Posted by: pwe2008 | October 27, 2008

Bylines and bowerbirds by Lucia Nardo

Bylines and bowerbirds
A writer’s lonely task is to write line after line, crafting, editing, and sweating over the outcome and for what? The byline; those two words between heading and text—our name. The journey to journalism is often a long and daunting road. You need to hone your craft on a daily basis and tenaciously grasp any opportunity that might get your foot in the door and wedge open a writing career.

There’s one among us who has done this. Like the ornithologist concealed in the hide, I’ve spotted a bower bird tucking her learning and experiences into a nest from which to charm writing opportunities.

For my money, the name Megan Green reads well as a byline. I expect to see it regularly in newspapers and the spines of books. From the time Megan and I met in the enrolment queue, at VU while waiting to pay fees for the year ahead, I was struck by her determination.

‘Why are you doing the course?’ I asked.

She replied, ‘I want my kids to know that you can always make your life better. If I can do it, so will they.’

We became firm friends— workshopping our embryonic pieces, encouraging each other through writing blocks, attending writers’ festivals, sharing great books we discovered. This year Megan, despite her intermittent lack of confidence, developed a robust ‘have a go mentality.’ It started with a short piece she’d written on a woman kick boxer. (That’s one of Megan’s passions; so don’t cross her). She submitted the article to a local paper. No word. Finally, the answer came, ‘Maybe next time she has a fight scheduled’.

Disappointed but not defeated, Megan held out hope, ‘At least they didn’t say it was rubbish.’

While she waited, Practical Placement fuelled her writing path. She offered to write a play for the children to perform (a musical no less). While she was at it, she offered to write short pieces for the local school. Via the principal, these went off to the local paper.

‘It’s got a very small circulation,’ she argued modestly.

‘It’s a newspaper—and your articles are regular.’ I affirmed.

It grew from there literally by word of mouth. Suddenly there were two local newspapers printing her articles. When a larger local newspaper printed a front-page story about a woman kick boxer, it wasn’t Megan’s, although the article shared an eerily similar structure to the one she’d submitted months ago. Despite her disappointment, Megan realised that she had been on the right track—the style of the article had been spot on.

It flipped a switch.

When we went to see a play at the Williamstown Little Theatre (WLT), Megan wrote a review and submitted it to an editor at The Altona-Laverton Mail.

There was a flurry of excitement, when it was accepted. Then her wings were clipped when the article was rejected because the play had closed. Megan didn’t sulk for long. Undaunted, she went back to her bower; looked at all she had learned about writing, editing, contacts, and networking. She offered to write a review of a forthcoming play, prior to the season. The editor must have recognised Megan’s ability in her first article.

Suddenly, she had an interview with the play’s director and was dragging me to an open rehearsal for moral support.

Between that time she was given the assignment and the day of the rehearsal, our email strings, and scores of text messages, attest to Megan’s struggle with deadlines, momentary panic, overcoming initial gaffs and finally a rush of adrenalin—especially when the editor asked her if she wanted a photographer along.

She was being treated as a writer!

The day arrived. A frantic text message came. On my way. I need cards.

Media Alliance? Birthday? Playing?

Business!

Resourcefulness. All writers need it. Thanks to a few minutes on the PC and Celcast business card printing paper, Megan left my house with twelve business cards—Megan Green, Freelance Writer. Finally, we were welcomed into the theatre.

‘This is Megan Green from the Altona-Laverton Mail.’

We didn’t realise that our short stay at the rehearsal would yield a wealth of information, contacts, and exposure to the process of putting on a play. What a bonus!

We found out about WLT’s Six Plays event (for new writers to submit short plays for production). We met interesting people. We are now on the Director’s list for an invitation to the dress rehearsal. Megan got her interview, they got her business card, and we had fun (at least up to the point that Megan realised she was now on deadline).I’m looking forward to the delivery of the newspaper. Megan always has a killer opening line.

In classes, we are rightly reminded of how tough the creative industries can be, but that should not dissuade us, it should firm our resolve. Rejection should not always break our confidence. Instead, we can use it to improve our writing, think of an alternative and look at our work in another light.

It’s rare for someone to come to your door and ask you to write something, so step outside and have a go! Think up story opportunities, make that call, develop your contacts, and send that article along with your carefully crafted introductory email. Summon your mettle and overcome self-doubt. Take a page from Megan Green’s book.

You too could be a bower bird with a byline.

Posted by: pwe2008 | September 2, 2008

The Writing Process-Ashleigh Pryde

Hows it going?

My writing process is a lot different then most. I sit at my desk (preferably when it has lots of random writing before i rub it out and things to destract/inspire thoughts). It has to be a new exercise book and a new pen. The first thing I do is create a character (usually male) and let myself get really attatched to him/her. Then I get to know them really well, everything about them, to the finest details of their lives.

When I learn to love/hate them I throw them into some kind of trouble and think about what i could put them through, how I can hurt them. Then if I’m lucky enough they will tell me their stories and if not then I have to do some guess work. They don’t mind if I put them through hell because they know it’s for their own good, for their outcomes. Other times it’s not that simple…

Then I try and make it interesting for an audiance, I don’t usually think of the audiance first unless I’m writing an older children’s novel, then we’re restricted to no-so-evil events. There’s not much else to say…I write then type and edit at the same time, then usually have it workshopped or gone over by someone.

