MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 28

Today my Amazing May Gibbs Adventure officially ends, but for me and my new manuscript, it is really just the beginning. We are about to embark on a journey outside this May Gibbs apartment and who knows where it will take us.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been here 28 days. What’s even harder to believe is that I’ve kept my promise to blog EVERY DAY.

I can’t wait to see my family, but when I reflect on the four weeks I have just spent, I’d have to say this has been the most wonderful and inspirational creative experience of my life.

When I came here, I had a goal to plan my three part YA psychological thriller series, and perhaps get 30 pages or so of the manuscript completed. I also planned to use the speedy internet to explore chat rooms and do valuable research.

In the twenty-eight days I have been here, this is what has actually happened.

  1. I have breakfasted, lunched and dined with some wonderful writerly friends, and made new ones while I was here.
  2. Completed the research I set out to do.
  3. Conducted eleven writing workshops for children.
  4. Plotted the three books in my new YA psychological thriller series.
  5. Developed character profiles for the important characters.
  6. Written a first draft of just over 55,000 words.
  7. Made a list of issues that need to be addressed in the next draft.
  8. Came up with a very rough new book idea and title.
  9. Came up with a second new book idea which I have researched and plotted.
  10. Did some of the edits for an existing YA novel.
  11. Blogged daily at this blog.
  12. Posted a writing tips blog every Tuesday.
  13. Became the new children’s book blogger for Boomerang Books and blogged regularly there for the last two weeks.

I have achieved more than I ever thought possible, and to me this goes to show what an inspirational experience a May Gibbs Fellowship is.

Thanks so much to Judith Russell from the May Gibbs Literature Trust for making me feel so at home (even moonlighting as the Easter Bunny). Thanks also to the May Gibbs Literature Trust itself for giving me this opportunity.

Thanks to all the staff at the State Library for organising my workshops and helping to keep them on track, and to my beautiful niece, Emma who came all the way from Byron Bay to visit me.

Thanks to my wonderful Brisbane writerly friends for making me feel as if I really am a resident of Brisbane; Sheryl, Julie, Maree, Lynn, Tina, Ally, Karen and Belinda.

Thanks also to everyone who has read this blog and supported me with  your comments and words of encouragement.

Last but not least, thanks to my wonderful husband and children who have given me the love, encouragement, support and freedom to explore my creativity.

And now I’m off to join my family, but I’ll most likely be back on Monday with news from the ‘real’ world and of course my Tuesday Writing Tip.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

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MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 27

Today is my second last day here, and I have mixed feelings about leaving Brisbane. I’ll be sad to leave behind some wonderful friends, but it’s only temporary. I will be back in Brisbane for the CYA Conference in September.

Now that I’ve tied up all the loose ends, I’m getting very impatient to be on that plane, and heading back to my family. Only one more sleep to go.

Today I have been making notes of things to include/lookout for in the next draft of the manuscript I have been working on since I’ve been here. I have quite a few pages. Being a three part series, I have to make sure I lay down all the right clues for the reader.

I have also been editing my YA novel. Having had a break from it for the last few weeks while I’ve been here, I can really see how great my editor’s suggestions are. Putting a manuscript aside for a while is a really good way to identify and understand its flaws.

It has also been a day of last minute catchups. I had a lovely morning tea with authors Sheryl Gwyther and Belinda Jeffrey. I was late…lost I confess. I’m sure the kings were Albert, Edward then George; but that’s not the order that the streets by that name run in Brisbane. Thanks to a kind policeman, I found my way. Had a great chat about all things writerly, and am really looking forward to reading Belinda’s new book when it comes out in September.

After that I walked across the bridge to the State Library where I caught up with Tammy Morley and Steve Bourne. They have been the wonderful people behind my school workshops; making sure that everything ran smoothly and according to schedule. Thanks Tammy and Steve for helping to make my workshops so much fun, and ensure that they finished on time – and for today. Tammy and Steve took me for lunch at the Art Gallery. It was lovely sitting outside watching water dragons scuttle up and down the trees.

On the way home, I visited Glen and wished him all the best, had one of his divine iced chocolates and took one last sandwich board pic. Just as well I can still follow his boards on Facebook.

Now I’m off to back and book my seat for the trip home.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 26

I head home in two days with lots of editing to do; editing of book one of my new YA thriller series that I started here, and editing of a YA novel I need to do for my publisher.

And that will be my priority, but I am drawn to my new idea for a book for younger children, the one inspired by the beautiful Sophie and the Roma Street Parklands.

So today, I spent two hours walking around the Roma Street Parklands taking lots of photos so that I’ll have them with me when I sit down to write.

There are so many ways in which a writer is asked to be patient. And putting off working on a new book can be one of them.

I made a commitment long ago that I would not flit from project to project, that I would get one under control before I moved on to the next. I think otherwise you run the risk of not finishing anything, and you never get your manuscripts out to  publishers.

Amazing tree roots

Still, I must say I’m very excited about my new project, but I promise to exercise self control.

Enjoyed a Korean lunch in Elizabeth Street with writerly friend, Maree, then it was back to Ann Street for more editing.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 25

You might have guessed by now that my writing is totally out of control.  An idea can strike at any moment and I find it impossible to say, “Go away I’m busy, come back another day”.

And guess what? I had one yesterday. No sooner had I finished the first draft of one book when an idea, character etc appeared in my head. Needless to say, this new ‘brainwave’ kept me awake till around midnight then woke me again at 4.00am.

The good news is that it’s all plotted out now as you can see from the attached diagram, so now I can put it away and go back to my editing, phew! And the idea will be there waiting for me when I get back and have a chance to focus my attention on this new story.

