Hey cHEwY gum gums!

Last night, I went to the first CBCA Northern Suburbs Sub-Branch meeting of 2021, our first in-person meeting for over 9 months. It was great to see everyone again, even if it was brief. The spotlight was on three authors, who talked about their current and upcoming projects. One thing was clear, every author has their own way in researching their stories.

Belinda Murrell spoke about her love of researching history and places by taking research trips, disguised as a holiday. For her latest book, The Golden Tower, Belinda had some fun adventures in Italy, fascinated by brave women who were defiant in history, as well as fairy-tale creatures. She even stayed in a place that had it’s own golden tower and resident cats. It all makes for a great fantasy, time-slip novel, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Next up, we had my beloved poet friend, Wendy Blaxland. She wears her heart on her sleeve, as she spoke about how to get publish poetry. It’s not easy. However, she discovered a platform called Submittable where it lets you know which magazines, books, anthologies are accepting pieces. She’s also toyed with the idea of taking photos and matching her poems to them, mixing images and colours to suit the mood of her poem. It’s very cool, I never thought of poetry in that way before. But whether you print them out as postcards to sell on esty or try to get into the NSW Schools Magazine, there are avenues to get your poetry out there.

She goes for rhythm, not rhyme. And she brings whatever she likes or feels into her poems, they are so up-to-date and current.

Then we had Jacqueline Harvey, who continues to be a author powerhouse. Her books have had characters in all kinds of exotic places around the world and she has been to every place that her books are set…except she couldn’t travel to Egypt to do some ‘holiday research’ for her upcoming Alice Miranda book. When the pandemic stopped her plans, she used Google, asked her friends who went to Egypt to paint a vivid setting for her beloved character. In the end, it was almost like she went there. We all know how amazing it is that the Internet allows us to research, but you still have to do the legwork to make the story interesting.

One of the new visitors who came to our meeting was a man who is self-publishing his book about a boy who discovers how it is to be awesome. His spark was simply his own life experiences, including riding around on his motorbike travelling for 6 years.

It’s so cool to see different ways we tackle writing a story. How do you research your own stories? Let me know 🙂


About the author

I'm an author, stand-up comedian and teacher. My books include Thai-riffic!, Con-nerd, Punchlines and The Other Christy. I'm a massive Nintendo fan and love eating burgers. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @oliverwinfree

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