Updates on Novels #1 and #2; Coming up on the blog; Writers in the Attic; Facebook Accountability Group; Books I've Read and Am Reading; What's On for Writers, including Perth Writers Festival; Giveaway Results.
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Hello Everyone,
Welcome to 2017!

A special hello to new subscribers, and thank you for signing up! I'm so excited about this year and everything that awaits—it's shaping up to be really special, and I hope you'll all enjoy the next few months as much as me.


It's been a while in coming—it seems that Allen and Unwin are publishing other books as well as mine this year—but the structural edits for my novel are due any day.

I'm on tenterhooks waiting for them—excited, but anxious, too. I can't wait to delve back into Ida and remind myself of her story. I haven't looked at her since the middle of last year, so it will be like reading her afresh! 

At the same time, I'm a wee bit anxious—no author I know likes the structural editing stage. I'm anticipating the edits will be extensive, and as I've already done a couple of rewrites—including the massive one last year that I'm sure left me with bald patches and ground-down teeth—I really don't want to go through that pain again, and this time with a deadline of only a month!

But of course I will, even if I have to pull a few all-nighters.

So, if I go quiet for a while, you'll know why, and please excuse me if I'm not as active on social media or email.


Just as I'm preparing to return to Novel #1, Novel #2 has decided to take off! I'm over 20,000 words in, and I'm thoroughly enjoying writing it. It's bears no resemblance to the story I told my agent about—a couple of key plot developments are yet to emerge, and I'm beginning to suspect they won't appear at all.

My plans for stories never work out and it befuddles me how other authors stick to theirs! My stories and characters go off on tangents that I want to explore and follow-up, and then I find these new storylines more interesting and exciting. It happened with Ida, and it's happening again with this new novel.

Imaginations, eh? They just won't behave themselves.


I wrote a blog post about 'My Writing Goals for 2017'. More importantly, it was about the changes I needed to make in order to achieve them. In 2016, I wasted too much valuable writing time, and I didn't want to repeat that this year. So, I worked out my weaknesses (yes, social media, I'm looking at you), set my goals, and just started.

Although it's only been a month, so far my new routine is working—as evidenced by the growing word count of Novel #2!




This is a bit of a teaser as I haven't posted this blog yet. I'm halfway through writing it, so I won't tell you what these three things are, but keep an eye out for the blog post in the next couple of days ...


After the fabulous response to Writers in the Attic last year, I'm keeping it going in 2017. Let me know if you're interested in writing for it by replying to this email or via the Contact page of my blog.

I’ll follow a similar format to last year: 600-1000 words on anything to do with writing: your writing life; what writing means to you; the things you love about writing; the things you struggle with. Or just follow your nose and see what you come up with! Readers (including myself) seem drawn towards personal stories about things all of us humans struggle with.

The attic is very welcoming and all writers, published or unpublished, fiction or non-fiction, and who write in any format—novelist, short story writer, blogger, journalist, copywriter—are welcome. It doesn't have to be lyrical prose—in fact, my favourites are those that just tell a simple, honest story. 

If I publish your essay, I'll send a $20 book voucher as a small thank you for your time and effort.


I'm sure most writers, if not all, will relate to this article, Writing Guilt by Scarlett Harris about the guilt writers feel when not actually writing.

It might even contain some quotes by me ...


Frederik Backman

At the beginning of this book, I felt a bit lost amongst the characters and made-up names of weird and wonderful lands, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I loved the eccentric characters, especially the wild-but-good-hearted grandmother, the precocious-and-wise-beyond-her-years Elsa, and the anally obsessive Britt-Marie, craving her husband's love. I also loved the theme—that being 'different' is something to celebrate. It was a wonderful and heartwarming read, with much wisdom on its pages.


Hanya Yanagihara

Oh. My. God! I'm going to need counselling to recover from reading this book. I got through the first 200 pages intact, but I'm up to the 400's now, and I'm reading it through my fingers because it's breaking my heart. It's unflinchingly told, and so, so sad, but one of the best insights into childhood trauma—the damage it does and its lifelong consequences. 

I want to take Jude and tell him he is good and none of it was his fault ...




I facilitate the Booklength Project Group (BLPG), which is exactly what its name suggests: a group for writers who are working on a lengthy project of any description. It doesn’t matter if it’s a novel, collection of short stories, a work of non-fiction or memoir, writers are welcome to come along for support and encouragement.

