Yahoo Group Issues

There are problems with our Yahoo Group currently(as at 22/1/18). The files section was down for several days prior and just now the entire group has seemingly vanished.

I have made efforts to contact Yahoo support and hope to hear from them/see results soon, but cannot guarantee anything as it is out of my direct control.

Please check here on our blog for further updates.

UPDATE: The message board part of the group has returned, but the file section is still missing, please read the post marked ‘ATTN: Files Section Missing – Meeting Work-Around’ on the message board for what to do if you intend to attend the February meeting.

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Vision Meetings

Welcome to the Vision Writers webpage.

We meet on the first Sunday of every month, Feb – Nov.

Venue: Brisbane Square Library
266 George St,
Brisbane Queensland
Australia 4000

The meeting room we use is 1.9

Time:
11:00am – 2:00pm

If you’re thinking of coming along to a meeting, consider joining the VISION Discussion List (Yahoo! Group) to check on meeting times and ask questions.

More details and exact dates can be found on the Meeting Times page.

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The Power Of The Paragraph

The first meeting of the year saw much great advice at the table on Sunday and that always makes my job of picking a piece of advice for this post hard. This month I selected some advice received by two different submissions, but while about the same thing they looked at different functions of that one thing.

Paragraphs.

Paragraphs can have a larger effect on pacing than you realise. A long paragraph is daunting to a reader. Too many in a row can put people off, make them put your book aside. Even if you disregard that, a long paragraph takes longer to read. It gives the illusion of time passing more slowly. Unless that’s the pacing you’re intending to create, be cautious of putting too many together, or a large one in amongst a quick-paced portion that might halt or hinder the reader’s velocity.

A lot of quick, short paragraphs give the feeling of the story going swiftly. The same can be said of sentences too.

You can also make use of paragraph length to make a point or a statement, such as my single word paragraph further above. Don’t stop there though, you can do more than just that.

One of the submitted pieces was contrasting the lives of two different people, slowly looping it back around to show how they were actually deeply connected. It was a beautiful paragraph – but it was a single one. By breaking it up so the characters differences were each in their own paragraph it enhanced how the two were so different, but when it cycled back to showing how their lives were actually linked, they began to share paragraphs to symbolise the joining.

Paragraphs may seem like one of the smaller and less important parts of writing, but they too can be used for all kinds of effect. Don’t overlook them!

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Writing Prompt: Kishotenketsu

Writing Prompt: Kishotenketsu Story Structure on Vision Writers Group Official WebsiteFor the first writing prompt of the new year I thought I’d challenge you to try something new.

Most of us should be familiar with three act structure which most movies and books use. A lot of people might also be familiar with five act structure. But have you heard of kishotenketsu structure before?

Kishotenketsu is a story structure used in Japan, China, and Korea. It isn’t conflict driven like three and five act structures are and uses a four-beat system where the first two beats are set-up, the third is a twist/complication, and the fourth the resolution which ties it all together.

To gain a better understanding you’re going to have to do, dun-dun-dahn, research! Here are some articles I used when writing my first kishotenketsu structured story:

Before you panic too much about tackling something so unfamiliar, you can find a blend. My story Hanabi to Kitsune uses both kishotenketsu and three-act structure (though more strongly kishotenketsu, but with some conflict so it could sell in a western market (which it did)).

So challenge yourself to do something new and try writing a story using kishotenketsu structure. Feel free to put any links in the comments to the work you produce from this prompt, we’d love to see what you do.

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Writing Prompt: Inspirational Workplaces

This months prompt is inspired half by the ‘perfect working day’ exercise I redid recently, and half by this very cool photo post.

So, first up, look at your workspace (do you have one? As a full-time mum/whenever-I-can-squeeze-the-time writer mine is wherever I can fit a laptop in the moment I have time ;p ). Can you gain inspiration from it? If so great, get to writing.

Not so lucky? Then dream up your perfect workspace. What does it look like? What type of desk, writing tools, and decorations are there? Is it in a specific locale or country you can admire through the window? Start like a free writing exercise, write all about it, then let the story emerge when inspiration strikes.

Ok, so what if inspiration didn’t strike and all you ended up was jealous you don’t have the killer workspace you described? Then go to this article, look at all the amazing workspaces (how jealous did I instantly become of Nigella Lawson when I saw hers!). Pick one you love the look of and start writing about someone you imagine works there (not the person who actually does, there could be some issues with that).

Don’t forget to post or publish and link back here – or at least let us know if you were inspired.

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Writing Prompt: Bad Moon Rising

Writing Prompt: Bad Moon Rising

original photo by Hoàng Duy Lê

“I see a bad moon a-rising. I see trouble on the way.”

If you don’t know this song, give it a listen, absorb the lyrics, set the mood in your mind.

Now, what does the bad moon look like? What does it mean? Is it a prediction or a curse? Is it only in effect that night while the moon is out, or does it reach far beyond?

Go forth and write! And feel free to put links to work birthed from this prompt in the comments below.

 

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A Rose By Any Other Name – Or Without One?

Nameless Roses: Tips for writing fiction which keeps a character's name secret. More Writing advice from Vision Writers Group

original photo by Lukas Roberston on Unsplash

‘A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet’ the bard once said, but would a rose without a name?

