Final Report – 2014

In 2014 the Library Services of seven Local Governments joined forces to present the NaNoWriMo “Write along the Highway” project.

Background

In November 2012 the City of Armadale Libraries hosted a programme called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where aspiring writers are challenged to produce 50,000 words of a novel during the month. The library organised write-ins each weekend – writers coming together to write and encourage one another. This initiative proved very popular, with writers from all over the southern regions of Perth attending Armadale’s sessions.

Buoyed by the great response in 2012, the City of Armadale libraries decided to talk to a few other libraries in the area with the intent of expanding the programme in 2013 as there seemed to be plenty of potential authors out there. After discussions with other LGAs we ended up with 4 Library Services happy to join in the experiment of hosting NaNoWriMo as a group.
Participating Local Government Areas were:

Within a relatively short period of time – starting in June – a representative from each council met regularly and decided to promote the joint effort. With reference to the highways that connected our four communities, the committee came up with: “Write along the Highway”.

With the 2013 joint effort being both successful and satisfying for writers as well as participating Library Services a decision was made to further expand the reach of the project by inviting a number of libraries to join in the effort. In early 2014, we started meeting from February to prevent the previous year’s pressure to present the event come November. The Library Services of Canning, Cockburn, Fremantle, Melville and South Perth were invited to join the existing members of the “Write along the Highway” project. Canning declined to be involved and Fremantle decided to wait out 2014 and join in 2015. Nevertheless the addition of plenty of ‘new blood’ to keep the joint venture vibrant provided by:

Information Sessions

In October 2014 information sessions were held in the various participating libraries where interested people were able to learn about the project and ask questions of both organisers and NaNoWriMo veterans. Compared to last year attendances, 2014 attendances were somewhat disappointing. However, we must remember that with more libraries participating in the project and many people having attended information sessions in previous years it is understandable that demand is diminishing to some extent.

Thought for next year: Consider having fewer information sessions spread over the area that participating LGA’s cover.
Total attendance at information sessions across councils: 59

Write-Ins

Participating libraries were open for Write-in sessions during November with at least one library open for write-ins every day of the week except for Fridays. The ‘roster’ for the month was as follows:

  • Monday 2.00 – 7.00pm       Willagee (Melville)
  • Tuesday 2.00 – 7.00pm       Mundijong (Serpentine-Jarrahdale)
  • Wednesday 2.00 – 8.00pm       South Perth
  • Thursday 2.00 – 8.00pm       Victoria Park
  • Thursday 2.00 – 8.00pm       Success (Cockburn)
  • Friday             No write-ins
  • Saturday 12.00 – 4.00pm       The Knowledge Centre (Gosnells)
  • Sunday 12.00 – 4.00pm       Armadale

Thought for next year: Re-consider write-ins. Fewer people attended sessions this year despite having more locations and longer session times available to NaNoWriMo participants. It may be more effective to have fewer write ins with shorter durations to encourage participants to cluster.
The total number of people attending write-ins during the month of November: 130

Events

Each council organised one event during November. The aim was to provide inspiration for writers by meeting with, and listening to the experiences and advice of professional novelists.
The choice of offerings was as wide as the range of novels being written and many events were well attended as well as much appreciated by the audiences. It should be noted that events were organised by individual libraries but promoted by all! In 2013 we offered a staggering 23 events to the public. This year it was decided to limit the number of events connected to the project as writers, who are our focus during the month of November, are busy writing and have less time available to attend function no matter how interesting they might be. Hence, this year, the committee decided that participating councils would organise only one event each.
The research by Rebecca Laffar-Smith showed that not many of the attendees were people participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge. This poses the question: who are we aiming our November events at?

Thought for next year: as the project aims to get writers involved with their local libraries and their local writers’ community we might consider aiming our events at writers rather than the general library audience for the purpose of this project. This might mean: concentrate on writer-friendly workshops to be held both before and after the novel-writing month of November.

Total number of events held under the “Write along the Highway” banner: 7
Total number of attendees at these events: 288

Write Night!

First and foremost: “what an amazing night” was the consensus of those who were there! Rain and thunderstorms kept many of the people who booked for Write Night! away but those that had the courage to leave their homes were rewarded with a wonderful evening of writing and entertainment as well as learning and networking opportunities.

Participants were welcomed to the South Perth Hall with life music by ‘Tony M’. After introductions by MC Tamara Lampard and NaNoWriMo representative Rebecca Laffar-Smith an industry panel consisting of Sioban Timmer, Lee Battersby, Andrew Harvey and Rebecca Laffar-Smith entertained and educated an eager to ask questions audience.

