5 Signs You’re a Method Writer

Method writer is a term adapted from ‘method actor’, performers who research, study and live the lifestyle of their character. A method writer immerses themselves so deeply into their novel that they sometimes lose touch with reality. Do you relate to one or more of the following signs? Then you might be a method writer.

The Method Writer

1. Reading Material

You sort your bookshelves into project groups rather than genre or author. I have a section for The Costume Maker, filled with any relevant reads on gypsies, fairies, Shakespeare, sewing manuals and YA or fantasy writing guides, with another section for Warracknabeal, featuring noir crimes, country living, horse racing, books set in the late 1930s and young boy adventure stories. No one else can find books in your house, because they don’t understand the connection between the maths textbook and the romances. While working on your manuscript, you only read books that relate to your setting, genre or characters. You could be a method writer.method writer tactics

2. Viewing Choices

Your family is sick of watching the same kind of film every movie night. Or worse, watching the same film over and over (unless it’s Casablanca, that never gets old). You can easily spot a method writer by checking out their Netflix list.

3. Holiday Destinations

Your vacation spots are chosen for your setting. If you’re a fantasy writer, you’ll probably go visiting castles, or somewhere with lots of museums if you’re writing a historical novel, or perhaps you drag your partner along on a singles cruise for ‘research’ for your romance story. There’s probably more than one sci-fi method writer who put their name down for a one-way mission to Mars.

4. Strange Trivia

You suddenly become an expert on weird stuff. You’ll bore all those around you with tidbits on the intricate differences between kitchen graters and their purposes, when you’ve never so much as boiled an egg before, all because your main character is a chef. You might freak out the parents of your children’s friends by knowing the most effective torture methods to prolong death. If you’re this kind of method writer, remember to delete your browser history from time to time.

5. Persona Change

Everything about you is different. You now dress like your character (sometimes under the guise of ‘cosplay’), eat all your character’s favourite foods and might even have picked up a mysterious accent. You’ve adopted your character’s catch phrases and mood swings. Do you have a Twitter account and tweet as your character? That’s a die hard method writer.being a method writer

So how about you? Are you a method writer?

Why you should include STEM in your children’s books

The Australian Government is investing money in schools to increase student engagement in STEM subjects.

So what is STEM?STEM in schools

Science

Technology

Engineering

Mathematics

We need to get kids enthused about these subjects again… but what has this to do with fiction?

Book Links (Qld) hosted a panel discussion on STEM in literature, and it was such an inspiration!

Andrew KingSTEM – ENGINEERING

Dr Andrew King, author of the Engibear books explained the need to encourage more kids, and especially more girls, into the area of engineering. Through his books he challenges kids to think about the planning and processes behind building grand structures such as bridges. Andrew’s books are big hit with primary school kids!

How can engineering fit into children’s fiction?

  • Designing gadgets for spy thrillers
  • Craft technology for travelling to Mars
  • 3D printing plans for producing characters from your story
  • Paper crafts for younger readers
  • Robots. I mean, who doesn’t want robots in their story?!

STEM – TECHNOLOGY

children's books dailyMegan Daley, teacher librarian and book reviewer at Children’s Books Daily, explained the intention and benefits to ‘make-a-space’ projects in schools. Even in early years of primary school, children are learning to code, to create working circuits and to design their own apps. Stories focused on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) are not just appealing to teachers and schools, but include a topic children are comfortable and familiar with. You can go a bit further than just including an iPone in your story, you could provide QR codes for them to scan, or secret coding instructions for them to follow.

STEM – SCIENCE

Sheryl GwytherFacts in fiction. Kids love to know how and why things happen. Sheryl Gwyther is passionate about science and this shows in much of her children’s fiction. Sheryl talked about the way you can see kids’ brains switch on when you engage them with a story filled with scientific facts. Her Pearson publication, Ali Berber and the Forty Grains of Salt explains this compound to children within an entertaining tale. With sciences being a key focus in STEM for schools, it’s a good idea to look at ways you could include this in your children’s fiction.

Hot Topics for Science in Fiction:

  • Mars
  • Genetics
  • Enhanced Greenhouse Effect
  • Evil chemistry – highly reactive elements
  • Newton’s Law
  • Explaining superhero powers

STEM – MATHS

mathsnovel.comWait a minute. How could you possibly include mathematics in fiction and still make it fun? Associate Professor at QUT, Michael Milford, doesn’t just think it can be done, he’s produced a great example! Over at MathNovel.com, Michael introduces us to his exciting new series of thrillers that include maths puzzles in each chapter. I’ve already started reading, and I LOVE this. In chapter two, I actually pulled out a calculator to check the calculations. This sort of fiction will have kids so involved in the story and learning and practicing maths at the same time!

These thrillers are aimed at the older high school kids, but there’s no reason books aimed at middle grade or even picture books couldn’t include puzzles within the story.

Are you inspired to include STEM elements in your fiction now? Not only will you be turning kids onto important technologies for their future, but you’ll also open up your market to possibly include schools. What types of STEM topics appeal to you? I’d love to hear, how about some ideas in the comments?

Writing Scary Stories Workshop

writing workshop queenslandIf you like writing scary stories, prefer a twist of the macabre, or want to find out how to create and publish horror, come along to the following Gondor Writers’ Centre for an intense, two day workshop.

Writing Scary Stories

Crank up the tension and suspense in your horror writing. Whether you write fun, spooky tales for kids, gothic ghost stories for teens, or gory horror for adults, there are essential elements to every good scary story.

Learn how to plan, plot and create suitably spooky settings, creepy characters and suspenseful situations for a story to rival Lovecraft. You’ll also find out where the best markets are for Writing Scary Storiespublishing your scary stories. Everything you need for writing scary stories in one weekend.

Dates: AUGUST 8th & 9th

To celebrate the new writing centre, this weekend workshop is available at a VERY SPECIAL PRICE!

Usually $160:

JUST $100!

To Book: Call Gondor Writers’ Centre on 07 54 981 332

Or get more information at: www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops.html

Gondor Writers' CentreGondor Writers’ Centre is located in the lovely hinterland between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast at Kilcoy. Just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane and you’ll be writing in a spectacularly serene setting — perfect for a writers’ group getaway! Why not make it a special treat and book the weekend package. Elaine and Ron, Gondor’s hosts, will take care of all your accommodation booking needs.

The classes will be small and intimate, and you’ll get a lot of direct help from Charmaine when planning and crafting your story.

Here’s what we cover in Writing Spooky Stories:

Saturday:

  • Introductions — What fiction do you write or read? Get to know you classmates
  • What is horror? — The genre and its subgenres
  • Time management — Your writing time — Activity
  • Planning — Where to start. Covers character, setting, conflict, ideas, and identifying readers.
  • Plotting — Activity
  • Story inclusions — Elements of horror
  • Story Structure — Polishing that outline — Activity
  • Opening Hooks — Activity
  • Drafting your story — Activity

Sunday:

  • Your writing — Sharing your outlines or stories for feedback
  • Redrafting — Checking your structure at scene level — Activity
  • Editing — Tips for tightening your story — Activity
  • Elevator Pitch — Promoting your story — Activity
  • Markets — Publishing your stories
  • Support — How to find beta readers, critiques or writing buddies
  • Business of Writing — Activity
  • Q&A