Friday, August 12, 2005

Snow, workshops, editing and shawls

It snowed on Wednesday at Newborough (which is right near Moe) and this was so weird that my students left the Popular Fiction class I was teaching to stand out in the brief flurry.

After that, I drove home and then to the Novel Writing Group which really needs a pithy name. I workshopped the rough dodgy yucky draft of chapter two of my fantasy novel, which also needs a name.

Workshopping is terrific - the place where it all happpens for me both as a writer and a teacher. The comments people made about it really made me think about the book and the voice of the male character and the geography of the novel. So thanks anyone from The Group who might read this! And watch your email for a completely revised chapter two.

Next year I will be running an Advanced Novel workshop at Warragul, primarily for my third year GippsTAFE students but open to any TAFE student who has done the prerequisites or who submits a manuscript of sufficient competency. I'm excited about it because we'll all be workshopping each other's work and they'll also learn to write reader's reports, as part of the assessment process so every manuscript will be read thoroughly by a student as well as by me. I spend a lot of time teaching students how to workshop and when they get it and start workshopping as writers I'm so proud I want to call them clucky maternal endearments.

My other stuff - junior fiction and young adult - I tend to bounce off Helen and Alasdair - to a lesser extent Alasdair - although he's certainly a reader of the fantasy book. I find it just helpful to have Helen read stuff as it goes along - it gives me more confidence in it. Then, at a certain stage, I also run bits past my editor, or anyone else silly enough to enquire after it.

When it's finished I send it to my mother and to Polly. My mother used to be an editor, and although I do argue with her, she is an invaluable reader, very sharp. Polly is both a reader, an English teacher and a good proof reader. She also corrects any sporting mistakes. If there's ever any disagreement between Leonie and me at the editing stage, she will usually ask me what Mother and Polly thought.

Obligatory knitting note - I feel the need to knit a Pi shawl. I want to huddle under something warm that stays on my shoulders. But I should be knitting the lacey cardigan for the wedding. Or finishing my sock obssession. Or finishing the Noro Silk Garden wrap I'm making - which was also for the wedding. Maybe. But I'd like to knit a Pi shawl. Maybe not one as lacey as this one or this utterly beautiful one, bearing in mind that I am a vague knitter who needs stitch markers on a simple fan and feather stitch. I haven't any laceweight yarn however, and it is unlikely that I can actually justify buying given my stash. Although I do have some rather beautiful Jaeger mohair with a thread of gold running through it which would be rather special.

Well, I'm off to Fremantle on Sunday, so I'll have to decide pretty quickly what knitting to take with me. The Folly is out of the question as I have ballsed up the seed stitch border - the cardie front band is longer than the back. How utterly stupid of me. I measured it, of course, but now I do understand why you count the rows!

I'm doing a residency at the Fremantle Children's Literature Centre so it will be a busy busy week but in the evenings I hope to speed ahead with the guinea pig - another book needing a title - and do some knitting.


Lorraine said...

Hope you have a great residency and knitting of course. Once in a former life I had a small flock of coloured sheep, but also had lots of kids so when my fifth child was born , my husband rounded up the sheep and sold them- darling little twin lambs and all- but he was right I couldn't look after sheep and kids on a dairy farm. Loved spining my own wool. But not a knitter, would love to weave wool though. Lorraine- hey a second post!!!

Cattyrox said...

Hi Lorraine,
Didn't do as much knitting as i expected but did do quite a bit of writing!

Gregory Brett Hardy said...

Catherine, I remember that day, when it snowed. It was good...