The remainder of the evening was filled with lots of writing games and other writing related activities that attendees were very keen to get involved with. In short, the evening was a wonderful get-together of like-minded people, all of whom were committed to participate. The atmosphere in the hall was simply electric (something to do with the storms?) and, by closing time, it proved hard to make people leave the premises.

In the end just over half the people who signed up actually attended (yes, the weather was atrocious!), 23 of the 44 who had booked. One remarkable fact: of the people attending this evening three reached the milestone of completing 50,000 words on the night!

Number of people attending “Write Night”: 23

A few more facts

  • A total of 226 people living in the ‘South of Perth” area participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo. By the end of November, 81 of those people were still actively writing.
  • Of the 81 people active at the end of November 44 were registered as ‘winners’, meaning they wrote over 50,000 words for the month. Another 5 people actually reached the limit but did not register this fact before midnight on November 30th.
  • Of the regular attendees at write-ins almost all scored the big 50,000!

Conclusion

Building on the experiences of 2013 this year’s committee had an easier job than that of last year. Having made plenty of mistakes in our first effort it was quite easy to avoid falling into the same traps. Main advantages of this year’s committee were: starting organisation early in the year rather than in June, having more LGA’s and therefore more people involved made for lighter workloads and last but certainly not least, we now had procedures, artwork and the like to re-use!

A ‘post mortem’ meeting of the organising committee was held on December 2nd where events of the year as well as the actual ‘writing month’ were critically assessed in order to come to an even better outcome in 2015.

Thoughts for next year:
LG reform may reduce number of participating LGA’s
Reduction of write-in locations and session duration
Consider incentives to attend write-ins
Drop November workshops in favour of workshops pre and post November
Consider alternative locations / venues for Write Night

Organising committee:

Rebecca Laffar-Smith (NaNoWriMo representative)
Andrew Kelly (Town of Victoria Park)
Lisa Keys (Shire of Serpentine – Jarrahdale)
Lizanne Fernandez (City of Gosnells)
Tamara Lampard (City of South Perth)
Jennifer Bawden ( City of Melville)
Mally Hart (City of Cockburn)
Jan Pedroli (City of Armadale)

TGIO Party / Family Fun Day @ Coogee Beach – December 7

TGIO Party / Family Fun Day
@ Coogee Beach (the park next to Coogee Cafe)
Cockburn Road, Coogee, Western Australia
Sunday, December 7th 2014
10am to 4pm

I realised I’d been remise in giving everyone an opportunity to save the date for our TGIO Party! How naughty of me, the TGIO is an ML responsibility and while I had it on the calendar I’d forgotten to tell you all about it! I’ll make sure to mention it in next Saturday’s Week Three Wrap Up Broadcast but for now lets get the conversation started here so you have a chance to save the date, make plans, volunteer to bring a plate or help with set up / pack down / cooking, and organise transport where necessary.

This year, just like in 2012, we’re having our TGIO Party at Coogee Beach! But, rather than just a gathering of writers it’s open to the whole family and friends and everyone who left you alone to get your words this November, anyone who drove you to a write in or author event, anyone who babysat your children, or even your children and partners are welcome. All those wonderful people in your life who, while they might not quite ‘get’ the crazy that is your writer self, gave you the space (however begrudgingly) to write a novel this month.

We’re heading to Coogee Beach where there is a beautiful grassy park and playground, BBQ facilities, room for ball sports, and of course the fantastic sandy beach and wet, cool, Indian Ocean. Being the first week of Summer I’m hoping we’ll have beautiful slip-slop-slap style Aussie weather to make it a great day of fun and games and swimming if you’re so inclined. It’s a swinging door policy so come when you can and leave when you must but feel free to stay for the whole day if you’re having fun.

I’ll be supplying for a sausage sizzle around noon (buns, snags, and sauce) but I’m a menace near the grill so if anyone wants to volunteer a turn at the hotplate PLEASE do let me know. That would be awesome help! Also, I’d like to invite those who can manage it to bring something. Hot dogs are are good start but having vege salads, fruit salads, drinks, brownies, vegan/vegetarian friendly, gluten-free options, mustard, onions, cheese, and snacks for before and after lunch available would be great too!

So, here it is again:

TGIO Party / Family Fun Day
@ Coogee Beach (the park next to Coogee Cafe)
Cockburn Road, Coogee, Western Australia
Sunday, December 7th 2014
10am to 4pm

Please RSVP by replying on the thread in the regional forum to let me know you’re coming and/or by joining the event on Facebook so that I have a rough idea how many to expect.

