Monthly Archives: November 2017

How Setting and Plot can affect Characterisation

Cogpunk Steamscribe

professor-alice

My main character of my Steampunk novel is a seventeen year old girl called Alice. She is a polymath, and finds it difficult to gain respect and recognition for her inventions and education in the male-dominated field of science in Britain, in the 1870s. How you build a character should link back to your setting and plot. I am going to run though how Professor Alice was developed.

When I first had my idea for the novel, I knew it was going to be about a woman fighting against the established patriarchal restrictions built into the scientific society of Victorian England. So the fact she was female was a given. And she had to be tough and resilient.

She also needed to be rich. Alas, but only the daughters of the wealthy usually had access to a proper scientific education. A poor girl would be lucky to scrape enough education…

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Exciting times

What a week! The high point was being picked from 10,000 entries to have my fifteen minutes of fame on a QWC billboard. I stalked those billboards until I saw my story … and then stalked them some more to get pictures.
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I had a epiphany for a motivation for my antagonist in the train book. I haven’t been getting too many words down, just plotting how I am moving forward and getting my ducks in a row for the next big push.
I sent off several submissions and query letters this week, mainly for short stories and my nonfiction bug book.
Because of GenreCon, I have been working on a career plan, and now have a vague outline for a one year plan, two year plan, and five year plan. I was to work at diversifying my income. So, I am working towards making a submission for running a workshop next year (second half). I am looking at setting up a professional author website and starting a newsletter. I will be looking overseas for an agent (or two).
So, I have four books I want to be doing the rounds by the end of next year. I still want to aim for 100 rejections (and I am well on track to make that this year). I may self-publish a short story collection. And I want to be more helpful with the next anthology – which will help me with my own dabbling in self publishing.
On a social note, I spent a wonderful four hours with my fellow writer and a member of the Springfield Writers Group, Megan, going over our GenreCon notes and sharing titbits of knowledge. Even if we had attended all the same sessions  – which we didn’t – we had different perspectives on what the panellists were saying.
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Megan and me, getting photos taken for our marketing package for our anthology.

So, life is exciting right now. In the next two weeks, the writers group has the official launch of our anthology.

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Filed under 8 Word Story, Anthology, Personal experience, Queensland Writers Centre, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, Writing Career

River Bank: Early design

Kathleen Jennings would be one of the few people I would trust to get a ‘Wind in the Willows’ sequel right, because of her dedication to her art.

Kathleen Jennings

This is the second process post for my illustrations for Kij Johnson’s The River Bank (from Small Beer Press). The previous post was on my first response.

The next stage of the illustration process was to work out the style I wanted to use, and the character design.

I’ve always adored E. H. Shepard’s illustrations for The Wind in the Willows. Many many other great artists (Shepard was the fourth, and Arthur Rackham followed him) have illustrated Kenneth Grahame, but for me, Shepard most perfectly captured the gravitas and pomp, the comfort and homeliness of Grahame’s little folk.

E. H. Shepard (you might also know his art from such books as Winnie-the-Pooh)

If I were to illustrate The Wind in the Willows I would, I suppose, have to take an entirely individual approach. But because this was a sequel, I wanted to do what Kij Johnson achieved (with…

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And so this happened…today!

Herston

Currently, the Queensland Writers Centre has a great little promotion going: 8 Word Story. They have had over 10,000 entries and I was one of the lucky ones chosen to go up on the billboards. I get my fifteen minutes of fame in 5 second spurts over the course of a day, the 23rd of November, on nine billboards around Brisbane City.

They talk about having your name in lights! It is exciting!

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Filed under 8 Word Story, Personal experience, Queensland Writers Centre, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, Writing Career

A Quick Observation on Dialogue

One of my best university tutors always told me to treat the setting like another character, and give the setting its own dialogue. There is more than one way to do this.

If your characters are talking, give them something to do, in the appropriate setting. Two family members are discussing a third member? Have them making dinner in the kitchen in the family home … and the setting and dialogue will act together like musical instruments … in harmony.

Think about contrasting the setting and the dialogue; this creates tension. People talking about saving the environment, while sitting in the middle of a big city and eating fast food, sends a very different message to a clutch of tired, wet people chatting while standing knee deep in an oil spill, trying to save dying birds. How would the dialogue change between these two settings?

In a fantasy setting … does it grate on your ‘ears’ if people talk in a modern manner. Why? Or why not?

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An open letter to the Australian fashion industry

Dear fashion industry: Just because it is summer doesn’t mean I want to show all my skin.

Please stop making every second blouse a ‘cold shoulder’ blouse. Only the young and fit look good in them, and they are useless outdoors in Australia – who wants sunburnt shoulders? I need a shirt that protects me from the sun.

Please stop skimping on the fabric for tops by stopping them at waist level length. I do not want to reveal my scarred tummy when I reach up for items in the supermarket. I do not want to have to pay for all the therapy for my fellow shoppers.

Please be aware that there is nothing more frustrating than finding a shirt I like, but it is only available in this year’s fashion colours, and I look ill in that very limited range of colours. Would it hurt to provide a larger range?

Australia has an aging population and an obesity problem. So how about designing clothes to flatter middle-aged, chubby women. Or I (and all my demographic) will be forced to shop in men’s clothing stores and you will lose money hand-over-fist.

No wonder I love cosplay…

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Latest Anthology with a Steampunk Story by Me!

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This anthology will be launched on the 7th of December. I will put up the link to purchase it then.

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Filed under Anthology, Book Launch, Bookface, Steampunk, Steampunk Author, Steampunk Genre, Steampunk Writer, Writing Career