This week, I cast more lines.

Quick update from my desk:

  1. Haven’t got any responses regarding the latest round of submissions for Anomalies, but it’s only been a week, so that’s to be expected.
  2. I didn’t make it into the Whittlesea Word Weavers’ Bush Poetry and Yarn Contest, maybe because I called bush poetry ‘daggy’ in one of my posts, or maybe my poetry is not very good. Doesn’t matter. Here’s The Dumb Chicken, a poem I’ve been promising since November.
  3. I entered the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest! It was so much fun. Unlike most contests, the point of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is to submit the worst writing you can manage. You imagine the worst novel possible, and then write the first line of it. I put in thirteen entries, and Professor Scott Rice (who gets thousands of submissions for the contest every year) wrote back praising my ‘powers of invention’. There’s a real art to the badness of the BLFC, though. It’s not enough to have crappy spelling, or for the sentence to just be ordinary. It’s got to have this ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ quality. That can mean anything from a terrible premise (eg., the hero is a tomato), to over-wrought figurative language, to cliches, to something that’s just plain awkward or gross. Winning entries pop up on the internet from time to time, posing as ‘terrible student writing’, so you may have come across them before. Here’s a selection of last year’s winners.  My entries this year included a kids’ book about a mammoth drowning in tar, a novel from the point of view of a paramecium, a gritty hist-fic about one of the troopers from ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and a crime novel in which – twist! – the narrator is the mastermind who let the dogs out.
  4. After several weeks’ hiatus, I’ve come back to The Celestial Kris – my YA high fantasy novel based on the indigenous cultures of Malaysian Borneo. There are a lot of things to fix, so at the moment I’m just reading it over and highlighting everything that needs to be changed, chapter by chapter. The worst parts so far are two of the four character introductions, but the best parts are the bits where the heroes face down the many monsters that block their path. It’s a big job, but breaking it down makes it easier.



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