Gorgeous design by Jane Waterhouse.
Inching closer to release in July.
Text books and journal articles for the PhD, including:
Escapist reading is The Sealed Letter, by Emma Donoghue, about which I’m still making up my mind. I’m not sure why it’s in the present tense, and that’s a question I’m also asking myself about Tragédie.
First it seemed like a moment until Act of Faith comes out. Now it seems like years. It’s actually somewhere in between – two months or so. So the anxious, exhilarated, dumb-struck, sleepless, proud, despairing thing is starting a bit ahead of schedule.
Don’t tell anyone, but I feel like this one might go OK.
Deadwood. It’s like Macbeth on crack.
French vocab. It will not stick in my brain. I go to class and everything looks fine on paper, and then I get asked a question and there’s nothing there at all. A black hole where a word or phrase ought to be. It was there yesterday. Where do they go?
And then there’s …
King Tutankhamun exhibition opened at the Melbourne Museum last night. Wonderful, wonderful things. Best of them: his dagger, with goldwork so fine you know the Egyptians had to have some kind of magnifying lens. And a stunning realist mask of Nefertiti. And a tiny cosmetic case shaped like a duck. And – well, everything, really.
Happy hours of research planning the trip to Paris and Provence in October.
Autumn in Melbourne: reddening leaves and rhubarb and stirring great vats of crabapple jelly and green tomato relish and crisp mornings with balmy days. Bliss.
There seems no end to the number of websites and blogs about books, writing and publishing. I guess that’s not surprising. People who write and publish words and ideas are going to do it on every platform possible. But some of it, to be frank, is either crap advice or hysterical or of the Disneyland school of thought (if you want to be a famous author, just follow your dreams and it will happen – even if you can’t write to save yourself – so all you need to worry about is what to wear on Oprah).
So in the middle of this overwhelming waterfall of information, where do you start?
Here are some sources I’ve either found useful or checked out to make sure they make some sort of sense. They are all free, but I strongly suggest that writers at any stage of their career invest in joining a local writers’ centre or society of authors.
Writing advice and ideas:
Some helpful websites of writing tips and advice from experienced authors.
Writers’ Hub (Birkbeck, UK): news, reviews, interviews
Best-selling author Sara Douglass (Australia) shares her experience of the business of writing and the editing/publishing process
Writing World (US): lots of short articles for people starting out and hoping to get published
Write101 (Australia): it’s been around a long time, and chock full of advice
Literary liaisons is aimed at romance writers, but also offers a great list of resources for writers of historical fiction
Allen and Unwin’s writing centre (Australia)
Authors’ associations and writers’ centres:
Trusted and authoritative sources of information and support.
Australian Society of Authors
NZ Society of Authors
UK Society of Authors
European Writers’ Congress
US Authors Guild
Australian Writers Centres
There are a billion sites and blogs on this topic, of varying quality, so here are just a few.
ASA Guide (Australia – PDF)
VWC advice (Australia)
Society of Authors advice (NZ)
Help! I need a publisher (UK)
Dance, Lalla, with nothing on
but air. Sing, Lalla,
wearing the sky.
Look at this glowing day! What clothes
could be so beautiful, or
~ Lalla, or Lalleshvari
A Kashmiri poet, circa 1350
I didn’t trust it for a moment,
but I drank it anyway,
the wine of my own poetry.
It gave me the daring to take hold
of the darkness and tear it down
and cut it into little pieces.
(from Naked Song Lalla, translations by Coleman Barks, Maypop, Athens, GA, 1992)
The time for best book lists is here.
Here are just a few:
Publishers’ Weekly (US) includes Patti Smith (which I still can’t find anywhere) and [sigh] Freedom. This is the test for each list – does it include Freedom?
Anis Shivani at the Huffington Post calls it one of the year’s several notably “ponderous, bloated, eminently editable books”. He prefers Orhan Pamuk.
Closer to home, the Fairfax papers asked a whole lot of clever people what they liked. Christos has discovered Margaret Yourcenar. Colm Toibin loved David Malouf’s Ransom. And Geraldine Brooks adored- surprise, surprise – Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.
The Guardian did the same thing, with rather more mixed results: Philip Hensher loved Freedom. Can that be right?
Finally, The Daily Beast added up the votes and came up with a list of lists – with Room at the very top, which is splendid. This list saves you having to read all the others. Nice.
Wolf Hall. No contest.
Fiction is democratic, it reasserts the authority of the single mind to make and remake the world.
~ E L Doctorow
So instead I’m taking to the beach:
The sixth HP film was always going to be slightly problematic, since it is largely about the trio and their quest/conflicts, without the usual ensemble, and all the big battles will be in the final instalment. But it really does work, not least because the three main actors are now so much better than they were when they were younger.
I’ve heard numerous stories of small children sobbing in the cinema. It’s not a little kids’ film by any stretch of the imagination – please, if your kid is not old enough to read the book without help, don’t take them to the movie.
Of course I’m writing my PhD novel. But also making scribbles for a sort of fantasy something.
And doing last minute proofing things to Act of Faith, which is now coming out in July.
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope.
~ Winston Churchill
I try to leave out the parts that people skip.