Saturday, 16 December 2017

Australian Twist on a Classic Christmas Story

'Twas the night before Christmas; there wasn't a sound. 
Not a possum was stirring; no-one was around.
We'd left on the table some tucker and beer,
Hoping that Santa Claus soon would be here;

We children were snuggled up safe in our beds,
While dreams of pavlova danced 'round in our heads;
And Mum in her nightie, and Dad in his shorts,
Had just settled down to watch TV sports.

When outside the house a mad ruckus arose;
Loud squeaking and banging woke us from our doze.
We ran to the screen door, peeked cautiously out,
Snuck onto the deck, then let out a shout.

Guess what had woken us up from our snooze,
But a rusty old Ute pulled by eight mighty 'roos.
The cheerful man driving was giggling with glee,
And we both knew at once who this plump bloke must be.

Now, I'm telling the truth it's all dinki-di,
Those eight kangaroos fairly soared through the sky.
Santa leaned out the window to pull at the reins,
And encouraged the 'roos, by calling their names.

'Now, Kylie! Now, Kirsty! Now, Shazza and Shane!
On Kipper! On, Skipper! On, Bazza and Wayne!
Park up on that water tank. Grab a quick drink,
I'll scoot down the gum tree. Be back in a wink!'

So up to the tank those eight kangaroos flew,
With the Ute full of toys, and Santa Claus too.
He slid down the gum tree and jumped to the ground,
Then in through the window he sprang with a bound.

He had bright sunburned cheeks and a milky white beard.
A jolly old joker was how he appeared.
He wore red stubby shorts and old thongs on his feet,
And a hat of deep crimson as shade from the heat.

His eyes - bright as opals - Oh! How they twinkled!
And, like a goanna, his skin was quite wrinkled!
His shirt was stretched over a round bulging belly
Which shook when he moved, like a plate full of jelly.

A fat stack of prezzies he flung from his back,
And he looked like a swaggie unfastening his pack.
He spoke not a word, but bent down on one knee,
To position our goodies beneath the yule tree.

Surfboard and footy-ball shapes for us two.
And for Dad, tongs to use on the new barbeque.
A mysterious package he left for our Mum,
Then he turned and he winked and he held up his thumb;

He strolled out on deck and his 'roos came on cue;
Flung his sack in the back and prepared to shoot through.
He bellowed out loud as they swooped past the gates-
MERRY CHRISTMAS to all, and goodonya, MATES!'

Sunday, 10 December 2017

More on Language and Writing

I recently posted a blog titled As Writers, Do We Need to be Perfect with our Language All the Time?
Continuing on from that blog, there is another aspect of provincial or regional writing I am covering here and would really like your input.

As authors our target market is world-wide but those us that live in a country not dominant in the publishing world (in my case Australia) we often have our own set of problems communicating with readers.

Although we speak English, we have our own jargon and slang. Readers may also not be familiar with our cities and towns, geography or landmarks.

One particular area that varies around the world is weights and measures. UK and Australia use metric while the USA use the imperial measurements and, in some cases, these can vary from those previous used in UK etc.

In the case of the book I am writing, the life of the lady who is the subject of the biography spans 1928 to 2002. During that time Australia converted from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency and from imperial measurements to metric. It is similar in Europe with the conversion to Euro.
So, dear readers, here are my questions:

Does slang and jargon need to be written in an ‘international’ way or does that lose the uniqueness of place and people.
Should we provide maps and images containing information about the scene of the story? Are descriptive passages enough? Or should we leave it to the reader to search out unfamiliar information.

Do we just use the terms we are familiar with or do we add explanations such as conversions tables, footnotes and appendices? 

Does the importance of attention to this detail apply more to non fiction than fiction?

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Writers love it when you tell them you like what they do!

In the world of writing there are very few who make a full time living from their craft. We enjoy our craft and love to share our thoughts, dreams and imagination with others. There is nothing better to keep a writer motivated than positive feedback – even constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.

There are many ways you can show your appreciation to an author. Here are some ideas: 

Don’t be shy, simply tell the author.
  • Send them a letter or an email.  
  • Send them a message via their Facebook page or website. 
  • Sign up for their newsletter or blog if they have one.
If you are on social media then use your favourite source to tell the world.

  • Tweet your appreciation.
  • Post your appreciation on Facebook.
  • Take a photo of the cover and stick on Instagram.
  • Pin the book on Pinterest.
  • Post it on Tumblr.
  • Promote via your social media tribe.
Blog about it. If you are a blogger I am sure you appreciate positive feedback on your work. Why not do the same for the author of a book you have enjoyed by posting a review or a writing a blog about the author.

Review it. There are several websites that have a good following by readers wanting to read reviews of books they are considering purchasing. Amazon, Goodreads and LibraryThing are the main ones. Many writers also have an author’s page on Amazon and Goodreads where you can follow them and give feedback.

Tell your family and friends

  • Recommend the book to your friends.
  • Suggest that your local book club reads the book.
  • Post a link to the book on one of your ‘Read & Recommend’ Facebook Groups.
Do you write reviews on the books you have enjoyed?