Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:24 AM EST
Tuesday, October 06 2015 @ 10:24 AM EST
Thursday, October 01 2015 @ 11:06 AM EST
Monday, September 21 2015 @ 09:23 AM EST
Writing Toolbox Intro: In this ongoing series of guest posts, I've invited a number of other authors to come along and show us what is in their Writing Toolbox, and tell us a little about how they approach the more 'mechanical' aspects of story writing. This week, West Australian author Lee Battersby shares the contents of his Writer's Toolbox...
PREVIOUS WRITING TOOLBOX POSTS:
Thursday, September 17 2015 @ 10:43 AM EST
Writing Toolbox Intro: This week, South Australian author and bookseller shares the contents of her Writer's Toolbox...
Every writer needs tools to help them on their journey of creation. For some, it can be a pen and paper. For others it is lucky socks, music, programs, you name it – it’s been used. For me, the tools in my toolkit are:
I need quiet to write. When I was younger I used to be able to have the TV on and listen to music. Now, I need to have silence or my flow gets distracted and I can’t concentrate. Saying that, music helps me focus on plotting when I am not actually writing. The turn of a phrase or the sound of a haunting tune will get me into writing mode. I just have to turn it off when it comes to putting words down.
WPS OFFICE SUITE (Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheets) – http://wps.com/
I write mainly on my tablet and I have gone through many writing suites trying to find one that won’t corrupt or screw with my formatting too much when I convert it to Microsoft Word on my laptop. This writing suite is fantastic so far. I only get minimal formatting issues and it lets me review, edit, save, view, everything that Word does. It also jumps me to the spot I left off at so I don’t have to forever scroll to find my last chapter.
EVERNOTE - https://evernote.com/
This app/program is a must have for all writers. It is a free program that lets you make notes. Now you might say why should I care about that? There are many apps and programs that do that. I would say to you, Evernote is different as the program then give you many different options on what to do with your notes. You can share them, sync them between devices (which is what I do as I work mainly on the tablet.) You can have many different note books going at once. For example, I have a writing notebook, a cooking notebook, a gardening notebook and a craft notebook and they are all kept separate. You can make webcam notes, ink notes, copy and paste. You can print, save, import and export your notes. It is the best tool!
DROPBOX - https://www.dropbox.com/
I would classify this program as the most important.
Every writer knows that backing up and saving your work is crucial. We have all had those moments when you have lost hours of work because of hardware failure of some kind. If you use Dropbox, then fingers crossed you won’t experience that again. Dropbox lets you save to the cloud and you can access your files from any computer as long as you have internet access. It is free to use, but you can also pay for premium and that gives you more options. You simply save your files on your computer, then once that is done you can access them on your phone/tablet . Everything that’s in Dropbox is synced automatically to all your devices. You can mark files for offline use as well. How handy is that!
BABY NAME BOOKS
I love my baby name books. I write fantasy and sometimes you need an unusual name.
All fiction is based on fact. Google can be our friend, when we research say what makes a town a town, not a village? What types of pubs are there? How do you mine limestone? Etc.. do not be afraid of research.
PEN AND PAPER
I always carry a pen and paper around with me for those occasions that inspiration strikes. I love to draw maps and jot down ideas when I am having a quiet moment.
Lastly you can’t forget the chocolate, coffee and tea you must consume to keep your energy up. Many people would argue that this last one is the most important item in your tool kit!
I hope you have enjoyed your glimpse into my writer’s toolkit
PREVIOUS WRITING TOOLBOX POSTS:
Tarran Jones - Biography
Tarran Jones works at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown. She lives in Adelaide, Australia with her partner and young daughter. Tarran has been in the book industry selling other people’s books for over 10 years now and thought it was about time she started thinking about her own. She has finished her first novel 'Stones of Power’ which is due out in 2016 with Satalyte Publishing and is now writing the second. Her short story ‘All That Glitters’ (a re-telling of ‘The Girl With No Hands’) is published in the ‘Twice Upon a Time Anthology’ by Bearded Scribe Press.
