guild, Tellers Teas at The Hughenden in Sydney.

It was an entertaining afternoon spent listening to excellent stories and enjoying a delicious afternoon tea. All the storytellers kept the audience attention and some were very amusing.

Dr Andrew Y M Kwong read his stories Goldfields Biscuits and Wife Picking and First Adieu both of which touched the emotions of the audience. The story of Goldfields Biscuits and Wife Picking gave a whole new insight into how Australia was perceived by the Chinese people–and the great joy and delight that greeted the offerings of Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuits (which they called Goldfield Biscuits) from the sojourners, Chinese people who were living overseas and who came back to their villages to ‘pick a wife’.

Congratulations to Andrew who has had several short stories published in Medical Observer under the realcases section, his latest is Jumping Puddles.

In July 2009, Andrew’s short story The Door Is Always Open was selected as one of the finalists in the 2009 AMA Writing Competition, and was commended.

Andrew’s short story Snake Business is to be published in the Anthology: Fear Factor Terror Incognito, by Picador India in September 2009.

For more details about the Tellers Teas at The Hughenden:
http://www.thehughenden.com.au

And please remember this year DaffodilDay is on Friday 28th August, while you can donate to DaffodilDay at any time of the year, during August special merchandise will be on sale to raise funds.
http://www.daffodilday.com.au/home.htm
http://www.daffodilday.com.au/About.htm

Today’s Writing Tip:

Go out and observe the changing season; the subtle differences in the earth and the sky. The way in which the insects, plants, animals and birds are behaving. Look at the way the light falls at this time of year. Record your observations in your notebook or writing journal. Try a haiku.

Sunlight shines on creek

round sun’s reflection creates

a rainbow halo


August 7, 2009

Parallel Poll, Gunilla in Frankfurt; Going to Goa

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 7:04 am

The results of the Choice poll on Parallel Importation of books are available on the Australian Society of Authors website at www.asauthors.org

There are some benefits of parallel importation as the law stands at present when an Australian publisher doesn’t publish a local edition within 30 days.

Author Gunilla Miranda is thrilled to be going to the Frankfurt Book Fair in October where she will promote her new book Nobel Prize to Ride-on mower a biographical narrative. Gunilla is also writing a regular column, You Can Do It, as well as a feature article for a U. S magazine. You will soon be able to catch up with Gunilla’s news at her new website at http://www.gunillamiranda.com which is currently under construction.

Some Australian authors are eagerly waiting to hear if their papers have been accepted for the IASA Goa 2010 Conference. It promises to be a stimulating and informative conference which has been organised by Professor Gopal and Professor Sareen, among others. The Australian authors who have submitted abstracts are all excellent speakers with relevant and interesting topics to discuss. I’m wishing everybody good luck and hoping we all meet in Goa in 2010. Good friends and colleagues, Meenakshi Bharat and Sujata Sankranti are also planning to participate—so it would be an excellent opportunity to catch up with them again. We’re also hoping to launch the Picador India book of Indo-Australian stories, Fear Factor Terror Incognito, there. Yes, it is still about to be released in India and I hope to announce the news of its release shortly.

Negotiations continue in Australia….which is why we are pleased that we can at least have a few copies sent from India after 30 days, if it is not yet published locally.

Today’s Writing Tip
Take every opportunity that presents itself, dream of what might be–and write a story about a character who is living your dream.

July 4, 2009

Accelerate

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 5:09 am

I’ve been asked to pass the word about the Accelerate Program.

From the British Council Alumni Newsletter to all those interested:

Accelerate

Nominations are now open for ACCELERATE, a new international leadership opportunity designed to boost and further the careers of Indigenous Australians working in the creative industries. In 2009, three outstanding nominees will be awarded with a once-in-a-lifetime programme in the UK and Australia.

Selected through a national competitive process, successful candidates will undertake a tailored professional development programme valued at approximately $20,000, including return flight, leadership training, and an individually designed experience in the creative industries.

It’s been put together by the British Council and the University of Melbourne through the Wilin Centre, in association with the Australia Council for the Arts and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Applications close 17 July 2009.

If you are interested in applying please go to:

http://www.britishcouncil.org/au-accelerate-4.htm

Accelerate leadership network online community
http://accelerate2009.ning.com

If you know of someone else who might want to send in an application, please let them know about the Accelerate Program.

