Friday, October 30, 2015

Cross-promotion for a friend: film reviews

Hey guys!

One of my friends from uni is about to embark on an epic reviewing-spree of his top 250 movies. He's put together a trailer on YouTube and is planning to review 25 movies a day for 10 days in December. This guy loves his films and is a bit crazy, so please check out the trailer and keep an eye on his blog in December.

It's a pretty awesome trailer--like, I'm seriously impressed and super excited for him to be doing this. You can find my friend at Not A Sexy Vampire. He's already put in a lot of work getting a head-start on writing those reviews, so a few extra readers come December would mean the world to him.

How are you all doing?


Monday, October 19, 2015


I handed in my final assignment of my undergraduate degree on Thursday night last week. It was a weird kind of feeling to hit that little submit button and know that was it, even though I'd hit that button so many times in the past three years. In all honestly, I just wanted to hurry up and get to bed, because I had to be up early the next morning and it was nearly midnight when I submitted the essay. It didn't really hit me that it was all done until I finished work the next day.

So what to do from here? I've been obsessively checking the uni site to see if any of my final assessment pieces for any of my subjects have been marked yet. So far, no. I must be patient. I read a small poetry collection before I got out of bed on Saturday morning, From Grapefruit to Grape. It's a collection of poetry by Matthew Rocca, who was a Deakin writing student years ago. He wrote the poetry while he was battling cancer and his sister helped him put the collection together. I managed to find a copy in the library at uni where I work. I finished reading A Storm of Swords part 1 on Sunday. The friend who bought the A Song of Ice and Fire books for me was pretty happy to hear that. It has been two years since he convinced our group of friends to pitch in some cash and buy it for my birthday, as he reminded me. I will try to get at least A Storm of Swords part 2 out of the way before summer's end. But I have other things to read too and I'm not very good and sitting down and demolishing a series one book after the other. I need to take a break and read something else in between. I'm just one of those people, I guess.

And in the next week or two, I'd like to have finished writing and have submitted my application for Honours next year. I have my heart set on doing a thesis on the representation of disability in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra, even though I have the option to do a creative writing thesis instead, as a creative writing major. I didn't do a literature major, but from what the course coordinator said at the info session we went to, it shouldn't matter as long as I've done some literature units; I've got a minor sequence in children's literature, and she said that should be fine as long as I've got good grades. Hopefully she goes through with her word and approves it. But this is really exciting to think about!

So the next few months will consist of me reading, writing, working, and possibly getting a head-start on some of my Honours research materials! I am EXCITED and I can't wait to read what everyone else has been doing with themselves now that I have time to visit your blogs again.

- Bonnee.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The End.

It's been nearly five months since I last posted something here. Admittedly, I'm a little disappointed with myself, although I know I shouldn't be. I've had a lot going on this year.

As well as being a full-time uni student in the final year of my undergraduate adventure, I was one of four editors producing Verandah, Deakin's annual literary journal. It was an amazing success, if I do say so myself. The launch was back in August. Wow, that was ages ago. It feels like it was last week. As editor-in-chief of the student magazine, I've also produced five editions of WORDLY, and continued to run the Deakin Writers Club which produces it.

All the while, I've continued working my jobs at the Library so that I can pay rent and bills. And save up for a new car. Because I crashed my car and they decided it was too old to be worth repairing, so they sent it to the wreckers. That was at the end of semester 1. It was like the crescendo, after which things finally calmed down, but they couldn't calm down until that happened. Semester 1 was rough with all of the commitments piling on top of each other, my boyfriend moving interstate for an internship at the end of the semester, and a bunch of personal stuff that I'm not going to go into here except to say that I was not in a good head-space for a long time there.

I hit rock bottom that day when I crashed; it really hadn't been a good day and I'm just glad no one was hurt, even if I lost my car. This second half of the year has been a hell of a lot better. I've still had my bad days. I've had some really fucking bad days. But even on my bad days, I know the feelings will pass, I'll move forward, I'll keep feeling better. I've got friends who will help me through anything and I know that it's okay to call the day off and let myself take a break when I need one without feeling endlessly guilty. This year was the first time I'd ever asked for an extension for an assignment. I haven't gotten as many this semester as I did in semester 1, but it's been good to know that the option to get a little extra time is there and that my teachers are, for the most part, understanding and compassionate people.

I still haven't gotten back into the swing of writing, but I think it's safe to say I'm past the major writers block that had me in its clutches earlier in the year. I'm planning to do NaNoWriMo next month. I'm finishing the major creative assignment I have for one of my subjects at uni, which is due this coming Friday. I'm preparing my Honours application, which I'll hopefully have submitting within the next fortnight. I've finished all my undergraduate classes and now I just have assignments to go and that's both exciting and terrifying and I'm happy with everything I have achieved despite the shitty year, but I'm also really sad to be leaving. I have a few close friends doing Honours with me, but there'll be people missing here and there. It won't be the same. But we're all going to be amazing.

