Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Swearing in books.

In real life I swear.Lost keys, a bus running late and overcooked pasta will all make me swear. We all do it.

Where the game changes is when I read. Usually the first one or two on a page stick in my mind. There are obviously characters and scenes which lend themselves to swearing - someone walking in on their lover with another for example.

I can´t imagine too many people saying:

Goodness me! Why are you in our bed with another? 

It just doesn´t cut it  in today's gritty world.

What I don´t like is swearing for swearings stake. Some authors and screenwriters push swearing prehaps to fill space. F this and F ( or maybe even C) that on every page.  On one hand,there is a strong desire to reproduce the actual or real language of the characters. On the other hand maybe people would already assume that the characters would swear - why include it in the dialogue?

I am struggling with this idea in my own work. A have a coming of age story and my main character is 22 years old. Most 22 year old males swear. I did. Trying to justify and exclude situations to minimise the swearing is proving to be a difficult task.

So here are my questions :

1) Do you acknowledge swearing in print?

2) If so, how much do you tolerate?

and most importantly

3) Is it possible to write scenes of strong conflict between adult characters and NOT include any swearing?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When the river runs dry.

The Ross river.

Work had been very busy this week and I had been counting down the days to the weekend. On Saturday I got up very early and took a trip out to Ross River, about 100 kilometres from Alice Springs. It is peak tourist season here and the highway was full of campervans and interstate four wheel drives. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood as although the sun was shining ,it wasn´t the normal sweat dripping heat that you come to expect in the Central Australian Desert region.

The river itself was now empty but this photo shows the debris that had washed downstream. It settled finally at the base of this tree. All around the banks of the river you can see debris scattered, even in the branches of trees.

From the main highway there is a turn off onto a dirt track. It cuts through the dry river beds and over rocks. As I live in the city ,any opportunity I get to drive like crazy down rocky tracks I savour! At the end of the turn off is N´Dhala Gorge National Park.  This place holds special signifance to the Aboriginal people of the area and there are a few rock engravings which tell traditional stories.

A rock engraving telling a dreamtime story.  The dreamtime is a collection of stories linked to the creation of the Earth and the history of the Aboriginal people.  Storytelling is very important to Aboriginal people and dreamtime stories are filled with morals and virtues.

There was a small amount of water in the gorge which was collected in a few rockpools. Suprisingly, some of them even had tadpoles. There are frogs that live here in the desert, although I am yet to see one.
From the gorge I followed Binn´s track and turned off back towards town. Cattle were casually meeting and feeding beside and on the road. They are quite tame and will simply wander off the road at the sight of cars.  It also appears that they are pretty photogenic as not one left the road while I stopped the car to take this photo.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tomorrow When The War Began

( not the original cover, apparently it's too old for the Internet!)

Hidden away between  my adult favourites, the Steinbecks, the Atwoods and others, are a few Young Adult gems from my awkward teen years.

However, only one series of books (seven in total!) sent me racing off to the library, wrestling, bargaining and stashing its titles out of the keen grasps of other mid teens.

Tomorrow When The War Began.

Imagine, you and you friends set off camping over a long weekend  and return to your quiet country town only to discover that the nation has been invaded! You must fight any way you can to save the country!

So here is the formula for any struggling YA author who was looking for a quick fix:

Teenagers + Guns + Action + Angst + Romance =  Teens descending into hair pulling, name calling, any chore that would turn a profit and non stop conversation over lunch for about five years.

John Marsden, Australian YA author par excellence, really found his stride with these books which have gone on to sell nearly as many copies as the Bible in Australia.

Marsden, who had always been quite cautious of TV or film adaptions, has finally given the nod and the first film will be released in September.

The Australian film industry probably deals with the same issues many small to medium size entertainment industries do ( e.g - lack of international exposure and limited budget) but with such a well known series there will be an unusually high level of exposure.

This is helped by fans of the teenage series writing about it in their adult blogs.

Tomorrow When The War Began has an offical website - http://www.twtwb.com/ with a trailer and a few sneak peeks.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Surrounded by water

Work has been quite busy so I jumped  at the opportunity to take a road trip over the weekend. Alice Springs is a great place to be at the moment because it isn't scorching hot (yet) and there aren't the distractions of home. Just me , work and writing ( and the camera of course.)

These photos from the West MacDonnell National Park which begins on the edge of town. 

All around Alice Springs the rivers and waterholes are teeming with life. Ducks are quacking about here in the normally dry centre of the continent. Unlike most places, the water does not drain out into the ocean, it just sits around creating these temporary lakes.

Very brave kids out paddling in a tiny inflatable raft in Ellery waterhole.

The Ochre Pits were used by the Aboriginal people to decorate themselves for ceremonies and also to trade all across Australia. I love the wave effect, bending across the rock like a river.