February 12, 2009

From Delhi to devastation

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 5:37 am

Delhi was a most exhilarating experience. There is lively literary debate there about their long established canon of non-fiction, fiction and poetry, as well as modern Indian literature starting from the Bengal Renaissance; and contemporary literature at home and abroad. I met keen M.A. students of literature; most have read Australian literature and seen Australian films. I conducted a workshop at the University of Delhi for M.A. writing students and was impressed with the level of writing that the students produced in a short time span. I met students, academics, authors and poets when I spoke and read stories at the Jawaharlal Nehru University; as well as giving readings at private gatherings. The visit was supported by the Commonwealth through the Australia-India Council which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

I visited and stayed with Meenakshi, my co-editor, who kindly arranged the above workshops, talks, readings and rooftop literary soiree. I also stayed for a few days with Sujata, a long time friend and author. It was such a great pleasure spending time with Meenakshi and Sujata and their families. We had many engrossing conversations; we visited places of interest in Delhi and enjoyed many delicious meals together.

I also met our publisher at Picador India to discuss our forthcoming book, which was again a great pleasure and very exciting.

When my co-editor Meenakshi Bharat first proposed the idea for a collaborative volume of stories, we needed to decide on a concept for the collection. Terrorist attacks in Bali, the arrest of Dr Haneef on terrorism charges in Australia were being discussed in various media. As Meenakshi writes in the introduction to the book, ‘Fear Factor – Terror Incognito’: “This assault of the Australian imagination naturally made us marvel at the public outcry, moving us to note and rue the contrast with the Indian situation…Talking about Bali gave us grounds for a more thoughtful airing of ideas about Kashmir, Punjab, the Mumbai blasts, the terrorist threat that lurked all the time all over the country. We came to realise that somehow our concerns were similar, that there was something that bound us together.”

Contributions came from some of our best known authors from Australia and the Indian subcontinent. In her Foreword to “Fear Factor – Terror Incognito”, Yasmine Gooneratne wrote:
“This is a collection that hammers out a warning, and the reader would be obtuse who fails to hear and register its message. […]The writers in the Bharat/Rundle anthology do not offer solutions. Instead, they lead readers along the hidden paths of an unfamiliar psychology to make their own discoveries. […]there rises from the pages of this astonishing book the sound that today drowns every other concern in all but the most remote and isolated parts of the earth…”

Fictionally, the stories document the reality of phobias, curbs associated with immigration and foreigners, the fear of ‘aliens,’ even social and political antecedents to present-day terrorist activities. As the stories reveal, there is nothing new about terrorist attacks, they have occurred throughout history in almost every part of the world. Importantly, the authors do not glamorise terrorism or terrorist activities in any shape or form; rather they highlight the devastation, the after-math not only for the victims but also for the perpetrators for whom the reality of the act is often far removed from their expectations or vision. Not only do these stories reveal certain truths and give an insight but they offer a genuinely gripping read. Somehow our concerns are similar there is something that binds us together.

Nury Vittachi, a member of the judging panel of the inaugural Australia-Asia Literary Award, said of Australia’s newest and richest literary prize: “… We’re looking for a new Asia-Pacific flavour, as that is a good pointer to what the new literature will be. There’s a huge change coming very fast and this prize is giving a glimpse of that future.” [‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ November 22, 2008.]

This inaugural award was won by David Malouf, who is featured in ‘Fear Factor – Terror Incognito’. He won the award for his story collection ‘The Complete Stories’”.

I look forward to more collaborative Australia-Indo publishing ventures. The book, ‘Fear Factor—Terror Incognito’ will be published by Picador India in 2009.

I travelled to Delhi with my friend Barbara with whom I spent time seeing the many sights and attractions of Delhi, both Old Delhi and New Delhi. It seemed as if around every corner there were amazing scenes and sights. Going through the narrow streets of Old Delhi was an amazing experience, with so much to take in. New Delhi is a complete contrast with wide tree-lined avenues, public gardens, impressive architecture and great shopping. The people in Delhi are warm, friendly and helpful. I met so many charming and interesting people who told me about the history, politics, literature, society and life in general in India and Delhi in particular. More about Delhi later.

I returned from the relatively cool climate in Delhi to scorching temperatures in NSW and then the tragic bushfires in Victoria. NSW was on high alert too with bushfires burning close by. Fortunately the change in weather in eastern NSW meant it is cooler, wetter here. In Victoria the devastation is horrific and the bushfires are still burning. The Firies, mostly volunteers, all deserve medals for their dedication and perseverance in the face of the most daunting and fearful conditions. It’s difficult to comprehend what those who have suffered such great losses are going through. Donations are pouring in from all over the country and one can only hope that somehow those affected by the fires will find some comfort and assistance as they try to continue on with their lives.

