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February 2011 Volume 7, Issue 2

Tropical Writers

Behind the Scenes...

Thank you to all our members who attended the AGM on 12th February. We had a good turn-up (despite Cyclone Yasi) and had great ideas put forward for the new year. We especially thank Paul Freeman for conducting our election and speaking on the group's behalf to honour Oonagh who steps down from seven years on the committee and six years as president of the group.

Inside this Issue:

Behind the Scenes News from Writers Workshops Anthology 2011 Competitions Upcoming Events Editor`s Corner Writers on Writing Poetry Talk Editor`s Mark 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 6

As Paul outlined at the AGM, Oonagh founded Tropical Writers back when it met in an Arts Nexus office situated under the Hilton Hotel. Since then our group has blossomed into a vibrant and energetic writing group that has published our fourth anthology and organised our second successful Tropical Writers Festival. Naturally our aim is to encourage all our writers, so it is with great pleasure we announce the success of those who have had work published, accepted for publication or have won awards. This year we congratulate: Dave Delaney, Celia Berrell, Elizabeth Martin, Julia Driscoll, Sally McDonald, Hazel Menehira and Hank West, Diane Finlay, Magda Palmer-Cordingly and Talitha Kalago. At this year's AGM, the group elected an enthusiastic mix of experienced members and fresh faces. Working together, on your behalf, will be Carol Libke (President), Sally McDonald (Secretary), Diane Finlay (Acting Treasurer), Annette Christensen, Jack Shield, Talitha Kalago and Catherine Williams. Talitha Kalago has been busy developing a web site for us which will include a place where members can upload work for critique. This will be especially helpful for those embarking on novel writing and those with longer pieces suitable for the anthology. Our next regular meeting will be 5th March at La Porchetta from 1-4 pm. Because we would like to enable as many readings as possible, please ensure that you limit your reading time to 10 minutes. And please remember to renew your membership at the March meeting so that your name is not removed from our contact list. In the meantime, keep writing! Yours in writing,

Carol Libke


Tropical Writers Workshop

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Query Letter and Blurb Writing Workshop

Talitha Kalago would like expressions of interest for this workshop. What is a blurb? A blurb is the part of a query letter where you tell agents and publishers what your book is about. It`s also found on the back cover of books at the book store - and in most cases, the blurb on the book jacket and is the same blurb that was on the query! Your blurb is the first thing any potential agent or audience will read. It needs to be so fascinating an agent requests more and a buyer purchases the book. It`s also extremely difficult to write. I am offering to run a workshop on query letters specifically focusing on how to write the blurb. I`d like to teach you, not only what to say in a blurb, but how to say it, and what will make an agent request a partial. I`ll even tell you what a partial is. The workshop would be held at La Porchetta in March, the weekend after the March TWG meeting and will cost $10. The workshop will need a minimum of 7 people to run so that I can cover costs. Please email Talitha at [email protected] if you are interested.

News from our Writers

Diane Finlay`s short story Unmasked was accepted for publication in the 2011 anthology Short & Twisted. This is the second year Diane has achieved entry into this prestigious anthology and this year it is especially noteworthy because her story was one of only 67 selected out of 500 entries. The Herald Sun (Melbourne) reviewed Elizabeth Martin`s book, The Coffeeholic and the Cafe on Saturday 5th February and called it a sweet entertaining Aussie romance and gave it a cappuccino with two sugars. Elizabeth will hold a book signing at Angus & Robertson Cairns Central from 11 am to 1 pm on Saturday, March 12th to follow the ABC radio show where her book will be featured on the Book Club.

Book Featured on ABC Radio

ABC radio will present a monthly Book Club to be aired during Fiona Sewell`s morning show. Gavin King and Angela Murphy will panel the discussion and the first book they have chosen to review is Elizabeth Martin`s book, The Coffeeholic and the Cafe on March 8th. Congratulations Elizabeth.

Anthology 2011

Guidelines for submitting manuscripts to the Tropical Writers 2011 anthology are now available. Email Sally for a copy: ([email protected]) or view it on our new website in January.

Tropical Writers Competitions

Writers on Rafts Competition

QWC has launched Writers on Rafts, an exciting new competition to raise money for the Queensland Premier's Flood Relief Appeal. Over 150 writers have donated to a fantastic prize pool for individuals and groups, and entries are open to anyone in Australia. Entrants can choose from four prizes from their chosen writer, including a writing mentorship, an author visit, a stack of signed books, or a character named after you in your writer's next book. In the first 48 hours of the competition, we've already raised a fantastic $3000 towards our goal of $20,000. Entries close on 25 February 2011.

