ON WRITING A NOVEL: Part 2 … video interview

Here’s Part 2 of the video interview with Mark G Mitchell in Austin, Texas … talking about illustrating the chapter motifs for my children’s novel, SECRETS OF EROMANGA; the novel’s Australian Society of Authors’ mentorship; jumping a slush pile; researching a novel on a fossil dig in western Queensland – the inside story; doing school visits in Australia.

SECRETS OF EROMANGA … Reviews on Goodreads.com

Facing the terror of a video-interview …done it! Part 1

I have no fear of public speaking in front of a roomful of children, or adults, well, except for a few tummy flutters beforehand. But nothing was as fearful as being the subject of a video interview.

That’s how I felt when I was in the United States last year and Mark G. Mitchell, an illustrator, author, blogger, interviewer and SCBWI member from Austin, Texas set up an interview between he, his trusty, tiny camera and me .

There we were in the Children’s Section of the beautiful library in Austin with the camera set up on a tripod and all ready to go … scary! But under Mark’s wonderful ability to put people at ease and his great questioning techniques, I forgot the camera was there. As you can see when I tell a few secrets!

Here’s Part 1 in the video Mark made where I talk about the writing of Secrets of Eromanga, and about my journey to being published. And a few other bits and pieces. (I look a bit dorky at the beginning … put it down to shaking legs!) Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

Check out Mark’s website link to his very successful How to be a Children’s Book Illustrator  So many interesting and useful articles, videos etc that will fascinate illustrators, artists and author alike. Mark also runs online classes. mark mitchellThank you, again, Mark, it was a great experience for this first-timer!

ANATOMY OF A SHORT STORY… blog hopping

galileo-telescope

Would you like to know how the inside of a writer’s head works? A good way to show you is to cut open my 480-word short story, AND YET, IT MOVES.

I’m posting as part of a blog-chain hop (a small link, I am) of how authors think and work. Passed on by wonderful performance poet, Zenobia Frost to my lovely friend, author, Michael Gerard Bauer and then on to me. (Yes, I am breaking the rules of procedure a bit here by not answering the set questions!)

Where do the ideas for my short stories come from? It still surprises me, even after 15 weeks in my 52-Week Flash Fiction Challenge, but I’ve learned to trust in the creative process that it will happen. And week in, week out, it does. Here’s how AND YET, IT MOVES came to be.

THE SPARK OF AN IDEA
The stimulus word/s that week were CELESTIAL BODY. I usually start with a visual mind-map, scribbling down many thoughts about the topic, but this time I didn’t have to. For me, Celestial body = astronomy = Galileo, the father of modern astronomy, and my life-long hero. I knew lots about his life so didn’t have to research too much. But a short story couldn’t look at his whole life. It had to focus on one small incident – significant enough, or interesting enough to make the story sing. This is where being a keen observer of human behaviour helps.

THE CONFLICT
Conflict is part of every story, especially for the main character. And so it was for AND YET, IT MOVES. I knew the history, I knew what happened when Galileo made a telescope and became the first human to see the pockmarked face of the moon – to work out that no, the sun and the moon didn’t circle our Earth. Therefore, Earth and its ‘made in the image of God’ humans were not the centre of God’s Universe. Galileo couldn’t help himself – he was a man who had to share his beliefs, widely. The Vatican’s black-robed priests of the Inquisition placed him under house-arrest. Would he recant his heresy or die? Justus_Sustermans_-_Portrait_of_Galileo_Galilei,_1636

CHARACTERS
Flash Fiction has no room for a cast of characters. There’s Galileo, of course, but who else. That’s when the magic happened … into my head popped the image of a young boy bringing a meal to this dangerous, white-haired prisoner … and my story was born. Young Guido had been warned not to listen to him, not to talk to him. So what sort of boy is Guido? And what impact will he have on the life of Galileo. I scribbled a quick outline, and let it bubble away in my imagination for a couple of days.

SETTING, DESCRIPTION
They’re all essential things to get right – without using too many words. It’s set in Firenze, in the 16th Century, at night. I had to use enough sensory images to set the scene, but keep the story flowing.

sheryl1

Teaching young people how to write short stories

THE ENDING
Flash Fiction needs to end with a twist – ending with a POW! An ah-ha moment. I knew as I wrote the first draft where this story would lead … it wasn’t really a conscious decision, more instinctive story-telling. A gut-feeling of wanting to right a wrong. To see human intelligence and valour work for this great man and young Guido.

THE TITLE
Perfect titles are essential in Flash Fiction. They must say everything, without giving too much away. ‘And yet, it moves‘ are the words that Galileo is rumoured to have muttered when he recanted his teachings in front of the Inquisition and the Pope – he was not put to death, but remained under house arrest the rest of his life, continuing his studies and exploring the heavens. He discovered the moons of Jupiter and many more truths we know today.

 The thought of this brilliant man holding his beliefs against ignorance, cruelty and superstition will stay with me forever.

I hope you enjoy reading my story….  AND YET, IT MOVES.

THE BLOG CHAIN CONTINUES…

Check out these two blogs next week for two more shiny chain links

and

 

In which Michael Bauer takes part in a BLOG HOP

sherylgwyther:

Thought you might like to check out what my friend, the indomitable, imaginative, ingenious, indefatigable author, Michael Bauer is up to nowadays. He’s been tagged in a blog Q&A series by a fab Brisbane poet, Zenobia Frost. And Michael’s tagged me to blog next Friday where I’ll be a bit of a rebel and change my questions. :)

Originally posted on michael gerard bauer - author:

My friend and super-talented Brisbane-based poet, critic and editor Zenobia Frost has invited me to take part in a blog hop. It goes like this: I ask myself the following four questions, answer them and then pass the baton on to three fellow writers to do exactly the same, thus keeping the blog hop rolling for all eternity!

I first met Zen when I presented her with a poetry prize at the 2004 Literary Awards for school students. She was brilliant then and since has become even more dazzlingly brilliant. Check out everything about her here: A Storm of Tea Cups.

Anyway here I go answering my own questions:

  1. Michael, what are you working on at the moment?

Well Michael I don’t usually talk much about my current projects but I like the cut of your jib so I’ll answer you. At present I’m working on completing three stories for younger readers concerning the adventures of Secret Agent Derek…

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