Twenty beautifully crafted stories…
Twenty sets of images ….
Congratulations to the twenty fabulous authors whose stories grace our volume. We are delighted to have your work as part of Gold Coast Anthology: Undertow. Here is the list of authors and their stories in the order of contents:
Gold Coast Anthology – Undertow
‘Tales from outside the flags’
- Betsy Roberts No Lime Ice-Cream
- Rebecca Fraser Coralesque
- Paul Garrety Last Day at Elephant Rock
- Tom Betts The Lions in Autumn
- David Stringer Three Wishes
- Di Morris The Clearing
- Kathleen Bleakley Frangipanis
- Britt Melville That Girl No More
- Elli Housden Snapper Rocks
- Janis Hanley Pulped Fiction
- S. Elliot Brandis Empty Calories
- Penner Choinski In the End
- S. G. Larner Paradise Drowned
- J.S. Choinski Deliver Me
- Jane Downing Duck
- Jocelyn Hawes Dear Sam
- Kay Gibb War Bride
- Tara Calaby Breath
- Thoraiya Dyer Jumpinpin
- Nicola Tierney The Ghosts of our Ancestors
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who sent stories in during the subscription period. There were many, many great stories, and unfortunately there could only be twenty in this volume.
While you are here, did your see the anthology’s great cover art by Shauna O’Meara?
Sure you want to venture outside the flags?
You might get caught …
Wanna look inside ?
Stunning artwork by Shauna O’Meara
Much has been happening behind the scenes since the anthology editing was completed. Typesetters have typeset, proofers have proofed – authors have poured over their galleys.
We even have a brand new website – you’ll find us at PranaWriters.com. All is ready to go.
So, we are pleased to announce the title of our wonderful volume – a collection of 20 stories inspired by photos of the Gold Coast ….
Gold Coast Anthology:
And to match this suspenseful title, we have the stunning cover art by the talented Shauna O’Meara
Want to see how it transforms into a book cover?
We are all beavering away on the submissions – and our editors a busy reading, and rereading. Only a few weeks away until the shortlist is done and authors are notified.
Being a numbers girl, I couldn’t resist the urge to delve into the statistics around the photos short story submitters selected (I’m a sad case,I know). I promise you this is not a completely boring blog, and there is only one graph.
When we set up the site, the photos were organised into 10 different categories. We aimed to offer authors 100 photos, to give a good range of topics and subjects. We uploaded 114 photos, and here’s how they were allocated out category wise.
Beach 32, Events 10, Forest 9, Entertainment 14, Structures 12, Kids 4, Action 13, Work 10, Animals 5, Art 5
By far the most popular category for authors was Beach.Â Not surprising given that it is the Gold Coast.Â There could also be a chicken and egg thing going on here – there were more beach photos to choose from, so you would expect there would be more beach photos selected. But then beach is so firmly embedded in our culture, even if we aren’t all surfies. Our Forest category was the next bestÂ represented with stories, followed by Events.
Looking at the pie chart to the right (click on it for a closed look), you can see that 51% of the stories are about our natural environment – beach or forest. The natural landscape does define a lot about who we are.Â If you did this in other Australian cities would that still be the case?Â Or is that a feature of more Regional Cities – Darwin, Canberra and the like?Â What would a Sydney,Â Melbourne or Brisbane profile look like?Â Is it simply about what we did as kids, and then what we do with our own kids?
The column graph left (click to enlarge) compares the number of photos authors selected in each category (green) with the number in that category’s photo set (blue). Did I say only one graph? This one’s a bonus!
But most importantly, the photo blue ribbon for most popular shotÂ goes to Beach 15, the View from Rainbow bay looking across the Coral sea, a lone surfer in the ocean, with Surfers in the background, C. 1990. There’s that surfer theme! The photographer was Ray Sharpe – a well known local and a professional photographer. And, here it is!
The second most popular photo is the image of kids and lorikeets at Currumbin, c.1980, photographer unknown.There you have it – still awake?Â Many of the photos were selected by more than one author. It’s so interesting to see the different stories one photo can inspire.
Overall, I feel we did pretty well with the selection. We are very grateful to Kyla Stephan and the staff at Gold Coast council’s Local Studies library for there assistance on this. My next mission is to look at the photo preference by genre – need to delve a bit further for that one!
So many questions come to mind as I look at the data.
- How do you think we went with the photos we offered for authors?
- In which categories would you liked to have seen more photos?
- Did we miss any categories ?
- Would you have liked to see more contemporary photos?
- Was there a specific sort of photo you were looking for …. If only they had a photo of this?
LetÂ us know your thoughts as a comment – either on this blog, Facebook, or a Tweet!
As part of our grant application process we needed letters of support. One of the people who provided a lovely letter for us was Kathy Stewart at Gold Coast Writers Workshops. GCWW is an initiative that began this year. They are offering writers’ workshops with people like Louise Cusack, a wonderful writing teacher. She was Prana Writers’ original mentor! If it seems like a small writing world, that’s because we’re developing a bigger and stronger writers’ network.
Supporting each other is a great way to amplify our efforts as a writing community. So it gives me great pleasure to share information about GCWW’s next hands-on masterclass with Tim Ferguson on 10th August, at Burleigh.