You might not be surprised to find that it was inspired by the gorgeous Sophie and our lovely day out in the Roma Street Parklands yesterday.

Today was the last of my workshops at the State Library of  Queensland. The workshop was titled from Portrait to Prose, and I used Letters to Leonardo to demonstrate how art can be used to inspire writing. We went to the Library’s Bipotaim exhibition and developed character profiles from photographs, then we went to the art gallery and developed characters from paintings.

This workshop was attended by a group of kids who had taken time out from their school holidays to be there, and they were very enthusiastic and happy to talk about their writing and the sorts of things they write.

May Gibbs’ Literature Trust’s Judith Russell came to the workshop and then we lunched at the Avid Reader where we became Avid Eaters and Avid Readers. A great way to round off the day.

Off course I had to check out Glen’s masterpiece for the day, and when I got home there was plenty of emailing and blogging to catch up on.

Brisbane and my May Gibbs Fellowship has been so inspiring, but I must admit I’m getting edgy to see my family. Only three more sleeps.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 24

After finishing the first draft of Book One last night, today was a day for sleeping in and enjoying the sights of Brisbane.

A non-writerly friend, came to visit with her gorgeous little girl, Sophie and we spent the morning exploring the Roma Street Parklands, which really are a work of art.

Roma Street Parklands in bloom

So many places to explore, water dragons scuttling across in front of us, and garden beds out in full bloom.

It has been a while since I’ve had to stop at flowers so a little person can have a “shmell”.

If we could incorporate the innocence, wisdom and wonder of our children, I’m sure our writing would always be beautiful.

Children think with all their senses, it seems to be something that adults have to consciously remember.

After a lovely time in the gardens it was back to my “Brisbane Home” to work on my “From Portrait to Prose” workshop at the state library.

I’ve also decided that I can’t maintain so many blogs, so I have spent some time incorporating some of the features from my blog http://tips4youngwriters.wordpress.com into this blog.

I hope you like the new Want to Be a Writer and Writing Tips pages.

Now it’s time for reflection about draft one of my novel. As I move onto the editing tomorrow, these will be the things I’ll be looking out for:

  • Another friendly Brisbane local

    Holes/inconsistencies in the plot

  • Lapses in dramatic tension
  • Changes in writing style
  • Changes in voice
  • Telling not showing
  • Foreshadowing – have I left enough clues for the reader?
  • Places where the writing is dull
  • Places where I have given the reader too much information

Wish me luck! It’s a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 23

On today's walk, I was fascinated with this house built into the rock cliff face.

Okay, it is really day 23 today. I got so caught up with time zone issues yesterday that I got ahead of myself. As you can see, Maths is not my strong point. So I might confine the rest of this post to news about writing.

Today I reached 55,000 words and the end of draft one is just a hare’s whisker away, or is that a bunny’s? I have resisted the urge to sprint to the finish, and I think I’m going to end up with a much stronger ending as a result.

It was another great day for walking and writing. I am constantly grateful for the number of bus stop seats around Brisbane that provide refuge for the walking writer.

They are just what I need when I am looking for somewhere to stop and write down the whirl wind of ideas in my head.

I’m hoping to finish my ms mark 1, after I’ve done this blog post, then celebrate with some sleep.

Out for dinner at a chinese restaurant.

Seeing as it’s my last week in Brisbane, I haven’t been wasting social opportunities and tonight I dined at a Chinese restaurant in the mall with Karen Webb Collum and her mother, Collene. Another fun night with great food and good company. I confess that we were asked to leave the restaurant, but not for rowdy behaviour, the staff wanted to go home.

And now I’m off to check my emails, finish my manuscript, then bed.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)

Tomorrow’s Tuesday Writing Tip is all about increasing dramatic tension.

News Flash:    Draft One of manuscript written during May Gibbs Fellowship has just been completed.

MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE DAY 22

A non-Easter bunny from back home

Today I reached my 50,000 word milestone.  I have a tendency to accelerate when I see the finish line and end my early drafts abruptly.

So I took a deep breath and forced myself to stop when I reached the 50,000 word mark and put my manuscript aside.

I had plenty of other writerly things to occupy me including preparing blog posts for next week and a Powerpoint presentation for my workshop, From Portrait to Prose, at the State Library of Queensland on Wednesday.

Easter Bunny had not forgotten me and arrived in the form of Judith Russell from the May Gibbs Literature Trust who has looked after me so well since I’ve been here. Judith came bearing a smile and some yummy marzipan easter eggs.

I had a lovely chat to everyone from home and was pleased to hear that the non-easter bunnies seem to be coping with my absence.

The end of Daylight Saving put me in a complete state of confusion. My computer, which I had reset to Brisbane time when I arrived, automatically adjusted itself for the end of Daylight Savings. This mean that I was an hour behind all day, but didn’t realise till I was wandering casually around Brisbane and checked my mobile phone to discover that it was actually 5.18 not 4.18.

I was far from home, sweaty and casually dressed and due to hop on a train in 45 minutes to have dinner with my writerly friends, Julie Nickerson and Lynn Priestley. In fact, I was so confused, that I had to phone Julie to find out what time it really was.

Lynn, Julie and I dining at Tomato Brothers

After rushing around frantically, I made it to the station with a few minutes to spare and sat on the platform writing this blog post; afraid that if I attempted to do it on the train I might get off at the wrong station.

We dined lavishly (ate way too much) at Tomato Brothers which was worth going to just for the name, but the food was great too.

There’s nothing like plotting your next book in the company of other writers.

Happy writing.

Dee:-)