Busybird Publishing is holding Open Mic Nights the third Wednesday of every month. So if you’re a writer, a poet, or even a singer, and would like to perform your material for a live audience, why not come along? Readings are a great way to test your material, as well as a means to promote yourself and give yourself exposure and experience in a public forum. They’re great fun, too! Or if you just want to come along and watch, that’s fine! Refreshments provided. Entry is $5.00, part of which covers nightly expenses, and part of which goes to the Busybird Creative Fellowship. Details for 2015 Busybird Publishing Studio ~ Gallery 2/118 Para Road Montmorency 3094 Phone: (03) 9434 6365 Email: Les.at.Busybird.com.au There are no bookings required to attend Open Mic Night, and attendees don’t have to perform. You can just come along, watch, and enjoy the night! Hope to see you all there! Dates – third Wednesday of every month, 7.00–9.00pm: 18th February 18th March 15th April 20th May 17th June 15th July 19th August 16th September 21st October 18th November 16th December...Read More
Click on the highlighted date in the calendar to see what’s coming up, and to get a direct link to that event on Eventbrite. Alternatively, you can go to Eventbrite to check our events, or you can download our calendar right here! There’s a list of what workshops we host below, brief descriptions of what they entail, and the dates they’re held for the next term. Sell Tickets Online through Eventbrite 7 Easy Ways To Write A Book To Boost Your Business You already know that writing a book about your expertise in business will be a great marketing tool and will give you credibility in your industry. But where do you start and how do you get it done when there are so many other demands on you while running your business? Dates: Saturday 1st August 10am – 1pm Saturday 24th October 10am-1pm Fund Your Project You have a great idea that you think will be of great value to the world but how do you get the funds to bring it into reality? Learn about crowd funding through platforms such as Pozible. How do you structure a campaign? What should it include? How do you communicate to people? What rewards can you offer to get people interested, and invested? Dates: Tuesday 27th October 7-10pm How to Market Your Book Once you’ve written and published your book how do you get it into readers hands? Writing is easy. It’s selling your book to the world that’s the daunting task! Learn how to get as much exposure as possible for your book and yourself and make it standout from the millions of other books already on the market. Dates:...Read More
Life Writing We all have a story to tell. For some, that story demands to be told. What is the key to transforming your ideas and experiences into compelling and engaging stories? How do you write your story without boring the reader? We will help you move beyond self-doubt and procrastination to fully express your writer’s voice. Write prose that is engaging Get closer to your creative self through good writing practice Learn about structure in story Participate in ‘table talk’ to grow your ideas Learn how to polish your work, ready to publish Leave with all the tools needed to write your story. ‘Blaise and Les were excellent facilitators; their sessions were highly informative and entertaining. As writers themselves they were always aware and respectful of the sensitivities of would-be writers.’ – Carolyn Lloyd June 2014 Retreat Participant This two-day program will transform your writing life. Join this small group at the gorgeous Karma Kinglake from 9–11th October. All accommodation and meals included. Your story is going to grow in ways that you cannot imagine and your life will open up to the unexpected. About Karma Kinglake This truly is a place to nurture the creative in all of us. Our hosts, Karen and Macca, have created a new venture out of the most extraordinary chapter in Kinglake’s history and Australia’s worst natural disaster – Black Saturday. It has a story of its own that can be felt in the walls and seen in the reclaimed timbers that once stood proudly nearby, before the fires. Karma Kinglake can be found at 6 Ward Street, Kinglake. It’s located on the top of the Great Dividing Range and is just...Read More
Do you need space to write, a mentor, or maybe you’re an artist wanting to exhibit for the first time? Whatever creative pursuit you wish to undertake, the Busybird team will take you under their wing to help you and your craft soar. The Busybird Creative Fellowship is a mix of: actual cash ($500) use of the Busybird Publishing studio gallery spaces use of the Busybird team as mentors free entry to any of our in-house workshops discounted publishing services. The inaugural Busybird Creative Fellowship will be awarded each year to a new or emerging artist in any creative field.* Applications will be open Thursday 1 October and close Friday 30 October 2015. The winner will be announced at Open Mic Night Wednesday 16 December of 2015. The Fellowship is open to all Australian residents. For applications outside of Melbourne, arrangements can be made to mentor via electronic means. The Fellowship will be undertaken from Monday 1 February until Wednesday 30 November 2016. The senior staff at Busybird Publishing will judge applications. To download an application form, please click here. * Please note: examples of our definition of an emerging artist are a writer with less than 3 publications or an artist wishing to exhibit for the first time. Have a chat with us about your situation and we’ll tell you if you are eligible....Read More
Title: Joffa: Isn’t That Life? Price: $25.00 Publication Date: 11 June 2015 Format: Paperback (234x153mm, 205 pages) ISBN: 978 1 925260 29 8 Category: Nonfiction Availability: Selected bookstores, the Epilepsy Foundation, Busybird Publishing, and online. Who is Joffa? People have a misconception that Joffa is nothing more than a Collingwood bogan, a loudmouth in the Collingwood Cheer Squad. But there’s more to the man than the image popularly espoused through the media and by people whose only interest is to cut him down. Did you know Joffa came from an abusive household, that he was homeless as a teen, and about the countless hours of volunteer work he does for causes such as epilepsy, homelessness, and mental health? Did you know that football saved his life? In all likelihood, all you’ve ever really known about him is he follows Collingwood, but do you know about any of the machinations that go on behind the scenes as a supporter in the mighty Collingwood empire? Joffa: Isn’t That Life? is a story about Joffa’s life in his own words. Whether you admire the man or loathe him, the only way you’ll ever get to know him – and get to know the true story about what makes Joffa tick – is through Joffa: Isn’t That Life? A portion of proceeds from the sale of every book goes to the Epilepsy Foundation. Joffa: Isn’t That Life? (Includes P&H) Joffa: Isn’t That Life? (Australia) $30.00 AUDJoffa: Isn’t That Life? (International) $40.00 AUD...Read More
We are a boutique micropublisher who releases a handful of titles yearly. We also have a self-publishing arm which can help you get your book out into the world!
