Writing: Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Stop signIn a recent blog post by Anne R Allen, guest blogger, Nina Badzin discusses how she realised she enjoyed writing non-fiction more than fiction. Her idea of being a writer turned out differently to the one she had originally envisioned. Since reading that post, I was beginning to wonder the same about my own writing.

Despite coming up with new ideas for fiction stories, strengthening plots within the drafts of two novellas and working on character development, I feel there is something missing. Lately I have taken to writing more blog posts, which I have enjoyed so that, ultimately, my fiction writing has taken second place. It has stopped me in my tracks and left me wondering what kind of writer I really am.

During my studies, I had grown accustomed to writing non-fiction, yet in the back of my mind the fiction always demanded attention; now the two have decided to go ‘head to head’, so to speak. My husband told me that only I know what kind of writing I want to do, and now my instincts are telling me I have a foot in both the fiction and non-fictional worlds.

When it comes to non-fiction, over the years I had often dabbled with the idea of writing personal essays. It was after all, a personal essay I had to write for an assignment once, where I received a distinction and my lecturer wanted to know if I was going on to do my Master’s degree. That’s when I realised I just might be on to something.

At the moment, I feel I clearly need to express myself more through writing non-fiction than through my fiction. I have every hope that by doing so, this will ultimately lead me to continue with my fictional projects. I now find myself taking a different path with my writing journey – after all, every writer’s journey is different.

Do you prefer to write fiction or non-fiction? Do you also find yourself in both camps? Have you found yourself writing differently to what you had originally intended?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

* As a side note, I will now be returning to Slow Blogging. I will blog on an intermittent basis.

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Wolf Creek & Ivan Milat – A Backpacker’s Greatest Nightmare.

Wolf Creek undoubtedly has to be one of the scariest movies I’ve seen in a long time. John Jarrett did a brilliant job in the creepy role of Mick Taylor. If anything was to put off potential tourists to this country, one would only need to watch this movie.

Every summer, in my local caravan park, back-packers arrive to work as fruit pickers. Last summer, I watched as many of them stood by the side of the road and began hitch-hiking.  This became a daily routine of theirs.  I thought to myself ‘haven’t  these people heard of Ivan Milat and Wolf Creek? I don’t know about you, but it would certainly stop me in my tracks! I know for some it is their only means of traveling, and they were fortunate to have been given rides, yet one cannot always be too trusting.

The words ‘Ivan Milat’ and ‘backpackers’ have become synonymous in the Australian psyche. It was during the late 1980s that Ivan Milat began murdering backpackers in Belangalo State Forest in New South Wales. He abducted, sexually molested, tortured and murdered seven people and concealed their bodies, making him one of Australia’s worst serial killers of the 20thcentury. Fortunately his killing spree came to an end in the early 1990s, however his legacy still remains. Which is why it is so creepy watching Wolf Creek.

Now there is the prospect of John Jarrett reprising his role as Mick Taylor – a seriously spooky thought!

Have you ever done any hitch-hiking? Did watching this movie put you off visiting Australia? Are you looking forward to a Wolf Creek sequel?

Images copyright South Australian Film Corporation.

Raising the Stakes – More Vampires in YA Fiction?

Whenever I had visited the local bookshop these past few months (okay, Big W, I admit I’m cheap), I would be dismayed at the sight of so many paranormal romances within the Young Adult section. Back in July, after reading the discussion post on Wonderous Reads Are You Over Paranormal YA? it made me consider my options as a writer of the paranormal. Here’s some of what people had to say:-

  • Young adults are becoming tired of paranormal romances.
  • Young adults might want paranormal, but no more vampires, werewolves, fairies. (Note to self: what other paranormal is there?)
  • Young adults would like to see paranormal from the viewpoint of different countries.
  • Young adults want strong female protagonists (think Hunger Games).
  • Fantasy and horror genres may be the next big ‘thing’.

Now, admittedly this is just a handful of people’s opinions (with some handy information for a writer), however, it made me wonder that perhaps my very own YA vampire novel would have to remain in the bottom drawer for many years yet. Then came the announcement of a teenage writer landing a six-figure deal for a vampire story. Was it right or wrong in believing that readers were ‘over’ vampire stories?

Considering the positives of this announcement it is good news for writers in the paranormal/horror genre.  It gives new writers the opportunity to get published.  As writers, we need to come up with new ideas, as clearly evidenced by the reader’s comments.  With genres becoming more and more intertwined, the possibilities are becoming limitless.

When Harry Potter was released, there was a surge in the popularity of fantasy fiction, which was good news for fantasy writers.  Like everything else, trends come and go, and when it is the time for our chosen genre we just have to ride it out, until it is some other genre’s turn.  We write in our chosen genres because we love it, not because we want to write whatever is popular and this passion will come through in our writing.  Ever since the publication of Dracula back in 1897, vampires have stayed in the public’s imaginations, so they will always be a part of our psyche. They have evolved over the years because there were writers who were willing to do that for them.