Today’s Writing Tip
Choose a pair of your shoes. Think about where these shoes have taken you. Write a story or poem about a place you have been wearing this pair of shoes.

December 24, 2008

Compliments of the Season & competitions of the season

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 5:40 am

Compliments of the Season to one and all.

This season means different things to different people, for some it is the ‘silly season’, for others a celebration and a time to catch up with family and friends; or for prayer and contemplation; and for many a time when they do their best to carry on through a difficult time.

I’ve celebrated Christmas and New Year in many parts of the world, in different climates, with various friends and family – from Africa, to Asia to Australasia. I still find Christmas in summer somewhat disconcerting but it does have its advantages. Thankfully this Christmas the weather is mild, no soaring temperatures threatening to reduce me to a puddle on the floor.

Fortunately for most of us in Australia, the holiday brings an opportunity to suspend normal daily life and indulge in festive food among good company, a chance to relax and read the pile of books that has been beckoning; and for writers – a chance to think, create and write down on paper that story, play, poem or outline for a novel or key it into the PC.

There are numerous writing and literary competitions and awards running throughout 2009, so make this the year you submit your work to competitions and publications. It is competitive, so you need to edit and polish your work before you try it out in the marketplace.

It’s becoming more difficult to publish longer works of fiction in Australia. The mergers of publishing houses, the downturn in the economy all have impact on the book industry. With more manuscripts being written than ever and fewer opportunities for publishing, competition is fierce. Nevertheless most publishers are open to a brilliant idea and a well written, professionally edited manuscript. Every year a ‘new’ novelist is published, though most have worked very hard and practised their craft for years before being discovered.

If it’s your dream to publish your stories then start to make your dream a reality. Spend time thinking creatively, grow to know your characters intimately, write your ideas down, develop your ideas and write a raw draft. Then begin to craft your narrative, be prepared to spend as long as it takes to draft and redraft until the manuscript is the best you can make it. Then put it away for at least a month. Next, begin the editing process: make every word pull its weight, make every word count. Pare the story down to its essential elements. Polish your story by choosing exactly the right adjective, metaphor or simile, vary sentence structure, and use a wide vocabulary to select the word that exactly fits your meaning. Give your narrative a final edit and proofread. Read it aloud to a select audience (the cat or dog will do if necessary). Check the rhythm and flow of the narrative. When you are satisfied that your story is ready for an audience, check the internet, writers’ centre websites, writers’ magazines and/or The Australian Writers’ Marketplace for bona fide competitions and publications seeking submissions. Some are listed below. Make sure you check the guidelines carefully. Send your work off with a Stamped Self-Addressed Envelope (or email if the guidelines permit it) and be prepared to wait for a response. It may sound daunting but if you really want to see your work published, the only way is to produce the best work that you can and send it off. 2009 could be the year you are ‘discovered’.

My thanks to all who have generously assisted me this year in myriad ways: My co-editor, friend and colleague Meenakshi Bharat; Shruti Debi, our publisher; my SOI partner, friend and colleague Helen Whitehouse; David Malouf; Brian Dibble; Jeremy Fisher; Anita Heiss; Susanne Gervay; Elizabeth Webby; Sujata Sankranti; Emma Dallas; Chrissa Favaloro; Adrian Sellaro; Chris Broadribb, all of the writers who contributed to the Writers’ Connect ‘Writers on Writing’ series; Season Of Inspiration writers for sharing their narratives and poems; Rosanna Jones not only for her proofreading skills but for too many acts of kindness over too many years to possibly list here; and my long-time best and always-there friends Carol Mara, Carol Frost; close and long-time friends Jules Simpson and Helen Harwood; my ‘old’ and treasured school friend, Sue Holland; and last but never least caring friends Barbara Hunter and John Caska. My thanks also to my family for another year of their love, laughter and support.

Today’s Writing Tip

Research competitions and publications seeking submissions; edit and polish your work and submit it to a competition (or more than one if guidelines allow) or to suitable publications. Good luck.

The Tasmanian Writers Centre

lists details of a variety of literary competitions.

ACT Writers Centre

a list of Australian writing competitions in chronological order by closing date. Go to the respective websites for guidelines and to double-check deadlines.

Duotrope’s Digest

For information about international writing competitions and awards, see Duotrope’s Digest, a database of over 2200 current markets for short fiction, poetry, and novels/collections.

Modern Language Association

Annual Prizes and Competitions for 2009 for MLA Publication Awards

There are a number of awards listed. For detailed announcements of these awards, click on the prize name.

Writing contests

More writing competitions for poets, playwrights, story writers.