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Upcoming Events

March Tropical Writers Meeting Date In March, Tropical Writers will meet on March 5th at La Porchetta at 1 pm. Dues for Tropical Writers 2011 Please be aware that dues for TW 2011 are due. Diane Finlay will be available at the March meeting to receive payment for membership. Reading on Air Tropical Writers who have stories or poems in Cracks in the Canopy are invited to read LIVE on air with Sharon Molloy on her program on Saturday mornings at approx 7.00am. You will be allowed to read for FIVE minutes only - so be sure to practice reading within that time frame. Contact Diane Finlay for more information.

One Day Seminar

The NQ Romance Writers Roadshow

Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) is proud to present its first North Queensland Roadshow in association with its member group, the North Queensland Romance Writers. This informationpacked one day writing seminar will benefit writers at all levels, from beginner to advanced.

EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION th st 14 February ­ 31 March 2011 Cost: One-day Seminar $ 130 RWA Members Cost: One-day Seminar $150 RWA Non-Members ROADSHOW DINNER (Optional and additional cost for dinner following seminar). Cost: $44.50

Editor's Corner*

Welcome to the Editor`s Corner. This month you are given a stanza of poetry from Celia Berrells` poem titled Mouldy Meals`. Celia wants to leave the poem the way it is, but realises it is incorrect and wants to know if she can get away with it. Test your editing skills by correcting the sentence. If you need a little help, scroll down to the end of the newsletter and look for the answer in the box titled, Editor`s Mark. Here is the stanza in question.

Places are limited so please register as soon as possible to confirm your place. Visit for more information and registrations forms. You may also contact [email protected] with any queries. WHERE: Cairns Colonial Club 18-26 Cannon Street Cairns, Queensland DATE: Saturday 28th May 2011 TIME: 9:00 am ­ 5:00 pm for Seminar 6:30pm for Roadshow Dinner Registration opens 8:30 am

Moulds grow where it's dark and dank. The sunlight they've no need to thank. They're neither plants or animals but colonies of single cells.

Tropical Writers Writers on Writing

QUICK TIPS WITH DR KIM Managing Viewpoint

Written by KIM WILKINS

Your view point characters are the characters you choose to tell the story. "Stay in the heads of the characters you want your readers to feel passionately about."

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One of the most powerful tools in the writer`s toolbox is the ability to make viewpoint work. Your viewpoint characters are the characters whose thoughts and feelings you will represent in narrative. They will experience the story for the reader and give the reader access to be in their heads. Viewpoint of a character offers access to the character`s full physical and mental response in the story. If you write in third person, or if you have more than one first-person narrator in your story, you will have to manage viewpoint at some stage in your writing. Here are some simple rules. 1. Limit the number of viewpoint characters in your story. Having fewer viewpoint characters, allows your readers to be more closely engaged with them; their effect remains undiluted, and they become special. Stay in the heads of the characters you want your readers to feel passionately about. This goes for your villains as much as your heroes. Spending extended time with somebody, with privileged access to their thoughts and feelings, is a great way to build a relationship (fictional or otherwise). 2. From a practical perspective, choose characters whose viewpoint will help you tell the story. Choose the characters who will provide access to events you want to narrate, and the events that bear the most interest for the reader. If your evil overlord is plotting the downfall of your lowly farm-girl-cum-warrior-princess, but there is no viewpoint character to witness his evil plans, then an opportunity for narrative interest is lost. Remember that non-viewpoint characters can only reveal themselves through action and dialogue. 3. Choose the right viewpoint character to experience each scene. If there are two viewpoint characters interacting in a scene, always privilege the one who has the most at stake, who feels the most. At every point of your story, you should be asking your characters how does this feel?` If it`s really tough to answer that, work harder, don`t gloss over it. If you write that a character feels numb`, 99 per cent of the time that means you haven`t yet fully comprehended how they really feel. Keep trying. 4. Finally, avoid head-hopping. Stay in one character`s viewpoint per scene. Hopping from head to head is disorienting as readers don`t know whose feelings they are supposed to align themselves with. For this reason, head-hopping can hold your readers at arm`s length. You`ll need to keep them much closer than that if you want them to love your characters, your story, and your writing.

