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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

As 2013 Approaches


This is Katherine.
She is currently on the other side of the country.
Merry Christmas all! Or whatever else you might celebrate out there. 

As 2013 approaches, I think it is important that all us writers take a moment to think about our goals. Actually, New Years tends to be a good time for everybody to think about their goals. But because I'm a writer and this is my blog, of course my goals are going to focus on writing. 

I'm hoping to start and complete at least one if not two bigger writing projects in the new year. What is everybody else aiming for? 

- Bonnee. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The LOOK Meme: Snippet from my new WiP

My apologies to followers: this blog was meant to be posted over 10 days ago, before I went on a little holiday. But knowing that I wasn't going to have time to post it manually, I tried to schedule it to post itself and it didn't work. Hmph... Well, here you go anyawy! 

It might no longer be November, but that certainly isn't going to stop me from writing. So after printing off Katherine and express posting her to the other side of the country in time to enter the novella competition, I started planning out my next WiP. The working title of this one is Walls, and it's going to be a Young Adult/Dystopian. As I struggled along with the planning, I felt the need to take a break and write something... so I cranked out what would be the prologue, except that I know it's just a huge stupid info-dump that I'll end up deleting in the very first revision.

That said, JeffO from The Doubting Writer tagged me in the LOOK Meme, the idea of which is to find the first use of the word 'look' in your WiP and share it along with with some of its surrounding text. I decide to search the measly 796 words I'd written to see if I'd used it, and sure enough, word 357...

    In Lani’s absence, Mildred leaned into her brother again. “Jonah, what if they don’t let us through?”
    “They have to, Mil,” he said, rubbing her arm. “We’re good people looking for safety. They have to help us.” Their small family was processed along with every other family without identification. Jonah had to let her go to put an arm around their mother when she started weeping. “It’s okay, Mum. We’re safe here.” Mildred knew as well as her brother that his words would not console her. Their father was the only one who ever could when she lost her grip, and he had left The South before them to help keep the peace elsewhere.

Yeah, yeah, I know it sucks. Like I said; I already know I'm going to end up deleting what I have so far... most likely anyway.

Tagging time: 

1. Giora who always shares so much info about his book's setting, but who I would love to see an except from.

2. EJ, my fellow Aussie who recently mentioned that she needed a spark to get her back into writing. It would be awesome to see someone else who writes with Australianisms (mum instead of mom, colour instead of color, etc.) even if there's none in the excerpt.

3. Fiona, who's current WiP I believe is called Erase. I'd love to see a little snippet from you as you hurtle towards the finish-line.

Of course, I'd love to see something from EVERYONE, so feel free to participate anyway, and let me know so that I can check it out! And of course, if those tagged didn't want to share anything, that's okay too.

- Bonnee.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thoughts: 'Paper Menagerie' by Ken Liu

First of all, NaNoWriMo is coming to an end! I reached my goals. Did you? That's great if you did, and better luck next time if you didn't. What happens next though? I think Chuck Wendig answers that question rather... colourfully... over at his blog in the post about wasting your efforts.

But on another note, today I wanted to talk about a short story that has won all three of Science-Fiction's major awards: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award. I just so happen to be talking about Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu. I'll thank Nathan Bransford for the link to the story he left on his blog, where I read it just minutes ago.

First of all, let me just say that I have a soft-spot for sad stories. The themes presented somewhat reminded me of the stories in Haruki Murakami's after the quake, which you've heard me gushing over plenty of times before. However, at the same time, it was a completely different experience. I really loved the story overall. My only issue was the (SPOILER ALERT) long letter at the end from Jack's mother, giving her life story. It seemed like an info-dump to me, but placing it at the very end of the story resolved some unanswered questions and tied things up nicely. Paper Menagerie is well written, heavily sentimental and presents real issues faced by some children from interracial families, whilst weaving the scenes with a touch of Chinese magic.

After reading the story, I continued to read the comments left by other readers. I was SHOCKED to see so many negative reviews slamming it! Initially, it really pissed me off and I sat there thinking what a bunch of thoughtless, narrow-minded pigs. And while I still hold some of that resentment, I've taken a step back to consider why those people reacted that way. Yes, it was a very sentimental and melodramatic story. That's part of why I enjoyed it, but I guess other people have different preferences to me.

Although I really did love this story, admittedly, I am among those who are surprised that it won all three of those awards. I didn't feel it represented the genre of science-fiction as well as the winner of those awards should have. Science-fiction isn't really my genre though (yet fantasy is? Is that weird?), so I probably ought not be the judge of it.

So there's two things we can all discuss in the comments: How did your NaNoWriMo go and what is your take on Paper Menageries

- Bonnee.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Achievement Unlocked: x < 20K

It's 12:30am and I just felt the bittersweet success of reaching my goal. Katherine is now 19,817 words, and I still have one last chapter to edit. But the point is that she is now small enough to be submitted to the 2013 Somerset National Novella Writing Competition.

Saving that last chapter for tomorrow. I think it's time to sleep!

Have you unlocked your achievements this NaNoWriMo?

- Bonnee.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Surreal Feeling: Finishing 'Katherine'

What did I just do? I just finished writing the first draft of Katherine. It doesn't feel real!

I started writing Katherine in June this year. Five months later and she is 25,707 words long. That's 5,707 words over the limit to put her into the Novella competition, but there is still time to edit. My goal over the next few days is to transform her into something a little more concise. I already have an idea which entire scenes I can backspace, although I'll be saving a copy of the first draft for the expected no-win of this competition, so that I can put her into the Text Prize competition next year and whatever else comes along.

The reality of finishing my second full manuscript hasn't quite hit me yet, but I assure you that I am brimming with excitement right now!

How is everybody else going with their writing or revision goals? NaNoWriMo? Do share! I'd love to have a discussion!

- Bonnee.

Monday, November 19, 2012

All Done!

Thank you to all of you lovely people out there who have been supportive of me while I neglected you to study for my yr 12 exams! I'm happy to announce that IT'S OVER and I sat my last exam today.

To be perfectly honest, I was afraid I was going to be like a few of my friends who finished their last exams last week, and didn't know what to do with themselves because they didn't have to study. But I know EXACTLY what to do with myself.

Dear Katherine, 
I should have finished you WEEKS ago! I am so sorry for neglecting you more than I neglected my blog, my beautiful new creation. But exams are over and I am on my way to write your last few chapters and edit the living (%@! out of you so that you're under 20,000 words and I can put in in that novella competition. I promise I'll give you an awesome ending, and get Mrs Goulding to read you, and I'll print you out and send you away before 5th December.
Lots of love
- Bonnee (your mommy...)

If the rest of you didn't pick up on it, I'm going to write my brains out. I miss it so much! So wish me luck and please let me know how all of your NaNoWriMos are going, or whatever other goal you set for yourself this month with revisions and editing!

- Bonnee.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Inspired by a Song

Have you ever been inspired to write something because of a song you've heard? Or even just a part of a story?

It happened a few years ago for me. I was listening to Lips of an Angel by Hinder and the idea for a story just came to me. I'm sure the basic storyline is a cliche. The love triangle. But I always wonder how authors put their own twists on the same cliche to make it interesting, stop it from being boring and keep the readers engaged.


More recently, I've been listening to Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and it's inspiring me to write something about a woman finding her strength and standing up for herself. Or maybe not even a woman. Someone of a minority, or an underdog, a victim. Standing up and shaking off the pain. Learning to be strong.



What songs have inspired you?

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Text Prize by Text Publishing (Aus, NZ)

Source: http://textpublishing.com.au/about-text/the-text-prize 
Calling all Australian and New Zealand writers!

Submission for the 2013 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing opens on 4th March 2013 and closes on 29th March, 2013. 

Do you have a novel you would like to receive a $10,000 contract with Text Publishing for? This competition is open to all Australian and New Zealand writers, both published and unpublished, of all ages. 

