Fictional blood and fun times

I think I’m a nice person, but show me a TV show where someone gets killed in the first five minutes and I’m hooked.

Alfred Hitchcock photo with bird on cigar

Image: from quoteswave.com

Murder mysteries are an obsession passed down from my mum, who educated me through English TV shows and movies about Miss Marple, Poirot, and – hell yes – Murder She Wrote. (Did you hear there’s a Murder She Wrote game? I hope it has the theme music.) And of course, there was not just Hitchcock’s films but Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Later in Primary School I chowed down battered copies of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books. (Which, honestly, is only the tiniest insight to how 50s and 60s my childhood culture upbringing was.)

Then to fossicking for my own crime books through a series called Point Crime, with titles written by various authors but all with horrific – and captivatingly creative – murders. (Someone got suffocated/buried in their own concrete driveway before it had set. Come on!)

Even now, if I’m having a particularly rough week, I’m probably watching my Wire in the Blood box set rather than Monty Python.

And yes, I realize how weird that is.

But it’s not the violence that interests me, it’s the psychology behind it. How someone like me or you can be driven to murder. What are the circumstances that make it a reasonable act? What could drive someone to hate another person so much that they could torture them? And how often the crime is committed by family or someone the victim loves.

So I’ve settled on a new book to write, and if you haven’t already guessed the theme let’s just say that I’m going to have some fictional blood on my hands over the next few months. I might even figure out why a kinda nice person like me becomes so obsessed with reading and watching murder mysteries.

When I have some inspirational pics for you, I’ll post them on the blog.

Wish me luck. As always, with every new story idea, I’m crazy excited about this one!

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Project pictures: Fake

Since my last post I’ve moved house, had a birthday and started Nanowrimo. My brain cells are scattered and my words a low, though I had promised to give you a few teaser pics for my current wip.

This is an insight into my YA manuscript, Fake.

Please know that none of these pictures are mine. I’m just using them for inspiration. Most of the cool ones I found on vi.sualize.us.

NaNoWriMo 2011

Before you question my sanity, know this: I have been insane for some time now.

I mean, if signing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you who live under a rock, and strangely still have great internet access) wasn’t crazy enough, here’s why I’m going to end up in a straitjacket by 30 November.

Reason #1: I’ve spent all of October buying a house. The paperwork, stress and moving will continue to haunt me all the way through November.

Reason #2: Not only do all the end of year gatherings begin in November, but a particular day within the month also marks the undeniable fact that I am getting older. As I’m in my twenties, most people roll their eyes at my pre-birthday panic attacks. The smart ones remember that I’m a scorpio star-sign and back away wearing full body armour. Wise move.

Reason #3: I have been so preoccupied with the house buying saga (oh yeah, it’s been a saga) that I haven’t had the time to prepare my NaNoWriMo project properly.

“So”, you say, “Why do NaNoWriMo this year when your sanity is clinging on to the cliff edge with it’s ragged, bloody fingernails?”

I say, “Do you think my sanity has fingernails?” And then I say, “Because I have to finish this year with something positive.”

And I do. After all the madness I’ve been through this year, I’m taking on NaNoWriMo as my chance to nourish my creativity, my confidence, and perhaps my sanity that seems to have fingernails.

Mostly, I’ll be working on a new contemporary YA novel set on the Gold Coast, which I will tell you about a little more in my next post. Though, when the writing is hard or moving house is giving me nightmares, I have a few short stories that I’ll be playing with as well.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo as well, let me know in the comments section below. Otherwise, once the buddies section of the NaNoWriMo website is up-and-running, friend me and we can keep track of each other’s word counts, frustrations and successes.

For those of you who may be looking for me on the NaNoWriMo website, my user name is Kathleen Noud. (Awesome, right? Sometimes, my creativity has no bounds!)

Best of luck to all the Wrimo’s out there this year!

