The Incredible Here and Now on the stage!

I've just finished writing the stage version of The Incredible Here and Now. It will premier with The National Theatre of Parramatta in 2017! Check it out here: https://riversideparramatta.com.au/NTofP/show/theincredible/

 

Young People Get Published!

Young people often ask me, how do I get a book published? My answer to that is most writers don't get started by publishing a whole book. They write articles, stories, poems and smaller things first and they try to get them published in magazines or online or they enter them into writing competitions. This is not only a good way to practice writing as you work your way up to something larger, it's also a good way of building up a resume to show a publisher when you eventually do have a book to show them. I was publishing smaller pieces for ten years before my first book got published. There are lots of great spaces both online and in print that are completely dedicated to publishing the work of young people. My favourite ones are  Vibewire and Voiceworks

I wrote a free ebook called 'So You Want to be a Writer?' which explains how you go about finding and submitting your work to places that will publish it. It has some great lists of writing competitions too!

Come and say hello at The Sydney Writers' Festival!

I'll be appearing at a few events in Sydney Writers' Festival this year. Come and say hello!

I'm particularly excited about an event I've organised at Information Cultural Exchange Parramatta where myself and a few other western Sydney writers I much admire- Fiona Wright, Luke Carman, Lachlan Brown and Michael Mohammed Ahmad- will all be reading from and discussing our books. All the events, except the workshop I'm running at the State Library are free.

Here is the link to each event- 

Here and Now: Debut Fiction (Katoomba, May 19th)

 

The Centre of Sydney (Parramatta, May 21st)

 

The Real Sydney (The Warf, Sydney, May 23rd)

 

Writing Workshop- Starting From Place (The State Libray of NSW, May 17th)

Word Pictures

When I wrote The Incredible Here and Now I started by writing vignettes about where I live in Parramatta and the surrounding areas of Granville, Merrylands, Harris Park and then I put all these vignettes together to form a much longer narrative about two brothers and the events that shape their lives over one long summer. A vignette is a kind of short short story, it is used to capture one small moment in time. It is like taking a picture of something you see and then turning it into words. I take a lot of pictures in my head. This is what writers do, they think really hard about the things they see. They turn those images into words and those words into stories and this is what I did with The Incredible Here and Now.

 

Here’s some pictures of the communities I wrote about.  I turned each of these images into a vignette in my book so that all of these pictures that might seem insignificant  have become short, short stories that have a lot to say. I bet if you took another look at the things you see in your communities everyday you might find that there are lots of extraordinary stories to be told about those ordinary things you see everyday. Here’s some pictures of places that turned into vignettes in my book.

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Book Launch-The Incredible Here and Now

The Incredible Here and Now is being launched on October 13th at 3:30 at Gleebooks!

Everyone is welcome to come along and join in on the celebrations. It's being launched by the wonderful Irini Savvides, author of many great YA novels like- Aliki Says and Willow Tree and Olive.

See you there! 

Why write The Incredible Here and Now?

In writing The Incredible Here and Now I really wanted to create something different in Australian Young Adult Fiction. A lot of contemporary Young Adult fiction is about fantasy and magic in made up worlds. I wanted to write about the magic and fantasy that exists in the ordinary, everyday places in the very real communities that young people live in. The text is primarily set in Parramatta and also Auburn, Granville, Harris Park and Merrylands. I was interested in writing about the small intimate spaces of these communities that you walk past every day but you don’t think about very much: the McDonalds Parking lot at night, the corner store, the Coke Factory. These are the spaces where young people’s lives happen. It is also where the ‘West’ becomes larger than one location, it becomes a place where stories are told about ordinary places that gain a legendary status through this story telling.

My experience of young people is that they are great storytellers whether they know it or not and you can’t live in this community without seeing that. I wrote The Incredible Here and Now in a series of vignettes that can be read individually or in chronological order to tell a cohesive narrative. In writing the book, I have come to see the vignette form as a vehicle for forming a picture of a whole community because it mimics the way we understand places in a series of  voices and images that, when combined, form a whole picture. Having workshopped The Incredible Here and Now with several groups of young people I have found they like this form because it is easy for them to grasp a text that is complex and literary when it is presented in tight, short, images. It’s this focus on storytelling and place that I hope marks the texts’ difference. 

I really admire Young Adult writers’ like Sonya Hartnett, Marcus Zusak and Sandra Cisneros because they take risks with the accepted form and structure of Young Adult novels and they don’t patronise their audiences by giving them what they think they want— Instead, they make the audience want what they’ve got to give them. They write risky texts that cross boundaries between Young Adult and Adult fiction, literary and popular fiction and I hope I’ve done this too with The Incredible Here and Now.