Kick Off Party! @ Gosnells Knowledge Centre – November 1st

We’re throwing a party! That’s right, it’s the Annual NaNoWriMo Kick Off and this year we’re incorporating it into our Saturday Write In at Gosnells Knowledge Centre. Join us at 10.30am when Sioban Timmer launches her children’s book, Toughen Up, Princess and then for BYO lunch in the park before returning to the Knowledge Centre for the Kick Off Party.

We’ll be celebrating with a frenzy of first-day writing, games, and goodies from 12pm to 4pm. This is a wonderful time to meet and greet with other NaNo enthusiasts, or if you’re a bit shy you’re welcome to hide behind your laptop or notepad with the excuse that you need to get your 1,667 words written! Feel free to bring party snacks or non-alcoholic drinks to share (not required but always adds merriment). And your competitive spirit because we’ll be tossing out a few word war challenges, playing some games, and giving away some prizes!

Please RSVP on the forums and/or over on Facebook. I need to have a good sense of numbers so that I can prepare enough goodie bags and ensure we’ll have enough space to write comfortably together.

Brooke Davis – November 28

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis

Brooke Davis
Author Talk

Friday, November 28th, 2014
6.30pm to 7.30pm

Victoria Park Library,
27 Sussex Street,
East Victoria Park, W.A. 6101

Click here to book online now

‘I wanted to explore what it meant to grieve, not as a process that begins and ends and is only about sadness, but as part of life.’
– Brooke Davis, author


To wrap up our Buzz week of events & to celebrate NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) at the Victoria Park Library, we are proud to welcome Brooke Davis, author of Lost & Found, who will share her experiences on the journey to becoming an author.

This is a free event but bookings are essential so call Victoria Park Library on 9373 5500 or .


Click here to find out more about Brooke DavisBrooke Davis grew up in Bellbrae, Victoria. She attempted to write her first novel when she was ten years old, which was a genre-busting foray into the inner-workings of a young teenage girl’s mind—Anne of Green Gables meets The Baby-sitters Club meets Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret—titled Summer Sadness. Fortunately it remains unfinished, as she quickly realised she didn’t know the first thing about sadness, or being a teenager. Once she left those teenage years behind, she completed her Honours degree in writing at the University of Canberra, winning the Allen & Unwin Prize for Prose Fiction, the Verandah Prose Prize, and the University Medal. Brooke recently completed her PhD in creative writing at Curtin University in Western Australia, and was awarded the 2009 Bobbie Cullen Memorial Award for Women Writers, the 2009 AAWP Prize for Best Postgraduate Paper, and the 2011 Postgraduate Queensland Writing Prize while there. She loves to sell other people’s books, and is sometimes allowed to do that at two very nice bookshops: one in Perth and one in Torquay. Lost & Found is her first proper novel.


Click here to book online now

Rosanne Dingli – November 15 & 22

Browse Rosanne Dingli's books on Amazon

Rosanne Dingli
Workshop

Saturday, November 15th & 22nd, 2014
1.30pm to 4.30pm

Success Library,
Cnr Wentworth Parade & Beeliar Drive,
Success WA 6164


Session One:

Writing

  • The Fit: writing for who you are. How to successfully inject who you are and what you know into your writing.
    A brief investigation of what kind of writer you are. Are you writing within your most comfortable and appropriate genre? Do you love or loathe research? What topics do you love … or detest?
  • The Afterthought: making revision and editing the real work.
    The first three drafts can be murder to decipher – what were you thinking! Plan how to revise, and how to go over your work, and this stage can be the most enjoyable of all.
  • Chance and necessity: your work in one breath. How to reduce a whole book into a few lines that sell.
    The time to write a blurb is when your book is being edited, beta-read, or assessed by others. Learn how a blurb get you to rethink “genre” and “category”.

Session Two:

After writing

  • The Attraction: getting anyone to read what you write.
    Topics and styles are fads. How to be in vogue and where to seek desirable genres and styles. Be inspired by what’s hot and what’s likely to sell in about a year. Don’t attempt to trend-set.
  • Image: be recognised and remembered.
    What do we buy when we buy books? This session is a brief look at branding and what marketing really means. How a mirror is the most unreliable tool there is. Coming full circle from session one, you should now be more aware of what kind of creator you are, and how to project that image.
  • The Arm-Twist: persuasion and publication.
    How to find beta-readers, a good editor – anyone to read what you have written. How a query letter can be a 15-word email. It’s possible to abandon the notions of seeking a publisher or agent; but you still need to retain a working team.

