Category Archives: Writing craft

Nick Earls interviews me about new adult fiction; Mental Health Monday; and writing from the perspective of the opposite sex

Tonight’s post is the finale of my blog tour for The Big Smoke, and let me assure you, it ends with a bang!

STOP ELEVEN

Stop eleven was an unexpected, but extremely welcome, detour from my scheduled route. I received an email over the weekend from one of my all-time favourite authors, Nick Earls, to see if I’d be interested in answering a few questions about New Adult fiction on his blog. Naturally, I agreed! Here’s a taste of the post…

Away from the internet, the NA market is still in its infancy in terms of connecting books with buyers (in my opinion, at least). There’s a strong opportunity to establish a relationship between NA authors and universities/colleges because so many students in higher education are part of the NA target market, but I don’t believe this has been explored much at all yet.  Read more…

STOP TWELVE

In my twelfth stop, I’ve been interviewed about The Big Smoke by Laura Diamond as part of her Mental Health Monday series. Want a preview? Here you go!

What’s your technique for drawing out authentic emotions in your characters?

I don’t know if my technique is anything ground breaking – it mainly involves taking my hands off the keyboard, closing my eyes and imagining what it would be like to be in the situation my character is experiencing. What would it feel like? What thoughts would be running through your head? What would you notice about your surroundings? Read more…

LUCKY STOP THIRTEEN

In my thirteen and final stop, I’m guest posting over at Arlee Bird’s Tossing it Out about writing from the perspective of the opposite sex and whether or not that’s a good idea.

Here’s a taste for you:

When I decided to re-write my New Adult novel, The Big Smoke, so that it was told from the first-person perspective of my two main characters, I knew it would be challenging for me (a 29-year-old woman) to create a realistic and engaging teen male voice. Seb, my main male character, is 17 at the beginning of The Big Smoke and comes from a different background to me, but I was determined to get into his head somehow and use his words to tell the story. Read more…
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SIGNING OFF (FOR NOW)
Thanks for following me around the blogosphere! Hope you’ve enjoyed my guest posts and interviews about all things The Big Smoke. 🙂
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Filed under blog tour, New Adult fiction, Nick Earls, The Big Smoke, Writing, Writing craft

Does romance equal happiness in fiction? Plus two interviews with two Lauras!

STOP EIGHT

In the eighth stop of my blog tour, I’m guest posting over at The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective about whether romance equals happiness in fiction (and whether it should). Here’s a taste of the post…

I’m a sucker for a good romance. Twilight is one of my favourite books and movies like Ten Things I Hate About You never fail to make me smile. But as much as I love stories like these, they make me slightly uncomfortable. Why? Because they seem to equate romance with happiness, and I’m not sure that’s a great message, particularly for young (and new) adults. Read more…

STOP NINE

In my ninth stop, I’ve answered all of Laura J Moss‘s burning questions about self publishing, including why I decided to self publish, what factors I had to consider, how I chose my publishing mediums and what advice I’d give to people considering self publishing for themselves. Want a preview? Here you go!

Be aware that you will need to commit a great deal of time to the [self publishing] process to do it justice. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my self-publishing journey (except for the 2 a.m. crisis!), but it has consumed a LOT of my time and energy. You need to be prepared to not only be the author, but to also be the typesetter, the proofreader, the accountant, the distributor, the publicist… and the list goes on. Read more…

STOP TEN

And in my tenth stop, it’s my turn to answer Laura Howard’s famous six questions over at Finding Bliss. I’ve revealed my top three favourite books (for now), my editing process for The Big Smoke and my inspiration for writing. Here’s a little sample for you:

When it comes to editing, focus on the macro issues first – look at the forest rather than the trees. With earlier iterations of The Big Smoke (then Entwined, before I decided to completely re-write it), I spent countless hours perfecting the prose of certain scenes, only to decide later that the entire chapter needed to go. Read more…

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The best writing-related decision I ever made AND blending fact and fiction

STOP SIX

In the sixth stop of my blog tour, I’m guest posting over at Seeking the Write Life about the best writing-related decision I ever made. Here’s a taste of the post…

Writing (and subsequently publishing) The Big Smoke has been an incredibly long journey – eleven years to be precise. It’s been a fantastic learning experience, and I feel that my writing has improved so much over that time. But the main reason for that rests with one important decision I made many years ago. Read more…

STOP SEVEN

In my seventh stop, I’ve written about blending fact and fiction in The Big Smoke on Steph Bowe’s blog.  Want a preview? Here you go!

Many people have asked whether my debut New Adult novel, The Big Smoke, is autobiographical. I always answer with an emphatic, ‘NO,’ but that’s not 100% true. While the vast majority of The Big Smoke is fiction, there are parts based on my own experiences. Read more…

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A strong sense of place

During the recent Brisbane Writers Festival, I attended a workshop called Turning Where into Who: Character as Place. I found the session quite insightful and I thought you might be interested to hear what I learnt…

According to the workshop facilitator, Australian author Ashley Hay, a vividly realised location makes a dramatic difference to the power of your writing. Some stories are so steeped in their location, if feels as if they couldn’t be set anywhere else, and the location becomes a character in its own right. That is the kind of fiction I want to write. I want my locations to feel so real that my readers forget where they are and begin to see, hear and smell everything my characters do.

Crocodile Adelaide River

The subject of my dreams... (Click for image source)

Contemporary authors who do this well (in my opinion) include Bryce Courtenay (with Africa and outback Australia), and Belinda Jeffrey (with the Northern Territory). The mood of their locations filters into every scene and you feel as if you’re right there in the location with the characters. When I was reading Jeffrey’s coming-of-age novel Brown Skin Blue – about a boy who works on a crocodile-jumping cruise boat on the Adelaide River – I actually dreamt of rivers and crocodiles, such was the power of the book’s setting.

But obviously, it’s a lot easier to identify authors who do this well than it is to bring your own settings alive. One piece of advice from Ashley that I found particularly useful was this: remember that you’re not trying to document a place, you’re trying to capture it. So you needn’t feel obliged to catalogue everything your characters see or hear in order to convey place, just the telling details. And if you’re using a real location, you needn’t feel compelled to adhere strictly to reality. You should feel free to imagine real places. If a fictional touch brings a real place to life, then allow yourself to go with that.

And of course, there was the piece of advice that is age-old but oh-so-true: rely on your senses. Don’t just consider how a place looks, but also how it sounds and even how it smells and feels. According to Ashley, touch is one of the most under-utilised senses in fiction, and it can be amazing for capturing place.

As I edit my novel-in-progress Tangled, I want to scrutinise how well I’ve captured my settings (Brisbane and rural Queensland) and hopefully make these locations as important to the book as my characters.

I’m interested in your views on setting – does it make a big difference to your reading experience? Would you choose whether or not to read a book based on where it was set? Do you prefer real or imaginary settings? How do you rate your own skills at capturing place? What books/authors do you think do a fantastic job in this area? Please share. 🙂

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