Kate Forsyth has written a beautiful account of her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Charlotte Waring, who migrated from England to the Australian colonies as a young woman and who would later go on to write the first children’s book to be published in Australia. Kate talks about the mysteries of creativity and how a small, brown pebble plucked from an English garden in 1826 would eventually inspire her own fantasy series for children, The Chain of Charms:
I believe a writer takes everything they have ever seen and heard and felt and longed for and been disgusted by – they pour it into the crucible of the imagination and transform into something quite different. It is alchemy. It is magic.
Brandon VanOver talks about the relationship between author and editor over at the Random House blog:
Sometimes I encounter the misconception that authors are alone on an island of creativity, and editors are simply drab sticklers who take a manuscript and tidy it up by applying the laws of grammar and usage, laws as predictable and inscrutable as gravity. The truth is that there are few more intimate and dynamic relationships in publishing.
Molly Ringle of Seattle was the grand prize winner of the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, an annual competition to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. This competition honours the memory of 19th English century writer Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, who famously opened his 1830 novel Paul Clifford, with the much-quoted, “It was a dark and stormy night”. Molly Ringle won with the following truly cringeworthy sentence:
For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss — a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.
The full list of winners across all categories can be found on the official Bulwer-Lytton website.
Finally, an oldie but definitely a goodie: Neil Gaiman’s pep talk to NaNoWriMo authors. Witty and inspiring, Neil’s advice is the perfect pick me up for any author sunk hip-deep in the Novel Doldrums:
You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Hmmm. Think I might need to go read the whole thing again myself.