Creative Business and its Harvest

A lovely freezing Saturday had come to pass, but it was a meaningful Saturday for many eager writers who wish to share their stories with the public someday. Have no idea what I could possibly be talking about? Well let’s go back in time: everyone, I hope you have pen and paper along with a box of yummy popcorn and your favourite cold beverage. So relax and munch on your snack as I report to you about Saturday 15th of November at exactly 10:45 am.

WARNING: FOGGY MEMORY CONTENT

Anticipated writers and we — the Level 87 Book Club — attended the West Writers Forum at the Footscray Community Art Center (the shortened term: Fa-Cack, courtesy of Amelia). There were moi, Amelia, Dom, Eleanor and Jess from 10 am. We were all hoping to get something juicy and meaningful on this very day from the workshops, story walks and panels. Once 11 am struck, I went to the Business of Writing workshop dragging along with Amelia. We entered this meeting room where other people had notes out and Kat Muscat was waiting for our arrival. Kat was a former editor of a national literary publication called Voiceworks. She explained to us about the progression of writing from the draft to the submitted piece of work, including both fiction and non-fiction pieces. Writing is a breakdown of two things: your writing and its suitability. You don’t want a child reading something violent and gory it just…no. Don’t even. A child would be so traumatised that they may not even be able to pick up a Harry Potter book. Harry Potter ain’t scary though. You know what’s scary? Twilight. *makes vomit noises in background*

Anyways

Kat suggested many helpful tips for us future writers, such as:

  • Don’t overwhelm readers with your writing. That means including too much content and making the reader confused.
  • Care about your submission piece and the publication agency [treat it like it’s your baby].
  • Read your work aloud. if something sounds wrong you can either add or cut out whatever is unnecessary.
  • Your piece of writing must have some knowledge of links to the story.
  • Give your piece a day’s break. Like you need breaks when studying. Same treatment with your writing [this means you too procrastinators]
  • GET ANOTHER EDITOR TO LOOK OVER YOUR WORK [Kat says that another person can be better placed to find your errors].

She also explained the three stages/types of editing:

  • Substantial — does your piece have everything it needs? Think of this from a realistic point of view.
  • Structural — beginning, middle and end. The simple breakdown.
  • Copy & Line — when you add too much content [Kat describes this as a ‘suck up vortex’]

A list of ‘not-to-dos’ was shared called the Kiss of Death:

  • cliches
  • metaphors/similes (indirect writing)
  • attacking people’s cultures carelessly
  • and something else but I wasn’t paying attention

Kat gave us some advice to help writers make their writings stronger:

  •  Include an individualised voice of perception.
  • Challenge the reader.
  • Imbue it with a sense of humor.
  • Have a sense of progression with a clear ending.
  • Cohesion (the action or fact of forming a united whole) [so basically saying that the whole piece must stay the same]
  • Tension/conflict [GET READERS SCREAMING AND RAGING WITH THIS, OKAY, WRITERS!? THIS IS NUMBER ONE IMPORTANT.]

The session ended and I was able to catch up with one of the writers, Ebony.

Darvey_ebony

excuse our faces we were trying so hard to look amazing for the camera <(o____o)>

D: Where does a story live?

E: I think where a story lives is within an experience where you can look into personal implications and what it means to everyone else.

D: What makes a good story?

E: Well what I think makes a good story is honesty and reliability, and extreme personal matter and vulnerability.

[Unfortunately I was too shy to ask more so I only asked two questions.]

Kat’s workshop was quite fun and even though I doodled pandas and eyes on my notes, I was still able to get something from her workshop. Amelia was just there for me as my supervisor (THANKS AMELIA) and we both headed to our next workshop which was run by Christos Tsiolkas. More on that next time!

Darvey is a young writer-to-be and an active reader. She is currently a Year 9 student studying magic and dragons important high school stuff. Darvey was actually a member of the first edition of the Early Harvest team! How cool is that!? Her current interests are Harry Potter, books, writing and Korean-related stuff.