So I'm not really sure what I wanted to tell you guys with this blog post other than justify why I hadn't been around for a few months and apologise and promise that I'll be back around again soon, although probably not as frequently as I used to be. But definitely more frequent than every five months! I'll be visiting the people I usually follow on their blogs soon, so if that's you, expect a comment from me in the next few weeks when I've finished drowning in assignments and can officially say that I'm free.

Lots of love (I have sincerely missed blogging and the people of the blogosphere).

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Haiku review: Big Hero 6

San Fransokyo.
Marshmallow man; microbots;
'Tadashi is here.'

Also, I can't get over how good this song is:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Miss Writing

Whoa, this whole blogging thing still isn't going well for me. It's been more than a month since my last blog post. What have I been up to since then? Not much in the writerly sense of things. My last post was before O'Week at my uni. I just about worked myself to death that week. But running the stall for the Deakin Writers Club was amazing. We got heaps of sign ups and handed out a lot of the O'Week edition of WORDLY. Speaking of: check it out online! We're having some trouble with this online version though--it seems that a few (really good!) pieces towards the end have disappeared for some viewers (though strangely not all) and we aren't sure why this is, and try as we might we haven't been able to fix it, which has been frustrating. But still, look at it! LOOK AT IT! IT'S SO PRETTY! 

I've managed to get together a couple of Deakin Writers Club events. Our first one was 'Lit-Mag Madness!' a couple of weeks into the Trimester, and it went really well! Especially considering I was winging it ... I organised it really last minute, and didn't put out notice for it until three days before it was scheduled ... somehow still ended up with thirty-ish people! It was great. One of the other Deakin Writers executives and I brought along our collection of literary magazines to show off and the whole point of the event was to show the members that there was an abundance of opportunities for them to get their work out there--they just had to know where to look. So I sat there talking at them for 5-10 minutes, just explaining some of the main ones we were showing off ... and then I decided they had to eat the food I brought them and socialise, so I told them to stand up, move around, talk to people and read some lit mags. Never in my life did I think it would work. I think the other executive's threat of making them play an awkward icebreaker game if they didn't start socialising might have given them that extra push, but still! Nek minet, all the writers socialising and talking! It was beautiful! Anyway, it was really fun and I talked to heaps of the members and I think people had a good time--at the very least, they enjoyed the free food, and the TimTams were the first thing to go, so I'll need to bring more of them next time.

I suppose I'll share here a couple of the things I showed the members at the event. First, there's this one page on the Australian Society of Authors website with a list of Australian journals and magazines they could submit to, and links to their information pages: Journals and Magazines.

I also shamelessly advertised Verandah Journal, which is the other magazine I'm on the editing team for, and you guys can submit to this one too, so check it out!

And then one of my lovely editors suggested we should put on a bit of writer-relevant music, which I can't remember whether or not I've shared here before, but here it is anyway. I quite enjoyed it:

That aside, I managed to get another event underway. Deakin Writers joined forces with Deakin TV club to host a script writing class, which we'll be following up with a script writing workshop after the Easter break. The only problem was that when I agreed with the DTV executive team on a date, I didn't have my week planner on me (because I'm an idiot who constantly leaves it at home), so I was relying on the fact that I know my class timetable off by heart and my work rosters get emailed to me. What I didn't take into account was that I'd been given an extra shift after the rosters came out, so a couple of days before the event, I looked at my week planner and realised I was working at the same time this script writing workshop was meant to be happening. Very devastating. We were able to continue running it even though I wasn't going to be there, but I felt so bad for suddenly ditching the team! Note to self: bring week planner, ALWAYS! 

Luckily for me, there was leftover pizza from the event, and the other Deakin Writers executive who worked on the event was waiting for me after work with a box. What a gem. Bloody legend. She even saved me some garlic bread. This is friendship. 

I've done no writing or editing for myself since before the summer holidays end, which I hope to rectify shortly, as we are going on our mid-trimester break next week. I still have work and I still have assignments, but hopefully I'll find time to get something written for the next edition of WORDLY. The theme is 'Freedom of Expression' and I'm really looking forward to all of it because we're working in partnership with Querelle, which is being published by Deakin students this year too! While the Querelle audience will be the queer-identifying community, WORDLY's will be broader, but we're sharing the same theme and the idea is to create some hype for them, especially among the Deakin students. They're great to work with, especially considering half of their editorial committee are either current or previous WORDLY editors, so we already know each other and find it easy to communicate. I'm hoping to contribute to Querelle this year as well, but first I must figure out what to write and then I must find time to write it! HOPEFULLY THESE TWO THINGS WILL HAPPEN THIS WEEK!

