Friday, 30 May 2014

Marvelous & mysterious

Now follows a quick blog on yesterday’s awesomeness that was Day Two of the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne.

Digital Writers’ Masterclass took up most of my day – and I heard about a heap of stuff I had never …well, to be honest, I’d never been interested in what to me were the bits of tinsel hanging off the sides of my social media juggernaut – ie Twitter and blogging.

By tinsel, I mean auto bots and other ‘stuff’. Because I generate my own content – slave over it, obsess over the layout, cringe and moan over the typos, when I find them a day later….all that, that takes up more than enough of my time. But I am glad that others are interested in the infrastructure.

For example, I look forward to the day someone comes up with a better way of collating tweets and linking multiple platforms that don’t force me to pledge life long allegiance to someone who is building their own social media empire.

Grateful for Nathan Farrugia’s tips on how to make my blog look better – hence the couple of happy hours I just spent dumping so much STUFF. Looks tighter and so much easier to find and answer the 2 things people want to know:

Who are you? About

What do you write? Fiction and Commentator

At a later time…I’ll talk a bit about the marvelous revelations that I received from the conference talks on physical and computer games – no really, I did. 
I don’t play either - unless you include poker - but once it’s explained to you that fundamentally they are about stories – they seem altogether relevant. For instance,
  • Games include fear, excitement, mastery
  • How to send people out into a game without shepherding them
  • Letting players know they have agency – moral choices
  • Games are about consequences
  • Write games sober, for people who are drunk
  • The whole world is potentially part of the game

But what came up more than once yesterday, and several times during my last session of the day The Art of the Short Story was that thing.

I am beginning to learn it has a few names, this thing. People have attempted to describe it. Others will suggest how to capture it, make it come to you, that feeling, that place, that part of your mind where the stories live.

When you ask a writer ‘where do your stories come from?’ you may get a look. 

It says ‘I cant explain it to you, they just come’. A writer of thousands words will struggle to find a few to describe how and why that happens.

I now understand why writers through the ages have tried all sorts of techniques to find that place. If it doesnt just come to you, you need to chase it.
Or maybe you never experience it and that's perfectly fine that you write another way to me - but if you have encountered that thing, trust me, you want to feel it again. That's where the words, the feelings and the answers are buried, and will surprise and amaze you when those stories come out of your head.
Chasing it by using drugs and alcohol seem to have been very popular over the ages. Personally, neither of those work for me, unless you include buckets of tea and coffee, and chocolate by the pallet. And when I am in that place I could be drinking water and eating leaf litter – I just don’t notice, beyond the nutrients.

The only people I have encountered who have no problem explaining where it comes from – the stories that are clear and mysterious at the same time - are from yarning with some black writers I know. We don’t question some elements of the ‘inspiration’. More on this at another time.

And posting now, so I will only be a little late for the first session of today. Have a good one!


Can't Be Tamed: A Manifesto  by MOLLY LAMBERT  Here are some rules about how to be a girl in a boys' club. This works for any world you're in or want to be in. Pretty much everything in the world is still a boys' club. 


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