Kim Wilkins is the author of 20 novels across genres and age groups, and teaches writing at the University of Queensland. She teaches in QWC's Year of the Novel.

"Remember that nonviewpoint characters can only reveal themselves through action or dialogue." "Avoid headhopping." "Stay in one character's viewpoint per scene."

Tropical Writers Poetry Talk

Don't Say It

Excerpts from an essay by Rod Miller

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When it comes to poetry, what you don't say is often more important than what you do say. The empty places between the words--what isn't there--can say more than what is there. The best poems leave some empty spaces for the reader to fill, to let them make the poem their own. What you don`t say can spur a deeper, more intense connection with the audience. So, how does a poet imbue her poem with deeper meaning? Simple. Don't say it. All poets, all writers for that matter, have at our disposal a long list of literary techniques (metaphor, symbolism, allusion, irony and many more) that allow us to say more by saying less. Linda Hussa, a fine poet, describes the essence of romance in her poem Love Letters. Wow! was written in the dust on the bedside table. The dawn and I blushed together as your spurs chinged around the kitchen as you started the fire. A detailed description of the night`s activities could not convey more. The Barn Cats by Vess Quinlan contrasts the allure of life in the city with that of the farm; the complexity of adulthood with the simplicity of youth. With a simple rhetorical question at the end, the reader understands the meaning. Here`s an early stanza from the short poem (that sets the scene) and the following final stanza: How on your tenth birthday You walked down to milk With a staggering headache, Sat on the one-legged stool And pressed your forehead Against her silken flank. And now, years later, You stare out a city window And ask yourself if big money Is really better than barn cats And cow cured headaches. On one level, every poem ought to say something to the reader. But outstanding poems exist on more than one level. There are underlying messages, subtle themes, veiled meanings, universal truths for the reader to discover. And it`s at those levels that poetry connects to the memory, the mind, the soul of readers. So when you have something you believe worth saying in a poem, follow the lead of the finest poets and don't say it.

© 2010, Rod Miller, All rights reserved

Rod Miller teaches poetry workshops, and more than eighty of his poems have appeared in print since he penned his first in 1997. He has recently published a book titled Things a Cowboy Sees and Other poems. It will be available on Amazon for $US9.95.

Tropical Writers Editor's Mark

Moulds grow where it's dark and dank. The sunlight they've no need to thank. They're neither plants or animals but colonies of single cells. The problem here concerns the use of neither-or`. We all know it should be neither-nor. Proper grammatical usage requires the adjective neither` to be paired with the preposition, nor`, and either` to be paired with or`. The reason for this is that neither` denotes a negative, so it must be followed by a negative preposition (nor`). Either` denotes a positive (and conditional) meaning, so it must be followed by the positive conditional preposition or`. When you use either-or` in a sentence, you are saying, one or the other` (but not both), such as, The moulds are either plants or animals. Obviously that is not what Celia means to say. When you use neither-nor` in a sentence, you are saying not this and not that, such as, The moulds are not plants and they are not animals or, They`re neither plants nor animals. This is what Celia means to say, so she should use the negative preposition nor`.

* Ideas and examples for this feature come from Richard Bell's column in Writing Magazine entitled "Red Editing Pen".

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Critique Etiquette

Responsibilities of the Writer Ask for feedback on the specific area of writing you want help with. Be able to articulate what you are attempting to do and ask your readers if it works. If possible, supply the readers with copies of the writing beforehand so that they can give considered feedback. Respond to critique with respect. Responsibilities of the Reader Only give feedback related to the specific questions asked for by the writer Find out what the writer is trying to accomplish and direct feedback to that. Take time and care to consider thoughtful feedback. Give critique with respect.

Tropical Writers of Far North Queensland: Mission Statement

As writers we gather to support each other in our shared need to write. We learn from each other, help each other and critique each other`s writing with respect. We encourage each other to reach individual goals and rejoice in each other`s successes. Most of all, we nurture the creative muse in each of us and share a mutual understanding of that strange creative force that compels us to take pen to paper: In short, we gather to celebrate our individual creativity and our collective energy.

Tropical Writers of Far North Queensland

PO Box 7772 Cairns, Qld. 4870 Carol Libke ­ President [email protected] Diane Findlay ­ Treasurer [email protected] Sally McDonald ­ Secretary [email protected] Jack Shield, Annette Christensen, Talitha Kalago, Catherine Williams - Committee


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