In other news, I'm not going to bother touching WALLS until the mid-year break. I don't have time to work consistently on any large projects at the moment and frankly I might actually die if I try to do anymore work at this point (and I haven't even CONSIDERED my assignments yet!). My plan for mid-year break is to dedicate every spare moment I have to editing and rewriting WALLS and then I'll be seeking a beta reader or two (probably people from my course at uni) to look at it over Trimester 2. If all goes according to plan, hopefully they'll have finished looking at it for me by the end of T2 and then I'll have the summer to incorporate whatever edits and suggestions they make and then I'll be able to consider what the next step I'm going to take is. Hopefully, the next step will be sending it to a professional of some description: either a professional manuscript evaluation person from Writers Victoria, or to a literary agent, depending on where I feel the novel is at. And of course, I'll be attempting to do NaNoWriMo again come November. I know that's quite a while ahead, but looking ahead to where I want to be is the only way for me to get through the slush-pile of work and study that I'm stuck in right now. I miss writing and I know I can't make sufficient time for it until then, so I'll patiently look forward to it instead. 

That's all for now. I'll try to be a little more blog-active over the next week for mid-trimester break. Happy Easter to those who celebrate it and Happy International Chocolate Indulgence Day to everybody else. :) 

What are you working on? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You: What have you been up to? Me: A lot.

Whoa, it's been quite a while! I haven't blogged since the very start of December and a lot has happened since then!

'What constitutes a lot?' you may ask.

Well, for starters, I was suddenly thrown into full-time work in December, which was a good experience both for my resume and my bank account. The best part of this was that it was editing--yay for industry experience! The not-so-great part of it was staring at an Excel spreadsheet for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This job was, you guessed it, through the uni, just like all my other jobs, because for one reason or another, apparently I'm super employable. What was I editing? Deakin University has teamed up with IBM to develop this thing called Watson, which is basically this program that we have taught to answer Deakin-related questions by getting all all the cohorts in the university to compile a list of questions they get (in all the different ways they can be asked) and then making a whole bunch of answers. So I was first of all helping the customer service team answer their questions and then spent a couple of weeks after that helping to make sure all the answers from everywhere were written properly and in a certain way. This program has now been launched so that new students can use it to get information about Deakin.

So I was doing that until just before Christmas, and then a couple of days before Christmas, my best friend from high school and I went for a bit of a road-trip. Well, two hours isn't that far to travel, but the point is we drove from the eastern suburbs of Melbourne to Torquay for an afternoon and slept in a tent for two nights. Our adventures while we were in Torquay included eating fish and chips on the beach, taking many silly photos, having very meaningful conversations, cooking breakfast on her little camp stove, going to a spa and getting massages, meeting up with an old high school teacher who had moved to Torquay very suddenly a few years earlier, before we graduated, eating a lot of cheese (we have a severe addiction to brie) and watching The Fault In Our Stars on her laptop. It was a lovely and much needed vacation!

Then Christmas happened. Nuff said. I put on about seven kilos and I'm still working on putting them back off (pants, plz, fit me!). But seriously, Christmas for me is just binge-eating with family. And I have to spend it with two families, so that's two very big meals in one day. Worth it. For Christmas, I got a GPS, which will come in handy next time I try to find my high school friend's house (I've driven to her house twice now and gotten lost both times). I also decided to get the piercing at the top of my ear redone, after it got infected and closed up a few years ago. So far, no infection. I've been taking extra good care of it and I've decided that if there's no sign of an infection after three months, I'm getting another three piercings. Going for the Winry Rockbell look (any FMA fans out there?).

And what's my excuse for not blogging after Christmas? I have been a headless chook. That's my excuse. I took on a big part of the administrative role in the Verandah Journal team of editors, including secretary, which leaves me writing agendas and taking the minutes for all the team meetings, as well as helping send out emails to potential sponsors and organising the stall we'll be selling our back-issues at (and promoting submissions for the new edition) during Orientation Week at Deakin. The latter task has proved to be quite difficult and stressful.

