13 September 2011 - 6:42 pm

Weekend of writing and awesomeness

It’s been a hell of a weekend, and though it’s Tuesday, it has only just finished for me. Why, you ask? Well, let me explain…

On Friday, my Creative Writing Group met. I decided to do a session on first lines, and took along a list of first lines from novels across a range of genres and periods (many thanks to my friend who helped me to compile the list). Then we discussed them blindly (that is, without knowing what book or author they were from), to see what we thought of them as first lines on their own merits alone.

It was an interesting exercise and prompted a lot of talk. Curiously enough, even though someone didn’t like the first line, they would usually read on to find out the answer to the (annoying) question that was posed. It turns out that grabbing your reader doesn’t have to mean grabbing them in a good way. Boring first lines came out the worst of all, and I think that’s a good rule of thumb: never bore your reader.

After the meeting, there was dinner and bookish chats with my writing-friends. Always good to do that!

Saturday was the day of my RedFest talk, which I have squeeped and babbled about recently. It was my first appearance at an event like that; I’ve done plenty of talks and so on for my CWG, but this was different! And, for the record, I hate public speaking. I’m getting better at it (slowly), but I still got horribly nervous.

Big thanks to my friends for supporting me at the RedFest (you know who you are): helping me set up and giving me tea and sitting through the talk to bulk out the numbers. I didn’t get many attendees (probably about ten in total), but that was fine by me. I hadn’t expected a lot of people to come to the talk; it’s a local fair, and I guessed that most of the people who were seriously interested in writing would be at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. Why do all of these things have to coincide?

I had some good questions from the audience and managed to cover all the material I had written out for publishing online. Overall, I was happy with how it went, and learned some things to use for next time (should there be one!).

After we had escaped the clutches of the RedFest, I got all dolled up with some friends and headed out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Had a great time: too much food, cocktails, and ice cream; and much talking and silliness.

Sunday was an early start – we had to be on a train by 8:15 – which was awesome after the night before. Luckily, I was without a hangover (I hadn’t drunk anywhere near enough for one of those, despite pouring Baileys on my ice cream). I was heading to the Brisbane Writer’s Festival, determined to get in at least some of the events before the whole thing was over.

I managed to get to three talks in total, none of which were exactly what I was expecting. They were on the digital revolution in writing, writing about taboo or ‘dangerous’ ideas, and literary vs popular fiction. I was left largely disgruntled with how the talks turned out (apart from the middle one). I plan to write up blog posts about each of them, so I won’t go into detail here – more soon!

In the middle of all of that, I snuck up to the Queensland Writer’s Centre and collared a couple of the lovely, helpful staff. Some more of our NaNoWriMo plans have been sorted out, and the QWC will be supporting us again this year. I’m currently working with them to arrange a write-out in November: writing out on a lawn by the riverside, in shade and sunshine.

I also took part in a writing race at the QWC, captained by the lovely Trent Jamieson. An hour of writing intensively, inΒ a scarily quiet room! I went in with not a clue about what this week’s Starwalker post should be, managed to write almost 2,000 words (!!!), and won the race! Excellent.

I’m still not sure what this week’s Starwalker post will be, but I have a pile of material to massage into something coherent. Whether it will make the post easier or harder to construct has yet to be ascertained.

After such a packed weekend, I took a day’s holiday from work to recover (yesterday). A sleep in, a lazy day on the couch with games and DVDs, and nothing pressing to do was just what the CFS ordered. Then my folks took me out for beautiful slow-cooked steaks (another birthday dinner), and we stuffed ourselves with way too much food.

I’m back at work now and definitely feeling brighter for the break. It’s been crazy but so worth it! Some of the stuff that was talked about over the weekend is ticking at my brain, and once this weeks Starwalker is sorted out, I’ll be turning my attention to capturing those thoughts into posts and sticking them up here. Don’t hold your breath; it might take a while.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend awesome. Best birthday I’ve had in a long time. Here’s to surviving another year, and to lots more to come!

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  1. Trent Jamieson says:

    Oh, you didn’t tell me it was your birthday. Happy (late) Birthday! Sorry about the quiet room, that may have been partly a result of the hangover I had, you’d think I’d have learnt by now (and my own nerves regarding my own bit of impending public speaking).
    Sounds like you had a great weekend. Oh, and happy birthday again!

    September 13th, 2011 at 11:16 pm

  2. Mel says:

    Thanks, Trent! πŸ˜€ My birthday was yesterday (13th), so your comment was actually right on time! πŸ™‚

    Oh, the quiet room was good! I got loads done. Every now and then, I stopped to search for a thought, and it was ‘Ooo, it’s quiet in here’ ….*typetypetype*

    I sympathise with the public speaking thing. Sorry I didn’t make it to the talk! I’m sure yours would have been better than the one I ended up at. Thanks for being part of a great weekend!

    I’ll be by to bother you at the launch tomorrow. πŸ™‚ See you then!

    September 14th, 2011 at 12:09 pm