January 2018 Update

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Scoop Magazine Issue 14

Back from Australia, fully recharged (I’m solar powered) and bravely facing down the remains of a bleak Vienna winter, I thought I’d share a few updates:

Story Publication

My latest short story, Shadow Town has just been released in Scoop Magazine (issue 14) in the UK. A copy should arrive in the mail any day now. Here’s the link to Scoop Magazine.

Australian stories

Two books on my recent holiday reading list:

  • The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky
  • Nevermoor by debut Australian novelist Jessica Townsend

Both wonderful middle-grade novels.

Discovering Treasure

In a second-hand bookshop in Victor Harbor, South Australia, I discovered a hardcover of an Australian classic, The Nimbin by Jenny Wagner. Now out of print, an entire Australian generation still remembers it. At every book shop I asked after The Nimbin (it was hard to find), people browsing near the counter looked over and said, “Oh, I remember that book. I loved it!”

Why was The Nimbin so loved? What makes it so special? And why the heck is it out of print?! I’ll reread The Nimbin this February and unlock its secrets from a writer’s perspective.

 “How to Write a Short Story” Workshop

I ran this fun workshop last week at The Vienna Workshop Gallery. A vibrant mix of participants, many with an international background. Together we read and discussed, “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian as found in The New Yorker December 11, 2017. You can read it here.

We then went on to look at what makes a good story, and applied this understanding to collectively lay the canvas for a story with a title drawn by our fun word lottery:

Pride Tears Lavender Left

Here’s our story logline:

A narcissistic inventor of make-up colour names must face the harsh reality he is not his deceased friend’s only best friend.

The story opens at the funeral. Lavender (the narcissist) is the protagonist. Every participant in the group went on to write their own story openings.

At the end of the workshop, each person then set out to write their own stories. I wish them all every success. At least one or two participants may go on to do the 6-Week Short Story Program.

YA Novel Writing Workshop with Keith Gray

Good friends at Write Now offered this wonderful writing workshop run by award-winning YA novelist, Keith Gray. I came away with some fantastic insights and the inspiration to finally start writing my novel. Keith has another workshop coming up in February. Check out the Write Now website for more details.

Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Austria Meet Up

One coming up! If you’re interested in writing or illustrating for children or young adults, perhaps you’d like to attend. Where to register: Meet Up

My own writing projects for 2018

  • A middle-grade novel. Writing has begun (Many thanks, Keith!)
  • A few short stories, including a couple to connect with the themes sought by The School Magazine. More about what they need here: The School Magazine writers guidelines
  • Another writing project…top secret at this stage
  • A few more story publications are on the horizon!

Open Mic

The next open mic at Cafe Korb in Vienna is only a few weeks away (Thurs, Feb 15). If you’d like to attend, here’s where to register.

Creative Writing on the Go Workshops

They’re up on the website. The creative writing and short story programs are starting in the next few weeks. As always, I am very excited to be running these. I hope to see you there!

2018 Creative Writing Program now open for registrations!

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The January to April 2018 Creative Writing Program is now open for registrations! Check out the website or download the program (pdf) here: CWOTG_Program_Q1_2018

Check out page 2 of the program for some January creative writing challenges and your chance to win a place at any one of the workshops.

I look forward to meeting you at a workshop very soon!

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Writing on the rocks! Second Valley, South Australia, January 2018

Paul Malone

Open Mic for Charity

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Many people (and prairie dogs) believe wearing a hat significantly improves their singing 🙂

Along with good friends at Write Now, and with guest host and award winning YA novelist, Keith Gray, I’ll be hosting another Open Mic at Cafe Korb this December.

Proceeds to The Gruft for their winter charity action: sleeping bags and warm food for the homeless. More details about the Guft.

The Open Mic charity event is a great opportunity for creative people to meet up, to perform on stage (if they wish) or simply enjoy the performances, and to contribute to a wonderful and greatly needed cause.

When: Friday 8th December, 7.00pm to 9.30pm

Where: Cafe Korb in Vienna’s 1st District

Cost: Donation to the Gruft*

Full details and to book here

Hope to see you there

* venue hire will be deducted from proceeds

 

 

 

Why creative writing is sunshine for the imagination II

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Why is creative writing sunshine for the imagination? This is the question I asked myself the other morning on the way to coach a 5-week short story workshop. The writers in the workshop are in the middle of writing their short stories, and as expected, have confronted many exciting and sometimes frustrating challenges along the way. Although group spirits are high and their writing is exceptionally good, I wanted everyone to step back for a moment and think about the bigger picture—what is the personal significance of writing a short story? Is creative writing really sunshine for the imagination?

Here’s what I suggested to the group. See if you agree:

Through writing stories we open doorways into our imaginations. We shine a light with our inquisitive minds and our hearts, writing all that we discover down on the page. In our search for our perfect story, we uncover the meaning in our own lives. This search is rarely, if ever, straight forward; much is hidden. There are riddles, enigmas; one has to be patient and trust oneself. But each time we write our story to its very end, we discover a little more about ourselves.

Writing a story is a journey of self-awareness. It’s not just an inner journey: Through writing our stories we gradually change our lives.

In a couple of weeks I will have the pleasure of listening to the group’s final stories. I will ask them if they agree with the above and share the news with you!

Publication news

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Isn’t it time you tried writing in the bathtub?

When not coaching at the short story boot camp or running creative writing sessions in Vienna, Austria, I’m writing.  My most recent short story “Night of the Sand People” was accepted for publication this week by The School Magazine–Australia’s leading children’s literary magazine.  Another one of my stories “How to Catch a Rainbow” (also accepted by The School Magazine) is likely to come out in print in the next few months.