Click on the link above to go to the Text Publishing website, directly to the page containing information about The Text Prize. From there, you can also download the 2013 entry form and read more information about the competition. 

I hope to give this competition a crack myself. Best of luck to any other Australians and Kiwis who want to give it a shot! I'd love to hear from you if you decide to participate and I'd be happy to chat about it as you make progress. Start writing! 

(Thank you to Greg Gorton for sending me the link in the first place.) 

- Bonnee. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Australian Literature

So I graduated last week. Classes are finished and school is out! Over the first 19 days of November, I will sit 5 exams which will hopefully give me the score I need to get into my first-preference course at Deakin University next year.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about what this summer will hold for me, and I've narrowed it down to four main things: Reading, Writing, Working my ass off and Socializing. Of course, I've already made a big start of that second one, as I told you in my previous post about what my NaNoWriMo endeavours are. But yesterday, I decided to kick-start the reading aspect. It was a toss up with what to read first: The Hunger Games trilogy, or the 7 books of the Tomorrow series. Considering I'd already read the first of the Tomorrow series (three or four years ago, admittedly), I decided to pick up the second book and start reading that.

I heard about the Tomorrow series around the same time I heard about The Hunger Games, but before THG became a big thing in Australia. After talking to some of my international friends, I realize that a lot of you probably have never heard of Tomorrow, When the War Began or the other books in the Tomorrow series, but they are bloody amazing, Australian-written books by a great author, John Marsden. In short, the Tomorrow series is about a group of eight Aussie teenagers who go bush-bashing (camping) one week over their summer break, and return home to find that their town and country has been invaded by an unidentified foreign nation. The series follows this group of teenagers through their fight to avoid being killed or captured while they try to do what little they can to fight the enemy, guerrilla style. I loved Tomorrow, When the War Began, and now almost 150 pages into book two, The Dead of the Night, I'm eager to finish reading the whole series this summer.

But reading this series makes me think about literature written and set in Australia, by Australians. And especially when it focuses on aspects unique to Australia: our cities, wildlife, climate, etc. Some of these things, I hope to incorporate into Katherine, but that isn't the focus. Katherine is focused on issues that are can be experienced all over the world. Then I thought, there's nothing stopping me from writing something that has a bigger focus on Australia as a setting after I finish the things that are already on my to-write list. I am an Australian, living in Australia. There is plenty I could write about and share.

The question is then, what do you guys want to read about if I write about Australia? Do you even want to read about Australia at all? Or do you think I'd be better off making other Australians my target audience?

- Bonnee.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo

Who's participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

Most likely, I'm down for the count. My exams are during November... sadness. However, there's only five exams and they're over by the 19th. There is certainly nothing stopping me from doing a buttload of writing anyway. My first endeavour is to finish writing Katherine, which is a perfectly achievable goal. Considering the lack of detailed planning I made, I'm severely impressed that the first draft has gone this smoothly so far. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep it under 20,000 words and it will be eligible for a novella competition.

Second on the agenda is my goal to transform a fanfiction I am writing into a full-length original novel. It's not quite finished in it's fanfiction form yet, but there are many things that will be different by the time I'm through with it. So I'm excited.

What are your NaNoWriMo goals?

- Bonnee.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Workshop Result

After reading the criticism I asked for the other week on a massage I shared, I reworked the excerpt with everything in mind, picking out what I agreed and disagreed on changing. It's safe to say that I am much more satisfied with this short piece now. So a big thank you to everyone who gave me feedback! Though there were some points I had to disagree on because it clashed with style, etc, your input was much appreciated and a great help!

They walked back, around the perimeter of the school. The rain had let up and sunlight was breaking through the clouds, reflecting off puddles and the wet cement beneath their feet. Between the tall buildings and meticulously planted trees, the walls surrounding the city stared at them: a constant reminder of the too-structured society which smothered them: the same society that kept them safe from the dangers of the outside world; dangers that his father was causing, dangers that her father was fighting. 

Now I'd like to ask for everyone to look at it again. There are a couple of specifics I want to ask you about.

1) The second sentence. 'The rain had let up and sunlight was breaking through the clouds, reflecting off puddles and the wet cement beneath their feet.' I still think this is a little choppy, especially after the comma. What do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree? Any suggestions? Throw them at me :)

2) In the original excerpt, Giora pointed out that my last sentence was too long. I agreed. But in editing, I've only been able to make it longer. Now I'm reluctant to shorten it again, but I feel it is necessary. I've used two colons and a semi-colon to break it up though, so I'm not sure if I'm just being too critical or whether I'm right in feeling this need to change it. Reading it, I love the way it reads. I just don't feel comfortable with the length. I'm considering breaking it into a second sentence at the colon '...which smothered them: the same society...' and simply playing around with words to start the new sentence properly. What do people out there suggest?

If there are any other points of criticism you'd like to bring up, please feel free, though I'd appreciate new stuff rather than a repetition of comments from the previous entry.

Any snippets you'd like to share?

- Bonnee.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rainbow Highlighters Make EVERYTHING Better

I'm still alive, nobody panic! I've just been studying (procrastinating) and completing practice exams despite the fact that the past two weeks have been school holidays. My real final exams are less than a month away, and wow, where did the time go? I am so nervous, but so excited. Cannot wait to be finished with high-school!

Anyway, I brought my awesome packet of highlighters into my English and Literature practice exams because I knew there were passages we'd have to read and analyse and write an essay for... It wasn't quite as fun on the English exam, but I went to town and had a ball with the Literature exam :) 

Let's just say, the exam paper was a lot more colourful when I gave it back than it was when they'd first given it to me. 

What's everyone else been up to? Writing much?
- Bonnee. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Excerpt Workshop! Please Leave Criticism


With a lack of anything else to post, I decided a little bit of work-shopping would be fun. So here's an excerpt from a fanfiction I'm working on, which I would like to turn into an original piece. This particular segment is one of my favourites, but I think it could be much improved on. While there is a lot I would like to add after doing a bit of world-building and turning the whole thing into my own story, I wanted to hear what people out there thought. So tell me, what do you like, what don't you like, what should I keep, scrap and maybe even add? Tear it apart! Go! 

They walked back to the school and around the perimeter of the grounds. The rain had let up and sunlight was starting to break through the clouds. Between the tall buildings and carefully planted trees, the walls surrounding the city peeked at them; a constant reminder of the too-structured society keeping them safe from the dangers of the outside world; dangers that his father was causing, and dangers that her father was fighting against. 
Have you guys got a particular passage from your current WIP that you love, but you would like to see made better? Feel free to share it in the comments below (keep it short-ish) and I'll happily read and give criticism in return. Inviting all bloggers to take part in criticizing my excerpt and the excerpts of others who post in the comments! Or if you'd like to do something like this in your own blogpost, just let me know and I'll pop over and take a look.

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

School, University, Writing: Update!

So I figured that, because I pretty much disappeared off the face of the earth for the past little while, I ought to give you a run-down on what's been happening on my end.

It's the last week of term, and then I'll have a two week holiday (in which I am required to attend practice exams at school and commit myself to a lot of private study) and then two more weeks of classes before, boom, it's over. My first exam is on November 1st. So I'm studying up and I'm going to have to read over the texts I'm writing on for my English and Literature exams. But that's okay, I'm happy. It's just scary and stressful, but I know that I can do this.

But then come my applications for university next year. I've been saying I'll do the Bachelor of Professional Communications and Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing and my mum really wants me to do it because it's closer to home than most other things I've been looking at, and my auntie lives close to the campus so I can stay with her (not likely, I'm not staying in a household with two of the most out of control kids to ever exist..). But I've been looking more closely at the other courses I've got on my list, and I want to do Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Writing) more.  Problem? Apparently so, because it's "too far away from home". Well, I like this course more, I can actually major in what I want to major in (editing) and I WANT to move to the city, even if it is away from home. *sigh* Family dramas...