Australian Writers’ Marketplace Online
provides information on competitions, agents, publishers and mentorship programs

International opportunities for writers of various genres
Visit: www.britishcouncil.org/arts-literature-links-creative-writing.htm

UK magazines

Some British magazines accept short stories.

Granta

For details on how to submit contributions to Granta magazine

Arabesques

A journal in Algeria seeks submissions.

Publishing older women writers
For women over 60.

Magazine opportunity
North Queensland women’s magazine is looking to buy entertaining, relationship-based lifestyle stories. They are happy to purchase second rights. Email: editor@duomagazine.com.au

Wet Ink seeks submissions
Wet Ink is a quarterly magazine that focuses on publishing fiction, poetry and non-fiction by new and emerging writers. As well as poetry, non-fiction and literary-style fiction, Wet Ink is interested in high-quality work in all genres. There are no word count restrictions and all published work receives payment.

November 16, 2008

The Value of Being Creative

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 6:12 am

If you’ve ever doubted the value of being creative, here’s an encouraging article by Hugh Mackay: “It Pays to be Creative”.

games such as crosswords, cryptic crosswords, scrabble, code puzzles, collaborative word games, as well as discovering archaic and arcane words, newly invented words and phrases are not only fun but beneficial for the brain.

Here are some websites about words and/or with word games that I enjoy:

Word Games & Language sites

http://www.worldwidewords.org

http://www.askoxford.com/wordgames/?view=uk

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/games

http://www.wordplays.com/p/index

http://www.merriam-webster.com/game/index.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/yoursay/weird_words.shtml

And why not try some word games which will help others in need:

http://www.freerice.com

http://www.aidtochildren.com

And for a time-line of English language use:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/launch_tl_ages_english.shtml

The World’s Most Annoying Words

This weekend the Sunday Telegraph published an article:

“A way with words we can’t stand” which reports on a list of such words drawn up by Oxford University Corpus database researchers who monitor the use of English in published and broadcast material. Clichés, tautology, redundancies all rate a mention on the list of the ‘world’s most annoying words.

Making the list:

At the end of the day (a meaningless phrase)

Fairly unique (either something is unique or it isn’t so unique doesn’t need any qualifiers)

I personally (tautology)

At this moment in time (now would do just as well)

With all due respect (often used to preface a comment by someone who has no respect for the listener’s opinion)

Absolutely (cliché, passé, a simple yes suffices but I must admit it doesn’t have the same energy)

It’s a nightmare (cliché – overdone to death)

Shouldn’t of (except in idiomatic dialogue or direct quote – this demonstrates a complete lack of grammatical knowledge)

24/7 (cliché and often a exaggeration as well)

It’s not rocket science (cliché, like many clichés it was witty the first few hundred times but not any longer).

The newspaper is asking ‘what phrases annoy you?’ at www.sundaytelegraph.com.au

Today’s Writing Tip

Sharpen your brain and style with some word games.

October 17, 2008

Books and Blossoms

Filed under: Uncategorized — roundtablewriting @ 4:04 am

It’s been a struggle to find time to blog this week but it’s otherwise been very productive.

Blossoms are appearing everywhere in the garden and the wildflowers are blooming in the bush. Flowers provided the inspiration for this week’s Season of Inspiration with our writers posting haiku, stories and other forms of poetry in response to the tasks and journal prompts.

Blood Will Have Blood will be released by Picador India in the coming weeks and Meenakshi and I are delighted that there has been interest from Australian publishers. I’m looking forward to the first consignment of books from Picador India soon. The Australian authors will celebrate its release at The Hughenden Hotel. I’m very appreciative of all the help from Jeremy Fisher and Susanne Gervay who have given such valuable assistance; and would like to acknowledge all the authors who generously contributed stories.

A trip to Delhi is planned in the new year and I’m grateful for the support of the Australia India Council who are assisting with the visit. It will be a wonderful opportunity to catch up with Meenakshi in person and to meet my long time friend Sujata. I’ll be visiting universities in Delhi and will be well looked after by Meenakshi and Sujata. My good friend Barbara is my travelling companion and has stayed there before. She is a seasoned traveller and one of our Season of Inspiration writers. I know there will never be a dull moment with Barbara.

Today’s Writing Tip

Observe, observe, observe – practise the art of the quick note and word sketch. Stop to smell the roses. In your notepad or journal, jot down what you see, hear, taste, smell and feel (both tactile and emotion). You can expand on these observations and quick word sketches at a later time. Your journal of observations, overheard conversations, tantalising aromas, delicious morsels and touching moments can provide an invaluable resource for your stories and poems.

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