Category Archives: Writing Career

Where Do you Get Your Ideas?

That is a sentence I’ve heard many times, and I know every other writer gets the same query: Where do you get your ideas?

I’m going to give you an answer. However, this is just one answer to a process that has a multitude of answers, all of them correct. Every writer will have their own process, and if they are anything like me, they will have more that one way of getting a writing idea.

Inspiration: Inspiration can come from anywhere: a dream, a news article, song lyrics, something you read in a book that set off a new train of thought (another reason for reading widely). Let’s assume that the shiny pretty distracting you from your writing is just that, a snippet, and not of those lucky instances of a story dropping into your head fully formed. So, you have a glimpse of a story idea.

I always study a new idea, turning it this way and that to see how it holds up. If it seems like a solid concept and not a cliche, I will write it down. For me, the process of writing it down will start my muse working on fleshing out the story. I always have a notebook with me, or I will make a note of it in my computer files.

First Thoughts: First thoughts are the magic beginning to happen. I may have had other ideas that relate to this new one. I look them up, and list them under my previous notes. I might fall down the rabbit hole of research online. I never make any judgement calls at this point, because I never know when two trains of thought might smash together and form art. The goal is make a big pile of ideas – what Neil Gaiman calls compost. I think of it more as a bouquet of random flowers, and I pick my blossoms with enthusiasm.

Working It: This stage is when I will start working on the plot, and cull the unnecessary ‘flowers’. This will result in a very simple and rough plot. Generally, I am a ‘Plot First, Characters Second’ Planner. However, once I’ve developed my characters past the two-dimensional stage, the plot will flip over and start evolving around them. The characters will drive the plot along and not the other way around. Settings will start to present themselves for consideration. I rarely am inspired by a character popping into my head, which is probs why I am a genre writer and not a literary writer.

At this point, I might let an idea ‘rest’. After all, I was working on other projects when the new shiny distracted me. It doesn’t hurt to give your muse a chance to mull the idea over. I’ve got a current short story I’m working on that was much improved by the sudden realisation that the dead woman was the protagonist and not the victim of the narrative. I think the story has gained ‘legs’ with this realisation. If I had rushed to write the story as I first conceived of it, it would have lost this deepening of character and plot.

In Summary: I leave myself open to any kind of inspiration, and then I work the shiny concept up into an idea. Ideas don’t down sleet down from above; they take work. Sorry to disappoint those who thought there was some sort of secret to getting good ideas.

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Filed under Inspiration, Plot, writing, Writing Career, Writing Style

Writing the Farm Book

Study shows cattle temperament affects feedlot performance ...

I am currently writing a middle grade book series about living on Australian farms. No horror, no fantasy, no Science Fiction themes … SHOCKING! Just the reality of farm living and some of the agricultural science behind farming practices.

There was a point in my life when I was doing a degree in agriculture, and then swapped into zoology. I love farms, because I spent holidays on farms as a child, and I love animals. My experiences with farms makes it easy to give my farm books plenty of real life incidents and so plenty of verisimilitude.

My biggest problem was finding my writing voice. Once I managed to tap into the mind of a preteen girl, it all started happening. I really like this character, because she is open to the lifestyle changes that come with living on a farm. All the conflict comes from the animals and the character missing her friends & family lift behind when her family moved to the farm.

She is going to have fun over the next four books.

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Filed under Farm Book, Humour, Inspiration, Science, Writing Career, YA Work in Progress

My most recent publication!

https://antisf.com.au/the-stories/the-wager

 

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Steampunk, and proud of it!

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Filed under Australian Steampunk Author, Short Story, Steampunk, Steampunk Author, Steampunk Genre, Steampunk Themes, Steampunk Writer, The Writing Life, Writing Career

Learning Curve

Just to shake things up a bit, I’ve decided to do a masterclass online with Neil Gaiman. He is a writer I admire, with a lush writing style. And I’ve saved a bit of money by not going anywhere…

If you’re snoozing, you’re losing. I don’t think a writer can ever say there is nothing new to learn. I’ll report back on what I’m learning … without giving away Mr Gaiman’s hard work. My favourite gold nugget for getting a story started: “Let me tell you what happened to me.” It’s immediate, and already you’ve made a connection with the reader. The answer will be different for every storyteller.

MAGIC!