“It should be a fun day – in fact, I think it’s guaranteed to be a fun day!” Kathy said. She enjoyed listening to Tim at last year’s Gold Coast Writers Festival. “Tim Ferguson is Australia’s only comedy-writing teacher so we’re really privileged to have him here on the Gold Coast…I can’t wait to learn from him again.”
Tim will share his original techniques to create jokes, stories and comic characters in a course suitable for beginners and professionals.
Here are the details. Click below if you would like to book.
Presenter: Tim Ferguson
Topic: Write Comedy Now
Time: 9.45 am to 4.00 pm
Date: Saturday 10 August 2013
Place: Fradgley Hall, above Burleigh Heads Library, corner Park Avenue and Connor Street, Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Cost: $145 which will include light refreshments
Free parking is available in the Burleigh Heads Library car park.
Gold Coast Writers’ Workshops have more workshops and opportunities coming up, including a short story competition open now. So check out their website, too!
It might arise that we have two or more stories written from the same photo. That is absolutely fine. It’s wonderful to see the different creative output that arises from the same stimulus.
I’ve done many free writing exercises as part of group sessions with Prana Writers and it’s always wonderful to hear how different our creative output is, even when we start with the same inspiration.
I think this phenomenon makes creative people more comfortable about sharing their ideas, too. It seems quite rare that the same idea appeals to two people so much that they would want to spend time working on it. And even if they did, they would almost certainly take it in different directions and use different styles.
At our Prana Writers’ meeting on the weekend we talked about how we were going with writing our stories. We all seem to have chosen different photos to work from. We are feeling some pressure to come out with some really good work.
Enjoy your writing!
We’ve been pretty pleased with the stats on our website. Since the site launched we have received 3,454 hits. Our best ever day saw 357 visits, and we are currently averaging 93 hits per day. This is the first week our site has dipped below 100 hits per day.
The most interesting thing is how our visitors are finding their way to the site. The pie chart shows our referrals. Facebook sends twice the traffic our way over any other source. Google searches, Twitter and links from other websites are pretty well neck and neck at 20% each.
We currently have 118 likes on our Facebook page, and at times our reach is up around the 500 mark. Twitter is slowly gaining followers, with currently 106 following.
We set up Twitter and Facebook pages two months ago. The website has been up for 5 weeks. Here’s hoping this all translates into story submissions and later on sales of the anthology. We thought we’d share these statistics with you — they may be helpful for your own project.
The process of photograph selection included the offer to all Prana Writer members to browse the Public Collection of the Local Studies Library and select around ten photographs each. We submitted requests for around a hundred and fifty photos to the Local Studies Library. Most were approved.
Some of the photos we could not use were of Indigenous people and artefacts, of both local and Pacific Island origin.
We could not use these images because Indigenous peoples want the opportunity to tell their own stories about themselves and their culture. However, I hope that Aboriginal writers can find inspiration in the other photos.
We’ve had a few questions about whether the stories need to be set in an historic context. The answer is, only if you want it to be. Any time, and any genre goes – just connect with the image in some way. I had a bit of a play with this photo at Dip Crossing …
‘I know it’s full on fancy dress, but don’t you think hiring a horse and sulky is going a bit far?’
‘I’d heard the rumours that they were aliens – been here a hundred years. There’s evidence apparently.’
‘Did they really think the oversized images adorning the toilets would stop their night time sport? He shook the can and scrawled an F. The U dribbled black onto the white dresses. See what the tourists make of that.’
‘Not much longer, and they could return to their own time. Kylie couldn’t wait to move and breath freely once more without the constant jabs of an ill fitted corset.’
‘The Dip road bridge held none of the romance of the wooden remnants beside it that mark the old crossing for sulkies.’
‘Lady Penelope looked disdainfully at the puddle that surrounded them and waved her communication device around to get a signal. They’d never make it to the Coolangatta steam train now.’Â
‘The librarian peered at the image on the screen. She zoomed in on rump of the cow to identify the brand. Seemed the thievery had a long history. ‘
‘The war had just ended. Merle and Edith were on their way to the big do at the Wallaby. Damned horse, it’d always been bloody stubborn.’
‘That’s the original, and,’ he clicked on the image behind.Â ‘See there? – see how it’s been photoshopped. Â That’s our Sarah alright.’
‘Sometimes the world was just too frantic and out of control. Constant texts and tweets demanded his attention, not to mention the calls. Peter wanted to curl up in a ball and plunge into the pastoral scene that kept recurring in his dreams. He wanted to return to that offline existence of slow journeys, white muslin dresses, and time to watch the clouds drift past.’
I want to go there too I think! Â The photo itself or the exact scene doesn’t need to be a part of the story itself – but it can be. In the last example with Peter, the image inspired a dream sequence of a time when things were slower. Or with the Dip Road bridge example – the photo just marks a place for the story. The people and animals in the photos might be characters – or not. You might choose to hone in on a particular object – like the brand on the cow (not sure there is a brand on that cow). And, as depicted above, your story can be any genre of your choosing, including crime, romance, steam punk, time travel, comedy, historic, the various forms of speculative fiction.
So, play with the images – turn them over in your mind. See what they become … surprise us with your story.
What story does this photo suggest for you? Â Share it with us in a comment.