Tag: writing

Preparing to write write write

Preparing to write write write

In a few short days I’ll be writing for the Clarion Write-a-Thon. It turns out this is a necessary act of madness. I’ve been neglecting my novel you see. I’ve had a surge in work – writing websites, communication campaigns and work-for-hire comic books and moving to Seattle AND travelling back to Portland to work with clients. I almost told the folks that made my scholarship possible last year, the Clarion Foundation, that I would have to withdraw from the write-a-thon, too busy you see… then one of my wonderful Clarion instructors, Holly Black, sponsored me. I couldn’t back out after that, let down the team?

Never!

So I shall work on my novel every day during the write-a-thon, plug away at the beasty regardless of other things that suck up my creative energy. This will be an inverse Clarion experience in many ways! At Clarion there is the amazing sensation of being in a place for one purpose and one purpose only. How often do you get to enjoy that? It felt wonderful to me. This year during the Clarion time slot I will be juggling multiple projects (from Indigenous mental health to website copywriting), travelling north and south, east and west, judging Comikaze 24 Hour Comics Challenge and I will be working on a novel, not short stories.

I’ll need your help. This novel is ambitious and a bit scary. I’m exploring many unknowns and taking a lot of creative risks.  During the write-a-thon I’m going to post every day, letting you know how I’m going. I need you to nag me, poke me, encourage me, ask questions, be provocative, whatever you will (say ….cash monies to the Clarion Foundation). Neglecting a novel is a terrible thing and I must persevere and push through somehow. Four days to prepare and then it’s Go on June 27.

Lots of love

Liz

Writer’s Block, Shovels, Ignite!

Writer’s Block, Shovels, Ignite!

It’s 2am. In a little over 16 hours I will be presenting my first Ignite Portland Talk, How to Hit Writer’s Block in the Face with a Shovel. I love the Ignite format – 20 slides, 15 seconds a slide. It’s really challenging and it has been an interesting process winnowing my profusion of thoughts down into such a concise format.

Given the restrictions here’s some further reading. Some of these I encountered while I was preparing my talk and was sad not to be able to include them.

Creative Process

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My Campbell Year

My Campbell Year

Ever since I heard of the Campbell Awards I have loved them. The Campbell Award, given every year during WorldCon, recognises new emerging writers. Once you have received your first ok pay cheque for writing sf/f a clock starts to tick and you have two calendar years to prove yourself worthy of nomination. Carving out a life as a writer is a long marathon and it’s nice to see relatively close goals that you can aim for towards the start of the journey.

I’ve enjoyed thinking about how in 2010 and 2011 would be my years to chase the Campbell dream, to prove myself worthy, to aim high. In a strange twist of fate my first Campbell Award eligible work came out in December 2009, starting the clock a year earlier than I had dreamed (my Campbell bio is now up). I am delighted that Cracked Leather found a place to be published and has been so warmly received. I wouldn’t change it for the world (well maybe the world). It just means my tidy little fantasy of 2010 and 2011 to prove my worthiness for voting in 2012 has been truncated by a year.

The challenge is significant and I am not sure if I will prove my worthiness in time, but it is still worth striving for. I will throw myself as much as I can. This is a challenge to myself and not in competition. I plan to soar with my fellow nominees – we are in this crazy dream together. I will write, I will edit, I will send work to publishers, I will read, I will learn from my peers – as I do every year. But this year I will have an extra spur to my sides that I plan to use. This year will never come again.

2010 is my Campbell year. I’m going to enjoy the challenge.

Campbell Awards – get ready to vote!

Campbell Awards – get ready to vote!

“The John W. Campbell Award is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work professional publication in the previous two year. of science fiction or fantasy was published in the previous two years” (Campbell official website).

I’m not sure if I’m in my first year of eligibility, though I am listed on the website! I open a terrible can of worms with Cracked Leather as it is a fairly interstitial piece. I’ve checked in with the moderators to make sure I fit, but I have not yet heard back from them. Lets focus on some other folks.