This image may contain Furniture Shelf Bookcase Human Person Room and Indoors

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Filed under Craft, Education, Inspiration, Neil Gaiman, Writing Career, Writing Style

Career Update April 2020

I have more good news. Next issue of AntipodeanSF , Issue 260,will contain one of my Steampunk short stories. I am thrilled to have a story in my favourite genre being showcased in a magazine I support.

And DailySF has accepted a second story from me! I have to admit, that news sent me dancing around my house. I spent two years writing stories specifically for DailySF, and my persistence has paid off. I know the sort of stories they prefer to see from me, and I will be tailoring my submissions accordingly.

On the topic of submissions, I haven’t done as much submitting as usual for the first quarter of the year. I’ve upped my game this month. I’ve already sent off ten stories (some are recycled rejections, given a polish), and plan to write and send at least one more in the next week.

My current project is finally going well. I’ve found my ‘voice’. It helps that I am over the brain fuzziness that plagued me for a fortnight.

As a writer, the current lockdown has only meant more writing time. However, for those of you who are negatively impacted by Covid-19 social distancing regulations, hang in there. Remember to be kind to each other. If you start feeling a dose of cabin fever … take a deep breath and find your happy place. Mine is reading a good book.

Surprised?

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Filed under AntipodeanSF, DailySF, Personal experience, Writing Career

I’ve got a story on DailySF

https://dailysciencefiction.com/hither-and-yon/alternate-history/lynne-lumsden-green/cherry-ripe

I’m so happy that I’ve reached one of my writing goals.

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Filed under DailySF, Short Story, writing, Writing Career

Smoking

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From the sharp and spiky can come true beauty.

It’s been a rough start to the year, and I had been hoping that 2020 would be a better year than 2019. I am asthmatic, and I found it difficult to cope with the smoke from the bushfires. However, I wrote a story for an anthology that is raising funds for the Fire Services, and it was accepted. So, I have a paranormal romantic story in ‘Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts’. This is my second acceptance for a story with a romantic theme … and I really thought I couldn’t write romance. To be truthful, it never gets too hot or heavy in my flings in the genre. I’m just glad I was able to turn days of smoke into something to fight fires.

Image result for Burning hearts anthology

 

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Filed under #AuthorsforFiries, Anthology, Community, Inspiration, Personal experience, Romance, Writing Career

More Good News

Persistence pays off. After two years of submitting to DailySF, I have had a story accepted!Image result for cherry

My story, currently titled ‘Cherry Ripe’, made the grade. I did have one other story make it to the second level of reading, but it didn’t get accepted. For DailySF, appears I get better results with humour than with any other writing style. 

 

 

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Filed under Humour, Personal experience, Submissions, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, Writing Career

Mixed News

I have had some interesting news about my health. I have cysts in my liver. Sorry to be a bit vague, but that’s all I really know until I see the specialist in January. I’ve decided I’m not going to get too concerned until I’ve seen the specialist. This comes right on the heels of discovering a cyst in my breast that was completely harmless, so I’m not burying my head in the sand. Apparently I just like growing things like cysts and polyps.

On the other hand, for the first time since June, I’ve made my goal of ten submissions in a month! My muse is working overtime and I keep getting solid ideas for short stories and for added scenes for my Regency-era Steampunk novel. I think there has been so much going on in my life, I’ve just become numb to the drama.
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In unrelated gardening news about growing things … I discovered these eggs before they hatched and started gobbling up my leafy greens in the vegetable garden. They have been quarantined.

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Filed under Personal experience, The Writing Life, Writing Career

Why Steampunk? Why Fairy Tales for Adults?

1880-miss-bernhardt-the-ocean-express-miss-bernhardt-with-person-in-deep-sea-diving-gear-standing-alongside

Why do I mainly write in the genres of Steampunk and Fairy Tales? One is a Science Fiction subgenre, the other is a genre all of its own. I have both a rational and emotive nature, and these two genres manage to hit all the buttons for me.

Steampunk has it roots in alternative history, but without its strong links to scientific advancements and innovations, it wouldn’t exist. I love Science for its own sake; I blame Isaac Asimov and his robot stories I read when I was eight. Science fiction has so much potential.

Fairy Tales tap into the archetypes that underlie all storytelling. They are metaphors, told with beautiful prose. They are a completely different style from Steampunk. Richer in symbology.

I wouldn’t be happy if I couldn’t write both.

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Genre, Steampunk, The Writing Life, Writing Career