I’m prepared to raise the stakes and breathe life in my vampire novel once again – are you?

Are you over paranormal for young adults? Do you see this announcement as good news for the future of the horror/paranormal genre? What do you see as being the next ‘trend’ in young adult fiction?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

My Sweet Imago – 2nd Campaigner Challenge.

Throughout the Platform Building Campaign, Rachael is holding a couple of challenges.  I didn’t partake in the first challenge, so I thought I’d try my hand at the second challenge.  And what a doozy it is!

Here are the rules:-

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title.  It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc.  The blog post should:

  • include the word ‘imago‘ in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: ‘miasma‘, ‘lacuna‘, ‘oscitate‘, ‘synchronicity

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.  For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!

So after searching frantically in the dictionary, I came up with something using all the requirements in the challenge.  Here’s my entry:-

MY SWEET IMAGO

I struggle not to oscitate as I watch another one being wheeled in.  It has been a long night; this will be the last.

I gaze upon the face of the man in front of me and my hands become clammy.  The miasma emanating from his body fills my nostrils.  His mouth is open; a dark lacuna releasing its final scream.  That mouth had kissed me longingly; hungrily, the touch of his hands a sweet caress.

Childhood memories flitter through my mind of lazy summer days and melted ice-creams, of promises to be together forever, always.  Recent memories of drug abuse and alcohol induced stupors; promises that they would never happen again.  Tears do not form behind my eyes and cloud my better judgement.  They did not a few months ago when I last said goodbye.  They will not fail me now.

A slow smile creeps upon me; he would have loved the synchronicity of this moment.  It’s like holding up a mirror; only his choice of drug was different to mine.  Were they really the cause of all his lies, deceit and ultimate betrayal?

I take a firm grip upon the scalpel and begin to cut.

* * *

Winners of this challenge will be determined solely on the basis of your votes.  If you like my entry you can vote for it here, (I’m No.102), where you can also check out others.  Best of luck everyone!

A Breath of Spring Air.


It’s my favourite time of the year once again!  Spring is in the air, and there is a definite bounce in my step.

The season has gone off with a terrific start.  Signing up for the Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign has proved rather hectic with all the groups I have signed up for, but it has been fun meeting a whole bunch of wonderful writers I would never have met otherwise.  Thank you to all my fellow campaigners who have stopped by here to introduce themselves and/or subscribed to my blog.  Throughout the campaign, I aim to visit each and everyone of you, comment (although I find this difficult with some blogs I visit), and subscribe.  I would have to admit, visiting some of these other blogs has made me feel a bit of an amateur!  Because of the season and the inspiration I am getting from other campaigners, I’ve even changed the look of my blog/website.

For the past couple of weeks I have made some progress with the re-writes/edits of my first YA novel, Deception.  I was having difficulties with getting the voice right for one of my main protagonists, but with some tweaking, I think I’ve got it now.  I have managed to add about another 6,000 words during that time.  When I eventually finish with these re-writes, I hope to find some critique partners/beta readers.  If I recall, Rachael Harrie has mentioned something about this on her blog, so maybe I could be critiquing with some of you. 🙂

As always, with the arrival of spring, I go over my progress for the past twelve months and re-assess my goals.  I have plenty of ideas for novels and short stories (what’s writer’s block again?) and I have three complete novels to re-write/edit; my problem, as always is juggling my time.  I need to get my priorities right and make some sacrifices, but I’ll talk about that next week.

How has your writing been going lately – have you made good progress?

Image by Debbie Johansson.

Writing from Experience: Bringing it Home.

2011 is shaping up to be a personal year for me.  Events have taken place that I feel compelled to write about them and others throughout my childhood.  Writing personal essays has now become a part of my writing agenda.

I have been reading books on essays, including Writing from Personal Experience by Nancy Davidoff Kelton and Writing Articles from the Heart by Marjorie Homes.  I have found them both helpful and motivating and I have since compiled a list of possibilities to write about.  Reading these books have also helped with my novels.

My first novel begins with a hit and run accident.  I was left wondering if my writing sounded convincing enough when revealing the emotions of my characters.  It was not until I was going over my personal experiences that I discovered I must have had some kind of repressed memory.  I was in primary school when my grandfather was hit by a truck.  He died instantly.  Images and emotions of the days that followed flashed through my mind.  I did know about such an event; I know how that feels.  I feel I can now do my re-writes with more confidence.

It’s also funny how timing comes into our lives.  Through my husband’s work, he forwarded on a link to a Victorian Roads commercial.  This video is both graphic and confronting, yet it brings the message home.  It, too, has allowed me to focus on the emotions and the people who are left behind.  Since watching this video, I have discovered that looking outside the box is a helpful tool.

As Nancy Davidoff Kelton writes in her book:  ‘Writing isn’t about going far.  It’s about going far within’.

How far are you willing to travel?