It is a pleasure to know some of the talented people who are eligible for nomination. These are the folks I know who are in their second year:

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Clarion collection of posts have been updated

Clarion collection of posts have been updated

I try to update the collection every month with a slow, catchemall plan (sustainability is crucial). This month my new catch, harking back to 1985, is from The Ferret. Thanks for flinging them my way dude.

William Shunn and Geoffrey A. Landis have been added to the collection.

Other news

The skribit question (see right hand side of the webpage): How to find a comics artist? has been buzzing around in my head a lot. I’ve composed about 20 zillion answers, generally while trying to fall asleep or not wanting to get out of bed. I have finally found an approach that pleases me and a very rough draft has been written longhand (yep, I’m old school). I have a few other things I have to write before I’m allowed to indulge in finishing it off, but it is coming.

Six Memos for the Next Millennium – words, concepts that unlock new layers

Six Memos for the Next Millennium – words, concepts that unlock new layers

I’ve just finished reading Six Memos for the Next Millennium, the last work by Italo Calvino, a series of lectures on writing he was to deliver in 1985. Much is said about the hows of writing, tricks of the trade and so on, even more so now that there are more writers (emerging and established) talking about their process than ever before. Italo Calvino does something different.

Italo Calvino talks engages with writing on a higher (and fundamental) level and writes about Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility and Multiplicity. He died before he was able to write the final memo, Consistency.

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Liz Bio vs 2

Liz Bio vs 2

With thanks for the kind crits, here is version 2:

A zombie love story, a seed that breaks through and changes the world, the quest to be cool through the power of snake skins or the disillusionment of of a nuclear physicist are a few of Liz’s tales. Dark and macabre or playful and delicious – she writes stories about hope, strength, survival and change. Liz writes across many media and genres, but comics are her major passion.

Liz carves out a diverse career as a freelancer, frequently working in educational comics as a writer, editor, project manager, talent scout and artist liaison. She has run creative workshops for a range of organisations, including the National Museum of Australia, Conflux and the Young Music Society. She even gets paid for writing creative works and essays, on spec or by commission. She has worked on and off as a Life Model for nine years. Prior to become a freelancer she worked as researcher, union organiser, refuge worker, circus manager and providing consulting and support to the community sector.

Her comics have been published in an array of publications, including Meanjin, The Girl’s Guide to Guy Stuff, Eat Comics, Something Wicked and in the collection Songs Dreams and Nightmares. She has supported and written for lip magazine since its inception. Her work is often psychological, poignant and she loves gritty urban fantasy. Her anthology, Dreams of Tomorrow, won a Bronze Ledger Award for Small Press of the Year. On Boxing Day she appeared nude in the Canberra Times to support the Parisian Life Model Strike and in January 2009 her musical Comic Book Opera, written with composer Michael Sollis, was performed for the first time.

If you want to find out more check out www.lizargall.com , drop her a line or say hi.

Your views wanted – new Bio

Your views wanted – new Bio

The art of Bio is a strange and mysterious one. I’ve been reworking one for the Emerging Writers festival in May.

What do you think? Does it interest you? Does it inspire you to come along to something I’m running? Does it inspire you to employ me?

Bio:

Liz’s stories often take people to dark places and then bring them out the other side. Stories about hope, strength, survival and change. Never one to hang out in the dark too long her stories can also be playful and delicious. She writes across many media and genres, but comics are her major passion.

In June 2008 she put the management of Warehouse Circus into new hands and plunged into the life of a freelancer. She works in educational comics as a writer, editor, project manager, talent scout and artist liaison. She has run creative workshops for a range of organisations, including the National Museum of Australia, U-Turn and the Young Music Society. She even gets paid for writing creative works and essays, on spec or by commission. She has worked on and off as a Life Model for nine years. Prior to taking the plunge she has worked as researcher, union organiser, refuge worker, circus manager, consulting and supporting for not for profit organisations to have better practices and be more prepared for emergencies.

