Ted Hughes and the Muse

  Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath In his his introduction to ‘Poetry in the Making’, the then Poet Laureate of Britain had the following words of advice for those of us whose passion is Writing, be it poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction, or something in between: Do you relate to these words? ‘You write interestingly only about the things that genuinely interest you. This is an infallible rule.. in writing, you have to be able to distinguish between those things about which you are merely curious –things you heard about last week or read about yesterday- and things which are a deep part of your life… So you say, ‘What part of my life would I die to be separated from?’ –Ted Hughes, Poetry in the Making ‘It is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions in the head and express something – perhaps not much, just something – of the crush of information that presses in on us from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are.’-Ted Hughes   Dina Davis Convenor Randwick Writers’ Group 📚 0418 115748

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Approaching a literary agent

Australian Literary Agents’ Association Finding an Agent I’m a writer. How do I bring my work to the attention of a literary agent? First, read the information and advice on this page. You may wish to print it out for future reference. It is about three printed pages long. Second, look up a suitable agent from our list of member agents (click on the tab marked ‘Members’, above, to see the list), and phone them to check that they wish to see your work. Phoning first saves time and expense, because some kinds of writing are not of interest to some agents. Screenplays and plays are only dealt with by agents who specialise in that area, for example, and some agents may not wish to deal with children’s writing, and so on. Third, if an agent wants to look at your writing, they will generally ask you to post a copy of a one-to-two-page synopsis of your book, together with copies of some pages from one or two sample chapters (up to a maximum of fifty pages total), to their office. They usually do not want to see the whole work at first. Please note: send copies, not the originals. Always keep the originals in a safe place. Agents cannot be responsible for loss of material. Here are some further points to note. Please read them all carefully — it is very difficult to recover from an inadvertent bad first […]

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How to Bring Your Writing to the Next Level

10 HINTS FOR SELF-EDITING (re-blogged from ‘Write to Done’) The old cliché “practice makes perfect” applies to the editing process. Many best- selling authors note that the art of writing is really the art of re-writing! Polishing what you write can make all the difference. Take diamonds. In the raw, only experts can spot them. But once they are cut and polished, they sparkle and shine.This is what good editing can do to your writing.But there is a problem. The old cliché “practice makes perfect” applies to the editing process. Many best-            selling authors note that the art of writing is really the art of re-writing! The good news is that self-editing is a skill that can be developed. Sound good? Let’s get to it. 1.Get Some Distance from Your Writing In many cases, the reason you find it hard to go back over your work is that it   makes you feel bad. It may be that you don’t feel satisfied with your work and   worry about how it will be received. You may also been just plain bored with it! Whatever the negative emotion, a way to face it is to imagine that you are sitting  down to edit someone else’s work. That can help give you the distance to see your  writing from a fresh perspective. And take comfort from the fact that many  successful authors hate their first drafts too! “For me and most of the […]

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Getting Started

Do you endlessly procrastinate, fill your precious witing time with Facebook, phonecalls, or housework? Anything but facing that blank page or screen? You are not alone, dear writer. A myriad irrelevant distractions can fill my day, until the motivation and energy have flown, and I am filled with endless self-recriminations. Please post your experiences, and solutions if you have them, […]

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Hints on getting published

  How important is it to follow submission guidelines when approaching  traditional publisher? If you decide to approach a traditional publisher, the NSW Writers’ Centre offers the following guidelines: ‘Submitting a manuscript in a genre outside the publisher’s list is a big mistake – automatic rejection. Not providing information requested, or incomplete information, or in the form requested, means the […]

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The writing zone.

How do you get yourself into ‘the writing zone?’ Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening writer? Or, like me, are you a procrastinator, unable to start writing until the house is clean, beds made, washing up done? For someone who hates housework, I manage to find it an attractive alternative to facing the blank page, or screen. Yet I’m […]

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Writing is Re -writing – or not?

  ‘We do not write. We re-write. Sometimes long after publication, in our fatigued heads. This is not a matter of initial sloppiness, or compensation for a lack of brilliance via hard work. Isaac Babel could write up to forty drafts of a single story. Sherwood Anderson said that some of his stories took him ten or twelve years to write. Re-writing is crystallization of a thought. Or excavation. Or – writing.’ So says Lee Kofman, author and writing mentor. – excerpt from Lee Kofman’s blog leekofman.com.au Yet today I read of a highly successful author who often writes 100 pages without either re-reading or re-writing. She is Elena Ferrante, whose novels have been described as ‘masterpieces’. Further bucking the trend, she refuses to self-promote by giving interviews, public talks, or other marketing strategies. Which just goes to show, once again, that rules, especially writing rules, were meant to be broken – if, like Ferrante, you can get away with it. In my own writing, I have completed draft after draft of my novel, Capriccio. Each  new version is subtly different from the others. The aim is to have a perfect manuscript before submitting it to publishing houses. But I sometimes wonder, after all this work, are the earlier versions somehow fresher, because they’re less worked over? What are other writers’, or readers of this blog, thoughts on rewriting? Please share your writing practices here ! 📝📃📚  

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happy birthday Jane Austen

Jane Austen was born 240 years ago today, on 16 December 1775.  Over two centuries later, she’s still one of the most widely read writers in the English language. Interestingly, she appeared to ignore the ‘rules’ we writers are taught today: much of her writing is ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’, and she changes Point of View (shock horror!) not only in […]

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Steps to Success

I found this article called ‘How to Plan and Produce any Successful Project’ by Michael Sternfeld, in a magazine called ‘Living Now’. Here are the steps towards a successful musical production, which could equally apply to the huge task of producing a novel: 1. Carpe Diem – know when it’s the right place, right time 2. Know your core values […]

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