On a more positive note: I've written some more on Katherine. Slow and steady wins the race: I have eight or so chapters with word-counts around the 1000-2000 mark. Study comes before writing at the moment, but I really want to finish it in time to submit to a Novella competition my teacher gave me info about. Hopefully I don't overshoot the 20,000 word limit...

Meanwhile, a fanfiction I've been working on over at my Fanfiction.Net account is going well, and I'm thinking of transforming it into an original (it already basically is, I'm just using the characters to my favourite T.V show instead of making some up).

I've also made a pretty big decision about Evergreen. I'm putting it on hold for now. No matter what university course I choose, I'm going to improve my writing and editing skills. Evergreen needs a lot of work, and there is a lot I want to change, add and take out. I'd like to get those skills under my belt before I cause any damage. My mind is racing with ideas and I want to make this manuscript the best it can be before I throw it to the sharks at an agency. So wish me luck.

So that's my run-down. What's everyone else been up to lately? I apologize for not reading other people's blogs lately, I'll come back to you all soon. But please do expect an inconsistency in my attention to Blogger until after my exams.

- Bonnee.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rainbow Books

I actually really, really, HATE highlighting, annotating or otherwise making a mark in a book that I've read or am reading. I feel like I'm degrading the author's masterpiece and destroying something that was perfect every time I do such a thing. But for the sake of my own education, my copy of Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose has been transformed into a rainbow, because SOMEBODY decided not to give the character's names, which wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that I need to write a text response on this book later this month, which means I have to know which character said what. Colour-coded jurors for the win!!!

I'm just saying, 11th Juror is awesome.

10th Juror: Bright? He's a common ignorant slob. He don't even speak good English.
11th Juror: Doesn't even speak good English. 

Aah the irony of the German immigrant having better English skills than everybody else.

11th Juror: I beg pardon...
7th Juror: "I beg pardon?" What are you so polite about?
11th Juror: For the same reason you are not: it's the way I was brought up. 

Owned :)

I like this play, if you couldn't tell.

What are your thoughts on making markings in a book? I want to shoot myself a little more every time I do it. How does it make you feel? 

- Bonnee.

P.S - Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Writer's Update: 100%

First of all, I'd like to apologize for being absent from blogspot for the last little while. I'll come and read peoples blogs again soon!

Secondly, I'm proud to announce that I finished reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. While it was really had to get into, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I am studying this non-fiction novel for literature. It's the last text we study this year, and I will be doing a close analysis on it and some of William Blake's poetry on the exam. I'll recommend this book. There is a lot of seemingly unnecessary detail, but it's all part of the style and Capote's aim to communicate the facts of the Clutter family and their murderers.

Next, I'd like to brag: Remember how I mentioned that for my literature assessment after studying Haruki Murakami's short stories from the collection after the quake, I had to write a short story mimicking his style? Well, I got my results yesterday. I got 100% and I was over the moon about it. Literally did a bit of a happy dance and almost cried. Ha ha :)

In other news, I wrote another chapter of Katherine, accepted the fact that I need to put Evergreen away until I have more time to concentrate on the edits and started writing a new fanfiction for the first time in like, two years. Any Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic readers out there? The link to my FanFiction.Net profile is in the Find Me tab.

That's all this little author has to share for now. What has everyone else been up to? Promising to come and read everyone else's blog soon!

- Bonnee.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Motivating Small Children to Write

Joseph Ramirez asked me to do a guest post on his blog about the three 'teachers' that have influenced my writing the most. Go check it out!!! :) 

Speaking of teachers... My mum is a primary school teacher and asked me the other night if I could print out old drafts and current drafts of some of my stories, including Evergreen, so that she could show her kids how a story develops, from initial writing, editing, rewriting and repetition of the process. The aim of this is to motivate them with their own writing work and encourage them to actually put some effort in when they proof-read, editing and rewrite.

She wants to read a chapter of Evergreen to them every week... At this point, Evergreen has a pretty poor sense of consistency due to the amount of changes I've made in the first chapter alone, and the lack of editing I've done in the rest of the story.

I wonder how this will turn out :) 

- Bonnee. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Writer's Update and the Liebster Blog Award

I found a bit of time today and yesterday to just WRITE! At long last... the downsides of being a writer in your final year of high-school. 

Yesterday, I wrote a short story in practice for my literature assessment task next week. This had to be done in the style of Haruki Murakami's stories as seen in his collection after the quake, and revolve around similar themes so that it could become part of the collection. In writing this, I also conceived the idea of a new, bigger writing project which I'm actually really excited about. Moments later, the lovely Mrs Goulding came up to me with entry forms and information about a novella competition for Australian high-school aged kids. Hello opportunity! 

But then I thought about it... the deadline is December 5th and this new idea is nowhere near ready to start baking. Oh wait, I'm already working on something! KATHERINE! So guess who wrote another chapter for Katherine? I did :) And if I can finish it by the deadline and keep it between 10,000 and 20,000 words, it can go into the competition. Wew! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Be Inspired Bloghop Meme

Thank you to JeffO for getting me into the Be Inspired Bloghop Meme. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to answer these questions according to Evergreen: A Fallen Star, or Katherine, so I've decided to do both. Hope nobody minds, and if one doesn't interest you, ignore it and concentrate on the other! :)

1. What is the name of your book?
Evergreen: A Fallen Star
Katherine

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
Evergreen - I always loved Asian cultures as a child, especially Chinese and Japanese, and I am slightly obsessed with anime. When I was originally writing fanfictions for Avatar: The Last Airbender, I ended up thinking of a completely new character who I made the childhood friend of one of my favourite characters from the series. In my head, I turned him into a character of my own and made them siblings, and then my brain continued working from there.

Katherine - I thought of how different some people live their lives compared to me within their family and saw that some people had it pretty rough at home. I wondered, what would that be like? What would I do if I was put into this situation, or that situation? I took parts of my own life and created some things I haven't experienced in reality, and put them into a character, and put her into a not-so-perfect life.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Evergreen - Fantasy, with a lot of adventure and family orientated business about it. For teens to young adults.

Katherine - In all honesty, I'm not completely sure what to classify this as. The story revolves around the issues of family and friendships and there is a touch of romance to it. Again, aimed at teens to young adults.

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
Evergreen - See, if this became a movie, I'd want it to be animated. I wouldn't have a CLUE who to cast for Chihiro in live-action OR for a voice actor... Zutto, I'd definitely had Dante Basco for a voice actor, but no clue who to choose for live-action. And Sakura... do you think I could shrink Hayley Williams to the size of a 13 yr old?

Katherine - No idea. They'd definitely all be Australian actors though, seeing as the book will actually be set in Australia.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
Evergreen - The children of the Imperial Family embark on a life-changing mission to save the life-source of their world; the Evergreen trees, which keep the Middle Kingdom safe.

Katherine - An angry teenage girl learns the importance of friendship despite knowing she will always have to say goodbye as her family constantly relocates to start over.

6. Is your book already published?
I wish, goldfish!!!

7. How long did it take you to write your book?
Evergreen - First draft completed within 7 or 8 months of starting. Three years down the track and I'm still editing.

Katherine - Incomplete, so I can't tell you. I wrote nearly four chapters in two weeks when I first started though.

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
I never say "people who read this book will like mine" because I don't believe it will necessarily be true. But I would compare Evergreen to... well, I'd compare parts of it to The Chronicles of Narnia and certain themes to similar themes in Harry Potter (though I can only dream of being the next J.K Rowling...).

As for Katherine, I think I'd compare it to The Story of Tom Brennan by J.C Burke. I haven't developed the ideas enough to tell you any more than that for certain.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
Evergreen - To be honest, I couldn't tell you to be exact. Cornelia Funke enthralled me and I fell in love with the idea of writing fantasy, although I wouldn't compare my book to any of hers that I've read.