This first chapter is pivotal because it will be the publisher’s first impression of your book. You don’t make a great first impression, that will be it. They’ll either dismiss you, or you’ll be struggling to win their favour.
So how do you make your first chapter as tight and sparkling as possible?
Here’s some things to look out for …
Cliches are phrases like, ‘In the blink of an eye’, ‘As quick as a flash’, ‘left me with a broken heart’, etc. They have become so overused in today’s vernacular that they’ve lost all meaning.
When you need to describe something – like the suddenness of something happening, or somebody dealing with the pain of a relationship breaking up – look for original ways to communicate what’s going on.
Writing is a field where less is more. Don’t take pages delving into a character’s emotional state, or describing a setting. If you’re trying to build up something awesome, don’t think spending one thousand words on it is going to make it any more awesome. All that happens here is you’re diluting what’s going on.
Use specific details and impress the reader with how distinct they are.
It’s harder and harder to be original nowadays. Most stories have been done, so people know what to expect. For instance, the formula of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl live happily ever after isn’t going to cut it anymore. Now, more than ever, it’s become a case of how you go about your story. If it’s predictable, the reader will grow bored and switch off.
Bad Spelling and Grammar
It’s astonishing that so many writers won’t run a simple spellcheck. Reread your work and iron out issues with grammar. Get other people to read it.
It’s very hard to get into a piece of writing when you stumble on spelling errors or grammar issues. They jar the reader out of the writing, and shake their confidence in the author moving forward.
As with overwriting, be wary of repeating yourself. If you’re describing a storm, you don’t have to tell us every sentence that thunder’s booming, lightning’s flashing, the wind’s howling, and the protagonist is cold. We get it. There’s a storm. Pounding it into us doesn’t make the storm any more ferocious.
Or the repetition might happen over pages (or chapters). On page one, you might explain how distraught the protagonist is. On page three, you might do it again. You’re not writing an infomercial, so we don’t need to be told the same thing over and over.
Trying to introduce too much
You don’t have to try to supply the reader everything they need to know at once. This can often result in lengthy digressions, or just so much happening that it’s impossible to keep track of it all. Take your time. Be patient. Seed (and foreshadow) the information as required.
Using Metaphors and Similies that have no relationship to anything
Going with something like, ‘His anger rose, like my dog’s when the neighbour’s cat comes into the yard’, isn’t exactly evocative for a reader.
Overdramatic speech attributors
The attributors are things like ‘said’ and ‘asked’. There’s a school of thought that’s all you should use, and if your dialogue is written well enough, the reader will infer the tone. Some like to use adverbs, e.g. ‘he said angrily’. Some look for a stronger attributor, e.g. ‘he demanded’. Just don’t overdo. E.g. ‘he obliterated’.
Story mightn’t begin in the right place
If you’re going to run a race, or play some sport, you’ll usually do some warm-up exercises to get you ready. Writing often involves the same principle. When we’re starting something new, we’re often feeling our way into the story. Many people struggle with openings. Because of this, some of the early prose – whether it’s a matter of sentences, paragraphs, or pages – is just warm-up before we launch into the real thing.
Look at what you’re writing, and ask whether it’s starting at the right place, or whether it was just warming up before you started at some later point in earnest.
Fluency of dialogue
Dialogue doesn’t reflect real life. In real life, we stutter, we ‘um’, we begin a sentence and then cut-off midway and go in another direction. If we tried to do that in a book, it’d be frustrating for the reader.
Book/story dialogue is the essence of how we speak in real life, and yet tries to capture all the nuances and affectations.
