Thanks to Fleur for inviting me to write a guest blog for her site. For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know me, I started The Australian Literature Review website (www.auslit.net), which went online in June last year, and have been it’s Editor since then. (The official 1st birthday is coming up on June 14th.)
The Australian Literature Review’s first print book has just been launched (and it has a story by Fleur in it). It is titled Australian Literature: A Snapshot in 10 Short Stories and features 6 authors whose fiction has been published by major publishers and 4 emerging authors. The authors are from big cities, small towns and rural areas. The stories range from family drama to supernatural horror, mystery, thriller and speculative fiction.
The second AusLit print anthology launches on May 27th at Collins Booksellers Mackay with author SM Johnston and me talking and signing books. It is titled Basics of Life and features several established authors as well as many emerging authors.
There will also be a Basics of Life panel event with the Melbourne authors George Ivanoff, Belinda Dorio and Beau Hillier at Book Street Toorak on June 9th, where they will be discussing short stories and using short stories to kickstart a career writing fiction.
I will be on a range of discussion panels for the Continuum Convention (“Melbourne’s Speculative Fiction and Pop Culture Convention”) June 10th-13th.
I am also personally a member of three AusLit writing teams in Sydney, Melbourne and the Central Coast (between Sydney and Newcastle). I meet with each group in person every fortnight between May and September. Each writing team is writing an integrated collection of short stories for commercial publication by Christmas. The writing team projects have just begun but already each has a strong original premise taking shape. The Sydney team (which includes Fleur’s friend and fellow novelist Lisa Heidke) has a ‘dysfunctional family’ premise with a mix of drama and comedy, while Melbourne has a ‘teen paranormal mystery suspense’ premise and the Central Coast has a ‘scientifically informed thriller with realistic horror’ premise. Each writing team’s integrated collection of stories will be set locally. The AusLit writing teams project already has interesting collaborative writing processes emerging. Each team is presenting fun challenges and working towards it’s own unique outcome, based on the skills and interests of each writer in the team. Readers and writers can follow the three AusLit writing teams at www.auslitwritingteams.net.
I’d like to do a similar writing teams project next year with different locations.
A great thing about running The Australian Literature Review is reaching people around Australia online and also travelling to many places in Australia; not just being based in one or two major cities.
The website now has three main options for aspiring writers, and established writers, to get their short stories read and published:
Short story competitions 1,000-3,000 words
Short story anthologies 4,000-10,000 words
Writing teams several 5,000-10,000 word stories as part of a team project
The first two options are just as open to regional authors as they are to authors in major cities. A writing teams project next year could potentially have locations in places like Western Australia, the Northern Territory or Queensland. It wouldn’t just be the south east area of Australia being considered for locations. (The best way for writers to get their location noticed and considered for a writing team is to submit stories for AusLit competitions and anthologies and encourage other writers from your area to do the same.)
The Australian Literature Review currently has six books due for release in the lead up to Christmas: one for each of the three writing teams; Ho Ho Horror: Christmas Horror Fiction (accepting submissions until Sep 30th) which features a story from novelist/children’s book writer/graphic novelist Gordon Reece; an anthology of comedy fiction (also accepting submission until Sep 30th) featuring a story by comedy novelist Lia Weston; a project titled The Life and Times of Chester Lewis which is being written a story a month by a range of Australian authors to together tell the life story of the title character, Chester Lewis. Western Australians may be pleased to know that The Life and Times of Chester Lewis is set primarily in Perth (but so far has stories by authors living in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland).
I’ll end by saying how great it is that Fleur actively brings together a broad range of content for this author site, including a variety of guest blog posts from authors and others involved with fiction writing. Keep up the good work Fleur and good luck with Purple Roads.
Thanks Steve and if you are interested in following Steve on Twitter, just click here (@auslit)