Katherine - I can tell you honestly that I was inspired to actually go ahead and start writing it after I read Love-Shy by Lili Wilkinson a few months ago. I hadn't had a chance to read inside the relatively normal life of a relatively normal Australian teenage girl before receiving a copy of this book. And as I said above, J.C Burke's story was a big boost for me too.

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book. 
Evergreen - There are some interesting twists along the way to saving the world, but I don't think I can explain this without giving too much away. There are witches, wolves and some interesting 'people' and a whole new world for the Imperial Children to explore, somewhere out there.

Katherine - Some of my characters have a thing for making raspberry and white chocolate muffins. Because I felt like making raspberry and white chocolate muffins when I started writing. So there.

Now I have to tag five people to participate in the Be Inspired Bloghop Meme:
Giora
Fiona
Mark Koopmans
Peggy Shumway
Rick

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Writing Like Another Writer - Murakami

My apologies for not being around to post or follow other people's blogs recently. I'm caught up with school and a performance of Oleanna which I'm starring in with one of my brilliant teachers and friends.

Meanwhile, in my Literature class, our assessment task is to write a short story that could fit in with the other short stories in after the quake by Haruki Murakami. In preparation, we were given the task of choosing one of the minor characters and writing something from their point of view, 600-800 words. The point is to try and adopt Murakami's style as best we can. My practice short story was about Frog from Super-Frog Saves Tokyo and it's set before the original short story.

It proved to be a bit of a challenge to me. I don't usually write out a plan for short stories; that's something I usually only do for chapter-length work. But it was a requirement for the class. Then there was sticking to the word limit. I'll say now, my practice story was NOT 600-800 words. It was over 1000. But my teacher said that was okay, it's just as long as when we do the assessment, I am able to write the full story within the time-limit (which is normally around 100 minutes).

What I found most challenging was trying to adopt the style of another writer. It's easy enough to start and end a short story suddenly. It's something many authors do with their short stories. But Murakami only describes certain things about the characters and we only really meet them at first on a surface level. Everything else he writes is really to the point and he doesn't pretty anything up. He writes about things as they are and it really pulls the reader in.

I think the actual assessment task will be much easier. I get to make up a character and a story myself, instead of using something Murakami has already made. I'm actually a little bit excited for this :)

Have you ever tried to write like another writer? How did you find it? 

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Latest Readings

For my yr 12 English and Literature classes, I had to do a little bit of reading over the past school holidays.

First of all, English. We read The Crucible by Arthur Miller. The play was interesting, and some quotes really stood out to me. I'd already seen a movie-version of the play a couple of years ago and had a better understanding of some of the action in the play because of that. We were given 80 comprehension questions and told to do 60 before we came back to school. I may have overdone my homework and done the extra 20. Why not? I had the book there in front of me, and I was reading it. We watched the movie in class this week, and it was interesting to see how the play was adapted into a different medium. The task for studying The Crucible is a context response (just like when I read The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif by Najaf Mazari earlier this year), so we have also been learning about the real events in Salem during the witch trials in 1692. It's been pretty interesting. I'm not too keen on context responses, but I'll kick butt and get an awesome grade because I want to. 


In Literature, we were told to read after the quake, a series of short stories by Haruki Murakami, set after the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Oh my God. I LOVE them. They are strange. They are weird and they are different and he manages to bring some element of sex into all six short stories, but he does a damn good job of it! I LOVED reading them and I am eager now to read even more of his work. I've been going around randomly saying "Super-Frog Saves Tokyo", the name of my favourite short story. It has been interesting to do a bit of research and draw parallels between the author and the actual even of the Kobe earthquake and how he's incorporated both himself and those events into his stories. Brilliant read. *Please note that the title was intended to be written without capitals by the author. 



Has anybody read either of these books? Or something else by Haruki Murakami? 

- Bonnee.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Article Published: The Golden Vanguard

A co-founder of The Golden Vanguard, a news and entertainment online publication, contacted me last week asking if I would be interested in writing articles for their website. Now, I'm not overly keen on the journalistic side of the writing world, but I felt it would be a great opportunity for me to get involved and do something. So Matt Gannon and I had a little chat and I agreed to give writing articles a shot.

I was sitting there after agreeing to this new adventure, thinking. What the heck do I write an article about? What's interesting? What's quirky? What's fun? And I was thinking about it for a long time. I had a few scraps of an idea and then the next day, sitting on the couch with my laptop, warm sunlight pouring through the window... and I felt happy, sitting there. 

Hmm, I thought. Does sunlight actually have mental health benefits? 

I did a bit of research and sure enough... sunlight really does make people happy! I wrote an article about it and sent it in for consideration. I am proud to say that the article got through and is now published on The Golden Vanguard's website. Go and check it out

- Bonnee. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Amateur Shortcomings

So apparently it's pretty hard to come up with something really original to write about, but people saving magic trees has made the list, according to Aaron. While the idea for Evergreen seems to be promising, it looks like I've got a hell of a lot of work cut out for myself if I want to make this one work.

Yesterday, I took some time to read through the prologue, and I decided to make it the first chapter. I wrote an extra 500 words, and changed about 1000 others, bringing the total to just over 2500. A lot is about to change. I'm going to further develop my characters and my world and see what I can salvage from what I've already written. Looking over it, I'll agree with Aaron when he says the way I've written it seems amateurish. I started writing it when I was 14, so I guess that's not a total surprise. Aaron had already read some of my more resent work, and in comparison, what he's read of Evergreen isn't what he's come to expect from me. I need to change that. 

I also need to bring some more consistency to the tone of the narrative. Writing fantasy... it's either Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia. Yes, there is a middle-ground, but Aaron has pointed out that I tend to be going from one extreme to another. The overall tone seems to be more Narnia. I want to aim for more of a middle-ground, though if all else fails, then my own personal flavour of Narnia it shall be. But consistency is necessary. 

Slow and steady wins the race. It's makeover time for Evergreen. This might take awhile. Wish me luck!

- Bonnee.

Friday, July 13, 2012

And Edit I Shall

This is me being being an editor for my mate, Micah.
This is an excerpt from his WIP, Klown.
Click to enlarge. 
For those who read my previous blogpost and/or might be wondering, Bonnee, why don't you just start querying already? I'd just like to explain myself here.

Yes, I said a month or so ago that I would be querying by now, and starting to get serious about my next WIP, Katherine. But the bottom line is that Evergreen is not ready for an agent or a publisher to see. If you read my last blogpost, let me say this now: The Hero's Journey steps are only part of what I need to fix. Aaron is the first person to read Evergreen and bring this much helpful criticism to the table for me, and knowing him the way I do, I respect every word he is saying because I know he reads great fantasy novels and he is good at analyzing things like this. If he sees shortcomings, weak points, potholes and so on, then all he needs to do is point them out and I can see them too.

I'm sorry to be prattling on about Evergreen for so long on this blog. I'd really love to move on with my writing, but Evergreen is my first child, and I need to get it walking and toilet trained before I can send it to preschool... if you'll pardon the analogy.

It took Patrick Rothfuss fourteen years to get his first novel The Name of the Wind published, and he became a bestselling author. He overstepped his deadline for the sequel The Wise Man's Fear by several years in order to make it awesome too.

Edit I must, and edit I shall. How long have you all been working on your current manuscript? 

- Bonnee.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing: The Hero's Journey

My boyfriend has been reading Evergreen: A Fallen Star and has given me some constructive criticism. Yeah, Shaun was a great proofreader, but he didn't offer any advice on the story itself, which is what Aaron is now doing. We spent at least an hour on Monday talking about my writing, and especially Evergreen.

Allow me to share an AWESOME link he found for me, and something he's known about for a long while: the Hero's Journey. This is a sort of guidelines to writing, and it's perfectly applicable to Evergreen. We have agreed that not all steps are completely necessary, and you could probably mix the order up a bit, but overall, these are some good rules for a writer to follow.

