February Meeting Round-Up


Thanks to everyone who came to our first meeting for 2015—what a turnout! It was great to see so many people and to hear what you’ve all been up to.

We welcomed four newcomers: Vicky, Christine, Kellie, and SookKwan. I hope you enjoyed the meeting, found it useful, and will come again.


To Lynne T, on having a short story published in the anthology ‘Pure Slush’.

And congratulations to Charles for his journal publications, and particularly for his article on the ‘Great Escaper’, Paul Royle.

(Please let me know if I’ve left anyone out and I’ll add it here.)


Chris Bowman told us how he has self-published his novel, ‘Tradewinds: A Tale of the Caribbean’. He published through the Fremantle publishing company, Vivid Publishing. He’s promoting the book through social media, and selling it in various places other than bookstores. For example, as the novel is about sailing, he sells it at yacht clubs and boat yards as well.

Tradewinds is a beautifully presented novel, and can be bought online through Vivid Publishers here, through Amazon here, and from the Bookcaffé in Swanbourne.

Tradewinds: A Tale of the Caribbean

For those who are interested, the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is running a couple of courses on self-publishing. The first is coming up in Melbourne on the weekend of 21 and 22 March. For more information, click here.

They’re also running an online course called ‘Publish Your eBook’, which starts Tuesday 26th May. Click here for more details.

And there’s an online course entitled ‘Market Yourself on Twitter, which is starting on Tuesday 7th April. Click here for more information about that. I’m interested in this one, as everyone talks about how great Twitter is, but I find it quite hard to negotiate.

Locally, the FAWWA is running a course on Self-Publishing in May. It will cover the following:
Preparation for Publication
Building your profile and selling your books.
For more information, click here.

Annabel Smith, an accomplished local author whose first two novels were published traditionally, chose to self-publish her latest novel, ‘The Ark’. She wrote about her reasons for doing so, the self-publishing process, and its pros and cons, in a guest blog post for another local author, Natasha Lester, here.


Lynne T. told us about Hardcopy, a professional development program for Australian writers, in which she took part last year. It’s run through the ACT Writers’ Centre and the focus for its 2015 programme is non-fiction, including autobiography, biography, memoir, essay collections, histories, literary criticism or analytical prose. The first round has places for 30 writers to develop their nonfiction manuscript. Click the above link for more information, including how to apply.

The Organised Novelist

I read somewhere that writing a novel is like trying to tuck an octopus into bed—just as you get one arm in, another pops out. It can be a very messy process, given the length of the project, the number of plots and sub-plots you might be juggling, and all the characters involved.

Some writers are ‘plotters’, while others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants. Whichever way you write, it’s hard to keep a novel ‘organised’—to keep track of the plot, the characters (and their names and ages!), manage time, etc.

Lynne A. has offered to talk to us about how she manages to keep organised while writing. I have a couple of titbits of information that I can throw in, too—techniques and tips that I found useful while writing my novel. For example, I found the website Preceden handy for keeping track of the timelines for my novel and characters. It’s much easier and neater than writing them with pencil and paper:

From this ...

From this …

... to this.

… to this.

The corollary of being organised, is when it takes over and prevents us writing freely—when the plot must be sorted, the writing as good as it can be, and everything must be perfect before we can keep writing.

I struggled with this myself. One day, I’ll tell you how I wrote about 100,000 words before I found the right voice for my story. I’ll also tell you about the 50-odd rewrites of my first few chapters until I was happy with what I had and was able to ‘write on’. Of course, a chapter or two later I’d change something, and have to go back to the beginning and start again …

At some point, you do just have to ‘write on’, even if you’re not 100% happy with the words on the page. As Elizabeth Gilbert said last night, ‘Just get it done.’ It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be good—it just has to get done.

Next Session

Next session, we’ll hear about Leonard’s time as writer-in-residence at FAWWA, and hopefully we’ll have time for some readers. Please bring along an excerpt and a few extra copies if you want to share your work with us.

We can talk more about self-publishing, and maybe touch on the tricky topic of writing memoir and the people who might not be happy to read about themselves …

Hope to see you then.

Best wishes and happy writing,