Faber Academy – Week 2

First of all – Happy Valentines Day! The series of pictures on the left are the beautiful origami rose my partner made me. I got into the car, and he opened it up from box to rose in front of my very eyes! He’s not normally very crafty, so it was incredibly sweet and thoughtful and well deserving of opening my valentines day post.

Week two of Faber Academy and already it seems to be going too fast. Next week I’m going to be running late because I have to give three (of seven that week!) talks at a school in Geelong. Take out another session in April when I’m in San Fransisco and I already want to selfishly soak up every morsel from the group before my time with them is up. Only a week and a half to go until submissions for the Ampersand Project are due. I had a mild freak out that my chapters were too short (a friend of mine who’s also working on a piece has 4000 word chapters, while mine are more like 2000). However looking at a couple of YA books on my bedside I realise that this means about 30 chapters which is totally acceptable – although it does mean I’ll have a stack of work to do following the submission of the first five. Ah well, write or die as they say.

Tonight we looked at pitching to a target audience. The writing exercise was to read the opening paragraph of an Aussie Nibble (6-8yr olds), an Aussie Bite (8-10yr olds) and an Aussie Chomp (10-12yr olds). These are a fantastic series of readers for very specific age groups written by really spectacular Aussie authors. And then we had to write an opening paragraph for our own. In 15 minutes. Good times. My opening para’s are below (unedited as always), although I suspect that some may be a little off the age mark. It was actually a lot of fun, and I’m going to finish the Nibble as I already know where it’s going to end.

Chomp                                                                                                                                    When my Gran died, my little sister stood on a box, looked into the coffin and said “Bye Gran!” I looked in the coffin and couldn’t say anything at all. I couldn’t believe that she left me. I stared around the church (I hated church) looking at all the people I’d never ever met before, sniffing into their tissues and glared..

Bite                                                                                                                                              “It’s Pirate Susie!” I yelled. “My. Name. Is. PIRATE. SUSIE!” I roared at my mum, who for some reason insisted on calling me just plain old Susie. There was nothing plain about me. For a start, I lived on a pirate ship. For now, it was parked in my bedroom, but I was still a pirate.Secondly, I had an impressive black eye from where I had fallen out of my ship one morning after a particularly nasty fight with some evil buccaneers on the high seas…

Nibble                                                                                                                                                                           I’m six years old. Yesterday Mr Fluffypants woke me up. He has grey whiskers and only one eye. This is especially frightening first thing in the morning. More, if he’s holding a dead mouse in his mouth. “Stop screaming” said mum. “He thinks he’s giving you a present!” “It’s gross” I said “could he not bring flowers instead?” Mr Fluffypants growled at me for being so rude. He stared at me with his one good eye and stalked out of my room.

I didn’t want to move. The mouse lay on my quilt cover. I lay under it. We stared at each other. “Come on” I said. “No more games”. It kept staring at me. Not even a squeak…


…Ok, so they need work, but it was a good exercise, and stories like this (even if they never get to the publishing or pitching point) can be a way to get something out and finished quickly when writers block hits!

Til next time.

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