I know it’s traditional for KSP Writers-in-Residence to work on a single piece of writing while they’re at the Centre, but a modern writer’s career doesn’t always allow for such a leisurely approach. As I’m only here for two weeks and I’m a full-time writer, I need to use my time in the most optimal fashion. So, as at home, I’ve been working on multiple projects.
KSP, in offering these residencies, is participating in an old and diminishing tradition: patronage of the Arts. Sadly, the days are long gone when queens, kings, dukes, princes and popes kept writers, artists and musicians fed so they could concentrate on making Art. On creating something unique to leave behind.
What is KSP helping me to leave behind? Before I read this list, I want to assure the other writers in the room that there is no reason for them to be terrified or intimidated – I write very quickly and make very, very ugly drafts. I write quickly and edit slowly, devoting my time to the editing phase, to crafting. I’m a writer who needs a first draft – brain vomit though it might be, ugly though it might be – before I can begin the business of making my work beautiful. In the words of Kevin J. Anderson, a very highly paid writer of Star Wars franchise novels, “You can crap, you can’t edit nothing.”
So, what have I been doing at KSP?
I finished proofing the galley of a collection coming out in the US this year, A Feast of Sorrows: Stories.
I finished writing a collection of short stories coming out in the UK this year, Winter Children and Other Chilling Tales.
I’ve written ten blog posts as part of the promotion of my forthcoming novel, Vigil; said posts number about ten thousand words all together.
I’ve written 10,000 new words on a new novel, Restoration, which is due to the publisher in March next year.
I’ve been working on the edits for the novel Corpselight, which comes out in July 2017.
I’ve worked on pitches for TV shows based on my collections, Sourdough and Bitterwood.
I’ve finished, edited and submitted one story of four thousand words.
I’ve finished three especially ugly drafts of three new short stories.
So, you can see how valuable this time at KSP has been for me.
Now, once again, I know it’s traditional for the writer-in-residence to read from the new work at this literary dinner. Obviously, having told you how ugly my first drafts are, that will not be happening tonight! Instead, I plan to read a story from this collection, The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, which won a World Fantasy Award last year for Best Collection. The important thing about this is that it made me one of only eight Australians to win this award in forty-five years – you’ll all be pleased to note that three of the other past winners are Western Australians: Jonathan Strahan, Alisa Krasnostein and Shaun Tan.
The particular tale I’m reading tonight is “The Badger Bride”, which was short-listed for the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story in 2014, and I hope you all enjoy it.
5 July 2016
List of Articles for Writers:
Despatches from KSP – Day One: Letting Go of Writing Fetishes
Despatches from KSP – Day 7: Rejections
Despatches from KSP – Day 11: Top Five Tops for Public Performance
Despatches from KSP – Day 14: How to Commit Critique
Top Five Tips for Believable Characters
Top Five Tips for Networking for Writers
Top Ten Tips for Curing Writer’s Block
Online Presence: Pros, Perils and Possibilities
On the Importance of Being Edited (and Editing) http://www.blog.marktbarnes.com/?p=171
QWC Help for Writers – you can access these even if you’re not a member. http://www.qwc.asn.au/resources/