The new edition of Voiceworks arrived in my hands last night. I’m impressed by the number of feminist non-fiction pieces and as every the high quality of work. I crave getting my work published by Voiceworks before I hit 25 (eep, this October). How did I forget this goal I had, had for years? I’m going to give it a go! Cover art is the property of Voiceworks
We often hear that we should “show, not tell” — that we should paint a detailed picture for our reader that lets them see what’s happening, rather than simply narrating.
Easier said than done! All details are not created equal: some detail throws a barrier between the reader and your story, and some detail is (ironically) not detailed enough. How do you tell whether a detail helps or hurts? Here are four things to keep in mind when you’re writing descriptively, and some writers who illustrate them perfectly.
Good detail is relevant.
Including every detail is the written equivalent of your friend who can never get to the point of a story because he can’t remember if it happened on Tuesday or Wednesday, or if it was 1 PM or 2 PM, or if the car was red or blue. Good detail is relevant to the point of your post.
Writer beware! Not…
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Voiceworks is looking for volunteer interns for an editing position. I like getting excited about this! Regardless of whether I got the position or not, it’s great to know what kind of occupations and jobs out there inspire me.
Going back to when I was Office Manager at the ACT Writers Centre, one of the projects I got to be involved in was coming up with initial design concepts for the logo for HARDCOPY; a manuscript development program. I helped with preparing the preliminary design explorations. New Best Friend took over from there and produced the final, professional product.
I was interested in creating a logo with only back, white and orange or a combination of two. I wanted it to be like a button so focused on round forms with an emphasis on simplicity and text.
It’s been a while since I helped out with the project but I’m proud of my involvement and the final result. New Best Friend took my initial ideas and along with the staff at the Writers Centre, tweaked them along the way to create something modern, cool but professional. This task is something I am delighted to add to my resume of achievements and certainly the genre of venture I would take on again.
The HARDCOPY logo is the property of the ACT Writers Centre.
The ACT Writers Centre is supported by the ACT Government. HARDCOPY has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
I am graduating this October! I finished my degree in Writing at the University of Canberra. It feels real now and I’m beyond excited! It is coming up so soon..
“You can do anything you want sweetie.” most of us were told that by our parents. If we were fortunate we were told that. They leave out the bits about classism, racism, sexism and the glass ceiling, but it’s an inspiring sentiment regardless. And it’s more than sentiment, however naive it may feel, surely it is better to live with a feeling of possibility than assuming few opportunities can be had?
At some point I forgot that I could shape my life to the direction I wanted it to be. School and parents guide us and sometimes cripple our abilities to think for ourselves. But again, I forgot it was up to me how I wanted to live. The prescriptive narrative is both temping and depressing. I don’t think I’ll be escaping the rat race entirely and living in Barbados with my sudden millions, but I could live in a commune under a dormant volcano near the border of Queensland. And why don’t I?
I was reminded that I had more control over the shape of things by something that is intangible to me now. But the idea has been emboldened by a recent encounter with a brilliantly strange woman. As she says, she may have paranoid schizophrenia, but this doesn’t cancel out that she’s living an authentic life; living off her art and wits. She is doing what I feel the Romantics and old bohemians did with cunning and some approximation to nobility; living off their art and accepting lack of toothpaste and expensive lingerie when it arrives in tumultuous spurts.
I have also recently met a new person, who’s exuberant past shows a courage to take risks for relationships and a colourful path to knowing his truest self. I do compare it to my own past, even though comparison is rarely useful. And I don’t come up badly, but I do see a fearful influence that might be called “stability” but may also be called “cowardice” and lack of imagination.
The point is not to bejewel oneself for the sole reason of a marvelous life tale or to impress on some level, but I do wish I went looking for a few more daring opportunities. The sort of daring that is daring to me; that challenges my fear and limitations I place on my spirit. My fears may not cause others discomfort, which brings me back to the idea that my life direction must be for myself and for the impressing of myself.
I don’t know what manifestation of action this concept will take me, but that shall be revealed in the future. For now I have the idea and I want to let it change me.
Earlier this year, we talked to four professional writers about the freelance life, getting paid to write, and writing for free and exposure. If you missed it the first time, be sure to read this roundtable, full of great advice for new and aspiring writers in particular.
Here are highlights from the Q&A:
Give us a breakdown of your typical day.
Every day is different. I start by reading the New York Times. I listen to BBC World News or two great WNYC radio shows, The Brian Lehrer Show and The Leonard Lopate Show, from which I get story ideas and learn about the world.
I start work by 10:00 am — I’m not a morning person! If I’m working on a story, and usually several at once, I’m seeking sources, conducting interviews, writing, reading, or revising the pieces and answering questions from my editors.
Like most working…
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