Sunday, May 12, 2013
In the post war years Bowral boy Donald Bradman played an enormous part in shaping our nation's sporting identity, as one of the youngest players ever to play international cricket, in the 'Invincibles' team.
This book is written for easy reading, packed with all the important facts and superb photographs carefully researched.
It's the perfect resource book for school projects.
To preview and purchase, follow this link Sir-Donald-Bradman-Australian-Cricketer
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Previous nightmare pitching experiences
I have pitched a story before, both under excruciating conditions, in front of a whole room of people. Argh! Needless to say, they were spectacular failures. Apart from my shattered nerves, I really didn't have the pitch down right. I didn't have the rock solid confidence of knowing the best features of my work to spruik.
So, how did I prepare for the Conflux pitching sessions?
My young adult novel, Flight, was written over a two year period, during which time I had test readers, other published authors and professional editors go over it. You'd think I knew it's best features, wouldn't you? You'd think I'd know how to sell it to someone. But I don't mind admitting, I found the process of writing a synopsis difficult, let alone a pitch!
Several other writers said they wrote summaries of summaries until they distilled it down to the essence of the story. Others said you have to be able to say what it's about in just one sentence. My own methodology was a combination of things:
- In my mind, I pulled myself back and took in the physical landscape and its features and asked myself, 'If I was a stranger who had just arrived, what would a local tell me had happened in this place?' In this way, I got a world view. I wrote a paragraph introducing the setting. ie: Avendor, bordered by the Black Mountains, is a world where dragons once soared...
- I looked at the central relationships and motivations of my characters then how these were challenged by events. I wrote a paragraph about each character. ie: Lucian – a man obsessed with domination – commits barbaric acts of brutality against his own people and even his body...
- Then I indicated which books or films were of a similar ilk. (Publishers always want to know where it fits in the market and whether you've done your research.) ie: It will appeal to readers of Twilight and fans of Avatar and Iron Man.
- Then, I asked some of my test readers, (actually, I begged them, with large, Puss-in-boots eyes) to come over and I handed them a printout of the above. I asked them to tell me what they thought of the summary and what they thought the story was about. I also asked them what they loved about the story and characters. While they spoke, I wrote down what they said and used phrases to add to my summary. It was heartening to hear them talk about my characters as if they were real people! I knew then that I had drawn them well. I also learned how perspective changes perception when it comes to readers.
- Lastly, I sent the summary to an editor friend, who sent it back slashed with red, cutting it down by three quarters. Yes, three quarters! This was SO valuable. She saw things I couldn't, being so close to it, and picked out features I didn't realise were even there. (Thank you, Zena Shapter!)
- At last, I had a pitch I was proud of. When I went in to see the publisher/agent, I took a printout of it with me. I had it as a backup, in case my nerves got the better of me, but I didn't need it. Once I got talking, I was fine. I only had 4 minutes and they went super fast!
The best part about writing the pitch?
I fell in love with my story all over again.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
|foggy Redbrow Garden (c) Dawn Meredith|
With spicy reds, golds and browns, autumn is a time of ripeness, maturity and fullness of heart. As a writer, perhaps its time to delve into those ideas you've been thinking and thinking about, but haven't really had the time to savor yet. Enjoy the crunchiness of new ideas that have had time to sit and mellow.
As winter approaches, a delicious heightened awareness develops, of the small things only noticeable in the stillness while nature sleeps. Perhaps small things have been missing from the story you're working on can now creep in and find their place.
Snippets of a poem from childhood have been bouncing around in my head, so I decided to look for it.
The summer is over,
The trees are all bare,
There is mist in the garden
and frost in the air.
The meadows are empty
And gathered the sheaves-
But isn’t it lovely kicking up leaves!
John from the garden
Has taken the chairs;
It’s dark in the evening
And cold on the stairs.
Winter is coming and everyone grieves-
But isn’t it lovely kicking up leaves!
- by Rose Fyleman
Posted by Dawn Meredith at Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Sunday, March 31, 2013
|(c) Dawn Meredith Te Puia workshop, New Zealand|
This workshop in New Zealand was stunning. In this room apprentices work for years, perfecting the art of totem carving, learning the styles, symbols, family histories, Maori mythology and respect for their ancient culture.
It's not a job for the fast paced, hyperactive person. It takes care, love, skill and one more thing - Tenacity.
Michael Hauge, one of Hollywood's most successful screenwriters, mentors and novelists says the same of successful writers -
outstanding quality: Tenacity. The difference between working writers and wannabes isn't talent or age or gender or geography or connections or the industry or the economy or sunspots or anything else writers tell themselves to avoid facing this awful truth: writers write.They write every day, they started their current book or script as soon as they finished the last one, they think in terms of career and not a single sale, and they look at every unsold story as a necessary step toward improving their craft."
[To read the rest of this article, please click here...]
As I look at these intricate and beautiful designs carved by hand and patience I begin to feel a new sense of spirit,for my own work. Good things take time and persistence.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The Books In Homes program was originally a New Zealand initiative to get brand new books to children who might not otherwise have them. It's been operating in Australia for a few years now. I am a Role Model for the program and was honoured to be asked to be a part of Whalan's special day this year, along with a student
Some of the senior students put on a hilarious sketch of 'Its a Book", complete with sound effects, which had us all laughing.
I was surprised and delighted to see a magnificent display dedicated to my book, "The Anything Shop", created by the library monitors. Thanks guys!
Monday, March 18, 2013
|(c) Dawn Meredith|
We have two dogs and a cat (and a horse, but he doesn't live at home) and I find they are great writing assistants!
- their funny little ways amuse me
- they make me giggle after a hard day
- they offer comfort when I need it
- their loyalty (yes, even the cat) and sense of 'family' inspires me
- their reliance upon me is humbling
- they make little fuss
- their demands for attention break up the day and get me off the computer
As a writer I find dogs and cats are great company, make little noise and are happy just to be near me, the pack leader. (Ok, the dogs sometimes bark when they're bored and the cat insists on sitting on either my lap or the keyboard, but you know what I mean). While I delve into imaginary worlds or research interesting titbits on the net, they curl up near me and wait for ball-throwing or patting time.
For a Monday giggle, check out this website, The Oatmeal (please excuse the colourful language if you go to the site). Have a great day!