Sunday, December 8, 2013

Writing and Publishing Week, January 2014

The Story BridgeSelwyn Community Education
The Story Bridge in partnership with Selwyn Community Education is delighted to offer you the opportunity to enrol in our inaugural Writing and Publishing Week 2014.

The Writing and Publishing Week is for you, if you:
There are several workshops per day during the week of 20 - 24 January. Enrol for two of our one-day workshops (regular price $147.00) and pay only $248 (saving $46).  Join both Creative Writing courses (two day + three day) for the reduced price of $510 (saving $86).
Entry to Guest Speaker sessions is by gold coin donation.  Please register by telephoning (09) 5219623 (Selwyn Community Education) to reserve your seat at the Guest Speaker sessions.

To enrol in our Writing & Publishing Week or to find out more, click here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's been a great couple of days with a stimulating bunch of writers at Selwyn College, for our "How to Blog and Sell Books Online" course.

Everyone was up and running with their own website at the end of the course. 


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Writing and Publishing Week, January 2014

Our very first Writing and Publishing Week is on track for 20 - 24 January 2014.

As well as The Story Bridge Directors, James George and Jocelyn Watkin, we're lining up other experts.  There'll be workshops on creative writing, poetry, writing for children, travel writing PLUS how to indie publish and sell heaps of books.

If you want to be one of the first to hear the details, please sign up for our e-newsletter using the Contact Form to the right.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Writers' Coffee Club membership now open

Many writers want someone to talk to when they have a problem that needs sorting or advice on just one question. They may not be ready for a full manuscript assessment but they just need something now to keep them on track with their book or writing project. If this sounds like you then The StoryBridge Writers' Coffee Club is for YOU. 

In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, you can move your book and publishing project along to the next step. Imagine if you could meet and talk with either of The Story Bridge team (James George or Jocelyn Watkin) over a coffee to access to their knowledge and back up this knowledge through a mixture of articles, blogs, tips and ideas. Find out more here.
 
Applications are now open for the next The Story Bridge Writers' Coffee Club. Numbers are limited. Send us an email (to thestorybridge@gmail.com) or complete the Contact Form to the right on this site and tell us why you want to be part of our Writers' Coffee Club. Applications close on 30 September 2013.  We'll be in touch after that.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Memoir and local history writing competition

The musical score for 'Blue smoke'
The NZSA Bay of Plenty sub branch has a great competition for those who like writing memoir and/or local history.

This is your chance to write a true story about a real person, place or event as either a memoir or a local history of any place in New Zealand.  You need to write no more than 1500 words. Cash prizes are on offer.

Click here for more information and for the entry form.

Competition closes on 30 November 2013.

The topic range is wide open and it can be about an EVENT as well as a place or person

As an example of a topic (but not necessarily as an example of writing style for the competition): New Zealand's first record (The extract below is from the website NZ history online) http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/blue-smoke 

In February 1949 a 78 rpm disc featuring the song ‘Blue smoke’, written by Ruru Karaitiana and sung by Pixie Williams, became the first record wholly produced in New Zealand from composition to pressing. It provided a debut hit-seller for the New Zealand-owned TANZA (To Assist New Zealand Artists) record label.

Karaitiana wrote 'Blue smoke' on the troop ship Aquitania, in 1940 off the coast of Africa, when a friend drew his attention to some passing smoke. During the war he served in the Middle East with the 28th New Zealand (Maori) Battalion. He led the battalion concert party, and he was one of the few survivors of its original 17-member choir. Although it was performed at troop concerts during the war, ‘Blue smoke’ was rejected by London publishers.

Back in New Zealand, he assembled a quintet in 1947. In October 1948, in Wellington, the quintet recorded a version of ‘Blue smoke’ with singer Pixie Williams. The backing music was Hawaiian-style, and the instruments included guitars, ukulele and a lap-steel guitar. Although Karaitiana considered it ‘a poor first effort’, the song topped New Zealand radio hit parades for six weeks, and it sold more than 20,000 copies within a year.

The song attracted strong overseas interest. English duo Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth met Karaitiana and recorded a version. In the United States covers were released by Dean Martin, Al Morgan, Teddy Phillips and Leslie Howard. In 1951 New York music trade magazines described ‘Blue smoke’ as one of the major hits of the year – a ‘musical jackpot’ with both jukebox and radio listeners. Dean Martin even phoned Karaitiana from the United States seeking more songs.

In 1952 Karaitiana became the first New Zealander to gain an Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) award of £25 for sales of ‘Blue smoke’ and a later hit, ‘Let’s talk it over’, which sold more than 10,000 copies.

