Winners – NorthWrite 2013: Collaboration

Alicia Ponder and I have just won ‘NorthWrite 2013: Collaboration’ contest with our short work Ahi Kā. This competition required writers to work together to produce short fiction written by two authors, comprising either:NorthWrite 2013: Collaboration

  • 2 short stories
  • 2 poems
  • or a poem and a short story.

We were placed first equal with another pair of writers. The results of the competition are at NorthWrite’s site.

Alicia and I had such tight schedules that we weren’t sure whether we should enter. Two weeks before the competition deadline, we decided to go for it, despite me being away with my husband for New Zealand’s Got Talent semi-final filming. With our combined poetry and writing experience, we decided that NorthWrite 2103: Collaboration was an opportunity too good to miss!

We wanted to collaborate. Last year’s contestants had mentioned that they didn’t have time to collaborate extensively, because they only started two weeks before deadline. We were determined that even though we also only had two weeks we would collaborate, COLLABORATE, COLLABORATE!!!

From other blog posts I’ve read about collaborative efforts, most authors seem to write one story then the other author writes a reply. Alicia and I decided we wouldn’t. Instead we brainstormed, spending over an hour on the phone to come up with our basic plot and characters. We didn’t fill in all the dots, but left enough concepts fluid that there was space to evolve. We were determined to write everything together.

One of us wrote the short story. Then we both modified and tweaked it, via email and editing while on the phone. Both were essential. Tweaking via email was great for clarity and tightening the prose. Discussing the story on the phone (while one of us edited the document), kept our ideas fresh and dynamic. We bounced our suggestions off one another until they rapidly snowballed. As a result, we utilised more dimensions than either of us could have written alone.

The poetry gradually grew as an extension of the story, until a sonnet was born, tinged with Shakespearean influence. Elements of Māori mythology were interwoven into our story. Incomplete stanzas of our poem were scattered throughout. We used Māori names that gave hidden layers of meaning to our story’s themes. Finally we added political elements as an undercurrent.

Our work will be live on the NorthWrite 2013: collaboration site soon. I’ll post a link to the winning entries when they go live.

Note: These translations may help when reading our work. Manaaki = hospitality, support; Ahi = fire; Ahi Kā = to keep the home fires burning; burning fires of occupation; gain a title to land through long-term occupation; hold influence over land and defend successfully against challenges, thereby keeping their fires burning.  (Source Māori Dictionary online)

To understand our references to New Zealand mythology, see the Māori legend about how Maui bought fire to the world.

Congratulations to Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray, editors of Baby Teeth and friends of ours, who received an honourable mention in the contest.

I’m published! Baby Teeth launches in Wellington, New Zealand!

Tomorrow night is the pre-Halloween launch of ‘Baby Teeth – Bite-sized Tales of Terror.’ My first published short story, ‘Dad’s Wisdom,’ is in this anthology!

Group Bench 1mediumres
Wellington Authors Back L-R: Michael Parry, Paul Mannering, Dan Rabarts, Sally McLennan. Middle: Jack Newhouse, Eileen Mueller, A J Ponder. Front: Jenni Sands, Darusha Wehm.
baby-teeth-cover-20130820
Baby Teeth cover

Baby Teeth is an odd concept. Inspired by the creepy things that kids say, these horror stories are raising funds for children’s literacy in New Zealand, via Duffy Books in Homes. What a great way for writers to raise funds for children! When I heard about the charity aspect, I wanted to be involved. Two years ago, I organized a project to help children’s literacy in Fiji, so this was a cause close to my heart.

Before submitting,  I read some of these stories and was so creeped out that I nearly decided not to submit! Some of the Baby Teeth authors have been doing horror for years and do it very well! However a story about a little boy having fun with a monster caught my eye. It was creepy but really funny. Voila! I had my inspiration. Thank you Paul Mannering for showing me that horror can be hilarious!

Mine is a quirky, humorous tale about a boy who finds a dragon under his bed and goes to Dad for advice – with unexpected results! I’ll be reading ‘Dad’s Wisdom’ tomorrow night. Paul Mannering will be reading the tale that inspired me to write about creepy things kids do to raise money for kids’ literacy.

Dominion Post’s Capital Day page features Baby Teeth

New Zealand press have been intrigued about this odd collection of stories helping kiwi kids so I was able to place four articles in these newspapers. The Dominion Post (national NZ newspaper) ran this feature today  The Wellingtonian ran this article. The Hutt News ran this story. Cook Strait News published the article below .

 

Cook Strait News post launch article.
Cook Strait News post launch article.

 

Come to the Quality Hotel, 223 Cuba St, Wellington. Drinks from 5:30pm. Readings at 6pm. Join our Facebook event.

 

See a review by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand (SFFANZ) 

To purchase Baby Teeth go to http://www.paperroadpress.co.nz

baby-teeth-wellington-launch-poster-lores-1

3 short stories accepted in 1 week!

Wow! I am ecstatic! I’ve just had three short stories accepted in one week – to two different anthologies.

At the end of last week two of my short stories were accepted for a fantasy anthology about Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. ‘A Wizard in the Works’ is a night-time rollick through the museum. ‘Lucky Brake’ is a coming of age story about a boy facing a tough a decision. I’ll post more about these later.

babyteethfinal-v3-w-logo-copy-230x300
Cover of Baby Teeth

This week my flash fiction piece ‘Dad’s Wisdom‘ was accepted for ‘Baby Teeth’ – bite-sized tales of terror! I don’t usually write horror, but when I realised this anthology was raising funds to support Duffy’s Books in Homes charity, I was keen to be a part of it. I’m passionate about reading and children’s literacy and have done work in the past to aid kids’ literacy in developing countries (more about that later in another post!)

Instead of scaring myself witless by writing a blood-chilling psychological terror story, I penned ‘Dad’s Wisdom  which is a humourous take on childhood fears.

Baby Teeth will help Duffy’s Books in Homes to give books to underprivileged children in NZ. It utilises crowd funding via this site. Once the book is published ALL proceeds go towards children’s literacy in New Zealand. Authors have donated their time and energy so we can make a difference in children’s lives by providing them with books to read. Donations close on 10 August. To donate, please click here.

 Thanks for supporting Baby Teeth and helping more kiwi kids to read.

WARNING: ALTHOUGH MINE IS NOT, SOME OF THESE STORIES ARE DISTURBING-TYPICAL OF THE HORROR GENRE.