(Intermission ... for the Attack on Titan fans in my life) 

On top of that, I've been producing the O'Week edition of the student magazine WORDLY. Seeing as the entire production team is on summer holidays and people are travelling or taking summer classes or working a lot, on top of the fact that this is probably the hardest edition to get people to submit to because most are too busy soaking up the summer sun to write for us, this one has been a hard one to pull together. This is also the first edition where I am officially editor-in-chief and production manager without last year's team right there for back-up (although they did still give us a hand when we asked, because they're awesome). So we've had a lot of tight deadlines to meet this edition, but now we've sent the file to the printer and we'll be receiving our boxes full of WORDLYs on Friday, right on time for O'Week next week.

And then, with WORDLY comes the Deakin Writers Club. Actually, it's the other way around. WORDLY is brought to you by Deakin Writers. But basically, there's been executive team training and organising an O'Week stall (yes, I've organised two O'Week stalls and I will work shifts on both of them). Organising this stall wasn't half as troublesome as organising the Verandah stall--it was basically given to us, because we're a DUSA club. I just had to fill out a form. The stressful part about the Deakin Writers O'Week stuff is putting together membership sign-up packages. These are intended mostly for new members, and contain a back-issue or two from last year as well as the new edition. We're also hoping to include some flyers and stuff from a few Melbourne-based writerly organisations, namely the Emerging Writers' Festival. I'm even making a trip to The Wheeler Centre tomorrow to pick them up from their head office.

I'm also working in the Library one day every week in a permanent position for the year, covering for one of the full-timers there who's returning to study. Once Trimester 1 starts up, I'll also be back in the swing of my Student Rover job. I'll also be back to classes and studying and essay-writing. No creative writing units this Trimester; I've got three philosophy units and a children's literature unit, but I'm sure this Trimester will still be great! Except the Timetable Gods are vengeful--as punishment for managing to fit all of my classes into one day last Trimester of last year, this year I've been forced to spread them over four days. It's still a measly eight hours of class all together, two on each of the days I have to go in. I don't have class on Wednesdays. I do have class on Fridays. In fact, one of my classes was only available on Fridays, which was especially unfortunate for me, because Fridays is the day I'm always rostered on in the library. In order to keep this position, I had to put my hand up for the early shift. So, I'm really NOT a morning person, and I thought starting work at 9AM and working through until 5PM wasn't fantastic ... but the early shift, once Trimester 1 starts, means I start work at 7:30AM and work through until 3PM, at which point I race off to a philosophy seminar for two hours before going home. The shift is actually meant to go until 3:30, but the last half hour is meant for checking emails, making sure everything you were meant to do is done, tidying your desk, submitting your timesheet, etc ... so I spoke to my manager about it and basically I just get half an hour less pay, but that's alright with me if it means I don't have to skip class. Yes, I'm a nerd, what of it?

What else? I've been editing a friend's manuscript on and off. I'm about 50 pages in. It's quite an enjoyable read, when I've actually got time. It's children's literature and I think he's got a really great voice going for him, at least with this particular story. I wish I could read it faster for him. He actually gave it to me back in September and I just never got around to it until New Year rolled around. Hopefully I'll give it back to him this Trimester at uni. I've done bugger-all of my own writing or editing--WALLS has been completely neglected. It is literally a pile of pages hiding underneath my bed right now. I wrote a feature spread for the O'Week edition of WORDLY and worked with one of the other editors on it, but aside from than, no new material out of me. One of my friends at uni was involved in organising and running the Digital Writers' Festival and asked me to promote them a little, so I managed to 'attend' some of their events (online) and Tweet about them from the @DeakinWriters and @WORDLYMagazine accounts. My boyfriend and I started hiking together. We've gone four times this month for about two hours each time. I've started swimming laps again, which is something I haven't done since early high school. And just generally, I've been keeping up my social appearances with friends where I can. Even though I haven't done any writing for myself, I've got a lot of stuff I'd like to write in my head, from children's literature analyses about Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra (OMG DID ANYONE SEE THE FINALE OF KORRA OMG I WAS SO HAPPY), to another YA dystopia/post-apocalyptic/borderline science-fiction story idea I'd like to try and execute.

(How I'm feeling now ... except I don't think I'm quite that cute.) 

My boyfriend was meant to move to South Australia for an internship last month, but that's been delayed for about six months, so we're living together. It's kinda sad, I just want him to hurry up and go so that he can hurry up and come back. I also preemptively took on a lot of work (see everything I've listed above) so that I'd be able to keep myself busy while he was gone and make it easier to deal with, but now that he isn't going, I feel like I've taken on too much. The busiest part of it (particularly the production of Verandah Journal) will all be over before he leaves. I suppose I've got to grin and bare it, though. When I make a commitment, I stick to it, and a lot of these aren't commitments I can back out of easily ... I just need to make sure I don't accidentally get given any more jobs, or I'll have seriously screwed myself over. I feel a little overwhelmed at the moment, but I know it's just a matter of getting used to, taking a deep breath and realising none of it is that hard. I just have to be organised and stay on top of everything. I say that now, but let's see how I actually manage everything as this first Trimester of uni gets started.