I've evaluated Evergreen using this list and there are some things I'd now like to change, add, fix and omit. I suggest reading the explanation of the steps before reading any further. I found some of the titles a little misleading, or very focused on certain aspects of the definition.

Call to Adventure. Definitely there, but I need to think about where the pinpoint is.

Refusal of the Call. Oh my God, where is it? I NEED to fix this! How utterly STUPID of me!

Supernatural Aid. Got it. But she needs more merit and depth. I'll work on it.

The Crossing of the Threshold. It's there. I'm not sure if I'm satisfied with it or not, but I've got it, and I'll see what I can do to work on it.

The Belly of the Whale. Got it. Perhaps it needs a little bit more depth though. We'll see what I can do!

The Road of Trials. Heck yes! Though I'll admit now, it seems I've used something rather cliche in there, and apparently there were a few unclear moments of happenings... by my own evaluation, I'd like to go into more depth in how it tests my protagonists individually, in their heads. Something for me to work on, but at least it's there.

The Meeting with the Goddess. I don't really think it's there, though I'm not sure it's necessary for Evergreen. This is one of the steps that Aaron and I think is okay for me to miss at this point. Either that or I've severely misinterpreted what it means. Well, fingers crossed, and perhaps I'll evaluate this situation again soon.

Woman as the Temptress. I think I may kind of have it sort of somewhere in there. But I'm not 100% satisfied with it by any means, if it is really there. I need to give my protagonists a reason to want to quit half way. Which I'm pretty sure I have. What I REALLY need is to SHOW that they want to quit half way, which I feel I haven't done.

Atonement with the Father. I am actually quite lost in putting this one against what I have of Evergreen. There is something that I think could pass off as this, but I'm really uncertain. Something I will have to discuss further with Aaron.

Apotheosis. I have it for certain. This is one of the parts that I'm ALMOST completely happy with. And I shall say no more on it.

The Ultimate Boon. Yes, yes, yes. This is also a part that I'm reasonably happy with. Though I do believe there is still room for improvement.

Refusal of the Return. Does a moment's hesitation for a reason I will not mention for fear of spoiling way too much count? If not, I don't think it is quite necessary in Evergreen.

The Magic Flight. Yes, I have this. I think the order here has been swapped with the Refusal of the Return though. Do anyone think it matters significantly?

Rescue from Without. Yes. BUT. I'm honestly thinking of scrapping what I've got on it. The idea I had seems too childish, too stupid, too far-fetched. I need to know WHY I have it in my story, and to be perfectly honest, and although I am ashamed to admit, I'm not so sure that I do. So unless I can figure out a reason why and adapt it, it will be changed. This step IS necessary, and so there is no way I can just cut it. But I need to fix it at the very least. I am NOT happy.

The Crossing of the Return Threshold. Yes, but I'd like to give it a major face-lift.

Master of the Two Worlds. I'm not entirely sure if or how I've applied this step to Evergreen, but there's a nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "Bonnee, you need that step!" So I'll be looking into this one again later.

Freedom to Live. Yes, I have my happily ever after there for you all to read when it's perfect and published in 1000 years when I've finally accepted that any more revising will kill me. Or IS it a happily ever after, hmm?

As you can see, I've already got some major editing to do and so my plans to send out queries very soon has gone down the drain. Aaron has been very helpful and given other pointers too, which I intend to look in to. I'll share some of those another time. I know it's bad to get stuck in the process of redrafting over and over again, but truth be told, this is the closest thing to any real criticism I've had, and some of the other blogs I'm reading are advising to get that second pair of eyes on your manuscript before querying. But that's a whole blogpost  in itself*, so I'll leave it at that!

When writing, do you follow any steps like the Hero's Journey? How might you compare what you have in your manuscript to the steps of the Hero's Journey? 

- Bonnee.

* Question me on my decision to continue editing instead of querying when I make a blogpost about it. I'd like to keep comments for this post focused on the Hero's Journey if I could. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award

I was awarded the Fabulous Blog Ribbon Award by Alyssa. She's a pretty cool kid who loves figure skating, reading and baking things.

In order to accept this award you have to:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Name five of your most fabulous moments either in real life or in the blogosphere.
3. Name five things you love.
4. Name five things you hate.
5. Pass the ribbon on to five other bloggers.

HERE WE GO!

Five most fabulous moments:
1. Finishing my first draft of Evergreen in October 2009 at just over 80,000 words.
2. Entering a state-wide Indonesian competition in 2007 and coming 2nd in my division.
3. Unit 3 drama performance with my 2011 drama class, All That Glitters is not Gold, which we wrote and performed ourselves. It was amazing.
4. Completing my read of the novel Emma by Jane Austen and realizing that I'd never have to read anything so horrible for school-purposes ever again. Everything else I'm studying in both English and Literature are easy in comparison.
5. The various moments when people have asked me to write something for them, and liked the end product.


Five things I love:
1. Writing (duh!)
2. My mates.
3. The smell of fresh air.
4. The contrast between the country and the city, especially when it only takes a couple of hours to switch between the two scenes.
5. Jellyfish. I really want a pet jellyfish.


Five things I hate:
1. Spiders.
2. The dumb-arses in society who can't handle someone having a different opinion to them and insist on shoving their own views down the throats of those who differ.
3. The idiots who don't understand that inserted headphones means DON'T TALK TO ME, I'M LISTENING TO MUSIC!
4. Justin Bieber. Did you know: apparently he is responsible for an outbreak in lazy-eye, because people started wearing their hair like his and it got in their eyes?
5. Holiday homework.


Five people I'm passing this award on to:
1. Giora
2. running4him
3. JeffO
4. Mark Koopmans
5. IT'S A TIE between Fiona and Rick because I love you both and couldn't choose between you.

You guys are the people who follow me best, and whom I try to follow in return. All have my respect and love.

- Bonnee  

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Know Why in Your Writing

My boyfriend started reading Evergreen last night and messaged me asking why the setting was called the Middle Kingdom. The question caught me off guard because it had been so long since I'd thought of why. But I did know the answer, luckily. I would have been quite disappointed in myself if I hadn't.

For those of you who hadn't caught on, Evergreen is set in an alternative universe which is heavily based on eastern Asian cultures, particularly Chinese and Japanese. My mum was always a huge fan of foreign movies, and so as a child I watched many subtitled movies on the SBS with her. In many of the Chinese movies, China was referred to as the Middle Kingdom.

In 2009, the year I began writing Evergreen, I left Australia for the first time in my life and went to China for 10 days. I didn't get to see anything beyond Shanghai, no thanks to a certain swine-flu pandemic and the infected boy who sat next to me on the plane over. But just the fact that I was there, in a place that my imaginary world was inspired by, was enough to keep me going. I will go back to China one day and see all of the things I missed out on. We were supposed to go to Xian and Beijing before we came home.

Photo taken from observation deck (94th floor?) of the Shanghai World Financial Center.


This morning when I opened my laptop, I clicked into Google and decided to find some wiki-proof that China has been known as the Middle Kingdom. I was surprised to find that Egypt and India had also adopted similar ideas as countries. But here is the article I found about China which explained the situation best.

Moral of the story: Make sure you know your own reasons behind putting something in your writing. I'm glad I did.

- Bonnee.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Delicious Quotes

I've been studying William Blake's poetry in literature for the past month or so and the unit is finally coming to an end. Blake doesn't do much for me. But one of the poems we read was Auguries of Innocence, and the first four lines are beautiful. 

To see the World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

Wow, just wow. I can't tell you how mind-blowing that was to read. It's pure genius. Apparently these four lines were quoted in the movie Tomb Raider, not that it means much to me, as I've never seen it. 

