Family: a Charlie & Cub sequel moment. Image by Flickr user James Niland.

Family: a Charlie & Cub sequel moment

As part of my writing goals this year, I’m writing more creatively. Family is one of (hopefully) many drabbles (100 word stories) that I will publish. Image is by flickr user James Niland used under a CC BY 2.0 license: it is a real picture of the setting that inspired the novels.

This drabble is a mini-sequel to The Charlie & Cub Chronicles. It is part of a collection of moments between sixteen-year-old Theo and Charlie. Family continues on from the drabble Home.

This drabble can be read on its own — out of context of the novels and the other drabbles. Nevertheless, I’m going to hide it behind a more tag: spoilers for characters and ending of series.

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Things children's authors have said this week include quotes by Neil Gaiman, John Green and Garth Nix.

Things children’s authors have said.

This week, I’ve been most intrigued with things children’s authors have said. Some of the quotes are included below, but there are many more gems at the links. Image by flickr user Tim Geers, used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

ONE. Children’s books are never just for children. A Guardian article that brilliantly shows just how important getting children’s books right is: so why aren’t they considered for awards? Neil Gaiman has some beautiful words, below, to say about kids’ stories. (As do many other authors.)

When I’m writing for kids, I’m always assuming that a story, if it is loved, is going to be re-read. So I try and be much more conscious of it than I am with adults, just in terms of word choices. I once said that while I could not justify every word in American Gods, I can justify every single word in Coraline.

TWO. John Green is often attributed quotes that he has never written. This is probably the biggest mistaken attribution yet. But I love the honesty in this video; I don’t watch every video, but I do love it when I come across one that is memorable. This is a memorable vlog.

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ll never meet.
Not John Green

THREE. Garth Nix gave a super interesting interview with The Hub. He talks about his younger self and a little about infusing his writing with his morals (dangerous ground). A little fact you might not have known about Nix: he grew up in Canberra and…

From about fourteen, I thought I would become an officer in the Australian Army. I planned to go to our military college and get my degree there and have a career in the army.

FOUR. Another Neil Gaiman! He had an interview with the Telegraph as his new book The Sleeper and the Spindle was coming out.

You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men.

FIVE. YA writers talk about their writing habits and how they create their characters that feel real. It’s a brilliant (long) article that is definitely worth the time.

The defining characteristic of YA literature is emotional truth. Even if we’re not the same as the characters we read, they are all dealing with things—issues of who they are, who they should be, what they should and shouldn’t do—that we all deal with, in their own ways. With The Hunger Games, even if we will never be in Katniss’s shoes, the decisions she makes make emotional sense to us—even when she makes the wrong ones.
David Leviathan

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Home: a Charlie & Cub sequel drabble

As part of my writing goals this year, I’m writing more creatively. Home is one of (hopefully) many drabbles (100 word stories) that I will publish. Image is mine, taken in December 2013

This particular drabble is a mini-sequel to The Charlie & Cub Chronicles. Charlie is sixteen in this moment.

I’ve got a collection of sixteen-year-old Theo and Charlie moments that are slowly coming together in my head. I might even try to link them through the prompts. So, while this drabble can be read on its own and out of context of the novels, I’m going to hide it behind a more tag: spoilers for setting.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go: a fictional blurb written by Ellen Harvey.

The Knife of Never Letting Go: a remembering knife.

A long time ago, I started a book-blurb series. I have restarted the series this year and I have to say I loved writing and creating The Midnight Zoo post. Unfortunately for the blog, life happened and I haven’t gotten around to writing another book blurb. So I was pretty ecstatic when I found today’s blurb for The Knife of Never Letting Go, already written in my Evernote account. Thank you 2013-me.

The idea: take a book (sometimes I’ll own it, sometimes I won’t) and tell the story of the book based solely on the cover. It was inspired by the Huff Post article where a 6-year-old girl tells the story of classic novels. Of course, after I’ve told you my version of the story, the actual blurb is revealed.

Previous book: The Midnight Zoo, by Sonya Hartnett. Today’s book: The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness.

The fictional blurb.

Tom is an ordinary boy. He has a cat. He has a mum. His dad is a soldier and off fighting the war. But when Tom stumbles into the middle of a street fight on his way home from school, he freezes. He is mesmerised by what is happening in front of his eyes. He can’t move until it is all over.

And then it is. A man is lying on the ground, bleeding out onto the street. The other man, the man who made him bleed, runs past Tom. The street is silence. The dead man doesn’t make a sound. Tom makes his way over to the dead man and stares at him, thinking how peaceful he looks.

