Writing Visually: Writing Sagas 14



This morning I began working on words to go with some of my collage art and the picture that accompanies this post was inspired by some time spent with one of my friends at the beach with her sons.  

I find this way of working is a good way to keep my creativity agile when I have a lot of things to do, but want to keep writing something.

It works so differently than when I write without an image in front of me.

This link to Visual Writing Visual Editions – is now inspiring me to move my collages into video and to think about text moving in three dimensions.  So much to explore!  Ah well, one step at a time.  I have purchased a cheap video editing program, until I can afford another one- and will test all it’s limits.

I spent some time with Suzie Cray, the new producer for ABC Open from Cairns, and some of my family, working on a video postcard.   I’m in the midst of editing it.

Suzie looked at my script drafts and then worked to help me visually translate the most doable script for the day.  I had one script she loved, but it had a vaste time range and is one I can work on by myself for that reason (it included a sunrise, sunset and a few other things like music around the camp fire.)

We were open to things that happened unscripted – like a bee heading onto a flower, a tourist taking a photograph at the falls, and a rustic mystical sign, Peter’s Organic Farm.

I’m nearly there with it, and will share it when it’s polished.  The most important thing I took away from the day was that I could edit the words from the script, when I showed it.  I cut half my script due to the work of the visuals, and immensely enjoyed the process of editing it down.  Thanks Suzy for travelling all that way to mentor me!

I’m feeling more confident about developing my video work further, and especially gaining more skills in editing before I meet up with Suzy again.

The other exciting announcement is I have a mystery guest blogger, who will be appearing soon!  Awesome.    It’s lovely to have guest bloggers grace the space and I hope to introduce you to more of them in the coming months.

A Sunset Break: Writing Sagas 13

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NQ Sunset, on cane – June Perkins

This week has been so busy that blogging has had to take a back seat.  I’m trying to FINISH things.   Ever had that problem of being a great starter but a slack finisher.  I realise I have really fallen into that danger and it’s time to climb out of it!

I did a creative audit and found that I have about four projects that need only a few final touches, or a send off to publishers, or a final edit or review.  There are another five that are well progressed but needing the final lap.  I can’t believe how much writing and photographing has built up in the last four years.  It seems the country has been a muse.

I plucked up the courage to format something properly and send it to a Literary Agent.  Now I have to keep up the momentum and send the other manuscripts off, before I am too deeply into writing the next one.  I may have to look to send stuff to a few agents, or publishers. I’ll content myself with researching it for a while.

I worked on putting together a community photo book to sell through Blurb, which has had all the material sitting there for months whilst I am busy with other things.

I am very excited to about to begin Story Cartel!    I have been thinking of doing this for a while, and got myself organised and booked in.  I love that I can do it from home.

The other thing this week was that it finished with a beautiful clear sunset.  I have to be on the look out for them now as we have some clear evenings and are surrounded by some amazing spots to photograph.

It’s always good to be out in life, finding things to be inspired by.  Sometimes my heart is a little too busy taking care of my family and my health.  I have an ongoing skin condition psoarsis which likes to flare up every now and then.

It’s always a reminder to me to slow down, and go and drink in those sunsets and show extra love to my beloved ones.

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NQ Sunset – By June Perkins

Creating across art forms: Writing Sagas 12

Flying the Ripples – June Perkins

So this week’s writing sagas is a day late, and the reasons, I’ve been busy working in other art forms and this week my youngest was very ill and I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep.

Today I reflect on how the various forms of art ripple in my everyday life.

I’ve been creating some collages, like the one above, to make into posters and cards to sell and fund raise for other projects.

When I make these I enter a zone – to find the combinations that work, as I want them to have a simplicity to them that invites you in, to dream and see the possible, but they have to have something intriguing you can think about as well.

I’ve just had the wonderful news that many of my photographs of Queensland are to be featured in a writer’s anthology, all the way through a book.

I have some writing going in too, but I am excited about the images to be included as I love books featuring images and graphics supporting the writing. (I have a collection of writing currently with Paulien Bats who is illustrating and designing a book with some of my photos as well).

I’ll let you know where you can purchase both books when they come out. I am as excited as when words are published and can’t wait to see how the designer has incorporated them into the book.

One of the images which may be featured is this, but others more abstract are also on the cards.  But let’s wait and see.