Thanks for the NZ History online website for the above extract. http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/photo/blue-smoke 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Don't die with a book inside of you

Jocelyn Watkin: thumbs up for indie publishing
Jocelyn recently wrote about indie publishing for the New Zealand Author, the official magazine for the NZ Society of Authors. Her article was in response to the claims made by the traditional publishing lobby that "you're not a proper writer unless you've been published by a proper publisher".

While the pro-traditional lobbyists talk about what 'best' publishers do for writers (or should do) these publishers are decreasing in number. Many have amalgamated and are required to serve the best interests of their overseas owners instead. 

As such, many writers, particularly New Zealand writers, will never be offered a publishing contract no matter how good their writing is. So, what are they supposed to do? Wait and somehow hope a chance will come their way? Die with an unpublished book?

If you don't want to die with a book still inside of you, or you want to know more about indie publishing, then click on this link to read Jocelyn's article.

If you want to know how to indie publish and market your books then come along to our next workshop in Auckland on 9 November.

Monday, April 8, 2013

How to blog and sell more books online

Want to know more about how to sell more books online, whether print or e-books? Take a one-day course on Saturday 15 June with The Story Bridge.

Learn how to use website, blog sites, blogging and how to link your site with social media to increase your profile as a writer and to sell more of your books. During this course you will build you own website and blog, which you can use and develop further at home. Read on...

Tutors: Jocelyn Watkin and James George
 
Choice of two dates for this course:


  • Saturday 15 June, 9.30am - 4.30pm, or
  • Sunday 10 November 2013, 9.30am - 4.30pm
Bring your lunch. Tea and coffee will be provided.

For more information or to register click here Venue: Selwyn College, 203 Kohimarama Road, Kohimarama, Auckland. Click here for map.

Congratulations to Helen McNeil for her new book

Helen McNeil and "A Place to Stand"
Helen McNeil has just launched her new novel, A Place to Stand


#1 Bestselling author Deborah Challinor sums it up:

‘Helen's story, set in Kawerau during the 1950s when the town is being constructed around the mill, is uniquely New Zealand. The main character, Sandra McLeod, arrives as a child from England with her ‘£10 Pom’ family, but their new life isn’t what they’d hoped for.

Cover for "A Place to Stand"
Via flashbacks recalled by Sandra when she returns to Kawerau to visit her ailing mother in 1975, Helen McNeil skilfully describes the gradual disintegration of the McLeod family in realistic, evocative and sometimes gruelling detail.

There is a sense, too, with the presence of the Maori and Catholic elements of the story, that Kawerau, perched as it is on a brittle volcanic crust, is a mystical place where both good and bad fortune can be magnified. The revelation of Sandra’s secrets is perfectly timed to keep the reader turning pages, and the conclusion is as satisfying as you could hope for. A compelling and really quite haunting read from a new and distinctive voice in New Zealand fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’                                           


James interviewing Helen in "Writers & Readers Festival Style"
As part of the launch event, James George (co-director for The Story Bridge) interviewed Helen to draw her out on the fascinating themes in her book and her writing process.  The audience leaned forward in their seats and drank in every word (along with the excellent Feijoa sparkling wine). James mentored Helen during her Masters in Creative Writing.

Helen read from her book at the launch

No book launch event is complete without an author reading from her work.  Click here to listen to a pre-recorded clip of Helen reading an extract from A Place to Stand.



Helen at the launch with Jocelyn Watkin
















Congratulations to Helen, who James and Jocelyn Watkin (co-directors for The Story Bridge) were also proud to support as part of The Story Bridge Writers' Coffee Club.


Find out more:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Writers' Coffee Club open for applications

Many writers want someone to talk to when they have a problem that needs sorting or advice on just one question. They may not be ready for a full manuscript assessment but they just need something now to keep them on track with their book or writing project. If this sounds like you then The StoryBridge Writers' Coffee Club is for YOU.
In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, you can move your book and publishing project along to the next step. Imagine if you could meet and talk with either of The Story Bridge team (James George or Jocelyn Watkin) over a coffee to access to their knowledge and back up this knowledge through a mixture of articles, blogs, tips and ideas. Find out more here.

The next The Story Bridge Writers' Coffee Club intake will be in April 2013.  Numbers are limited. Send us an email (to thestorybridge@gmail.com) and tell us why you want to be part of our Writers' Coffee Club. Applications close on 16 April 2013.  We'll be in touch after that.

