In the week leading up to the SCBWI conference, Tasmanian SCBWI members enjoyed a very successful and inspirational dinner meeting at the Hope and Anchor tavern in Hobart. Our guest speaker was Lian Tanner, author of The Keepers Trilogy and The Hidden Series. Total attendance, including members and non-members, was a whopping sixteen.
Lian spoke eloquently about the quest of writing a book and the complementary roles of inspiration and craft – explaining the writer’s need to carry not only a magic sword and a talking cat, but also a map, a bottle of water and a pair of clean underpants for those moments when the magic fails. She discussed her own experience of creating a main character who was disappointingly perfect and boring, while a ‘bad’ minor character was feisty and full of truth. As part of our craft, we can ask a series of questions to get our work back on track. What does our character want, and how badly does she want it? What will she risk? What stands between her and her goal? And what are the consequences if she fails?
Amid dashes to the bar and sharing of food, an anonymous gold coin entry competition was held for writing the worst closing sentence of a children’s book, judged by Lian. All entries were honourably rotten, including the following gems:
And the dark and stormy night cleared up.
And as the sun sank I did too and no one saw the bubbles.
And he burped so ferociously that everyone’s hair curled upwards.
‘I don’t want to be a princess,’ she shrieked, and threw the crown on the marble floor, where it shattered into a million shards and the castle disappeared in a puff of smoke.
And so little friends that is why the punishment will always fit the crime so you must not question your elders and betters.
The winning entries were:
Then the ghost at the Hope and Anchor breathed into little Emily’s ear, ‘I wouldn’t have ordered the chicken if I were you.’ (Anne Morgan)
Bunny’s tiny eyelids fluttered like a pair of small moths, and Jake felt a feeling of relief because he realised that she wasn’t dead after all and everything was going to be all right and it had all been a great big fuss about nothing. (Gay McKinnon)
The feedback on Lian’s talk and the event was overwhelmingly positive, and a second event is planned with Christina Booth to talk on author marketing. We hope that new members will continue to join as a result of the events. Many thanks to Anne Morgan for her hard work in organising the evening and to Lian for sharing her insights.