Have you ever read a short story or the start of a book where the protagonist or POV character isn’t named? Sometimes it’s the writer holding back the information for a dramatic reveal, or sometimes its a stylistic choice, like calling a character ‘The Gunslinger’ rather than using his name(though arguably that example could be considered a name of sorts if consistantly used as a replacement for a name). Done well or paired with the right reveal it can be impactful. But done not quite so well…

The reason the majority of stories give you the main character’s name as soon as possible (often in the first line) is to give you a connection to the character. Knowing someone’s name is more intimate than not, as countless film and television depictions of one night stands makes evident.

Also, if other characters are observing our unnamed rose and also thinking of them without a name it can create a disconnect not just between the two characters, but between the reader and the observing character, particularly if the observer really should know the observed’s name. In fact this is something that can irritate readers enough to make them rage quit your book.

So, what to do if you want to experiment with a story that hides the protagonist’s name? First make sure the reason for doing so is solid. Is the reveal you’re withholding this information back for awesome and/or mind-blowing enough that all will be forgiven? Is the style cool and/or intriguing enough that no one will care the name is omitted? Think about if  the events exciting enough and your prose strong enough that people will be pulled through the story regardless of the distraction of the missing name.

If you think you can tick all those boxes, write the story, polish it and submit it to your writers’ group or some beta readers. They’ll tell you if they find the story good enough to pull it off, or if they think it might be a misfire.

One last thing to consider if thinking of writing such a story is if the mystery of the unspoken name might cause a distraction from other facets of your story, overshadowing them. What is the more exciting concept for you, that other facet, or the nameless rose?

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Writing Prompt: Inheritance

photo credit Ken Mayer

To some it can be a boon, to others a tool used to control their every move, to others a surprise.

There’s the classic horror storyline of a lawyer bearing news of an unexpected inheritance, but to receive it you must spend the night in a Gothic mansion first.

There’s the fantasy staple of the royal family birthmark which later reveals the orphan as a long lost ruler. Can you come up with a new twist on these tropes, or something completely different?

What story can you create with ‘inheritance’? Feel free to post links to your story in the comments below.

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September Meeting Details 2017

To avoid clashing with Fathers’ Day we have shifted the meeting day for September from Sunday 3rd September to Saturday 2nd September. Since our usual meeting room is not available at this time we have also changed the location to the Coffee Club on Park Road at Milton.

The September meeting details are as follows:
Date: Saturday 2nd September 2017
Time: 11am-2pm
Location: The Coffee Club, 9/32 Park Rd, Milton, Qld

Please note we will be capping submissions for critique to 3 this month, and advise if having your work critiqued where the general public may overhear to refrain this month and submit for the October meeting instead.

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Giving Your Reader Setting Up Front

‘Tavern Interior’ by Cornelis Pietersz Bega

One of the greatest pleasures and direst pains of being a speculative fiction writer is the world building. There is far too much advice on world building to fit in a single concise article, so for now I’m going to touch only on a problem that occurred in a submission last month, then again in another this month.

There is the convenient and well-used template of the medieval European setting for fantasy. It’s so commonly used that readers are quite familiar with it. It is this familiarity which can cause the problem we’re addressing today.

So, the story starts in a stable or a tavern. As a reader, your mind has probably immediately coloured in the medieval European setting. The problem is, stables exist in Victorian settings, Edwardian settings, heck I can drive down the road from my house here in 2017 and get to a stable in 5 minutes. I can get to a tavern in even less time (yes, it actually calls itself a tavern).

But as a reader many of us are so used to stables and taverns as medieval European based fantasy staples, that’s what we think of first. And if you don’t dissuade the reader from that initial assumption fast, they’re going to be sharply thrown from the story when your character cracks out a tin of baked beans for dinner twenty pages later.

So what can you do to help make that setting clear as early as possible? Well, first ask ‘do I need to make my opening scene in the stable/tavern?’. Could you set it in a Victorian drawing room complete with furniture iconic to the era, or a dressing room filled with era-specific clothes?

What if the story NEEDS the opening scene to be in the stable or tavern? Consider placing something era-distinctive there to set it apart. You could put a bicycle against a wall. It could even be a penny farthing if that’s your era. In the tavern, could someone complain the food tastes tinned, not farm fresh?

What if your story is medieval, but not European? Same ideas. Are those camels in the stables, not horses, or – if you’re going for something yet more distant from the norm – magically-bridled hell hounds?

Give your reader something early on to help establish that yours isn’t a stock-standard setting. Ground them, or at least let them know from the start that this really is a different world so they can look forward to seeing what tropes you’re going to flip, what surprises you have in store for them.

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Writing Prompt: Opening and Ending Lines

Take one of the lines below for your opening line, another for your closing line, and fill in the blanks between.

For an extra challenge (or if free choice has not provided you with inspiration) use the random number generator.

  1. The zepplins flashed amongst the clouds
  2. The glitter of the gems on her necklace caught his eye
  3. Her silken red hair fanned across the starched white pillow
  4. They didn’t care for the land, they only cared for the gold
  5. The moss on the lee side of the rock was an omen only she could decipher
  6. The only witness was the mouse peering from its hole in the wall
  7. Each cough my daughter made tore at my heart
  8. The poison gleamed purple on the floor
  9. Bright eyes watched from the shadows
  10. The wind tore at their hair relentlessly
  11. I couldn’t decide what was worse, the smell or the pain
  12. The town was evacuated

I’d love to hear if this inspires you. You can even link to where ever you publish the work in the links below for us to check out

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