We meet on the third Sunday of each month at Mattie Furphy house, Allen Park, Swanbourne, to talk about our projects, the issues we're having, and listen to guest speakers. We start at 
10am and go for a couple of hours. The cost is $5 (FAWWA members) and $10 (non-members). Morning tea is provided.



Perth Writers Festival is on again this month, Feb 23-26. It's my favourite time of year, and even though it's always stinking hot and exhausting, somehow it's refreshing.

I'm excited to see Sebastian Barry and Jane Smiley on the list of international guests, as well as Richard Fiedler, Clementine Ford, Marieke Hardy, Peter Hellier, William McInnes, Carmel Bird, Toni Jordan, Hannah Kent, and Jay Kristoff. There are also local WA authors: Natasha Lester, Rashida Murphy, David Whish-Wilson, Julia Lawrinson, and 
many, many more!

For more information and bookings, click here.


Kill Your Darlings has announced a new award for unpublished authors of adult fiction and non-fiction. The best bit is that the winner will receive a $5000 cash prize and a mentorship with Rebecca Starford (non-fiction) or Hannah Kent (fiction).

Submissions opened 1 February 2017 and close on 31 March 2017. Click here for more information.




Building Tension in Your Novel: Conflict and Theme
Plot is not the same as the theme, and tension is not the same as conflict. Award-winning writer, Laurie Steed, will be running a workshop at the Peter Cowan Writers Centre on Saturday 25th March on building tension throughout your narrative through the use of foreshadowing, revelation and competing wants within the characters. 

For more details, click here.




Tess Woods' debut novel, 'Love at First Flight', hit the bookstores and bestseller charts with a bang last year. She'll be speaking about her novel and her path to publication at the Armadale Library next Thursday, 9th Feb at 6pm. For more details, click here

*Disclaimer: Tess Woods is one of my dearest writerly friends—go and have tea with her and you'll see why!


I've been thinking about setting up a closed Facebook group for writers to help each other reach their goals and complete their works-in-progress.

I've realised I'm more likely to achieve my goals if (a) I tell someone what they are, and (b) I'm then held accountable. So, I was thinking of setting up a group in which we could hold each other accountable. I thought we could check-in at the beginning of each 
week and state our goals, and then at the end, we'd check-in again and see how well we did.

It would be a group 
for writers who are good at goal-setting but not so good on the follow-through. We often need reasons to keep our writing a priority, because it can be hard when there are so many other competing, or more enjoyable, demands on our time.

This group would only be for those who are serious about completing their works-in-progress, and numbers would be limited or it would become unwieldy. If you're interested or would like more information, let me know via reply email. 


If you're wondering whether or not to get an agent for your manuscript, it's worth reading this detailed article, Do You Need A Literary Agent? The Definitive Pros and Cons, which gives a fair and balanced outlines of all the positives and negatives.

I think one of the main take home points is to do your research and then you won't get caught out by someone unscrupulous.

Gven that Procrastination has been one of the themes of my writing life lately, and of this newsletter, here are a few quotes on the subject:


As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It's a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. 



Writers can generate industrial quantities of procrastination before their first sonnet is rejected, or their first novel-outline-plus-sample-chapter is exorcised, burned and its ashes buried at sea. Are my pens facing north? Or magnetic north? What's that funny noise? Oh look, it's raining outside. My fingernails need cutting. I think my computer is going to break, better get it checked. Do I have toothache? Will I have toothache? The possibilities lend new meaning to the words eternity and purgatory.



There's only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that's a writer sitting down to write.



The winner of this month's prize is: Leonard Gould. Leonard, if you could email me and let me know your address, I can send the bookmark and soap onto you—you'll smell sweet as a rose!

Next month's prize is a beautiful book, 'Books I Have Read—Books I Want to Read'. It's illustrated with decorated papers from the Olga Hirsch collection, and also has quotes from writers and famous people. It's so exquisite, you might not want to defile it by writing in it!
I hope February is productive, don't forget to email me about Writers in the Attic or the Accountability Group if you're interested, and I hope to see some of you at the Writers Festival.

Until next month,

Louise x
Copyright © 2017 Louise Allan, All rights reserved.

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