I have had the four lines stuck inside my head for a couple of days now, and last night I did a midnight writing-spree because I couldn't sleep. I wrote of the things those lines made me think of. I ended up think of Hamlet for some reason and writing about what Ophelia made me think of. And today I sat in a little cafe with a strawberry milkshake a did a little bit of writing while I waited for my drama club to start. It ended up being cancelled. Well, I got some good writing done at least. 

Any delicious quotes to share from the blogosphere? 

- Bonnee.
 
 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Writer's Garden: Watering and Weeding

After reading this blogpost on Peggy Shumway's blog, I was inspired to share the comment I left with her with everyone back here, but perhaps in a little more detail.

Peggy spoke of giving and receiving criticism as a writer. My take on the matter is that it is important for writers and artists and generally anyone who does anything to receive a balanced amount of both encouragement and criticism.

Peggy compared the two aspects of reviewing another person's work to finding daisies in a garden (encouragement) and finding rocks (harsh criticism). I believe that one is incapable of growing healthily in any garden without both watering and weeding. If the gardener only weeds, but never waters, the flowering writer withers away in pain, feeling discouraged and incompetent. If the gardener waters the garden too much and forgets to weed it, suddenly the flowering writer finds itself tangled in the parasitic undergrowth of over-confidence and the inability to accept criticism later.

While both encouragement and criticism are needed in order for a writer to grow properly, it is vital for the writer's survival that they are not built up to high or cut down too low. How do you think you go, balancing these two aspects of being a reader? Do you think you favour one aspect over the other to a potentially harmful extent? I personally believe I review too kindly, because I initially look to the entertainment value. But if asked to evaluate the nit-picky rules of grammar and punctuation and not using the same word too many times in the same spot, perhaps I give too much criticism. Hmm...

Do share your thoughts in the comments below!

- Bonnee.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Big Decision

Something I have considered doing with 'Evergreen: A Fallen Star'. To some, it might not seem like much, but you've got to keep in mind, this novel is like a child to me.

Last year, I began to write the sequel, based on one little unanswered question I'd left in 'A Fallen Star'. But after writing the first chapter of the sequel, I've been considering using it as the opening chapter of both books. The reason I'm considering using it as the first chapter in both books is that it makes this one unanswered question not seem so random. Reading over the manuscript for 'A Fallen Star', if I didn't know the story better, I may have thought I'd left the question unanswered by accident. Of course I don't want to come across as incompetent to my readers, including agents and editors and publishers. But I want to repeat the chapter at the beginning of the second book as well, just as a memory refresher, just to reinforce the ideas and information presented in it.

I've seen something similar done before. Patrick Rothfuss opened the first two books of his 'Kingkiller Chronicles' similarly. 'The Name of the Wind' and 'A Wise Man's Fear' both start with the description of a silence of three parts. It works amazingly in his books. Read his books.

Even if I use this chapter as a prologue rather than a chapter. I just feel the need to give my readers the information in what I wrote sooner than the second book. I'll have to get my trusty little helper Shaun to give it a read and give me his verdict. I'll ask around for some other opinions too.

Any thoughts from the blogosphere?

- Bonnee.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

To Write, or Not to Write?

That is the question. I may have recently watched an episode of Dr Who where The Doctor and Martha go back to when Shakespeare was alive. Good episode :)

ANYWAY! I will finish editing 'Evergreen'. I have the last seven chapters to go. And my little proofreader, Shaun, has already read over the thirty I've already done. I promise I'll get it done, and write up queries and start sending them out to agents...

But I may have started writing a new story. Yes. I definitely started writing a new story. Thursday two weeks ago. I'm such a terrible person, putting 'Evergreen'  aside again. But I had an idea, and I needed to get it down on paper, so I though I'd start writing... and I did, and now I'm probably about half-way through the fourth chapter. We'll refer to this new project as 'Katherine', though I'm not satisfied with the title being the name of the protagonist. I'll let you know if/when I think of something better.

Aside from the three and a half chapters I have written for 'Katherine' I've also written a synopsis (my way of planning, at least for now), and I may have started a character profile thing which I probably won't complete. This isn't going to be as complicated as 'Evergreen' was. Much to Shaun's disappointment, 'Katherine' is just a straight out YA: no fantasy. I don't know if I'd class it any more specifically than YA. There's a girl with some relatively normal teenager issues, and some issues that are a little less common. A lot of family and friendship orientated stuff, maybe a splash of romance, among other things. That's about all I can say for now without giving away too much.

But just for you guys, here's my opening sentence. Tell me what you think after reading it. Feel free to give suggestions and whatnot. Thank you in advance.
Katherine gazed out of the passenger window as the car rolled into the driveway of the new house; the seventh new house she’d moved to since she’d started high-school three years ago.
 Anyone else want to share the first line of their WiP while we're here?

- Bonnee.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Delicious Quotes

From anywhere! Books, movies, songs, T.V series, people. Let's share some quotes that are your favourites, and lines that really stand out to you. If you want, even give us a bit of a run-down as to WHY these are your favourite quotes, or WHY they stand out to you.

Some of mine:

'The fields are made of glass.'
This is a line from 'Love and Honour and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice', by Nam Le. This is the first short story to appear in his collection 'The Boat'. I cannot explain exactly why this line stands out to me. It is repeated several times throughout the short story, and to me it created the most beautiful image of perfection ever.

"Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof."
This quote is one of many from my favourite movie 'V for Vendetta'. I love the utter power behind its meaning, the sheer truth in those last three words, and the intensity of the moment the line was delivered in. The masked vigilante who goes by the name of V had just been subject to a hail of gunfire, and his last standing opponent is in disbelief because he won't die. Read the quote one more time now that you have that knowledge. You see? Go and watch the movie and see it in full context, and then tell me what you think. Every line in that movie is worth quoting, but this one is by far the one that sticks out to me most. 

"Life's a journey, not a destination."
I share this quote as a favourite with my dad (LOVE YOU DADDYKINS!), who intends to get it tattooed to himself some time in the near future. The quote is from the song 'Amazing' by Aerosmith, and I cannot describe to you how up-lifting the whole song is. I agree with this quote from the bottom of my heart, it's just so absolutely true and I love that Steve Tyler put it in his song. We aren't on this earth for the sake of it; we're supposed to do something while we're here. It's not just the waiting room between the womb and the grave.  It's a maze with many different possible ways to the end. I could go on for hours about what this quote means to me, but I'll leave it there.

Your turn: share some of your favourite quotes, tell me where they're from and why they stand out to you. 


- Bonnee.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

That Short Story I had Published

Well I eventually got around to emailing the subscriptions manager of SpineOut Online Magazine last week, where my short story 'Walking to the Shop' was published in the March 2012 edition. I had decided it was time that I worked out how to access it, seeing as the link my school had provided me with wasn't working for me.

The link doesn't work because SpineOut only sells subscriptions to schools and libraries, so if your school or local library has a subscription, you might be able to view the full story via them! Although I'm pretty sure this is an Australian publication, so I'm not entirely sure if many schools or libraries outside of Australia will have a subscription.

The subscription manager, Bonnie Maher, was kind enough to attach a document of the page in the magazine where my short story was featured. I've zoomed in and print screened in the image below to make it a bit easier for you to read what it says:






































All I can say is that I'm happy.  :)

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Winner

Congratulations to running4him, who was the default winner of last Tuesday's competition: describe something beautiful in 100 words or less.

running4him shared an excerpt from their WiP which fit the criteria of the competition, and here it is:
"True, she was graceful and beautiful, yet what caught the eye was her overpowering majesty. At once Caleb realized this was the horse he had been waiting for... With movement akin to waves on some forgotten sea, and an auburn mane flowing down her neck softer than the snowflakes which settled around her slim legs, all other appaloosa in Smewasin Territory paled in comparison. Even her leopard coat was silkier than his own rabbit fur gloves. But what startled Caleb was her eyes; icy, piercing, ancient - as if when he gazed into them he saw..." -Mack Isbell
running4him now has bragging rights! Yay!

