Tag Archives: CYA conference

12 x 12 in ’12 Blog Party!

12x12 blog partyWhat better day to celebrate the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge coming to a close than a blog party on the 12/12/2012?

By mere coincidence I’ve been penning my December draft today without realising the date. It was only when I got the reminder on Julie’s blog that today was the blog party I realised. How fitting I should write my final draft for 12 x 12 in 2012 on today’s date.

12 x 12 has been a fantastic journey and I really urge any PB writers out there to have a go at 12 x 12 next year. It’s great motivation to build up a folder of PB drafts to work on and the community that comes along with the challenge is invaluable. Next year looks as though it promises to be even better with a new forum opening up and opportunities to pitch to agents (check out all the details here).

A huge thank you to Julie Hedlund for being the brains and driving force behind 12 x 12, she’s has done an amazing job and put so much into the challenge to make it a success. And thank you to my fellow 12 x 12ers for all the support, sharing and friendship throughout the year.

So how did I progress during 12 x 12 this year? Here’s a bit of a timeline…

JANUARY

I started the year full of motivation and was inspired early on in the month. Heavily pregnant and battling a sweltering Australian summer, I wondered how I would be able to pull an idea from my melting brain, but it was the heat that ended up being the inspiration behind my very first draft. It’s been revamped and overhauled several times already and still needs a bit of work. It’s a keeper, though.

FEBRUARY

After having a story published in Australian Women Online’s Bedtime Stories collection back in November 2011, I thought I might look to their upcoming themes to gain inspiration for my February draft. The upcoming theme for March was ‘Green’. I wrote the draft, revised it, put it through my critique group and revised it some more. (I also had a baby in there somewhere!) Despite it only being a month old (the story, not the baby), I thought it was a a strong story and I was really happy with it. I submitted it literally at the eleventh hour. The next day I got an email saying it had been accepted! I couldn’t believe it! You can read ‘Green Nadine’ here.

MARCH

St. Patrick’s Day was the inspiration behind my March draft. I’m really in love with this one. I entered it into CYA later in the year and although it didn’t place, I got some feedback on it, which will hopefully help me shape it up a bit more.

APRIL

I started a PB draft about a boy who thinks he lives next door to a wizard, but I quickly discovered it just wasn’t working for me. I got a rushed draft about a duck scrawled in my notebook at the very end of the month. Not sure if I’ll do anything with that one, though I adore the name of the duck.

MAY

NaPiBoWriWee!! The aim was to do 7 drafts in 7 days. With a new baby, who had been in and out of hospital the last couple of months, I think I was probably a bit crazy to think I could even attempt this. But I got a few drafts done 😀

– An Australian fairytale based on a play I wrote for kids while studying teaching at university.

– A story about a young chef, which I never finished.

– A house-hunting mouse (this is also based on a story idea I had years ago).

– A country child visiting the big city inspired by a trip to Melbourne with my kids (I believe this was on the first day of NaPiBoWriWee–I was writing the story in my head the whole trip there).

– A family of grumpy monsters, which started as a silly name I made up and just grew from there.

– A simple board book text about fruit.

– The last was more a poem than a story and was written for a magazine (and unfortunately didn’t get accepted–it probably could have done with more rest time and revision, but I was rushing for the deadline).

JUNE

I started a story about a principal with a silly premise, but it didn’t get far. Luckily I ended up with another two completed stories this month; it was a good month for inspiration. The first was based on a rollicking first line I kept singing in my head, with my three children inspiring the three characters in the story. It turned out as an interactive story and if I don’t end up submitting it to publishers, I think I will just make it into a book for my children. The other is really quite a sad story. I guess I had been feeling a bit down, thinking about the baby I lost (and would have been celebrating his/her first birthday this month), and that poured into a story about a boy whose brother dies.

JULY

I wrote my favourite, most favourite story this month. I had been bouncing my baby on my knee singing these silly nonsense words to her, when BAM! Lightbulb! The silly words became the opening line to a rhyming story about a baby echidna. I’ve been revising and rewriting this story like mad, because I really love it and want to submit it. It’s been through my critique group several times, had peer critique at Write on Con and got a great in depth critique from Rate Your Story. As it’s a rhyming PB it needs to be completely perfect in meter and rhyme before I’ll submit it. I hope I can get it there!

AUGUST

I couldn’t find any stories dated from August on my computer, but I do have some handwritten drafts scrawled in my notebook that I haven’t dated and I know I completed a draft in August. I also lost a couple of stories when my laptop crashed that couldn’t be recovered, so I don’t know if there was an August one there. I think the scrawled story about a pirate crew (inspired by my son’s birthday pirate theme party I had been planning) may be an August draft, though it is unfinished.

SEPTEMBER

My son is self-teaching himself the times tables at the moment and my inspiration for my draft this month was a story based on the 3 times tables. Not sure if it works well, however. :/

OCTOBER

Another scrawled, unfinished draft in my note book that I think may have been an October draft. My son got invited to a birthday party and I knew his friend loved cooking, so I set out to find a children’s cookbook for his gift. I found none (except for one on cakes, but their family isn’t really into sweets). So I decided to write a PB about kids cooking, with the intention of including some simple recipes for kids in the appendix. (Note: I’ve noticed in the lead up to Christmas there are actually quite a few kids’ cookbooks around now.) I didn’t actually finish this one as it is going to be a longer PB, but I have a skeleton plot written out.

