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25th February 2020

Much of this week has been concerned with book marketing, during which together with some writing friends, I attended a talk given by Jason K Foster at Erina library. Although Jason has been published by a few different traditional publishers, most of the audience had been self-published. I was not entirely surprised to find that the finding of a "right fit audience” seems to be the basic key shape from which the additional shapes need to be carved. I was more surprised to find that Jason, with 9 books under his belt and a ready made teenage readership, also finds he must spend many hours on this aspect of writing, which of course in today's world necessitates much use of social media relevant to his particular audience. Note to self: absolutely have to get on top of this.


Rolling on to Saturday and Wyong Writers monthly meeting. We also discussed marketing with special reference to our anthology Community and Belonging stories of the Central Coast – published just three months ago. We combed through a plan set for us by Nicole Evans, allocated jobs in the hopes of reaching a wider audience.


And for myself? I am hoping that Grace might be a useful book for schools with reference to bullying and have sent an email to Bullying No Way which is managed by the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group.


Over the weekend I networked with teacher friends in the hopes that once I have a package to offer besides the actual book, I can submit this to schools.

Finally, my work in progress – Seth – I have begun the laborious process of rewriting scenes from subplots which will be inserted earlier in novel. So far one page has been written and critiqued.

A productive writing week.

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  • meilingvenning

18th February 2020

Writing this week has involved much work on the sonnet, which is the form required for the in-house competition set by my group. This came about because our outside judge felt it was too difficult when we set themed poems and she ended up judging haiku against bush poems against free verse …etc. All quite understandable on the part of the judge.

As a result of which, four of us brought sonnets to the critiquing session. I have to admit sheer panic at the outset. Such tight parameters. I hate writing in rhyme. I spent much time in fruitless search just in case there existed such a thing as a non-rhyming sonnet. Of course no such animal does exist, but the search was interesting and I learned heaps. I have a new-found respect for this this art form.


This is my order of doing things:

Decide your sonnet form ( I limited mine to Petrarchan or Shakespearean)

Decide your theme

Lay out your argument

Decide your change

Decide your ending

Tap our your iambic pentameters

Make it rhyme.

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  • meilingvenning

Tuesday 11th February 2020

I am calling this the “Tuesday Blog” as a tribute to my late father-in-law; procrastinator extraordinaire, who for over half a century stuffed his house with abandoned projects and his garden with broken cars.

When his functioning car finally joined the other rusting hulks decorating the front garden, I began asking, “When are you going to fix it?”

The answer was always the same. “Tuesday. I’ll fix it on Tuesday. I don’t have anything else on, then.”

Wind on many years, and I now live a life in which each day is crammed with activities following each other until my mind spins—but Tuesdays are my only unstructured days. I now find myself saying, “I’ll do it on Tuesday.”

Because of this, of course, Tuesdays are usually full to the brim: dentists, doctors, physio appointments, car fixing, house fixing, gardening etc all have to be packed into a Tuesday… and now I am committing to a regular blog. If you have stayed with me so far, thank you. I invite you to travel with me on the journey of the 2nd draft of my work in progress.

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My next novel, Seth, is set in the same place as the novel Grace, but two years later. I am happy with the main storyline, but all my sub plots are in the wrong place. I cannot cut and paste. I need to completely rewrite. I have found this daunting to the point where I want to shut down my computer and walk away … and yet I know the story there is bursting to be told.

I need to revisit invaluable advice from my erstwhile sage and writing guru, Kathryn Coughran, who many years ago advised me to write a proper plan—a chart based on the principle of the three-act play. I have resurrected the plan and when I am sure it is exactly as I want it, I shall start the long rewrite.

In the meantime, feedback from readers of Grace have given me some thoughts for reflection. The other day at the beach as we sat around drinking coffee after our morning swim, a lady who is a high-school teacher said that the theme of bullying which I addressed in Grace, had given her food for thought. She said she wondered why Grace had not simply told someone. She then answered her own question by saying, “But children don’t, do they?” She talked of looking for hidden clues. Other friends who were either practising or retired teachers also told me their stories of bullying. It's such an iceberg, a small peak sitting daintily atop a huge and deadly mass.


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