Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Tom Fitzgibbon Award


The deadline for the Tom Fitzgibbons Award is looming.  For details go to:

The Tom Fitzgibbon Award is a great opportunity for an unpublished author.  My first book In Too Deep was short-listed for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award and later published by Scholastic NZ Ltd, and two writers in my writing group were winners, one going on to win in a NZ Post Book Awards.  So get that manuscript in the post.


But wait, before you do so, here are a few things to go over before you submit


Make your first chapter count

Chapter one is your chance to make a first impression – it has to be a good one.  If nothing else, the first chapter has to establish, without doubt, the story goal or question – will the girl get the guy, will the guy make the team etc.  Without the story question, the reader will get to the end of the chapter and go ‘so what?’ What you want is: ‘what happens next?’



Writing 101 emphasizes the importance of characters.  Have you done a character analysis, worked out what motivates them, or de-motivates them?  No matter what the plot calls for, you cannot have a character act out of character unless there is a good reason for it.  Actors use a phrase when getting into a scene – what is my motivation here?  The same should apply to your character too – what is motivating him/her in this scene?  If there isn’t a good enough reason, you’re going to have to think about rewriting it. 



Lots have been written about plots, and I won’t attempt to go into them all here.  However, we tend to think of plots of being linear, getting from point A – the beginning, to point B – the end with the twists and turns in between.  But we also have to think of plots as circular as well – do we come back to the story question asked in chapter one when we get to the last chapter, and do we answer that question?  It doesn’t have to be an ending that the reader particularly likes but at least one that they can live with.



Finally, for that final polish, have the manuscript professionally assessed.  Yes, it costs money and yes, there will be some comments you won’t agree with, but part of being a writer is taking criticism and turning it into a positive.  It’s not too late, there are assessors with quick turnarounds but if that manuscript is not really up to scratch and the timeframe is too short for entry, hold back for another year. Don’t submit a hasty and unpolished manuscript if you know that there are serious flaws.  Good things come to those who wait – especially those who wait with a professional, polished, sparking manuscript.


Good luck!


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Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my Blog


Being a published author doesn’t necessarily make you an excellent blogger.  While writing has been around since man first picked up a stone tool, blogging is relatively new and somewhat of a mystery to those of us who were born in the last century.  However, as they say, progress stands in the way of no man, and no one can follow a blog that is not yet written or published.  A blogger has to start somewhere.


One discussion that came up in my network group was where to find the time to handle all the social media demands.  Most writers I know hold down part or full time jobs to pay the bills, and write in their spare time (that being a misnomer if ever there was one), leaving little time for social media.  Added to that fact is that creating the next Booker or NY bestseller is a solitary pursuit and as writers, we are not used to coming out of our garrets to connect with our readers through social media.  Yet descend we must and, as I discovered recently, not something to be feared. 


I guess, like most things, time in social media has to be managed as much as any time-hungry demands.  Maybe sacrifices have to be made – time watching yet another mindless reality show on TV, indulging in other hobbies, even working – these things are not really necessary, are they? 


Ultimately, nothing can compare with the time spent in actual social interaction – time with friends and family.  It’s a delicate balancing act.  How do other bloggers manage?  I’d be interested to hear how you manage your digital social media activities with real life – and get the balance right…or not. 


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