Thanks for your participation, and maybe I'll wait until I have a few more followers before I run another competition.  :)

- Bonnee.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Titles

As far as texts go - books, ebooks, poetry, films etc. - what are your thoughts on titles? What do you value in a title? 

In my literature class over the past week, we have been studying William Blake poetry, and discussed how a lot could be perceived from the title of the poems we had read so far; poems from the collection 'Songs of Innocence'. A poem called 'The Lamb' was about a lamb, and one called 'The Little Black Boy' was being told by a little black boy. A piece titled 'The Chimney Sweeper' was about chimney sweepers, and the poem titled 'Infant Joy' was about a happy new-born. Simple, straight-forward titles.

I think of how Blake has used titles and think of other titles I've seen and what can be said about the text they belong to. 'Hush, Hush' by Becca Fitzpatrick is about a human girl's romance with a fallen angel, and Tony Scott's film 'Man on Fire' is about an alcoholic body-guard and child abduction in Latin America. The titles are intriguing, but don't have much at all to do with the stories they are attached to. I enjoyed both the titles and the stories attached to these texts.

So what do you like in a title as far as relation to the story goes? 

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Goodreads and Competition

A friend sent me a request to join Goodreads via Facebook, but I didn't want to do it via Facebook so I just joined up directly to the site. You can find me here. This link is also in the 'Find Me' tab. Feel free to shoot me a friend request!


My sincerest apologies to the people I follow via their blogs, as I have had very little time in the past week to read up on your latest posts. I promise to make an effort to catch up some time in the near future! It has been hectic here!


Competition! 
So just to stir up a bit of fun to make up for not being a very dedicated blogger in so long, in 100 words or less, describe something beautiful. This could be anything! A woman, a magnificent view of a beach, the sunset, the sky, an emotion, a dream, a place, a thing, anything that you think is beautiful!

Rules:
Competition closes in one week! (Tuesday, June 5th, 2012, at 5:00pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time)


One entry per person. No anonymous entries. Entrants must have an account that can be linked to via blogger when submitting a comment: e.g. the name you comment with can be clicked on a take me directly to your own online profile. Including a link in an anonymous post does not count.

I will post all of this competition's entries in the first blog-post after the closing date (by entering the competition, you agree to this automatically) and ask readers to vote for one entry. Voters may not vote for their own entry, and to help avoid cheating, no anonymous votes will be accepted.

No prizes sorry, just bragging rights and the enjoyment of writing.

Tell your friends. Have fun. Ready, set, GO!

- Bonnee.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Terrific Tuesday!

Well today has been quite full of reading/writing related business. 

I prepared for my literature SAC (School Assessed Coursework... these are like tests), which meant highlighting important quotes in the screenplay Bastard Boys by Sue Smith. Tomorrow we have to write an essay discussing a prompt in terms of the views and values of the characters. It shall be interesting. 

After that, I thought I'd get ahead in literature and start reading over the poems by William Blake which we will be studying next. I didn't enjoy reading from Blake when we studied him earlier last year, but this time around, I seem to have more of an appreciation for him. Half of the poems we are studying are the ones we touched last year, but we didn't do any sort of assessment on them last year; we just touched on them. This time we're going into detail. 

Once I was done with the poetry, I had a bit of time to kill before lunch and decided to jump on a computer and do some more recreational writing. I have now finished editing 26 out of 37 chapters of Evergreen: A Fallen Star, and I also started writing a short story which I've titled Lost in Paradise. You'll hear more about both of these another time! 

Last but not least, today was the English SAC. We had to write a context response to a prompt, incorporating themes from the text The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman. The awesome part about this SAC was that we could choose our form; expository, persuasive, or imaginative. I, of course, chose imaginative, and wrote a kick-arse short story of roughly 1000 words in 100 minutes. And I was pretty proud of it. Hopefully it will give me a good mark. Should I share it with you guys when I get it back from marking? 

Who else got up to some exciting stuff related to what they're passionate about? Please do share!

- Bonnee. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Love-shy by Lili Wilkinson

A few weeks ago, I was randomly picked by Lili Wilkinson to receive a copy of her new book Love-shy.

I received my copy of Love-shy on Friday night, opened it up and couldn't put it down. I'm a slow reader, so 309 pages in 3 days is a good effort for me! Especially after completely reading Oleanna the night before.

Anyway, Ms Wilkinson's book was amazing, engaging, funny and full of attitude and characters that I adored. Protagonist and aspiring journalist Penny Drummond discovers that a boy at her school suffers from love-shyness - which, yes, is a real condition - and sets out to find out who he is and help him, with plans to make a Pulitzer Prize-winning article about him. But along the way, not all goes according to plan. There is more to the love-shy boy than meets the eye, and Penny discovers some things about herself that she'd never realized before.



Another awesome thing about this book is that Lili Wilkinson is an Australian author, and I'm digging a lot of the humour that's been used to help make this story great. Love-shy was published by Allen & Unwin this year.




Has anyone else read this awesome book yet? Do it!


- Bonnee.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oleanna - David Mamet

About three or four hours ago, my drama teacher gave me a copy of the play Oleanna by David Mamet, which he has been talking to me about for the past six months or so. I read it in an hour and a half. Seriously, I could not put the script down.

Oleanna is a two-actor/two-character play about a university professor who is in the process of buying a house and is about to be granted tenure, and a failing student who accuses him of rape when he tries to help her understand his lessons. 

Mamet wrote this play with a fast pace; I could not put the book down until all of the action was over, and the sudden, sting-in-the-tail ending left me wanting more, not quite satisfied. In the script, Mamet's characters talk about how people learn and understand and the value of education. John, the professor, at one point says that it is his job to provoke the students into questioning why they are at the university and continuing their education. I believe that the play as a whole provokes the reader into questioning everything they come across; everything that is said, everything they understand and everything they don't, everything they see and hear, and everything that is done. It forces the audience to question the conventions of being human. 

An intense read full of thought-evoking goodness. 

Has anyone else out there read Oleanna by David Mamet? What were your thoughts? 

- Bonnee. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness BLITZ!

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community



Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.



So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.





Kindness ROCKS!


To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!



I am randomly picking my mate Shaun, who recently pinched a copy of my manuscript to read and has been giving me some really helpful critique, proofreading, and encouragement. Shaun, for my RAOK gift, I'm giving you a book and movie voucher so that you can buy something you want to read and something you want to watch, seeing as you love doing both.




Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge?
Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)



Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.



Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Flash Fiction - Still

This was originally a piece of fanfiction I wrote a couple of years ago, but I liked it enough to make it something original and mess around with it a bit.


Still

I hold her body gently in my arms, cradling her head against my chest. Her skin is pale and has lost its glow and its warmth. How can something so beautiful be so cold? Even her lips, once pressed against mine, are like ice. The steady rise and fall of her chest is gone. Her body is completely still in my arms. I feel a tear travel down my cheek and fall away from my face. I hold her to me, tightly; the only thing I can do. My heart keeps beating, but hers... it stays still. When they pull her body from my arms and take her away, my heart breaks. I had promised her father I would protect her, and in that I have failed.
I promise myself that night I will never fall in love again; that my heart, much like hers, will remain still forever.


150 words, first person, present tense ("promised" being the exception because he's referring to something he's already done). What do you guys think? Compliments and constructive criticism welcome :) 

- Bonnee. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Path Ahead

Lazy people just read the bold stuff. 

My school took the VCE* students to The Age VCE and Careers Expo today. Pretty much there were little stalls from most of the universities and TAFEs and other tertiary institutes with information, and a few full of past exams and study-guides. I'd done a bit of research before today on universities and other places that might have courses I could be interested in and headed straight to where those places were set up at the expo.

And HERE are options for my future after talking with a few people today! 

