Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writing stories again

Over the past year or so, I've not only rediscovered a love of reading fiction, but I've also experienced a renewed love of writing it.

I wrote a lot of fiction during my school years (both at school, and in my spare time. Gosh. Remember when there was such a thing as having 'spare time'?). The creative writing section of my English exam papers was the only part I could truly rely on to get me a pass mark on my paper. (I was terrible at comprehension and only mediocre at essay writing.) But once I left school, I stopped writing fiction altogether.

When I started blogging in 2009, people around me started saying things like, 'You should write a story!' I laughed the suggestions off. I hadn't written fiction for so long, and I was convinced I couldn't do it anymore.

However, last year a fellow blogger and friend on Twitter (thanks Susan!) linked to InkPaperPen where Gill hosts a writing exercise called Write on Wednesdays ('WoW'). The first week I tentatively checked out WoW, Allison Tait (a very talented writer, author and blogger), was hosting a 'Master Class', and the subject was 'Romance'. This used to be my thing: writing romance. So I decided to join in, and was hooked.

During the summer school holidays earlier this year, my confidence in writing fiction had increased just enough for me to enter a flash fiction competition on a whim. My 100-word entry, along with ninety-nine others, was chosen to be included in an eBook to be sold on Amazon later this year. (I'll tell you more about the eBook as more details come to hand.) Having a win under my belt with an albeit very small fiction piece, was further encouragement for me. One hundred words is not a lot, but it's a start, right?

And so, I decided to tackle a creative writing course that I will start next week through the Sydney Writers' Centre. I've chosen their online course because it suits me to do it in my own time, and from the comfort of my own home.

Wish me luck, will you? I'm nervous. But I'm also really excited to be doing something I've wanted to do for a very, very long time.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

For the love of Aussie fiction


In my teens and early adulthood, I read a lot of fiction. As the years passed though, I read less and less (and when I did pick up a fiction book, I mostly stuck to the classics like Jane Austen, F Scott Fitzgerald and Charlotte Bronte), and instead, I started reading mostly biographies.

I'm not sure why my fiction reading decreased so much. I know that I've always had a fascination with the real lives behind the public persona's of celebrities (think: Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn for example, not The Kardashians). And historical figures have always intrigued me. Especially those who held powerful positions, such as Henry VIII. In fact, I've always loved hearing stories from anyone about their past, hence the interest in biographies and autobiographies. (Tell me the story about how you met your partner, and you'll never find a more attentive audience.)

However, once I started blogging, I also started meeting authors on Twitter and Facebook. Mostly Australian authors. 'Meeting' these people, and getting to know them, made me want to read their books.

The first Australian author's book I picked up after meeting her online, was Kylie Ladd's, After the Fall. I loved it. (And her follow up, Last Summer, was also brilliant.) I also interviewed her on Mummy Mayhem, and she was very generous with her time, and wonderful to 'work' with - not to mention that she really is a genuinely nice person.

The same can be said for the talented, Lisa Heidke. The first book I read of Lisa's, was What Kate Did Next, then I read Claudia's Big Break, followed by her latest novel, Stella Makes Good. (I have yet to read her first fiction title, Lucy Springer Gets Even...but will get there!) I loved all her books, but it was Stella that I thought was particularly outstanding. It was one of those, 'can't put it down' reads.

The latest offering from an Aussie author that I finished reading about a week or so ago, is Fiona Higgins' new book The Mother's Group. As soon as I had it in my hot little hands, I couldn't wait to read it. It sounded right up my alley, and it was. Fiona's book reminded me of my own experience with Eldest Son as a new mother, and the dynamics of my own mother's group. I loved the book. You can read about it here.

The other day, I was looking through the Australian fiction section at my local bookstore, and found a copy of Sara Foster's book, Beneath the Shadows. It had a silver sticker on the front cover with a five star rating - 'a stellar read' - with a money-back guarantee. I read the first three pages and almost forgot where I was. Gripping. It's going to be my school holidays read.

I'm so glad I've rediscovered fiction, and that in the process, I'm supporting Australian authors. Fabulous fiction tales are well and truly back in my life.

What fiction are you reading at the moment?