Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

July 10, 2012

Andrew Y M Kwong awarded Litlink Varuna Fellowship 2012

Exciting news from Andrew Kwong.  

He is one of the four recipients of the NSW Litlink  Varuna Fellowships 2012.

Congratulations, Andrew!

I first met Andrew when he enrolled in writing courses I was teaching. He then asked me to become his writing mentor. Andrew has continued to develop his manuscript Snake Business’, the true story of his young life in Mao’s China, into a compelling narrative. One can hardly believe the depths and heights that human beings are capable of reaching, from the most cruel and violent to the most selfless and loving acts imaginable. The determination, effort and time that Andrew has devoted to developing the craft of writing and reaching deep into his memory and emotions is a credit to him. It stems from his firm belief, and the belief of those who have read his manuscript, that his story should be told as widely as possible. It truly beggars belief and yet it is all true.

Andrew has now also secured one of the best literary editors in the business. The Litlink Varuna residency includes accommodation and all meals at Varuna, the Writers’ House in Katoomba, and will allow Andrew the luxury of time to complete his final draft.

It will only be a matter of time before ‘Snake Business’ is published. If there is one book that you should fit onto your must-read list when it’s available, ‘Snake Business’ is that book.

Andrew has also published several short stories while developing the craft of writing.

Fantastic news, Andrew. It has been wonderful to work with you and a genuine thrill to see you take flight on your way to new heights.

May 26, 2011

Writing a Successful Synopsis.

 The very idea of writing a Synopsis can make a novelist shudder.

The Synopsis Scream

Compacting a full length work or a collection of stories or poems into a page or two to pitch to a publisher is an art in itself.

Synopsis head-scratching

Very few examples of successful synopses are available and the advice that is there can be conflicting. One excellent book is ‘A Decent Proposal’ by Rhonda Whitton, she shows step by step how to put together a book proposal that will impress publishers. It not only allows the writer to assemble a ‘decent proposal’ but also makes the writer really think about the different aspects of publishing a book. By going through the steps to create a book proposal, the writer has also had to answer various questions about their manuscript which makes them better prepared for the publishing process. I know, I’ve used it myself. However, it does only lightly touch on exactly how to write the dreaded synopsis.

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Varuna newsletter March 2011 also has some advice. 

Author! Author! Blog 

This blog is written in a very accessible way and gives tips on How to Write a really good Synopsis.  Practical advice dished up with humour from the point of view of an editor and agency screener. Much of it is written tongue in cheek, nevertheless there is sound advice in there. It’s a UK blog but still relevant, especially if you are thinking of submitting work to the UK. Though, as I mentioned earlier, some of it conflicts with the advice given in ‘A Decent Proposal’ which is aimed at Australian authors.

The Author! Author! blog has loads of links to other pages with advice on book proposals, pitching a story, formatting and submitting a manuscript, editing as well as writing techniques.

Some of the advice that is on offer recommends chapter by chapter summaries, others say summaries should be avoided or that the chapters and scenes should be described rather than summarised. Some suggest writing a synopsis along the lines of a jacket blurb; others advise against it.

Most agree, though, that formatting should be in the style of a manuscript, with indented paragraphs and 1.5 line spacing; 2.5cm margins; 12 pt font. A running head with author name, book title and page numbers should be shown on each page (though the first page is optional). The book title and author name and the word ‘synopsis’ should appear at the beginning.

Successful Synopsis!

Have you written a successful synopsis?

Would you care to share it as an example?

Have you found some practical and sound advice about writing a successful synopsis?

Many writers are looking for advice, tips, templates or examples that will give them a strategy for writing their synopsis. Let us know what you think.

September 30, 2010

Celtic Handfasting ceremony and news of Varuna Fellowship

  

Congratulations to two dear friends and Season of Inspiration writers.

On a glorious Spring day on the Sydney harbour foreshore, I attended the Celtic Handfasting ceremony for Avril Carruthers and Roger Adam Smith in the grounds of Strickland House, Vaucluse; followed by a champagne picnic lunch and croquembouche. I enjoyed delightful company and delish food, as well as witnessing a traditional Celtic hand-fasting. It was such a pleasure to be part of the ceremony and share Avril and Roger’s joy. The pictures tell the story.