As much I love seeing my stories in print, it’s an equal thrill to see writers who have participated in the short story boot camp get their stories published. These are such exciting times for the participating writers and coach alike!

If you’re interested in participating in the next short story boot camp in Vienna, Austria, keep an eye on this page for dates (winter 2017). I hope to see you there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tennis players have it easy

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Tennis players have it easy: there’s no mistaking when they’re on the court, racket in hand, slamming the ball over the net. It’s not as though they’d say “I’m right in the middle of a match, here!” when in fact, they’ve dropped the ball and the racket, slipped off their shoes and wandered off the court to go smell the hydrangeas. Writers do this all the time!

I’ve been most fortunate to have met many writers over the years. Of those I met early on, a few are still writing; others are off doing other things. Such is the way of writing as with tennis–it’s not necessarily a lifetime affair. But writers have a far tougher job of sticking to their game, and many, I believe, have not so much as intentionally put down their pen, as simply lost their way. Consider the following comparison:

Tennis Writing
Regular tennis practice Regular writing practice
The tennis court The page
The racket The pen or keyboard
The tennis match The writing project
Winning a match Getting published
The umpire The editor
The tennis opponent Other writers’ stories
The coach Self-discipline, continual learning
The cheering crowd The ardent readers
The winnings Payment for publication
The playing season The writer’s strategy
The tennis club The community of writers

While a tennis player has, to some extent, it all set out for them (they join a club, play in a division, turn up for training and matches, win or lose, etc.), the poor writer is left to their own devices. No one will tell them when to practice, what to focus on, when their next match is, or who their opponent is. And as for a writing strategy—well, that’s just for the pros. Writing, it would seem, is a mug’s game. No wonder many writers fall by the wayside and become disheartened.

But what to do about it?

Joining a community of writers is a good idea. Having focused on stories for children and young adults in recent years, I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). They’re a wonderful international organization, and I intend to make good use of membership in the future. But if you’re not into writing for children, you are bound to find a local writer’s organization for support.

How I can help you

If you live in Vienna (Austria) or nearby, you might like to attend one of my creative writing workshops. They’re an ideal way for you to enrich your regular writing practice. And if you’re up for the challenge of an actual game, you might like to join one of my short story boot camps. The aim of the boot camp is for you to write a short story and get it published!

Whether you join me or not, I wish you every success with your writing. May you go out there and win!

Short story boot camp success!

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The January short story boot camp (finished in late February) wasn’t so long ago. I’m pleased to announce that two writers have already had their short stories accepted for publication. Congratulations to Astrid and Rod for their writing success. Both wrote outstanding stories. Astrid’s story is already available online. Rod’s is coming up in June. I am convinced other participants will also soon be sharing their publication news. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading Astrid’s story as much as her boot camp buddies and I did:

The Resident by A. Nolte

 

 

 

How to write a group story

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Community Teamwork Together Group Team Motivation

At the January short story boot camp kick-off session in Vienna, a group of motivated writers developed a humorous team story, starting out with nothing more than their chosen title (Creative Sneezing*) and a few literary constraints. Through group discussion, characters came to life, their situation became clear, a setting drew into focus. In no time each person was able to write their own take of the story opening.

Although there were many minds behind the inception of the one story, the creative process was essentially the same as that undertaken by an individual:

A story might be explored within such boundaries or constraints as mentioned above, perhaps starting with a character or a feeling or a situation—with whatever inspired the writing. The writer fields questions to the imagination (Who is this story about?) and writes a response (Charlie, whose every sneezes brings a revelation!).

This exploration may progress through writing the story itself—allowing ideas to coalesce along the way, or through taking notes at the outset until the story feels pinned down. I suggest the second method can save considerable time. This is not to advocate knowing everything  about  the story at the beginning (a strongly plotted story); rather, to establish the basis from which a memorable story might evolve.

More on the January boot camp and the team of talented writers to follow!

If you missed out on the January short story boot camp but would like to participate next time, please check out the short story boot camp page for more details. Next boot camp in Vienna: May 2017. I’d love to see you there!

* Many thanks to Petra for coming up with the story title as part of her creative writing exercises in preparation for the boot camp

How to write at a thermal spa

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a salty croc–the one guest you don’t want to meet at a thermal spa!

Writing at the Spa

 With pleasure I wrote down at the spa,

between dips in the pool, veiled in steam,

under a glistening sky—

a hedonist’s dream.

A jaunt in the sauna, too hot for me,

on a bright orange tube down a thundering slide,

in the FKK* whirlpool for those who are free,

on deckchair and towel,

with notebook and pen,

I wrote my story,

from beginning to end.

The story I wrote at the spa. The poem (attempt) I wrote this morning on the train. It is true: in that bathing paradise, while people wallowed and dreamed, I wrote an entire story.

You might conclude thermal spas are the perfect place to write. Or how about at a lovely desk beside a crackling fireplace? Neither are any good when faced with a blank page and a starved imagination.

My story first came alive in the train, on a bus, standing at a platform, riding an escalator, in another story draft that came to nothing…except that which is most important—food for the imagination. When I sat at the spa all I had to do was put pen to page. The rest took care of itself.

Don’t wait for the perfect time and place to write. If you do, you’ll be waiting forever.

By the way, 2017 is almost upon us. How will your writing year unfold?

If you’re looking for a big start, check out my short story boot camp in Vienna. I’m a tough coach—you won’t get to loaf about the pool, but you just might get to write your dream story!

FKK: Freikörperkultur or nudism