This is a free event but bookings are essential so call Success Library on 9411 3840.
Register for part one: http://cockburn.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails.aspx?EventId=15007&lib=
And for part two: http://cockburn.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails.aspx?EventId=15523&lib=


Click here to find out more about Rosanne DingliRosanne Dingli is an award-winning Western Australian writer who has authored four novels, several story collections, a few novellas, and a poetry book. Involved in professional publishing both in Australia and overseas, she has worked variously as editor, feature writer, journalist, workshop facilitator, lecturer, EIC, literary editor, book reviewer, graphic artist, slush pile reader, manuscript assessor, and more, since 1985. First to be published, by a small WA press in 1991, was her poetry collection All the Wrong Places. Her first novel, Death in Malta, was launched by Jacobyte Books in 2001. By 2012, Rosanne Dingli moved from being a hybrid author to fully independent, due to the demise of her publishers BeWrite Books. Her fourth novel, The Hidden Auditorium, is the only one which has never been first issued by a publishing house. Independent publishing can be difficult, since the author must either wear many hats, or pay for services such as design and typesetting. Rosanne Dingli, however, acquired graphic art and typesetting skills during years of employment in commercial work with magazine and newspaper publishers. This author’s manuscripts receive careful attention from her pro editor, but covers and typesetting are her own work. In 2015, she intends to launch her imprint, Yellow Teapot Books, which already has in its stable three other Australian authors. It is her belief that just as one never stops learning and developing one’s writing, one cannot afford to ignore developments and shifts in the publishing industry which, since 2009, has seen some momentous and irreversible changes. It is vital to keep abreast of developments and adapt one’s writing operation accordingly. She says ‘operation’ because authors today cannot just write: they must cultivate an understanding of all aspects that go into the making and selling of a successful book, and work hard – alone and with others – to produce material that is both culturally valuable and marketable. Rosanne Dingli frequently conducts classes and workshops to share and disseminate what she learns through writing and producing in the current democratized process of publishing. Her experience is real, and her independently-produced books are selling now, in a fiercely competitive field where even the largest of traditional publishers are having to think and rethink their strategies.

Find out more about this author on her website: http://www.rosannedingli.com
and her blog: http://rosannedingli.blogspot.com


David Whish-Wilson – November 12th

Click here to find out more about David Whish-Wilson

David Whish-Wilson
Author Talk

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
6.30pm to 7.30pm

Manning Library,
Cnr Goss Ave and Manning Rd,
Manning WA 6152


David Whish-Wilson visits Manning Library for “Words with Wine” on the 12th of November to talk about his books and the writing process. Join David as he reflects on his relationship with “the City of Light” which features in his crime writing and his latest release: Perth.

The latest in New South’s City series, Perth is “a deeply personal take on the physical and cultural landscape of Perth & the “emotional landscape” that runs through & around it.” The Australian.

This is a free event but bookings are essential so call Manning Library on 9474 0822 or click here to book online.


Zero at the Bone by David Whish-WilsonDavid Whish-Wilson lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, where he teaches creative writing at Curtin University. He is the author of short stories and the novels The Summons, published in 2006 and Line of Sight, published in 2010. David’s new novel Zero at the Bone is now available.


Sioban Timmer – November 1st

Toughen Up Princess by Sioban Timmer

Toughen Up, Princess
Book Launch

Saturday, November 1st, 2014
10.30pm to 11.30pm

Gosnells Knowledge Centre,
2232 Albany Highway, Gosnells W.A. 6110


Sioban Timmer is a refreshing and humorous author and Toughen Up, Princess offers a new perspective on traditional fairy tales with a distinctly Australian flavour. The delightful illustrations by Alison Mutton, add to the uniquely Aussie feel of the book.

Byford-based children’s poet Sioban Timmer will launch her debut children’s book, Toughen Up, Princess at the Gosnells Knowledge Centre on November 1, from 10.30am-11.30am.

The story from which the book takes its title, Toughen Up, Princess, draws inspiration from the traditional fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. Come on Aurora, you can’t just lie there all day sleeping! You need to Toughen Up, Princess! But there are other modern takes on historical classics. Sioban Timmer pokes fun at several familiar tales. Was Jack just a beanstalk-climbing home invader? Snow White – maiden or moocher? These and many other fairy tale truths are tested in this set of poems aimed at savvy children (and adults with a sense of fun) who know there is always more than one side to any story.

Copies of ‘Toughen Up, Princess’ will be available for purchase and Sioban will be signing books and sharing her experiences as a children’s writer and poet.

Refreshments will be provided. This is a free event but bookings are essential so call Gosnells Knowledge Centre on 9391 6000.


