Plotting or pantsing? It’s a debate that comes up at every writers festival, convention or event. Do you plot your books or fly by the seat of your pants? The responses vary: some mix both, some write to uncover the story, some people prepare excel spreadsheets. I used to laugh at the people with plot spreadsheets for stories.
With the recently released And Then… anthology chock full of amazing Aussie authors, I couldn’t resist drawing on their collective writing knowledge. I asked them for their best short story tips and they delivered!
At the start of the year I wrote about my goal to write a novel in a year. I’ve just finished the first draft, all in the space of nine months. I’m not the world’s fastest writer, nor am I the slowest. But the point is, I have 250 pages of work which make sense from start to finish.
I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned in the last nine months of writing.
Have you ever said to yourself, I’d love to be creative, but I’m just not that sort of person?
As a full-time creative professional, I hear this wish expressed all the time. I wish I was creative. I wish I could do what you do. Creativity can seem like the daunting domain of people with funky dress sense and hipster glasses. Of course, I don’t believe there’s a line between creative and non-creative people. It’s not like there’s a secret creative land where all the artists, writers and photographers live, and non-creative land for everyone else.
I was having one of those days. Sitting there writing, thinking that even if I write and write and write, I’ll never be as good as [insert author name here].
Funnily enough, it seems like a bunch of other writers were having those days too. I checked into social media, where at least three author friends were feeling down about their progress in their writing career. Most of us don’t have a huge fan base to build us back up with praise. The comments sections lie empty on blogs.
Since I was a teenager, I wanted to be the lead singer in a rock and roll band. It was something about watching Renee Zellweger rocking out on the top of Empire Records that did it for me. Everything in that moment was thrown to the wind in the name of music. The movie finished, but life goes on.
In which Kat discusses the World Fantasy Convention, writerly adventures and the joys of bagels.
It’s been an intense, insane weekend and I’ve finally had time to sit down and collect my thoughts. Last weekend I attended the World Fantasy Convention for the first time. It was a fantastic experience, one of those defining moments in a writing career, especially being in the early days of my publishing journey.
A room full of genre fiction writers is my idea of heaven. It’s nice to be in a room full of people who won’t roll their eyes when you proudly announce “I write genre fiction!” So it was a no brainer to go to Genrecon in Brisbane this year, attended by writers of romance, sci-fi, fantasy, crime and everything in between. I had a fantastic weekend bantering with other authors, percolating ideas and being entertained by Mary Robinette Kowal’s insane level of talent (I mean, who else can write novels and work as the right hand of Oscar the Grouch?).
Here’s a little write up of some of the panels I attended.
As someone who works in digital media as well as being an author, I often get asked by other authors “Do I really need to use social media?” The simple answer is YES! Publishers, agents and festival organisers are no longer just looking for people who can tell a good story, they want you to have an online presence. Having a ready audience for your work is a great indicator to a publisher that you’re pro-active at promoting your work. And if you’re a self-published author, how else are you going to get the word out about your amazing space-opera zombie novel? Social media is a great place to connect with other like minded authors and readers.
Since returning home after two years of travel, I’ve embraced a minimalist lifestyle. What does that look like, you wonder? I’ll get there… Living out of a backpack helped me understand that I don’t need a lot of stuff to live – in fact, most people in the developing world have less than I do. When I returned to Australia to unpack the boxes of stuff from my old life, I kept pulling things out and going “I don’t even know why I own this.”