Yes, I’m still here. I missed you too. I’ve just submitted my new Thai-riffic! manuscript, making it Tight-riffic! for Heather. I’ve added three new stories and an extra 12,ooo words. More importantly, there’s a stronger beginning and ending. The short stories feel less like episodes and more like a continuation of Lengy’s journey as he starts high school. I’m thrilled to be given the chance (and time) to really iron out my characters.
I also went to Brisneyland for the CYA later Alligator! conference, as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival. What sets it apart from other festivals is the masterclass format. I had a jam-packed schedule of masterclasses (like uni all over again). Each class was run by an established author, and we got to pick their brains out like it was a zombie convention. Mmmmm author brains.
I found that there was a theme with the day. Well, more of a saying really. WRITING IS HARD WORK.
Every writer should be writing that out on a blackboard, Bart Simpson style.
Jackie French pointed out that half the people in the room will not become published authors. Everyone looked around for the authors in the room and moved closer next to them. She didn’t mean to scare anyone, if anything, I found that news inspiring, because it’ll just push me further. You have to work hard at your own writing. She said inspiration is conveinent and writers block is something writers make up to disguise the fact that what they’re writing is not working. That’s another tick in my notebook. Though I avoid writers block by bouncing across to other projects, so I don’t get bogged down with just one story.
She also praised editors, as magnificant teachers of writing. If something doesn’t work for an editor, it’s not going to work for anyone else. That’s why I took on all of Heather’s feedback for Thai-riffic! I’m way too close to my work to see these things, so I’m lucky that someone is able to see it with fresh eyes.
One thing that really got through to me. A draft only has to move you once. As I tackled my stories in Thai-riffic!, some of them were for the 20th time, I started to doubt whether parts of it were funny anymore. Something that cracked me up before, just doesn’t zing anymore. But it did back then, and that’s what counts. Jackie says that a manuscript needs to be reworked often, so that when the book does come out, the original manuscript would not be recognisable. And I can vouch for that. If I ever want to cringe or gasp, I look back on my earlier drafts…*EEEKKKK*
More on the rest of CYA later Alligator soon, but I’ll leave you on this inspiring quote from Jackie herself.
If you are capable of doing good, you are capable of doing VERY VERY VERY good. Just keep at it.