 

As well as being the author of Let Go of Your Past and Live, published Allen & Unwin, Avril also writes poetry and fiction and contributed to the Season of Inspiration Peacock Memosaic.

  

  

 Varuna Writing Fellowship 2011

Andrew Y M Kwong who has just been notified that he’s a recipient of a Varuna Writing Fellowship 2011. Andrew has been working on his memoirs of growing up in and eventually escaping Mao’s China. It is a gripping and heart-rending tale that vividly portrays the way the human spirit can flourish even in the worst of times. He’ll now have the opportunity to work intensively on his manuscript in consultation with Varuna’s Creative Director and Creative Team. Well done, Andrew. As well as being one of our Season of Inspiration writers who contributed to the Peacock Memosaic, Andrew has a story “Snake Business” in Fear Factor Terror Incognito, published Picador India and Australia. 

  

Andrew Y M Kwong with David Malouf and Rosie Scott at the Sydney Hughenden launch of 'Fear Factor Terror Incognito'.

 

Andrew on the panel at UTS TFC Fear Factor Terror Incognito event.

June 18, 2010

Writing On through the Winter Solstice

Writing On

The Season of Inspiration Alumni Forum ‘Writing On is a lively discussion forum at the moment with past and present Season of Inspiration writers re-connecting to discuss and critique their work. We’re also in the process of creating a Peacock Memosaic of Season of Inspiration stories and poems for publication. More later.


NSW Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference

Today, 18 June,  Andy Griffiths and Kristin Gill addressed the NSW CBCA Conference at the Menzies Hotel, Sydney.

http://www.indigenousliteracyproject.org.au/Events/EventDetail.aspx?ID=5

National Literacy Ambassador

Children’s book author, Deb Abela has recently been appointed as the National Literacy Ambassador. Deb Abela’s very popular books include Max Remy Superspy, the Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series and The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen (all highly recommended in my family). Deb was recently interviewed on ABC Sydney Radio.

The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen hits America!

National Literacy and Numeracy Week

The Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, has confirmed 29 August to 4 September as the dates for National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) in 2010.

Author News

Susanne Gervay

Susanne Gervay with book "Butterflies" at the British Council SCWBI launch in New Delhi, India

writes to say: “I am very proud that my new book ‘Always Jack’ has been endorsed by the

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Council.”

See the book trailer for this popular international best-seller at

http://www.sgervay.com/jackbooks.php


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Abdul Hekmat has published an opinion article in The Australian newspaper about the Hazaras demonstration in which thousands took part last Sunday. He has sent a link to his article at:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/hazaras-cry-from-the-heart/story-e6frg6zo-1225873734262

Abdul also writes: “Please find an article I have published on National Times; a leading online opinion section of Sydney Morning Herald, The age, Canberra Times, WAtoday and Brisbane Times. If you like please make any comments or burning issues you want to raise. Regards, Hekmat.”

http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/hardline-policy-on-asylum-seekers-wont-work-20100610-xzgv.html

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Dr Andrew Y M Kwong

Dr Andrew Y M Kwong with Dr Meenakshi Bharat and Sujata Sankranti at the launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito at The Hughenden, Sydney, Australia

is off to Varuna for a week to work intensively on his memoir manuscript. It is a gripping narrative that shows human nature at its worst and its best; and how the human spirit can rise from the depths with courage to overcome innumerable hurdles and fears to become an inspiration for others. Andrew has a story “Snake Business” in Fear Factor Terror Incognito; he has had stories published in several journals.


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Writing Tip for Today


The Winter Solstice is approaching for the Southern Hemisphere. Think of the stories you read that entertained you and kept you enthralled on a long, cold winter’s night. Write about these stories: what was it that made the stories memorable and gripping? How did the author achieve this? Think about the traditions of the Winter Solstice, the seasons and the cycle of life. Then begin writing your own story to entertain on a Winter’s night. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere and about to celebrate the Summer Solstice, write about what that means to you instead.

http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cms/astro/cosmos/*/Solstice

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

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