Month: April 2021

Writers Corner – tools of the trade

Do you use pen and paper, dictionary and/or thesaurus, laptop and/or desktop? Are you a fan of Word or Scrivener?  Does technology get in the way of the creative moment?

Tools of the Trade: this deceptively rich topic should give us a couple of hours of interesting discussion at our May edition of Writers Corner, a casual, loosely moderated discussion group for BW members and prospective members.

There are research processes and resources – Trove? Your local library? Others? How about eavesdropping on the morning commute or the local coffee shop? Note taking and filing, and the good old Post-it note, all tools of the trade!

Love them or hate them, it is time to talk about them. Humans are renowned tool makers, and we all love a good tool.

Never mind the vagaries of Microsoft Word or the richness of Scrivener.  Who has a favourite dictionary or thesaurus with well-thumbed pages showing the ravages of overuse; checking those subtle nuances to give your writing that special edge?

You might be writing a couple of hundred words for your local community newsletter (hint) or the ultimate Rocky Horror saga of speculative fiction with a romantic twist; perhaps you are in the middle of your dissertation on the finer elements of the decline of neo capitalist empires; keeping track of notes, ideas, context and continuity can benefit from good processes, indexing, filing and search routines.

Image: Pixabay

Come along on 4 May at the Bunch of Grapes, 401 Pleasant St, Ballarat, from 2pm to 4pm and share your ideas for the tools you like, or gripe about the tools you dislike – whether it be pens, pencils, coloured biros, quill and ink, a filing cabinet or a shoe box or simply the art of observation. 

Questions? Contact BW or hit us up at the Facebook event.

Pamela Miller Prize to open

It’s time for our first Ballarat Writers competition for 2021 … and this one is open only to members of Ballarat Writers!

The Pamela Miller Prize was first run in 2015, in memory of Pamela Miller, who was a very active and productive member of Ballarat Writers. She was a writer of short stories and poetry, and won the Murder at MADE short story competition in 2014. Early in 2015, Pamela wrote a very popular poem called ‘Bronze Heads—The Prime Ministers’ Walk’ as part of a Ballarat Writers project run during the Begonia Festival.

The winner of the Pamela Miller Prize will receive a certificate and $100 first prize, as well as publication in the Ballarat Writers newsletter. The winner will be announced at the Ballarat Writers June Members’ Night. 

Entries open: Saturday 1 May
Entries close: Tuesday 1 June

Ballarat Writers is accepting fictionalprose entries of up to 500 words on the theme A New Start. Entry is free.
All entries must be:

  • Original and unpublished
  • Written by a current member of Ballarat Writers
  • Engage with the theme A New Start, and be less than 500 words in length
  • Sent to ballaratwriterscompetitions@gmail.com with the subject line, ‘2021 Pamela Miller Prize Entry’

As the competition will be a blind judging, please do not include your name or contact details on the entry.

Happy writing!

Karen Turner to be guest speaker at April meeting

Karen Turner, author of the Torn series

For the April meeting, we are thrilled to welcome Karen Turner as our guest presenter. She will be talking about the role of research in historical fiction as well as general writing tips, and will be available to answer questions.

Karen, born in Australia to an English mother and Italian father, discovered a passion for historical fiction after twenty years in the financial services industry.
 
As an escape from corporate writing, Karen began writing short stories and, in 2009, published her first collection All That and Everything. Many of the short stories won awards, including the Society of Women Writers Victoria, Biennial Literary Award and the Free XpresSion Literary Award.
 
Her first novel, Torn, was followed by its sequel, Inviolate.
 
Karen’s latest, Stormbird, was written as the final instalment in the Torn series, but can also be read independently. Shortlisted for a national award, Stormbird was published by FisherKing Publishing, UK.
 
Karen is currently working on her next book, Fever, set in the Victorian goldfields.
 
Additionally, Karen writes for several financial magazines, speaks at public events and facilitates writing workshops.
 
She lives in Victoria’s Riverina region with husband Stuart and rescue cats Katie and Panda.
 
In her spare time, Karen volunteers at an animal shelter, enjoys running and drinks too much coffee.

Meeting details

Where: Bunch of Grapes, 401 Pleasant St South, Ballarat

When: 7pm, 28 April, 2021

Cost: Free

Please feel free to arrive from 6.30pm for a meal and general socialising before the meeting.

Writers Corner – looking back at travel writing

Thank you to all those who came along to our Writers Corner session on 6 April to discuss the intricacies of the various forms of travel writing. In general, we concluded that travel writing is a more complex and richer genre than one might think. 

We easily filled to the time between 2pm and 4pm with relaxed conversation and a brief writing exercise. 

The discussion was reasonably diverse, touching on the ethical issues in travel writing, cultural appropriation, outlets for writing and social media.

We also explored the role of travel writing as a means of improving the understanding of diverse human culture.  Even the simplest forms of writing such as letters to family and friends can be valuable, enabling others to share experiences of new places.

While travel writing has many specific features it also shares many common features with other genres – good writing is good writing.  The ability to enliven a reader’s senses with the aroma of the coffee, the bustle of the marketplace or the tranquillity of a meadow pond is important in all sorts of writing.

Outlets for writing are not confined to books and maps; the hip world of social media and the common practice of video logging or vlogging benefit from those same skills of storytelling, assembling the information, setting out the scene context for the reader or viewer and taking them on that journey.  There is an evolving world of communication and travel documentaries that can be at the street level of detail.

It was also noted that there are opportunities to submit articles to a wide range of publications that use travel writing of some form or other (e.g., see https://www.thattravelblog.com/blog/10-publications-that-will-pay-you-for-travel-writing/). 

There is even a travel writing association https://astw.org.au.

So, whether it is a letter (or email) to the grandchildren, or the script for a documentary on the cultural imperatives of a lost Amazonian tribe, good writing about one’s travels, especially when done in creative and engaging styles, helps make the world a better understood place.

Image by Pixabay

Next month’s Writers Corner topic is tools of the trade. Everything from dictionaries to word processors to research resources will be on the table; processes and practices, tips and tricks … what are your favourites?  Come along to Writers Corner with a view to share or a question ask on 4 May, 2pm at the Bunch of Grapes, 401 Pleasant St, Ballarat.

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