Monday, September 22, 2014

Charlie's Ramblings: Brisbane Writers Festival Part 3


Part 3

Saturday 6th September 2014
 Saturday was an interesting day.  For me it consisted of 4 panels/discussions with at least two Authors books I'd read and a number of new authors that had sounded interesting.

John Pickrell
Picture from Goodreads
Laini Taylor
Picture from Goodreads.
Robert Edeson
Picture from Goodreads

First up was Unnatural Creatures with Robert Edeson, John Pickrell and Laini Taylor.  I wasn't sure what I expected with these panels but it sure was interesting.

Just in case you didn't know these Authors.  John Pickrell has written Flying Dinosaurs and is the current Editor in Chief in National Geographic.  Laini Taylor is the Author of  Lips Touch and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy.  Robert Edeson is the author of Weaver Fish.  Unfortunately I hadn't read John Pickrell or Robert Edeson but it was good to see them talk about their books and answer the questions.

Unlike last year I actually took notes this year.  It's helped me remember things but it also is good to go back through and flesh out the short note like bullet points in my notebook.  Which I guess I'm doing here.  Plus while doing this I guess I'm researching some of the answers they had given eg. the figurehead that Laini talks about in one of the questions asked.

First question up was a good one.  What is your favourite natural and unnatural creature?

Laini: Natural - Parasite.  This particular parasite gets inside a fishes mouth, cuts off the circulation of its tongue until it drops off, and pretty much lives as the fishes tongue.  Apparently the fish lives a normal happy "tongueless" life.  I was fascinated and a little grossed out by this pick but thought it was still quite amazing none the less :)
            Unnatural - Figureheads from the trilogy Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb.  I did a little bit of reading and am not 100% certain as I haven't read the books but these figureheads come alive after three generations of the ship owners die.  Pretty awesome really!

Robert: Natural - Butterfly. Beautiful
              Unnatural - Unicorn because they are gentle, pure and he did mention about adopting a unicorn which I thought was pretty out there and funny because he said it with such conviction you could almost believe it :)  I'm sorry it he really DID adopt one.

John: Natural  - Feathered dinosaur Microraptor.
           Unnatural - Minotaur

Tell us about your books

Robert: It was mentioned that he wrote it for himself and described the book as action/thriller/crime story.  Woke up and his first chapter came to him, etc.

John: He was interested in dinosaurs as a kid.  He went to uni and became a journalist.. Learnt more than he had about dinosaurs.  Fossils in China - Impressive fine grained volcanic ash which preserved things and revealed fangs and features.

Laini: It was a bit spontaneous.  Was supposed to be doing something else.  She was struggling to try and write and then it came to her: Art student arguing with her father who wasn't human .. and a picture of ram horns.  The more she delved the more details arose eg. a Dealer in teeth - she wasn't sure at the time what the significance of teeth were etc.

What in the real world inspired the conceived ideas

Laini: Chimaera - Creating whole tribes out of disparate parts.

Robert: Weaver fish are a social fish, how they live in groups. We underestimate the intelligence of animals etc.

John:  There is a fictional element to that.  Went to living birds and how they lived to paint the fictional picture.  Look at the things like a griffin, dragon, cyclops.  It was easy to understand these mythological creatures when looking at the fossils.  The cyclops could have easily been an elephant because of the trunk not being present in the fossils giving off a cyclops look to the fossil (The words weren't exact to that but you get my gist.)

What is the truth?

Constructing the truth.  Extraordinary event.  Awakening to texts and phone calls of a global event.

Make it feel real.  Getting away with a lot in fiction.  We are jaded as humans.  What would you think?  If godzilla walked down the street.  What would it take for you to believe it is real.  The way movies are going these days with special effects and what not what would it take?

Dreams.  Inherent Dreams.

Robert: Dreams should be an object of scientific explanation.

Laini: Dreams of peace, better way of living .

Robert:  Dream and imagination - I actually missed what he said.

Scientific and Creative Writing.

Laini was quite fascinated by science but happy she didn't have to prove things.
Robert said the border between the two was paradigm.  Different constraints and different rules.
John had said there was an important role between the two.

It was an interesting chat!!  Hopefully I have deciphered my bullet points as accurately as I remember.

A Mad and Wonderful Thing by Mark Mulholland

Picture from
This was an interesting discussion.  It was mostly of Mark talking about his book and relating to current issues of the world to the story of Johnny in A Mad and Wonderful Thing and how he dedicated his life to the revenge of the ten t
hat were lost in the hunger strike.  A story of why boys go to war.  Their Us vs them thinking.

The question pops up of "When is it right to kill?" Which the character ponders alot on.

Boys simplify things down into a box, when it's really not that simple.  He explains about Bob being the external imagination of Johnny. And the job as a writer to present a conflicting story.

Does the end justify the means?
Johnny sees religion as the reflection of man.  Traditional irish music is a big part of their culture (Celtic music) and how they relate to one another.

It was an interesting talk that he gave and I mostly sat back and listened more so than making notes.

Girt by David Hunt
Picture from Goodreads
I hadn't read his book Girt but went out and bought this one straight away.  He was a chirpy and friendly kind of guy.

He spoke of our history as wonderfully absurd.  I had to I had started reading some of Girt and he brings these characters more to life than any of the history lessons I'd ever been to could do.  I actually wanted to learn of Australian History.

I found this discussion quite entertaining and enjoyed ever bit of it!!

Running from Danger with James Phelan, Lauren Beukes and Peter Docker.

Peter Docker
Picture from Goodreads
James Phelan
Picture from his website
Lauren Beukes

I enjoyed listening to all three writers in Running from Danger.

Their books that they were promoting were as follows:
Sweet Ones by Peter Docker
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
The Spy by James Phelan

My notes are all over the place with this one so I hopefully can try and put them together as best I can.

One of the first things that jumps out when all three of the authors are talking is that Peter Docker was mentored by Tim Winton.  I'm not sure if this is a known fact but I still found this to be pretty awesome.
It's always cool to hear whether the author knows their endings or whether they plan to the end.  Both Lauren and James more or less plot and know their endings but Peter doesn't.  He says that he never knows his endings.  His writing style is write big and cut down.  Write from the gut.. from the heart and do the grammar and technical stuff later.  If it doesn't advance the plot or narration then it needs to go.
In other words too, it has to do something with the story or show something about the character.

James Phelan writes fast but edits slow.  It takes alot to make writing seem easy.

Lauren felt more comfortable writing third person for her book Broken Monsters, because it is close to the characters but can use more than one viewpoint of the scene.

Peter explains that most of the criticism of his book is from "white fellas"s not the aboriginal community.

This last one was a bit all over the place.  It was hard to really construct an easy readthrough of this so I've just put it down how I wrote it.

There was fair bit of interesting info in all the talks and I took away alot from each of the Authors I went to see.

Looking forward to Brisbane Writers Festival next year and what it will bring!

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