Everyone’s processes are different and this is just mine ( I know it’s kind of weired but enjoy:p)

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 24, 2008

Simone’s Villanelle

I am who Iam

I am who I am, and make no apology

A sparkly castle without standard sized key

I have set myself free

If you don’t like it, then you can go to hell

I’m a dancing queen diva, though I can’t dance well

I am who I am, and make no apology

A compliant Barbie I will never be,

You could try if you like, but you won’t control me

I have set myself free

I will pique if I like, and sing from the trees

have unbridled expression, have hobbies in threes

I am who I am, and make no apology

Hail, shine, and storm, I’ll make love to each season,

Just ’cause I want to, I don’t need a reason,

I have set myself free

My life is a canvas the whole thing is mine

So much white space, just not enough time

To paint every colour juxtaposed with rhyme

I am who I am, and make no apology

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 19, 2008

steven’s found poem

CHILL OUT

whatever he wants

eating frogs

the wrong job

of course we’ll support.

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 18, 2008

Simone’s found poems

there is a duck in the way

under the mat for you.

Peaches Overdoses

Quest crossroads

Reverse dusk baby

Dreams come true

I swallowed terrible duo.

Winter retreat

Well-inseminated.

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 18, 2008

Simone’s found poems

Strawberry clock lashes star

impregnating better than barbie

Solution finder–well, superman’s a journalist.

wench pirate outfits

Everyone enjoyed our pirate theme

comfortable in salt water in our lungs

FACE conk out vacumn-

HOT FROST– IMAGE KING

Improvise speech,

Celtic Budget

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 18, 2008

Luke’s found poems

Simple tastes

To stop flea numbers from multiplying

See it

Smell it

Eat it?

No more

jelly belly

The magic of the internet

Freeze frame

It just clicked

The world’s  top perfumers have created a fine

fragrance to rekindle those romantic impulses

‘To make it all

absolutely

perfect, we’re

getting married

later this year’

Embarrassed

A typical day for Natalie

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 18, 2008

My Process – Ryan. B

It’s funny to call it a writing process.

        The muddled events that unfold as you attempt to write don’t really resemble a process. And you certainly never think of it that way. When I sit down to begin writing and stare at the computer screen I’ll often do something else before begining. Something quick. Tiddy my desk or put away the clothes left hung over my chair. Something that will spawn another activity. Having already tidied my desk why not make my bed. Practical perhaps but that’s not where this is leading. Ok the bed is made, now what? Good heavens, look at my shoes; strewn around in a fashion indictaing i was happy to have them off my feet. Ok, all shoes partnered up and in a nice straight line. Hmmm. It’s been a while since i’ve organised my t-shirts. Throw them out onto the bed; damn I just made that. Alright let’s see; more then 40 t-shirts. So that’s where my money went. Fold nicely into three piles; ordering them in most to least used. Why? Im not sure that’s just how I do it. But what about my hanging clothes. Now throw thoes onto the bed. Making sure the good clothes have the good hangers before they go back in. Several jackets at the front, several shirts in th middle and several jeans and pants at the back. Perfect. I have exhausted every possible form of procrastination, in this room anyway. Now what was i doing?

        The monitor is full of the curvy coloured lines of its screen saver. I sit down in front of the mezmerising colours as they dip and bend. Time to work. I wake the computer and its judgemental cursor blinks at me.

        “Dont give me that crap it’s only been…oops. I wasted an hour and a half ordering my room. Well I’m working now damn it.” 

        I pick a CD up off the shelf. Mood music. Wait not that one; Michael Buble’s old album. I can sing that one first song to last; too distracting. But the new one i dont know so well. Throw it on and rock back and forth a little and hum to the smooth crooning melody. Ok. Now it’s time.

        Read the last few lines of the last paragraph. I’m up to date and ready to go. I write some crap just to get me in, I’ll fix that later. Now I’m in and rolling along at a slow pace as I usually think alound and have to go slow enough for my fingers to type. I often antagonise over a few lines for longer then I care to admit. I’ll sit and read ten times over over what i’ve just written. For three quaters of the time i may not actually be writing. Especially if i break for lunch or a one hour television reward. If I’ve earnt one. Some times i will even turn the computer off and  say “not today”. But by the end of a productive day, usually leading into night; I will have completed a chapter or my set goal. And will be happy with it. 

       So in its nut shell I supose my writing process is to exhaust the avenues of procrastination, before allowing myself to be absorbed in the work. If it takes a while to get going, I may just be more determined to produce something worth the time spent.

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 15, 2008

Simone’s limericks

There was a young girl from Mt. Isaac

Who wanted to dye her hair black

Her skin tone was too white

She looked like a snow sprite

Til the hairdresser changed it back

There once was a child from Sunshine

Whose favourite word was “mine”

Everyday she’d take something,

Lip gloss, makeup or keyrings

She was constantly crossing the line.

Posted by: pwe2008 | August 10, 2008

Christine’s quickies: limericks

It’s been idly supposed that some people

Who ring bells want to rock the old steeple

Since they seldom get laid

And never get paid

They must do it just for the free pull.

 

Though some paintings are better unhung

And most Arias better unsung

When it comes to the breasts

Of old dears with large chests

Things are better confined than unslung.

 

As the orchestra warmed to its task

First trombone pinched the trumpeter’s arse

Amidst the cacophony

Came the screech, ‘Just get off-a me!’

The reply: ‘But you’re more arse than brass!’ 

 

Jill gave dance demonstrations on telly

With a snake-charming man from New Delhi

While they danced the samba

Out slithered a mamba

And bit off a bit of her belly.

 

On the ceiling in here there’s a crack

And a wet patch that’s making it slack

When it finally falls in

With a din that’s appalling

There’ll be more of a duck than a quack.

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