I can't wait until Alma Park reopens at its new home in Logan.
Alma Park Zoo, my favourite zoo, is closing its doors at its Dakabin site at the end of March after 45 years. I first visited Alma Park back when I was six - my first school excursion, the second time in my life I'd been on a bus and the first time I'd even seen a zoo. Back then, it was in the middle of nowhere and we've watched the relentless march of housing estates towards the zoo, such that now the site is surrounded on all sides by suburbs.
While I recognise the need for development, I am very saddened by the loss of what I consider a hidden treasure in Brisbane. The zoo is not closing completely, the animals will be temporarily housed off-view until it reopens on a new site that is closer to my existing house. Sadly, big beautiful trees like this one above are going to be bulldozed to make way for houses. To me, the shady avenues and tropical gardens were what made Alma Park that much more special.
Some highlights of our last visit were the monkeys (always a favourite), the koalas and a pea-hen with a tiny chick - not inside the barriers - but hidden in the garden bed right next to the path. Most people missed this special little family, but it made me smile. She was definitely doing things her way, that mother. I also love the farmyard section and made friends with a very cute, very food fixated jersey calf. She had figured out how the system worked and was busy hitting up anyone with a little white packet of zoo pellets
I can't wait until Alma Park reopens at its new home in Logan.
I'm excited to share that my speculative fiction short story "The Moonstone Legacy" has been accepted into the Romance Writers of Australia Moonstone anthology. Here's a glimpse of the fabulous cover, designed by Sheridan Kent.
Aurora and Kade's story started as a lucky dip in my photos folder. I source photos that instantly appeal to me by pulling apart magazines and I keep them handy as story starters. Meet Aurora and Kade:
As you can see, she's a bit of a free spirit and he's just a tad stitched up and uptight. There's some conflict already and all I've done is put my hand into the folder. The next thing that drew my eye were her boots and the muse was very quick to point out that she should NOT be wearing those boots. Add in lunch breaks spent watching reruns of Star Trek Next Generation and eating a box of Lindt chocolates (thank you Santa) and this story almost wrote itself. There's a space station, moonstones, chocolate and Aurora, a space cadet with a big secret. Oh, and Kade - a hunky commander whose job it is to keep Aurora safe. He thinks it's all going to plan until he discovers there's more to Aurora than meets the eye.
Intrigued? You'll have to make sure you buy your Little Gems Moonstone Anthology 2014 - available for pre-order from the RWA Website. The Anthology is in production and will be delivered in August 2014.
The fabulous Danielle Birch has included me in the "My Writing Process Blog Tour". I find it fascinating to see how other writer's processes differ from my own, and to try different things that work for other people.
So here's some insight into my writing process.
1. What am I working on?
I'm editing a futuristic novel in preparation for submission. Sadly, I've had this book around for a while and I've never subbed it. This is my perfectionism procrastination coming to the fore - I need to get it "perfect". Recently, I was in the company of some really cluey published authors and I realised that your works can't be perfect - and they'll never sell unless they are subbed. So rather than writing a book of my dreams, I've reframed. I'm writing a product, with lots of personalised elements that come from my dreams. It's helping me get rid of my perfectionism.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write futuristic, and that allows you to explore endless possibilities. One small change now and in two hundred years, the entire civilisation is different, all as a result of that one change. For example; a new colony where fruit is prohibited. What is a normal part of our existence right now becomes a much sought after commodity two hundred years in the future. It's rare. It's expensive (more expensive than now...) What if your heroine had the ancient art of grafting fruit trees? What if mortal enemies in a battle for control of this valuable resource are after her? Imagine the joy on a child's face the first time they taste pineapple, or orange, or apple. Hmmmh, I think I need to get writing.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I've always loved the concept of space and exploration and the endless possibilities that go along with it, and that's why I write futuristic. Going into the future you aren't bound by historical facts, if you can explain why it is like it is, then you've done your job as a writer. Writing this way frees me to create and I find the writing flows more freely when I am on a different planet. Having said all that, one of my mentors suggested reading historical to improve my writing. Why? Because it brings to life social norms and clothing in a way that is beneficial to a futuristic writer. The conflict should still make sense if you take your characters out of your space suits and craft and plop them into a drawing room having tea while wearing petticoats and corsets, provided you've explained the social norms adequately.
4. How does your writing process work?
Here are some of the keys to my writing process:
1. Pre-writing - this is my imagining phase and I do it while running, walking the dog, working round the farm - it gives me a feel for the characters and the time. It results in lots of chicken scratchings that end up in a folder. I'll also raid my photos folder (stuff cut from magazines) to get a visual on my characters.
2. Writing - I find organised activities like NaNoWriMo and RWA's 50K in 30days are great to get the rough draft of the story down. Having a word tally helps me get rid of my perfectionism. Typing blind i.e. covering the screen or my eyes helps as well - I can't edit as I go. A big thank you to year nine typing lessons, where typing blind was taught using a bib type arrangement so you couldn't see the keys. I also find an album that says something about the type of story I'm writing and play it while I'm driving, vacuuming etc to try and get my creative juices flowing.
3. Editing - This is where I fall down. I don't feel I have a good grasp on effective editing. Again, a deadline is the way to go. I do an initial cull, then print and rework numerous times before I'm happy. I always run through Angela James' "Before You Hit Send" checklist as the last step before submission.
4. Waiting... Again, I'm not good at this. What I should do is start at step one all over again (and I have a number of folders with stories in waiting to be written). Instead I obsess about whether anyone will like my baby. I'm hoping to delete this step from my process at some stage.
Anyway, enough about me. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my writing process. I'd like to introduce you to two of my good friends, and let them tell you about their writing process, as the writing process blog tour progresses.
1. Anita Joy
2. Cate Ellink
It's time to celebrate.
Autumn is here and with it has arrived some much needed rain. Yippee! The temperatures are heaps cooler today than last week and I'm happy to report the plants are all looking a bit happier after the reprieve. Lawns are not meant to be crunchy!
February saw me finish my annual work-related competency assessment - an electronic quiz with wide reaching questions designed to be ambiguous. It's open book and the design of the questions really does challenge your brain. There's nothing left for writing after I've dissected all of the double negatives and and/or statements in the multi-choice answers and I put my writing aside until I finished it.
So now I'm back to editing Lexin and Jacey - my futuristic romance, with a view of subbing it by 30/4/14. Wish me luck.
Fiona Greene Author
"A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step."