To Have Fun
I don’t know about you, but I love to crack open the shell of the ordinary and write about whatever comes oozing through.
To Have a Voice
Not every one of my books or stories addresses a topical issue – far from it. I find that if I try to write to an issue my pen drops as dead as a vampire with a stake through its heart. But topics I care about have a way of slipping into my writing. They’re there, simmering at the back of my mind, till they boil and flow over into an idea that I can’t resist.
To Question Assumptions
I like my writing to challenge the assumptions of my readers, but I like it even more when it helps me to uncover and challenge my own assumptions. I wrote a picture book about a family evacuating ahead of a bushfire. I put the father in the driver’s seat in the initial draft. In the second (or perhaps it was the third) draft I asked myself why I had done that. Men and women are equally capable of driving. I handed Mum the keys.
To Keep Learning
I think there’s always more to learn about writing itself. Some resources I love include Girl and Duck and Writing Excuses. But my education as a writer strays into fields far from the art of writing. Some things I’ve recently researched for the sake of stories are: the diet of sea turtles, predicted sea level rises, imaginary friends in older children, the reign of Queen Marie Antoinette, attire and lifestyle on the Aussie Goldfields, prawning, Ancient Roman Baths, Australian Megafauna… I could go on. I love delving into different fields and writing keeps the questions coming. I believe as a writer it’s important to get your facts as straight as you can, which is great, because it means that as long as I write, I’ll never stop learning.
To Remember and Reflect
Even though I mainly write speculative fiction, a step (or a mile) removed from the ordinary, my life experiences come seeping through. Putting them on paper lets me see them in different ways. I become both the psychologist and the patient.