The dead man’s knife is lying in his hand. It’s a beautiful knife. Colour swirls around in the blade, the handle is made from onyx. Tom needs to push open the dead man’s fingers to take the knife from him.

In Tom’s hand, it feels warm. And then, as if being downloaded into his brain, Tom sees the dead man’s life in front of his eyes. He sees a young blonde women’s life, an African princess’s, an English explorer’s, a grey-bearded shopkeeper’s, and on and on, until he saw the birth of the knife.

This knife knew and remembered. And it went looking for trouble.

The actual blurb.

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Then, just one month away from the birthday that will make Todd Hewitt a man, he unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible.

Breathtakingly exciting and emotionally charged, The Knife of Never Letting Go, is a compelling original story of fear, flight and terrifying path of self-discovery.

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Lake Burley Griffin's resident pelicans, early in the morning.

Lake Burley Griffin (06/52)

I try, as much as humanly possible, to take a walk around Lake Burley Griffin each morning. I’m generally better at doing this in the summer months than the winter months (as with all sporty endeavours).

This week, I’ve been taking my phone with me on my morning walks. It’s more of a nuisance than anything else since I just carry it in my hand for the fifty-minute walk. I have a separate iPod for music, which fits into my back zip pocket. But my phone? It’s a normal smartphone; which is to say that it has a 4.7inch screen, so it doesn’t fit into any pocket on any exercise pants I own.

Anyway, last year I tried to tell friends and family that there were pelicans in the lake, but only very early in the morning. This surprised me since I knew pelicans as bayside animals (not really thinking about other places they’d live, having only seen them in the bayside where I grew up). The overwhelming response I got back was: we need picture proof. Not only did they not believe there were pelicans in the lake in the early morning, they didn’t believe there were pelicans in the lake at all!

I saw the pelicans two or three times more before the end of last year, but unfortunately, I did not have my camera or my phone with me. This year I was determined to capture them.

And so I did. On Tuesday’s cloudy morning, they were sitting on what looks like a dam divider that separates the main lake from the offshoot on the northern side.

Photo of the pelicans (Tue 10 Feb) taken on my HTC One smartphone. Filter ‘Islandia’ added through the phone. // Other photos (Wed 11 Feb, Thu 12 Feb) taken on my HTC One smartphone. No filter added.

Lake Burley Griffin's resident pelicans, early in the morning. Lake Burley Griffin: sunrise on February morning. View through the planter box trees on the south side of Lake Burley Griffin before sunrise.

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On getting a job and making things.

Each Friday I like to collect five links that resonated with me during the week. Sometimes, like this week, I have to go searching for the links. But I will always find five of them. This week’s Friday Five is about getting a job and making things.

ONE. This morning I read an article by Amy Birchall (I’m sort of confused how we haven’t met, both living in Canberra), that explained how she got her first journalism job. My own journey was similar. I wanted to work in a publishing house, so I took two unpaid work experience gigs at the beginning of my final year at uni. I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents who paid the month’s rent and food and flights I need to get to the internships. (They were based in Sydney and I lived in Brisbane.) But I have no doubt that it was those two gigs that got me my job at Penguin at the end of that year.

TWO. Olya Schmidt (or @paintpaperstudio) has embarked on February challenge: #28days28paintings. Each day Olya uploads a time-lapse video of her creating the day’s painting to her instagram account. I love watching each and every one of those videos.

THREE. I love this Designer’s Creed that Matt Mullenweg (yes, the CEO of Automattic, aka creators of WordPress) posted on his blog. What’s more, I think it’s a beautiful reminder of how to live our lives as well.

FOUR. Which door will you open? A cute illustration of the fact that in most hero’s journeys, you have to pass into an unknown world. A timely reminder for someone dealing with this problem currently in her own writing.

FIVE. Oliver Jeffers shows me, an untalented-useless-drawing-type-of-person, how to draw a penguin. It looks pretty easy. However, as with all things like this, my drawings never turn out how I imagined them. My sister, on the other hand, wouldn’t need a guide to draw a penguin.

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Dinner: a 100-word drabble.

Dinner

As part of my writing goals this year, I’m writing more creatively. Dinner is one of (hopefully) many drabbles (100 word stories) that I will publish. Image is from unsplash.com.

There’s a moment. Every night, a moment: the table is set — plate, fork, knife. A wine glass, a water glass. Two settings. The window is open and the smell of pasta sauce lingers in the air.

It’s late. I know it’s late. But I’m always late. This night isn’t any different. Only, it is.

I sit down at my setting and look at the food on the plate. Cold. The wine, red; bottle open, half-empty. The setting across from me has no food, only red stains and pasta streaks. The glass used to have wine in it.

I sigh, knowing.

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