Tarran has previously written articles, reviews and blog posts for her bookstore’s blog and has written a great many short stories and one unpublished novella. She has had three short stories published online and was a finalist in the Australian Literature Review short story competition for one of her works. She loves writing all kinds of spec fiction and thinks that it fires up the imagination. Gardening is one of Tarran’s passions and when she isn’t writing she can be found out in the vegetable garden, talking to the plants. WEBSITE: https://taliesin13.wordpress.com/
Monday, September 07 2015 @ 08:45 AM EST
Writing Toolbox Intro: Last week, my Writing Toolbox - 5 Useful Tools for Writers post gained a bit of interest on social media from fellow writers. Discussions were started, and it was soon obvious how different everyone's writing methods were. So, I've invited a number of other authors to come along and show us what is in their Writing Toolbox, and tell us a little about how they approach the more 'mechanical' aspects of story writing. This week, author and illustrator Greg Chapman opens up his toolbox for all to see...
Monday, August 31 2015 @ 10:10 AM EST
Writing Toolbox Intro: Last week, my Writing Toolbox - 5 Useful Tools for Writers post gained a bit of interest on social media from fellow writers. Discussions were started, and it was soon obvious how different everyone's writing methods were. So, I've invited a number of other authors to come along and show us what is in their Writing Toolbox, and tell us a little about how they approach the more 'mechanical' aspects of story writing. First up, dark-fiction authdog-lover and Kung Fu master, Alan Baxter opens up his toolbox for all to see...
Andrew asked me if I’d be interested in a guest post on my personal writer’s toolbox. I thought it was a pretty fascinating idea, so I was happy to get involved. I like to keep my toolbox very simple. I’ve tried a variety of more complicated things, but never got on with them. For example, I tried Scrivener and hated it with a passion.
Really, my toolbox contains two things:
It’s fair to add one other thing to that:
I use the net for research, obviously, as well as keeping abreast of current markets and all that stuff. But for the actual writing, I have my laptop and MS-Word, and that’s it. Everything is saved in Dropbox, which means it saves locally on my hard drive, but is also instantly uploaded to the cloud as well. And, because I’m really paranoid about losing work, I also email new manuscripts to myself and backup regularly to an external hard drive. Even so, one EMP and I’m fucked. I keep meaning to get books printed of all my stories, just for my own hard copies, to be old school safe. I did it once and have a hardback book from Lulu with everything in it up to about 2012 or so. One day I’ll get around to doing that again and get all my recent stuff saved too. Maybe I should do a book for each year of publication or something… But I digress.
So my toolbox is really just MS-Word. Not only the main manuscript, but all my notes and timelines are separate Word docs in the same file. I do quite often use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of novel timelines, especially as there tend to be two or three main story threads in novel length work, so I have a column for each.
I’ve also sometimes used my iPad and the Docs To Go app for writing on the run when I’m away from home on holidays or at conventions and so on, and I have that synced with Dropbox too.
Everything else is peripheral. I often use the notepad app and the voice memo app on my phone when I’m out and about or sitting on the couch ruminating. I’ll also send myself an email with ideas written down that way. But then I transcribe all those into Word docs saved to Dropbox as soon as I’m back at my desk. Similarly, I do a lot of mind-noodling with an old-fashioned notepad and pen, then transcribe that ASAP too.
That’s what works for me – uncluttered simplicity. Me, a blank page and my fevered brainmeats. Then I let it all ooze out.
Alan Baxter is a British-Australian author who writes dark fantasy, horror and sci-fi, rides a motorcycle and loves his dog. He also teaches Kung Fu. He lives among dairy paddocks on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia, with his wife, son, dog and cat. He’s the award-winning author of six novels and over sixty short stories and novellas. So far. Read extracts from his novels, a novella and short stories at his website – www.warriorscribe.com – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.
Wednesday, August 26 2015 @ 01:03 PM EST
Seems that over the years I've settled on a suite of 5 essential writing/research tools that work for me. Apart from internet access for searches, they appear to be all I need. Every other program I've tried has fallen by the wayside, but these are the ones that remain, the ones I find essential to crafting any of my written work.
So, that's inside my Writing Toolbox. What tools or apps are your favourites?
Sunday, August 16 2015 @ 08:57 AM EST
"Daddy keeps Momma chained up in the barn out back. Far enough away that visitors wont hear her moanin and screamin. Close enough so we can check on her a coupla times a day." - from A Prayer for Lazarus
Ticonderoga Publications have announced the final line-up and cover for the 5th edition of The Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror.