For some bizarre reason, a lot of writers introduce dialogue with ‘Well’. Most times it can be cut. Writers also lose contractions. We’d say ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ in real life, but in writing it becomes ‘do not’ and ‘cannot’. These are just a couple of things that happen in written dialogue.
Read your dialogue aloud. Emote it. Act it. Find out how natural it is.
Many writers introduce the premise, e.g. a woman walking at night to a rendezvous. Mysterious? Exciting? But then they loop back to what brought the woman to this point, and give us her back-story – she’s unhappily married, and after dinner she said she was going out with friends but is actually meeting her lover, but she’s feeling guilt because yesterday her husband spontaneously brought her flowers, which is the first bit of affection he’s shown her in years … Um, do you remember where we came in? Be wary of how much exposition you’re offering to try set up your premise. Either start your story back where all this exposition began and show the action unfolding as it’s happening, or seed it in subtly.
They’re just some things to consider when submitting.
You have one chance to make a first impression.
Do all you can to make it the best first impression you can!Read More
Last year I waxed lyrical on how ideas can evolve and change over time, even within a single short story that can become something totally different to its original intention. I was mostly talking about a single project going through its own individual course of development, but the natural progression from that is the idea being recrafted into a totally different medium. Adaptation. Sometimes it’s a dirty word; other times it’s the salvation of an idea previously struggling to find its groove.
Adaptation can be, to put it eloquently, a real bugger. Movies built from an existing story or IP are the main subject of criticism here, but changes in material for a new medium can run up and down the chain. The idea can come from anywhere and can become anything. Les Miserables started as a book, then became a musical that had more influence on the 2012 movie adaptation than the actual source material.
The 2012 film is an interesting point of discussion as far as adaptation is concerned, because it begs the question of whether it was an appropriately adapted project. The result was a musical crammed into a feature film format – many critics rated it well, which is hardly a surprise, but the reaction was more polarised among regular moviegoers.
And then there’s content that just will never fit into a certain medium, no matter how much you try to fit it in there. There’s never been a proper video game made of Les Miserables, just as most video games don’t make good movies (especially if they’re directed by Uwe Boll). A computer game can have a good story, although it’s often a mess to take that story to a new medium and keep it compelling.
But let’s narrow this down a little to talk about adaptation in different forms of writing – it may seem smaller in scale, but the same issue of compatibility arises.
The difficulty in jumping between prose and poetry is self-evident – the two forms of writing require completely different disciplines and priorities. What works well as a story may work as a poem if stripped down to its core ideas and emotions and retold accordingly, and vice versa if the right details are filled out into compelling narrative with story and momentum. Either way it’s a tough exercise.
And even across different forms of prose, it’s difficult to take an idea and transmogrify it into something else. Often the concept seems pretty simple. Take the fairly common practise of turning a chapter from a manuscript into a self-enclosed short story. Chapters are supposed to have their own internal mechanics and structure, so clean up around the edges and it should make a solid short story, right?
Wrong – initially, at least. It’s been done with success many times before, but even if it’s the first chapter being tapered at the end to add a more complete ending, it’s not a clean process. The cracks will show. Ideas that were meant to be seeds for later discussion will become pointless distractions. And the ending will likely be unsatisfying because there was meant to be more content to fill out the conflict and mystery evident in this episode of a greater story. Open endings are all well and good, but not if there are still loose ends that don’t close the natural arc of the story and the events that play out as a consequence of the inciting actions.
There are lots of anecdotes about short stories being expanded into novel-length publications. And hey, it works. But only if it’s a storyline constructed for the novel length. Rarely does the short story just get slapped on as a first chapter. The entire narrative is deconstructed and grown from scratch.
It’s also not as clear-cut to jump between fiction and non-fiction. Sure, the two mediums often blur together, but the point of fiction is to entertain and the point of non-fiction is to educate and enlighten (yes, that’s a gross oversimplification, but every ‘rule of writing’ carries at least some contrivance). So the focus needs to change, even if just a little. Non-fiction is typically bound by design to require more of a ‘point’ than fiction, which can exist clearly to entertain only.
So with all these problems and incompatibilities, is it a bad idea to try to take an idea in one form and adapt it into another mode of expression? Of course not.
I do it a lot myself, as a prose writer. A couple of dead manuscripts from my university days have been dismembered into a suite of short-form projects. One finally made it to publication in the latest issue of the online journal Communion. But only after a massive renovation that saw the original chapter stripped down to half its length and the remainder practically rewritten. The rest of my attempts there are pretty much dead ends – for now, at least. Like with any evolving idea, sometimes it just needs time to find the right mode of expression – and the enthusiasm to make the idea fit the medium, instead of the other way around.
Never be shy about experimenting with ideas, exploring different modes of expression to find the best way to carry a specific story or concept. But adapting something for a new medium is about as much work as writing from scratch. It’ll be laborious, but it might be worth it.
Beau Hillier | Editor, page seventeenRead More