For the Anthology - June Perkins
For the Anthology – June Perkins

This week I’ve been working hard on the craft of video editing.  I’ve a piece well on the way, but it will be a while before I share it.  I want to begin to make my editing more creative, fluid, more like the collages I do.  I want to master the technology that is the programs!

For inspiration in all I do, I’ve been watching lots of biographies of musicians lately – Buffy Sainte- Marie and George Harrison.  George Harrison was an intense searcher for the truth.  He sought detachment from material things.  I might not live my life the way he did, but I can see a lot of wisdom in some of his philosophy and his meditation practice was definitely a plus in his life, as was his friendship with Ravi Shankar.

Buffy is a person who travels across art forms in her quest for creativity. She paints, educates, creates, writes, plays and always looks for ways to create more understanding of First nations issues and rights.  I love this quote from her and I like to think spoken and written expression can also ‘shine through.’

“In my own language, there is no word for art.”
Instead, they say, “It shines through him.
That  is the mystery — the artist is a vehicle for the Creator. ” 
                 Buffy Sainte- Marie

How would you describe how your writing is influenced by the other art forms?

Preparing the Way, Foundations to Creativity:Saturday Writing Sagas 11

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Clay work of my daughter in progress – June Perkins

Today’s inspiration for writing comes from my artist friend Sally Moroney.  She makes amazing art, baskets, paintings, necklaces – and is a wealth of knowledge in so many things to do with making and exhibiting art.

My daughter and I went to visit her today to find out about an upcoming youth exhibition.

She showed Sally some art, and then started to play around with some clay.

As my daughter constructed her clay dragon, the importance of pre-planning and gaining more practical knowledge became apparent; she found she should have templated both wings through tracing, and used wire reinforcing in the more delicate parts like the long thin tail. She began to ask Sally many questions. Her wings had wire based upon this advice.

Sally let her know, very gently, that the dragon may not make it beyond this first phase, but a second attempt at something like it will have a great chance of success based on the advice from Sally. And if it can dry well, she may be able to bisque fire it(pretty risky) or coat it with glue and paint it.

Whilst Sally was teaching my daughter ways forward with her future clay work and possible fixes for her current piece, I was thinking about how writing without any structure and working organically can work to a certain point. Then some stronger foundations and reinforcement may be needed.  Motifs, research, so many things might be needed to make a work stronger. Without this the way forward may become confused.

I began my first novel, like my daughter, free playing with her clay.  But the novel cracked under the pressure – and went into an electronic draw.  Yet, as I start my second journey I plan, research, map and do things to make the journey of the next one stronger.

I just have a feeling this one is going to work better, because my foundations are stronger.  I have a better sense of my self as a writer and can take all the tips from education, workshops, reading, and current readers and friends and put them into the work.

You might ask why not learn with all the lessons first?  There are so many ways to learn.  One is by embarking on the journey, doing, reflecting and changing.  Another is to have it all spelt out, and follow the formulas and set templates.  I like to do a bit of both.

How about you? Do you like learning by theory, or hands on and then reflecting, adapting  and changing?

By leaving my daughter free to work with the clay, Sally discovered that she likes dragons and likes pushing the boundaries of the clay to delicacy.  She could then guide her according to her wishes.  If Sally began with a set template and formula she wouldn’t have found that out as a facilitator.  I think also my daughter if her clay doesn’t stay together, will now always remember to reinforce it and take those steps needed at the beginning.

Thanks Sally for such an educational day.

I especially enjoyed hearing about one of Sally’s paintings in the Layer’s Exhibition at Mission Beach Community Arts Centre.

Letting the Genie out of the Bottle: Saturday Writing Sagas 10

Looking for the Genie – June Perkins

So finally I’m commencing a novel.  I want it to be like letting a genie out of a magic bottle.

However, I don’t want to resort to a misuse of magic in all my plot turns; there is still a need for good set ups and lead in and I would like some originality. This is where I can learn a great deal from ‘arm chair critics’, or ‘ readers.’

Lately my whole family, the arm chair critics I know best, have been having trouble with some of the writing on television. We see brilliant concepts in shows like Doctor Who and Once Upon a Time – the season beginnings and finales of both these shows have been extremely well written.

However, the journey to reach these finales this season has had a litany of poor writing. One of the major gripes from my family of armchair critics has been that characters change too quickly,  or are not allowed to retain growth to something different.  They are quickly back to what they began as ‘ good’, ‘evil’.