Click here to find out more about Sioban TimmerSioban Timmer is a 38-year-old Western Australian writer who produces stories and poetry for adults and children on a wide range of themes. She currently offers monthly literacy sessions for children called ‘Bonding With Books’ at Maddington Centro and has conducted writing workshops for children. Furthermore, Sioban is the publicity officer for the Gosnells Writers’ Circle as well as coordinator of the Children’s Corner Competition in Showcase Magazine. Prior to the launch of ‘Toughen Up, Princess’, her work has been published in Australia and the US.


Shane McCarthy – November 3rd

Transformers: All Hail Megatron and Batman Legends of the Dark Knight by Shane McCarthy

Shane McCarthy
Author Talk

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
7.00pm to 8.00pm

Willagee Library,
Cnr Winnacott St and Archibald St,
Willagee WA 6156


Join Shane McCarthy as he discusses storytelling through the lens of writing comic books, the importance of believable characters, energetic scenes and art of the cliffhanger. Shane’s talks always have an informal flair, questions from the audience are encouraged.

This is a free event but bookings are essential so call Willagee Library on 9364 0170 or click here to book online.


Click here to find out more about Shane McCarthyShane McCarthy presently resides in Perth, Western Australia, officially one of the top ten most furtherest away from everywhere places on the planet.

Shane is a freelance writer whose work has been published internationally by DC Comics, Marvel Comics and IDW to name a few. Over the years he has written BATMAN LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, DETECTIVE COMICS (starring Batman), DARK X-MEN, DAREDEVIL, STAR WARS and TRANSFORMERS: ALL HAIL MEGATRON.


Lee Battersby – November 18th

Heartstarters Writing Workshop
Writing exercises to kick-start your stories

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
10.00am to 12.00pm

Mundijong Public Library,
179 Paterson Road, Mundijong 6123

Materials required: pen, writing pad, reading voice.

Where do ideas come from? Where do stories start? ​Where do you find narratives that fizz and snap from the very first word? Join multiple award-winning speculative fiction author Lee Battersby as he leads participants through a hectic, helter-skelter session of high-tempo writing exercises designed to inspire, perspire and fire your imagination and lead to fresh and exciting new story ideas.

This is a free event but bookings are essential so call Mundijong library on (08) 9526 1133. Don’t forget to bring a pen and paper as there will be writing involved during the workshop.


Click here to find out more about Lee BattersbyLee Battersby is the multiple-award winning author of the novels “The Corpse-Rat King” and “The Marching Dead” (Angry Robot, 2012 & 2013) as well as the collection “Through Soft Air” (Prime Books, 2006) A children’s novel, “Magit and Bugrat” is forthcoming from Walker Books in 2015. His work has been praised for its consistent attention to voice and narrative muscle, and has resulted in a number of awards including the Writers of the Future, Aurealis, Australia Shadows and Australia SF ‘Ditmar’ gongs. He lives in Mandurah, Western Australia, with his wife, writer Lyn Battersby and an increasingly weird mob of kids. He is sadly obsessed with Lego, Nottingham Forest football club, dinosaurs and Daleks. He’s been a stand-up comic, tennis coach, cartoonist, poet, and tax officer in previous times, and he currently works as Arts Officer for a local council, where he gets to play with artists all day. He blogs at the Battersblog (http://battersblog.blogspot.com).



The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby
The Marching Dead by Lee Battersby

Full 2014 NaNo Events List

October – Information Sessions
November – Write Ins

Plot Storming Session @ Armadale Library
Sunday, October 26, 12pm to 4pm

Sioban Timmer @ Gosnells Knowledge Centre
Saturday, November 1, 10.30am to 11.30am

Kick Off Party @ Gosnells Knowledge Centre
Saturday, November 1, 12pm to 4pm

Shane McCarthy @ Willagee Library
Monday, November 3rd, 7pm to 8pm

Rebecca Laffar-Smith @ Armadale Library
Wednesday, November 5th, 7pm to 8pm

David Whish-Wilson @ Manning Library
Wednesday, November 12th, 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Rosanne Dingli @ Success Library
Saturday, November 15 & 22, 1.30pm to 4.30pm

Lee Battersby @ Mundijong Library
Tuesday, November 18th, 10am to 12pm

Write Night @ South Perth Community Halls
Wednesday, November 26th, 6pm to 10pm

Brooke Davis @ Victoria Park Library
Friday, November 28th, 6.30pm to 7.30pm

TGIO Party / Family Fun Day @ Coogee Beach
Sunday, December 7th, 10am to 4pm