NOVEMBER

Zip! Zilch! Zero! No drafts this month. Simply too busy, unfortunately. Though I did attempt PiBoIdMo for the first time, since I was forgoing NaNoWriMo this month. I came up with 24 ideas. So even though I don’t have a draft for November, I have a nice little idea bank to dig into.

DECEMBER

I’m halfway through a Christmas/fairytale crossover story that I started today. I believe I will have it done by the end of the month (I already have the whole story planned out).

FINAL STATS:

PBs Complete: 14!

PBs started, but not finished: 6

Lost stories (from the computer crash): ??

PiBoIdMo ideas to get me started next year: 24

What a year!

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2nd Blogiversary: The Highs and Lows of the Past Year

Wow, what a year!

This time last year I was celebrating the very first blogiversary of this blog, I can’t believe another year has past. So much has happened in this past year; these are some of the biggest ups and downs:

I took part in NaNoWriMo for the second year in a row. After finding it hard to get into the story I’d planned, I ended up writing a fanfic and reaching my goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. (The previous year I’d only managed half that.)

– The worst day of my life was the day I found out I had a miscarriage and lost my baby. I didn’t cope at all with the loss and sunk into depression. I found it hard to write for a while. I’m still struggling with the loss, but I’m writing.

After entering my completed YA fantasy MS into a couple of novel competitions and having no luck, I decided to put it aside for the time being, rather than following my original plan of querying it. I decided to focus on my YA thriller WIP instead.

– After the devastating floods in Queensland at the start of the year, I was compelled to submit a story to the anthology 100 Stories to Queensland. I was thrilled to first make the longlist and then the shortlist and have my story ‘A Penny for a Wish’ included in the anthology. The anthology has gone on to raise much needed funds for disaster relief in Queensland.

– I was surprised and thrilled to find out my story ‘Angel Blood’ was to be included in the Australian Literature anthology (and I also totally bawled my eyes out as it was to be my first story I would be getting paid for). It was released at the same time as 100 Stories for Queensland. I couldn’t believe my debut as a published author involved two separate stories being published at the same time.

– I jumped at the opportunity to get on board an anthology called Literary Mix Tapes: Eighty-Nine where I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with other authors and an editor (the fabulous Jodi Cleghorn). Working on my short story ‘Eighteen for Life’ has been a great learning experience for me as a writer. Eighty-Nine is due for release next month.

– I’ve had the honour of being invited to write short stories for several other upcoming anthologies (which I will tell you more about as the release dates come closer).

I found out I was pregnant again, but kept the pregnancy secret despite the fact I was suffering the worst morning sickness of all my pregnancies so far. Thankfully the morning sickness has now subsided. I’m nearly at the halfway point!

My family and I were all plagued by illness over the winter months, and in fact it got so bad my son ended up in hospital for a week (with me staying there with him) and my daughter ended up in hospital overnight. Even once we were home it was a long road to recovery (compounded by the fact I was also suffering horrendous morning sickness at the time). Needless to say my writing suffered during this time, as did my poor blog.

I worked up the courage to send a couple picture book (and one chapter book) manuscripts to publishers. So far no luck, but…

– Only last week I received the exciting news my picture book ‘Monster Sister’ was shortlisted for the CYA competition’s preschool category. (CYA = Children and Young Adult Writer conference, which is held annually in Brisbane, Australia.) I just found out the winner as I was about to hit ‘publish’ on this post. Unfortunately ‘Monster Sister’ did not win, but I feel so privileged to have even been shortlisted and to have had the opportunity for my story to be seen by a publisher.

Edit: Just had to make an edit, because I just found out that although ‘Monster Sister’ did not win the CYA preschool category, it did place second!

Happy Book Week

It’s book week this week; a great week to celebrate all things books and reread some of your old favourites (maybe introduce them to your kids or recommend them to some friends).

Remember at school how book week meant dressing up as your favourite book character? I can remember dressing up as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Emily from L.M. Montgomery’s Emily Climbs and a fairy (though I can’t remember which book it was from). As a teacher I remember one year dressing up as Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter series. I can’t wait until my son starts school next year and gets to dress up for book week.

All week I’ve been sharing some of my favourite books on my Facebook page as part of the book week celebrations. So far I’ve covered my favourite picture book, chapter books and YA book/series. Watch out for my favourite adult book and all time favourite in the coming days. Feel free to tell me some of your favourite books.

In the spirit of book week, and following a great three days at Write on Con, I’ve been busy revising some of my writing, including several picture books, a chapter book for boys and a young adult contemporary thriller. I’ll be posting a Write on Con follow-up post soon.

And as if book week wasn’t already great, I got some fantastic news at the start of the week: my picture book Monster Sister was shortlisted in the preschool category in the 2011 CYA conference competition. The winners will be announced at the conference on the tenth of September and unfortunately I can’t be there. I’m so excited just to be shortlisted though, since it means my story will be seen by publishers!