They just keep playing with us a little too much. Rumplestiltskin, that complex figure, courts darkness but  is ever protective of the ones he loves, until it involves his own fate and then suddenly doesn’t care at all about death – finally courage?? The Evil Queen in Once Upon a Time was on the path to truly changing to a pathway for good due to her love for Henry.  Yet, she went back to being bad at what seemed the drop of a hat, the death of a mother she thought who never loved her who turned out to love her.

We were really starting to believe she could change, but the writers took that away, only to bring back  her potential goodness in a massive hurry in the finale.  Does torture and a stealing of your option for destruction of everyone you hate really create a back flip as quick as that?

The whole fatal flaw thing can simply be overdone. The effect of change, return to status quo, is to make us feel a lack of progression.  To feel that the same scene is replayed over and over again.

Don’t get my children started on Snow White/Mary Margaret and Prince Charming in the modern day!  Mary Margaret the tortured murderess  is difficult to take. In the past well she’s highly admirable for her ability to see the goodness in everyone.  Is it progression for her to want to murder someone or a regression?  Where do you go with a ‘perfect’ character?  Do you have to corrupt her?

Snow White
aizawasu- flickr creative commons

As viewers/readers we want progression, a new path, not just a stuck in the groove plot/broken record character.  So often this season Once Upon a Time sub-plots had this feeling. This is despite the borrowing and transformation of a large number of popular culture stories.  Lately it has even felt like Mulder and Scully have started running around in the plot.

What is left in Once Upon a Time when you remove all the layers of intertextuality? Mind you some of my favourite shows, like Get Smart, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie don’t have much progression, but the humour is the broken record, and you can predict the plot every time but have a rollicking time arriving to the same point each time.

In other kinds of television, such as Doctor Who or Once Upon a Time, this does not work as well because they are also trying to excite us with the new, their predictability is the unpredictable – the predictable becomes the twist in the plot.  Yet if it’s there just for the sake of it, without an internal common sense naturally arising from previous events the viewer feels cheated.

The thing is television writers can’t know that the dynamics of their plot will take a certain course in a season.  Viewers will side with certain characters and take on their cause.  They have already set the ball in motion and can’t respond to the viewer’s alliances. The thing is some actors can make an awful character on paper have humanity,  this may be the intention of the writer, but it might be that they believe you will never truly trust them.  They can’t fully predict your response.

Another complaint is that the plot is just too full of surprises, that the magical or scientific, adventure vehicle doesn’t have enough coherency or there are too many coincidences.  Doctor Who did have some amazing connections throughout it’s plot this season, and did seem to do it a whole lot better than Once Upon a Time.   The thread of the Impossible Girl and the curious Doctor who can’t solve her mystery, was clearly there, and understandable in the finale.

By comparison this season Once Upon a Time had so many twists and way too many story lines as to seem contrived too much even for fairytales.  He’s a stranger, looking for his father, no he’s not looking for his father, oh no there is a bigger employer outside it all. As for Doctor Who the jury is still out on the quality of some of the acting.  This season has seen some wooden acting, and a feeling of going through the motions despite the interesting storylines.  Is this the actors or the writing?

Is there enough in the script and the stories?  Are there simply too many things packed into each episode leaving little room for character development?

One show’s writers doing it well are those Person of Interest.  With a small cast of regular characters who progress, but well written regulars and guests the plot and characters seem to be gently but interestingly progressing, even the machine!  This is by far my favourite show from a writing view point, but also from the characters and acting point of view too.

There are just enough twists and turns, the character development is subtle, understated, not like a sea saw that will make you sick!

i put them in a bottle
Damsel Fly – Creative Commons

I have been down this  novel writing road before, but it was a swift free write journey for one month of Nanowrimo and  ended up at the bottom of an electronic drawer. Not this time.

This time as well as keeping in mind the armchair critics, I have a different approach,  and from an overall treatment of my novel have begun with key motifs free writes (meditations on key symbols of the novel) to thinking about structure and then onto research, google is great for that but also research from people.

Then my journey for writing the novel will begin.  No doubt there will be some going back into the cycle, of reflecting, research, creating and checking the world of the novel makes sense and is consistent.

So from magically imagining a plot out of an empty bottle, armchair critics and google I think this novel writing is going to be quite a ride and despite some annoying writing I will keep watching Doctor Who and Once Upon a Time  hoping for much better writing next season. I am so glad Person of Interest has been renewed for another season.

(c) June Perkins