What I read in 2010

You may remember that last year I set up a small project for myself to record every book I finished reading to see how much I read and how widely. I called it the 2010 Reading Project and my final book list is below:

     

  • How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living by Kate the Great by Karen Karbo
  • The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Lord Sunday by Garth Nix
  • Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
  • Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell
  • Liar by Justine Larbalestier
  • Dust by Christine Bongers
  • Skulduggery Pleasant: Dark Days by Derek Landy
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  • The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
  • One Foot Wrong by Sofie Laguna
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Outcast by Michelle Paver
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Oath Breaker by Michelle Paver
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • The Dust Devils by Sean Williams
  • Anonymity Jones by James Roy
  • Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
  • Tiny Acts of Rebellion by Rich Fulcher
  • The Messenger by Marcus Zusak
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • It’s yr life by Tempany Deckert and Tristan Bancks
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
  • The True Story of Butterfish by Nick Earls
  • The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • Henry Hoey Hobson by Christine Bongers
  • The Phoenix Files: Arrival by Chris Morphew
  • The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott
  • Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  • Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
  • Big River, Little Fish by Belinda Jeffrey
  • When the Hipchicks went to War by Pamela Rushby
  • Skullduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil by Derek Landy
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  • Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • Hostage by Karen Tayleur
  • Blood Ninja by Nick Lake
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  • Rumours by Anna Godbersen
  • Envy by Anna Godbersen
  • Speaking Volumes: Conversations with remarkable writers by Ramona Koval
  • Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Scarecrow by Sean Williams
  • Monster Blood Tattoo: Factotum by D. M. Cornish
  •  

It’s hard to say which books I loved the most but Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy and Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness still haunt me and will always be favourites of mine. The emotional depth that they brought to such fast-paced and exotic stories has really inspired me to work harder on my writing. Also, I must confess my addiction to Anna Godbersen’s Luxe novels – the romance, the back stabbing, the dresses, oh my!

AUTHOR LABELS

I’ve noticed there are a lot of things that unpublished writers get distracted by that really don’t matter. Lately, the notion of labelling or branding yourself as a ‘type’ of writer keeps popping up.

At the Somerset Celebration of Literature I attended a session called Grown Ups or Growing Up? which discussed YA fiction in comparison to Adult and Children’s literature and how the authors perceived their work.

From the audience, I found that people had very passionate views about how books should be categorised. Marcus Zusak was part of this panel and many people were upset that his novel, The Book Thief, was shelved in Australia as a YA book. What I got from the authors was that the labelling and shelving was for their agent, publisher and the bookseller to decide. That wasn’t their job. Their job was to write a good story, rather than worry about how to market it.

Yesterday, I attended a QWC workshop on publishing proposals with Sally Collings, and the same notion of labelling and marketing came up in a discussion on query letters. While there is no right or wrong, the agent or publisher should discover what ‘type’ of book you’ve written from your snappy pitch. (Think along the lines of a show, don’t tell for your query.)

Basically, you could begin your letter stating that you have completed a 40,000 word children’s urban fantasy or that you’ve written about a twelve-year-old girl who discovers an enchanted lake behind her grandmother’s house and becomes too attached to the dangerous creatures that live there.

Perhaps we can’t always do away with ‘labels’, but they’re not as important as some people believe and are such a grey area. What one person believes is Literary fiction, another might shelve under Young Adult. If you’re thinking too much about the ‘type’ of writer you are, chances are you’re dreaming of a marketing campaign for a book that hasn’t been sold when you could be doing something else. Like writing.

SOMERSET CELEBRATION OF LITERATURE 2010

Last Thursday = Melina Marchetta, Anthony Eaton, Derek Landy, Chris Bongers and Marcus Zusak. Impressive, huh?

I thought so too. It was my first visit to the Somerset festival on the Gold Coast and I absolutely loved it. There was a really impressive line-up of authors and the set up meant for a really intimate festival designed for Childrens and Young Adult literature.

I always enjoy listening to authors talk about how they became published or how they came up with the ideas for their novels. How could I walk away from Melina Marchetta’s inspiring talk or Marcus Zusak’s incredible storytelling with anything less than a head swimming with encouragement and new ideas? Though, more than anything, I love festivals for catching up with friends and indulging my inner fan girl.

I promised my friend, Katherine, that I wouldn’t hide the gushy fan side of me. So she would be proud to know that I had three books signed and snatched the opportunity for a quick photo.

Me and author, Derek Landy, with our vogue-ish faces (as he called it). Squee!