Her comics have been published in an array of publications, including Meanjin, The Girl’s Guide to Guy Stuff, Eat Comics, Something Wicked and in the collection Songs Dreams and Nightmares. She has supported lip magazine since its inception. Her work is often psychological, poignant and she loves gritty urban fantasy. She’s even has won an award or two. On Boxing Day she appeared nude in the Canberra Times to support the Parisian Life Model Strike and in January 2009 her musical Comic Book Opera, written with composer Michael Sollis, was performed for the first time.

If you want to find out more check out www.lizargall.com , drop her a line or say hi.

Comic creation drop in workshop in Canberra

Comic creation drop in workshop in Canberra

Making Comics – writing, drawing and scheming!

Serious, silly, gritty, funny, bizarre or poignant. One panel to 300 page sagas and beyond. Stick figures, photo realism or crazy collage. The world of comics is an amazing place.

An informal comics creation session for experienced hands and those who’ve never tried it before. Liz Argall will tailor the drop in session to what you want to learn and where you’d like to take the craft – draw, doodle, write and where to after that? Lets make some awesome comics.

When: 2.30 – 5.30 Tuesday 17 February

For: People aged 12-25

Where: U-Turn
Corner Chandler Street and Swanson Court
Belconnen ACT 2616

This workshop is free, thanks to the great folks at U-Turn who are all about:

Supporting young people aged 12 to 25 years, through recreational, educational, and health promotional activities, programs and community-based projects.

U-Turn organise a whole range of activites for young people in the Belconnen region – http://www.bcsact.com.au/

2008 review continues, two festivals in detail – Emerging Writers Festival and ACT Writers Festival

2008 review continues, two festivals in detail – Emerging Writers Festival and ACT Writers Festival

Going to conventions costs money, costs time and I’m very aware that it can be one of the best investments a writer can make, or a procrastination tool and a bit of a junket. Here’s an analysis of two of the festivals I went to in 2008, I’ll get to the rest later, so I’ll have a good memory/knowledge base for what festivals and conventions I’ll go to in the future and might be useful to others trying to decide on events.

Emerging Writers Festival

This was my first Emerging Writers Festival, held down in Melbourne. A great festival focusing on the craft and content of writing. There was a great collegiate feel and thanks to attending a panel on what publishers want I was inspired by the new directions of Meanjin and this lead to more published work. The Making of the Scientist, essay plus comic was published in the December issue of Meanjin, although it was written and approved many many months before.

I really enjoyed the down to earth attitudes of my fellow writers. No whinging, a good work ethic and on the whole an understanding and a love of the craft. I know a successful playwright who will not go to writers festivals, has never been… because, well he thinks they’re too wanky. I think I could lure him out for this one even though he’s very much an established writer, he’d get lots of value out of it (and get to grumble in a very entertaining manner about these whippersnappers).

My favourite panels were about the process of creating a specific work. Rather than boiled down generalisations or focusing on a specific aspect of the trade creators spoke about the process, start to finish, of getting something published. Fascinating stuff, great food for thought and having that structure really cut down on twinkish repetitive questions from the audience, while inspiring interesting questions and conversations. Their Ambassador scheme was absolutely brilliant and I hope they do it again. I flew down just for the festival and it was well worth the cost.

ACT Writers Festival

Volunteered for my local ACT Writers Festival, and really enjoyed my volunteering experience. Through this festival a whole range of knowledge and experience crystalised, I took another step forward and started writing much better pitches. My slim novel In Her Own Words is still getting rejection letters, but they are now personalised rejection letters with nice comments about my writing. Onwards and upwards! After the collegiate vibe of the Emerging Writers festival I did find the ACT Writers Festival… well, it felt more fragmented and…  I hate to say it, whingier. The Emerging Writers Festival had some innovative ways to deal with this problem, but a lot has to do with who’s in the audience and how they dominate the space.

The pitching competition was fantastic, and very well run. It was great to see how other people present, see the judges comments and afterwards the judges were generous with their time when giving further crits. Not the sort of experience you get often and I’m so glad the Writers Festival Pres poked me into entering. Lots of good stuff, was great to meet new and old friends and there was a lovely sense of community – though in classic Canberra fashion it can take a while to find.

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