Well, this post has been long and rambly. It's 11:30 at night over here and I want to be at The Wheeler Centre pretty early tomorrow morning, so I'm going to throw in the towel now and hopefully I'll pick it up and write another blog post before several months have slipped away in silence.

I apologise for any typos or grammatical errors. I am too sleepy for that kind of coherency.

What's everyone else been up to?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Guest Speaking

Well, NaNoWriMo is over and I managed to hit 50K before the month was up and validate everything, so I'm happy. The story I was working on, working title CHERISH, still has a long way to go before I can say the first draft is finished, but I'll keep slowly moving forward with it. I can't say I love it as much as I loved WALLS, but we'll see what happens by the end of it and after a few rounds of editing.

In other news, last week, I was a guest speaker at the school my mother works at. The year 5/6 teacher wanted someone to speak to her class about writing and the writing process, so my mother volunteered me. They were a good bunch of kids and the teacher said I could talk for as long as I want--the longer the better and if I could take up their whole morning before recess then that would be great. I thought I'd speak for maybe an hour at the most and then be on my merry way ... I might have underestimated the enthusiasm of these children.

I had two things which the teacher agreed I should talk about: the process of writing and editing and producing WORDLY Magazine and also the process of writing and editing my own creative pieces, especially my novels. I spent maybe a whole 10 minutes talking about the student magazine and the editing process and when I finished explaining the three stages of editing submissions, I asked if there were any questions, and one of the little tykes popped their hand up and asked, 'What's your favourite part about writing?'

Me: 'Well, that segues nicely into my next topic ... '

Teacher up the back of the room: *rolls eyes at my use of the word 'segue'*.

I ended up spending the following hour and a half talking about the process of novel writing and the art of editing a large piece. I started by taking them back to my first attempt at novel writing, which happened on a girl guides camp on a notepad one weekend in November in early high school. I told them about the project my English teacher gave us in year eight, where seven other girls collaborated with me to write a novel for an assessment piece and I was in charge of editing all the different styles of writing they came out with so the piece flowed and matched up. Then I talked about my first serious and successful attempt at writing a novel, when I wrote EVERGREEN: A FALLEN STAR for a subject my school designed for the year nine students called the Journey Project, and how it was self coordinated and we had to do a big evaluation at the end, and my first draft was over 80K at the end of the year, but how I'd edited it more time than I can count and cut it down to about 65K and let a friend read over it for me and give me some constructive criticism and how I've now put that novel aside because I'm planning to re-write it after I finish my children's literature minor study at University. I told them about writing KATHERINE in year 12, and writing WALLS for NaNoWriMo last year, and how I printed the manuscript off and blue tacked it to the walls of my bedroom on res. I showed them a photo of one of the walls, all covered in pages--their reactions were great. But their best reactions was when I told them how long it was when it was finished--88,732 words of first draft.

Basically, I was trying to tell them that it was okay for them not to get everything right the first time, and that it was normal to have to write and rewrite and edit many times before their work was at a high standard--and that they should work hard and be dedicated to their writing if they wanted to do something with it. I got to tell them about NaNoWriMo and challenging yourself and writing to a deadline, and writing a lot of words to a deadline. I left that website with the teacher for future reference, and I also left them a link to a novella competition for high school students (Somerset National Novella Writing Competition, which was where I tried to submit KATERINE back in 2012) as the year 6 portion of the class would be moving on to high school next year.

They had so many questions for me about the stories I'd written and what it was like to study writing at university. I think that's what took up most of our time was questions and answers. But I'm glad they had questions, because it prompted me to say things to them that I might have forgotten to mention otherwise. They asked me about who and what inspired me to write, and what my favourite book was, what genres I like to write and how much I have to write just for university. One of the kids even asked if I'd come back and read them something I've written--maybe I will.

But it was a really good morning and I think the kids were really engaged with what I was saying. The teacher commented to me afterwards that she hadn't expected them to be so quiet for me and listen so well, so she thought that getting someone to actually come in and talk to them--someone who wasn't too much older than them, still a student, but out there really doing as much as possible with their writing--was going to help encourage them to go for it in the future. My mum told me a few days later that the teacher had ended up telling her that I'd even inspired her to pick up a pen and start writing again, so I feel rather flattered!

So, if you ever get a chance to talk to young minds about writing, don't let the opportunity slip away. Who knows, maybe you'll inspire them to give a serious attempt at writing a try.

What have you all been up to, fellow writers? 

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