Want to know more? You can choose the 'regular' membership at $9 per week or pay double for our new, hot and sweet 'double shot' membership. Double shot provides all of the benefits for regular-sized membership PLUS a mini assessment of two pages of your writing per month. Click here to discover how The Story Bridge Writers' Coffee Club can help you.

Want free writing tips from The Story Bridge team? Our free e-newsletter is distributed twice per month with ideas and inspiration for writers at all levels. Send an email to thestorybridge@gmail.com with "newsletter please" in the subject line.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thanks for a great KICKSTART event

Thanks to Jenny Argante, Ocean Books and Tauranga Writers for their great organisation for KICKSTART Tauranga on the 9-10 March 2013.

It was a pleasure to teach at and be part of this remarkable event. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kick start your indie publishing career

The Story Bridge team of James George and Jocelyn Watkin will be keynote speakers, indie publishing coaches and workshop facilitators for KICKSTART in Tauranga on 9-10 March 2013.  
 
They will be joined by another expert, Martin Taylor, who is a publisher and consultant with a special interest in information technology, the Internet and the digital media market. 

Click here to find out more. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Writers' Coffee Club now open for applications

Many writers want someone to talk to when they have a problem that needs sorting or advice on just one question. They may not be ready for a full manuscript assessment but they just need something now to keep them on track with their book or writing project.
If this sounds like you then The StoryBridge Writers' Coffee Club is for YOU.
In the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, you can move your book and publishing project along to the next step. Imagine if you could meet and talk with either of The Story Bridge team (James George or Jocelyn Watkin) over a coffee to access to their knowledge and back up this knowledge through a mixture of articles, blogs, tips and ideas. Find out more here.

The next The Story Bridge Writers' Coffee Club intake will be in February 2013.  Numbers are limited. Send us an email (to thestorybridge@gmail.com) and tell us why you want to be part of our Writers' Coffee Club. Applications close 11 February 2013.  We'll be in touch after that.

Want to know more? You can choose the 'regular' membership at $9 per week or pay double for our new, hot and sweet 'double shot' membership. Double shot provides all of the benefits for regular-sized membership PLUS a mini assessment of two pages of your writing per month. Click here to discover how The Story Bridge Writers' Coffee Club can help you.

Want free writing tips from The Story Bridge team? Our free e-newsletter is distributed twice per month with ideas and inspiration for writers at all levels. Send an email to thestorybridge@gmail.com with "newsletter please" in the subject line.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy...

Been great to be able to get some lazing time in this summer. Weather's actually been conducive, at least in Auckland. It's also a good time to do some thinking about your writing plans for 2013 in conceptual terms.

Things like:

1. Assembling some of your rough ideas into strands and streams that will help you clarify your thinking. e.g. you may have sketches/part scenes with 2-3 characters, where you're struggling to generate enough internal plot movement to develop each of those snatches into a 'full length' idea. Can you combine them into one story? Can you have 2-3 characters from disparate works clash together to create new story? Can you use one character's conflicts in the now as backstory to another - ie use the effect of one character's actions as the cause for another's? (Sagas are often written like this - Think Steinbeck's 'East of Eden.'

2. Make some notes on what, specifically, is needed to sharpen an existing draft of a story? A more coherent plot? Clear conflicts (internal and external)? New character relationships? Or does it need some straight rewriting, or editing.

3. Think about what projects can you map out for this year? Begin to quantify and schedule them. Perhaps you'd like to aim for 3 short stories - when, sent where (timed to coincide with contests, for instance). Begin the research process for a novel. Research some material for a blog/guest blog post on writing - something that has particular interest, relevance and resonance to you. Consider starting your own blogsite and begin to list some specific ideas. Colours, pages, tone and voice. Begin a writer's journal/diary and start it with a first draft list of your plans. Be realistic about your goals, and realistic in turning your goals into plans  and turning your plans into actions.

4. If you're planning a novel, but don't have time right now to do some serious work on it in terms of writing specific scenes, what can you do now, to get you going? Research the area around it? Read some reference books and make notes. Set up personal interviews with people who can shed light on the context (e.g. life in the 1950's in NZ, or ex service people, or someone who was involved in political machinations). Read other novels with a similar context?

5. Get started again on that neglected story you were passionate about - once. Read it through. Think about what attracted you to it in the first place and why. How and why has your perception of it changed. Are there technique issues that hampered it that you weren't aware of at the time, but are now. If so, can you identify them. Once you've done that - check out the Free Writing Tips page on this site, with its articles on technical specifics. 

Those are some ideas to get you going.

(The cat above, in splendid summer repose., is a descendant of the cats kept by writer Ernest Hemingway at his house in Key West in Florida. The front entrance to the house is in the background.)