What a weekend!!
For the first time ever, a writer’s festival was held within an hours drive from my home. It was brilliant! There were author talks, panels on a huge variety of topics, book signings, a book store, and people – so many people. I saw people I haven’t seen for years, and I met new people, and we talked about all sorts of things, but above all, of course, we talked about writing.
There are far too many talks to discuss in this one post (especially as my muse is calling me to get back to working on my own stories!), so I’ll just mention two – ‘Living in a World of Fantasy’ with authors Tansy Raynor Roberts, Lian Tanner and Chris Foster, and ‘Tasmania, My Inspiration’ with all Tassie authors Heather Rose, Poppy Gee, Kate Gordon and Christina Booth
‘Living in a World of Fantasy’ was brilliant. Not only did we hear from the authors themselves and how much they live in their own fantasy worlds, but they gave amazing advice on writing when you have young children – As the mother of two chidren aged 9 and 5 (I think I have that right), Tansy Raynor Roberts gave some great tips – Respect your work, and teach your children to respect it. Your writing-work is just as important and valid as the work of a parent who leaves home every morning to work elsewhere, and also Balance! Tansy said she knew she had the balance wrong when her daughter started punching the laptop!!
I also learnt that Tansy was one of those responsible for starting the Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine! I’m ashamed to admit I had no idea it was Australian – I thought it was an American publication (clearly I was half asleep when I looked at it!), but now I will definitely be sending my short stories their way. They recommended a great amount of authors to read, including Diana Wynne Jones – especially her book “The Tough Guide to Fantasy Land”. They gave advice on what to do when you get stuck.
“Insert square brackets [something awesome goes here] and keep on writing.” Don’t let not knowing how to progress the story to the next scene, stop you from writing the next scene. (Did that even make sense? Sorry, my mind is a jumble at the minute – so much to think about, so much to write about…)
They talked of how limitations make the world more believable, and the story far more interesting. And the struggles when writing a series of having book one already published when you discover something has to happen in book three, but can’t because of circumstances explained in book one… and the challenge that imposes upon the author.
‘Tasmania: My Inspiration’ was a great source of inspiration to me. As the authors talked not only of location, and use of the landscape in their stories and as inspiration for their stories (as I used it myself in A Faery Dream), but also of the people who had inspired them, and the strange belief (perhaps not unique to us, but certainly steeped deep in our psyche) that Tasmania and Tasmanian’s are somewhat lesser, that we are not good enough to write stories, to publish stories, to succeed, I found myself reflecting back on how Tasmania seeps into my own writing. As my first published story, A Faery Dream is the one in which I found myself reflecting my favourite image of Tasmania on the page. I rarely use my home state as location, and when I have done it often feels forced, and yet Tasmania is an incredible landscape and backdrop, shown quite clearly by the range of stories told about this amazing place.
Well I’m not sure how clear this post has been today. My mind is still a whirl from the ideas and information I picked up over this amazing weekend. It was truly a brilliant event, and I have my fingers crossed they will hold another one next year!