Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Night of Writing Dangerously

Saturday night two of the Egoboo crowd made it to the Rockingham version of the Night of Writing Dangerously, generously organized and provided by the Rockingham Council and run by Lee Battersby.

Satima and I ended up at far ends of the room, probably a good thing as my laugh carries! Over twenty sponsors donated time, memberships, books, magazines, and flyers to help make the Write-In awesome.

When we walked through the door, we were greeted by a table full of packed bags and a sign-in sheet, and to the right tables of tea, coffee, and huge stacks of prizes. Over fifty odd writers joined us for the wild ride of talking to professional authors (Anna Jacobs and Bevan McGuiness) and settling in for some serious wordcounts.

I made 3250 during the night. Not words I am in love with, but they are words to work with none the less. Various partners in crime wrote between 200 words through to 4000, and given the number of people there, possibly even more!

Anna Jacobs was a delight to listen to. Not only does she have fifty five books published, but she is a Pantser. She does very little planning, but lots of research, and has no idea what is going to happen until it does. She stressed the important of learning how to write in ways that suit YOU and only YOU, and that there are no solid rules other than your writing must be gripping, interesting, and drag the reader along for the ride.

Bevan McGuiness was enthusiastic and energetic, bouncing around the desk to talk about how he balances writing and full time work. He talked about finding sources of inspiration to help us maintain the creative flow, and developing his works around trying to capture the feel of the inspiration source.

Once the authors had had a bit of a chat with us all, we settled in for the first round of writing. I think on our table, the bulk of our words were written now. Fire and energy ran through our veins; though I will point out it was rather disconcerting to sit next to Heidi Wessman Kneale, who hammered her keyboard so fast I thought I saw smoke.

Is this what people think when they sit next to me? I have had numerous comments about typing like a machine gun, for example. Just because I learnt on the old fashioned type writer, I may be a little hard on the old board, and having been an IRC junkie for a while, my keystrokes might be on the high side...

I managed about 1700 words in the first hour (I think) and then after that I was pulling teeth. I got a cup of tea; I gossipped with Lyn Battersby, I chatted with people.. and then we had dinner, courtesy of Subway. It was really wonderful to be in a space with so many other creatives hammering away, and food was a simple "walk up and get it" rather than a "plan, remove children, start cooking, remove children, eat and clean up, remove children..." type of affair.

All in all I found the experience amazing,  validating, and inspiring. I'm hoping I can make a few more writing nights happen through sheer force of will before the end of November, unfortunately much smaller ones, and ones with planning and children and cleaning involved.

Regardless, I would say my big lesson with this year's Nano is learning how to talk to other writers.

Once again, I'd like to say thanks to Lee Batterby for running the event, and also to Ace Cinemas; Adventure world; Asgard Games; ASIM; Australian writers Marketplace; Coeur De Lion Publishing; Cosmic Comics; Fablecroft Publishing; Fremantle Press; Fun Station; Harper Collins Australia; Island Magazine; Meanjin Magazine; Peter Cowan Writers Centre; Rockingham Shopping Centre; Serendipity MediSpa Baldivis; Sterling's Office National; Twelfth Planet Publishing; Walker Books and White Dwarf Books.

The prizes were very much coveted! I will definitely be keeping an ear out to see if this will run again next year.

Sarah P


  1. Glad you had a good time Sarah! There are definitely plans afoot to run another such effort next year after this year's success. We run a literary programme in November every year to coincide with Nano, and it's slowly getting bigger, although I get the feeling I'm really going to have to pull the stops out in 2012 to top this year...

  2. Yay! Maybe I should move to Rockingham...