Australian Catholic University (Melbourne) offers a Creative Arts course that while is not EXACTLY what I was after, could be tailored to suit me. Probably not my absolutely first option but certainly not my last either.

Deakin University (Geelong/Melbourne) offer a Professional and Creative Writing course. The people at the stall were pretty helpful and encouraging. It's up there in my preferences for sure.

La Trobe University (Melbourne) offers a Creative Arts course which the lady at the stall who spoke to me explained (while showing me evidence in the course guide) that it's a very flexible course which could be tailored to suit someone interested in just about any area in the creative arts area... even little writer me!

RMIT University (City) offers a Creative Writing course. Now this one is not so simple; RMIT is a pretty big achievement, and the fella I talked to from the university told me that the class is usually very small and select (around 20 or so people) and rather than students being admitted from their scores from their final years, selection is based on a portfolio of writing and an interview (or something along those lines). He asked me how much writing I'd actually done, because they generally take more mature aged students than fresh-out-of-high-school kids like me... but when I told him about Evergreen he just sort of gawked at me and told me to go for it, because I might just have a chance after all! So... that was pretty encouraging... I won't get my hopes up but I will definitely try! I will seriously be blown away if I get into this course. 

Victoria University (Footscray Park) offers a Creative Arts Industry course which I might find useful. If I remember correctly, the girl I spoke to from this university was quite helpful and also explained to me how I could also go on to do my honours degree (I'm not exactly sure what that entails but I'm guessing it's a good thing and the next step up from the initial degree!) through the university. I'm pretty sure it was for Victoria University anyway... don't quote me on that one, I just know that do offer the Creative Arts Industry course...

I was even smart enough to look into some TAFE courses, just to keep my options open (though I'll definitely be going to a university if I can). Box Hill Institute of TAFE (Whitehorse), Chisholm Institute (Frankston), and Holmsglen (Chadstone) all offer a Professional Writing and Editing course. The Chisholm one in particular caught my eye; the lady I spoke to there had actually done the course and was so enthusiastic to and encouraging, really helpful, answered all of my questions... we had a good old chat! But I'll definitely be aiming for a university before a TAFE.

Aah... sorry for the rant! I just had to share how good I feel about my future with someone, and I figured that if anyone cared enough they'd read it for themselves or click away. Good job for those of you who got this far. Virtual chocolate cake for you.

Thoughts, anyone? 

- Bonnee.

* VCE stands for Victorian Certificate of Education for those who hadn't caught on from elsewhere in the world. Pretty much, high-school kids in their last two years, yr 11 and 12, senior years, whatever it is they're called where you come from...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I do Things With Style

Fellow blogger and follower recently asked me in a comment, "what is your favourite writing style?"

To which my answer was: "I prefer to write narratives in third person with an omniscient narrator."

To elaborate, I actually find it a little difficult to write in first person. When I try it, I believe that I use "I" too much, especially at the start of a sentence and it just drives me crazy. I know that there are many people out there who are masters of this particular art, but I feel that I am not yet one of them.

On the other hand, when writing a short story, I write in first person almost instinctively. It's short and I have to fit a lot into it, so there's not as much time for elaborate descriptions of what the main character is thinking and feeling and seeing and sensing. I feel comfortable writing in first person if I am writing short fiction, but when it comes to chapter-length pieces, my brain switches straight to third person, generally with an omniscient narrator.

I guess that with practice and proof-reading, I will become better and more confident with writing in first person for longer stories. But for now, the fact stands that I am a third person writer.

If there are any questions from anybody, please feel free to ask me and I might even make a blog entry about it.

- Bonnee.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Walking Naked

One of my favourite poems in the world, and I stumbled upon it after reading the book Walking Naked by Alyssa Burgman. The book was a wonderful read with some well-explored, real, brutal, honest themes. I was captivated by this book and honestly could not put it down.

Back to the poem!

A Coat - by William Butler Yeats
I made my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world's eyes
As though they'd wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there is more enterprise
In walking naked.

What's your favourite poem?

- Bonnee.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dots or Commas?

Just yesterday, one of my friends asked if he could read my manuscript. I know this kid likes reading, so I gave him a copy and told him to let me know if he finds any mistakes. Well... he's done a great job so far. He'd read the first 12 chapters by this morning and came to me with a document of things I could change: spelling, wording, punctuation... mostly stuff an author misses in their own work, because they know how it's supposed to read and automatically reads it as such.

There were some suggestions I disagreed with however, but there was one particular instance which I thought I'd get a few more opinions on before I decided whether or not to go with it. A piece of the manuscript reads:

 "... oh my, my, my, my, my," she mumbled... 
My friend's suggestion is that instead of commas, I should use three dots (...). I disagree with this, but with a reason. I intend the reader to hear this being said very quickly and I believe that using the three dots will make them perceive this bit of dialogue as said slowly.

Is my reason valid enough, or do you think that it would be punctually incorrect for me to use commas instead of dots in this instance?

* Please note: the (...) at the beginning and end of the quote are not part of the original text. They are simply being used here to show that this is not the whole sentence the quote was taken from.  


Your input and thoughts would be lovely and much appreciated.

- Bonnee.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

WriteUpCafe.com Award: WriteUp of the Month

A quick note before the good stuff: I have to thank the Writer's Digest blogs, namely the Poetic Asides blog,  with all it's writing prompts and competitions etc which have gotten my arse into gear over the past week (which is roughly how long I have been following). I'M WRITING ON DEMAND AGAIN! Anyone else who needs some writing inspiration, head on over and see what they can do for you!

So over on my WriteUpCafe.com account, which you can find a link to in the Find Me tab, I received an award for a poem I have posted on a few writing websites now, Colours of Sunset and War, which I may have mentioned a few posts ago. Head on over and check it out if you fancy.

I don't attend to this account so much, and I'm not 100% convinced that the site was worth joining. No one seemed to have even read the poem until I got the award for it. But I'm cool with the award and the slight boost of attention it got me :) You can find the original version of this poem on my FictionPress account, and the same version that won the award on my Wattpad account. Just check out the links in the Find Me tab.

If you scroll riiiiiight to the very bottom of the blog page, under the huge list of blogs I follow, you will see the 'badge' I received for it.

- Bonnee.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This and That About My Writing

First up, here's the most current version of the excerpt I posted from my manuscript a couple of posts ago, after a few people gave me some good feedback:

It was warm inside the Training House. The room was large, with tables and chairs against one wall. A stone fireplace crackled with life at the far end of the room. The three children walked into the changing rooms at the back of the building where they put their training gear on. Their uniforms were white, but Chihiro’s uniform had a golden insignia of an Evergreen Tree sewn into its back and on its breast, signifying that she was a Master of the Arts, just like Master Yuusan. Her siblings were still only students. The last parts of their uniforms were their belts: all black.
Feel free to give me more feedback!

Question: Should I workshop snippets of my manuscript on my blog again? What do you all think?

In other news, I won a free signed book, which I think is pretty cool: Love-Shy, by Lili Wilkinson. I read a snippet of it on her blog which I enjoyed and I am looking forward to reading more!

Last up, I finally finished reading The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman, which I am studying in English this term. And I am now a quarter of the way through a screenplay which I am studying in literature: Bastard Boys by Sue Smith.

And just because I managed to edit another three pages of my manuscript since the last blog post (good effort, I know right?), here are the last few characters who I managed to visually create using THIS programme.


Madam Koi: This is the closest I could make her. Her hair is meant to be really crazy! But otherwise, this is pretty cool. I love the way I was able to make her eyes.









The Witch of the White Lands: Again, best impression, but I'm quite pleased with it. The programme didn't offer black lips though.










The Witch of Thorns: I can't complain that much about this one. She's not that big of a character in A Fallen Star, but I do plan on making a sequel in which she plays a much bigger role. I just thought I'd make her too because the programme wouldn't let me make male characters and I was really bored.







Enjoy!

- Bonnee.

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