I am especially pleased that editors Talie Helene and Liz Grzyb have chosen my story "A Prayer for Lazarus" (originally printed in my short story collection Last Year, When We Were Young) for inclusion alongside so many fantastic authors from Australia and New Zealand.
"A Prayer for Lazarus" is a previously unpublished tale, written especially for the collection. I'm immensely proud of it, as an author, because it is so grammatically experimental. If ever there was a story that not only breaks the rules, but downright ignores they exist at all, this is the one. It is also one of only two stories I've written that didn't have to go through the usual editorial acceptance route. It was never sent out and rejected, and as such I feel it is untried. To have it accepted for the YBAF&H, is a great feeling for me... like the experiment, the risk of writing such an unusual tale, was all worth the effort.
Here is the anthology's full list of stories and authors:
In addition to the above incredible tales, the volume will include a review of 2014 and a list of highly recommended stories.
Here's where you can pre-order a copy before its October release: http://ticonderogapublications.com/web/index.php/years-best-australian-fantasy-and-horror/volume-5-2014/387-year-s-best-for-2014-contents-announced
Monday, April 27 2015 @ 02:17 PM EST
So, I wrote this long blog post about how the AHWA 2014 Australian Shadows Award winners were announced over the weeked. I mentioned how my short story collection, "Last Year, When We Were Young", won the Australian Shadow for Collected Word... well, I might have more than mentioned, I might have gushed a little.
I wrote how we writers all like to say how awards really don't matter that much... and then I wrote how much of a lie that was, and how great it feels to have such recognition, and ultimately vindication, for all the hours and emotion that we put into our work.
I like to think I said these things with grace and gratitude: to the judges, and all the readers, beta-readers, editors and publishers who have picked up my work at some stage over the past eight years.
But, I guess I'll never know, because this website chewed up my post and I lost it all!
So, to cut a long story short, and because I can in no way try and reproduce what I wrote the first time... man, am I happy or what? Yes, I most certainly am.
It really is an honour to have my collection selected in such a way. I'm grateful and humbled and it inspires me to work harder at the one thing I love doing... which is writing: a thing that, eight years ago when my first story was written and published, I never imagined I'd would lead to a collection, let alone an award.
So, thank you to the judges, congratulations to all the other winners. It really is an honour to have won.
Here are the judges' comments:
"Our judges chose not to create a shortlist this year because in their eyes there was one clear winner. And that winner is.... Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew J McKiernan - A Masterful collection of supernatural horror and dark fantasy. The horror tales are disturbingly close to home, with vivid characters and a distinctly Australian tone. The atmospheric tales of fantasy take you to terrible other worlds."
And, a full list of the winners...
Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew J McKiernan
SQ Mag #14 edited by Sophie Yorkston
Shadows of the Lonely Dead by Alan Baxter
Wolf Creek Origins by Aaron Sterns and Greg McLean
PAUL HAINES AWARD FOR LONG FICTION:
Dreams of Destruction by Shane Jiraiya Cummings
LAST YEAR, WHEN WE WERE YOUNG
Monday, April 27 2015 @ 11:00 AM EST
A quick catch-up on a bunch of guest blog posts I've been part of over the past few months...
FIfty Shades of Lit. - Over on Alan Baxter's Warrior Scribe blog, I get down and dirty with the Genre vs Literary debate. (http://www.alanbaxteronline.com/fifty-shades-lit-guest-post-andrew-mckiernan/)
Angela Slatter interviewed me over on her blog (http://www.angelaslatter.com/last-year-when-we-were-young-andrew-mckiernan/).
I contributed to David McDonald's Paying for Our Passion series -- guest blog posts from a variety of authors, on how they pay and what they sacrifice for their creative passions. All of the posts are worth a read. (http://www.davidmcdonaldspage.com/2015/03/paying-for-our-passion-andrew-j-mckiernan/)
And Lee Battersby asked me about my writing fetishes, over on his Friday Fetish series of posts, wherein you'll get to meet my ever-enthusiastic writing companion The Dude... (http://battersblog.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/fetish-friday-andrew-j-mckiernan.html)