I thought I would start my first post by posting an article that has been published in Writers Voice, which is a quarterly bulletin of the Fellowship of Australian Writers NSW. They are a great writing resource and have been a tremendous help to me. Their website is http://www.fawnsw.org.au/ :-
THE WORD ON THE STORY
I am an ordinary person living in an extraordinary world. I live on the mid-north coast of
NSW. To my east are the wonders of the ocean and to my west is the brilliance of the rainforest. I am passionate about writing. Words creating images and stirring feelings; powerful stuff!
My aim is to guide and encourage someone to pursue their passion of writing.
Story Ideas - There are no hard and fast rules about where to get these from. Here are a few ways how ideas come to me:-
Be still. Whether you are sitting in a quiet garden, going on a relaxing walk, lying in bed or meditating, be still and let your mind wander. If you are writing for a specific market whether it is a story with a twist, a romance, a ghost story or a mystery, focus your mind on that and listen to your muse.
What if? – Never underestimate these two words. Observe the world you live in. No matter where you are every person, incident or scene is a potential story. Ask yourself, what if? You see a man standing by the river looking as though the weight of the world is on his shoulders. What brought this man to this point in time? What if he saw a small child struggling in the deep water? What if someone came up from behind him and stole his wallet? What if two police officers came up on either side of him and dragged him away? What if any of these things happened?
You may be reading a story, take the time to ask yourself, but what if this happened instead? Where would the story take you then?
Ask yourself questions, challenge your mind to create and the seed of your story will be planted.
The Evolution of your Story - A word becomes a sentence becomes a paragraph becomes a page becomes a story. It is important to accommodate your muse. Whether your words come out one at a time or flow like a fountain, write them down. As ideal as it would be for your story to come to you in order from word one to word two thousand, it rarely works that way. Once you know the basics of your story, write it all down as it comes. The order of your story can be worked out later. Trust the process of your writing. Read your story out loud and re-work your story until if flows. Nurture your seed and it will flower!
Submit your Story - Know your markets. The internet is a researcher’s dream come true. If you don’t have access to the World Wide Web at home; visit the library, an internet café, family or friend’s house. If you don’t have access at all to the internet, The Australian Writers Market Place is a good reference book. Writers’ Centres, newsletters and magazines are invaluable too. If dollars is a problem some of these resources can be accessed from libraries. The newsagent is also a great place to see what magazines are publishing which stories. It is important to familiarize yourself with the markets available for your writing, and to contact the publishers to obtain a copy of their submission guidelines. This way you can give your manuscript its best possible chance by preparing it accordingly.
Writing is a gift which should be nurtured, practiced and enjoyed. When I first pursued my passion of writing I yearned for some guidance and encouragement. I read all I could about the art of writing and articles from published writers inspired and encouraged me. I wanted to give myself the opportunity of developing my craft and becoming a published writer. Above all I persevered and I never ever gave up. To date my publications include 40 poems, 13 short stories published in literary magazines and 48 short stories published in general circulation magazines; these include That’s Life, Woman’s Day, and New Idea. I have written two novel manuscripts, yet to be published! (Since this article was published my novel, DREAMKEEPER, has been accepted by an American publisher – fingers crossed all goes well and I will have more news on this in the New Year – Woo Hoo!)
READ, READ, READ, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE AND READ AND WRITE SOME MORE! Arm yourself with loads of persistence and determination. Remind yourself that rejection is part of the process of writing. Use rejection as a challenge to become more determined. I can assure you the reward for not giving up – PUBLICATION – is a very sweet reward indeed!