Friday, July 9, 2010

Taking advice from Life of Brian....

In the past few days while blog surfing I came across a comment on a post where the commentor complained about the cynicism in the post and also in other comments. I felt a pang. I have been guilty of some pretty intense cynicism over recent years. Now I didn't arrive at my cynicism on my own, I was driven there by some upsetting events. I have had some wonderful highs in my writing career to date, but I have also had some very miserable lows. But it is easy to let cynicism take the wheel and keep driving. So here are some positive things from recent weeks. I finished (Welshcake, I hope you're reading this) the first draft of my YA after having an epiphany about the ending the other night. Yay. Its now all printed off waiting for a read through and I am puddling about happily on my other YA, the bodice ripper. I have had some nice comments on my story Made with Love, now appearing on the Smorie website here, and fabulous illustrator friend Fifi has blogged about it too. I had coffee with writer pal Maureen Crisp yesterday, in itself a lovely event, during which she suggested long waits on submissions might mean they are 'crunching the numbers' to confirm whether they can take the financial leap with your work. I confess my cynicism reared its ugly head then, but today it's nice to think my stories might have made it to this part of the process (I have 8 submissions out there right now, five of which have been out longer than 5 months). Thank you Fifi and Maureen, I really appreciate your kind words. And another comment I came across in the ether made me realise that whatever happens to all my stories whether they are ultimately loved or unloved by others, I love them and feel proud of what I have created.
Also writer friend Sher Foley was on the children's bestseller list this week with her new picture book The Three Little Lambs: Kiwi Corkers Great NZ Yarns (Scholastic NZ), and another writer friend Elena de Roo is launching her first picture book The Rain Train (Walker Books)- with pictures by Sher's partner, award winning illustrator Brian Lovelock - on August 7. Big congratulations to Sher, Elena and Brian.

And last but not least I am a lucky participant in the most amazing writing project you might ever come across - the FaBo project. Go take a look on July 21st...

9 Mad Writers. 1 Crazy Story. No Idea What Happens Next.

A team of New Zealand children’s writers have a crazy idea for a story and they want children to help them write it.

On the 21st of July - a wacky Wednesday - the story opens with the first chapter of a junior fiction novel being posted on the FaBo story website.

Then the fun begins. New Zealand children are being invited to write the next chapter, at the same time as one of the FaBo story writers, and send it to the FaBo Team. The winning kid’s chapter will be posted side by side with the FaBo Team’s version.

Each week New Zealand kids can write the next chapter, while the Fabo story team tries to out-write them and take control of what will be a wild and crazy plot.

Kyle Mewburn, FaBo story team leader, said ‘On week 1 - Writer A writes chapter 1. In week 2 - Writer B writes chapter 2 and completely messes up Writer A's original idea (while cackling gleefully and rubbing evil little hands together). In week 3 - Writer C takes the story off into a completely different direction altogether (while cackling gleefully etc).

There will be competitions, prizes and ideas stolen.

Kids can write as part of school or library teams or on their own.

The FaBo Story website is

All details will be up on the website in time for the start of term 3 of the school year.

The name FaBo was chosen as short for Facebook as the writers initially discussed the idea in a facebook discussion.

The FaBo Team want the story finished by Christmas. ‘We’ll need a nice lie down by then,’ said Team Member Maureen. ‘We’re up against New Zealand kids, it’s going to be tough!’

The writers are spread around New Zealand geographically.

Kyle Mewburn is in Central Otago. Michele Powles is in Dunedin.

In Wellington, Fifi Colston, Fleur Beale and Maureen Crisp.

Auckland have four writers in the team, Melinda Szymanik, Brian Falkner, Kathy White and Tania Hutley.

The FaBo story writing team, email;


Fifi Colston said...

we are all on a weird journey in our creative lives... glad to be on one with such good comany!

Welshcake said...

Hey Melinda, congrats in finishing the YA. It took uus both a while to get our first drafts done, but we got there! Yay!