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INTRODUCTION: The Young Writers' Handbook (1993) by Stuart Glover

INTRODUCTION: The Young Writers' Handbook (1993) by Stuart Glover

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Published by: stuart glover's warehouse on Feb 27, 2011
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1
“Introduction”:
The Young Writers’ Handbook
 
 
By Stuart Glover
   Not even the 700 days the Indian elephant spends in embryo comes closeto matching the time most writers spend in incubation. Writers can (andoften do) grow old trying to crack the big time. A fist full of the fortunateand talented might enjoy early success. Other contenders will toil on toachievement in later life when they are sage, wrinkled, and
look
more likewriters. Most will give up and pursue other ends such as golf or amateurzoology. It is little known that Greg Norman has a bunker load of youngadult fiction manuscripts that you couldn't throw a Mashie Niblick over.The British Open was easier.In the competitive publishing and theatre worlds there are few consolations for the young writer. One is that you can remain a youngwriter for pretty much your whole career. Janette Turner Hospital wasdescribed as "one of Canada's finest young authors" at the age of forty-eight. Bob Ellis is still described as the
enfant terrible
of Australianwriting at a stage in life where he combs his remaining hair from one ear
 
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to the other and pens reflective films about childhood. So while theIndian elephant makes a reluctant (and I imagine exhausting) entry intothe world after nearly two years in the insensate luxury of the womb, theyoung writer, impatient, prays for his or her moment of arrival.The challenges for the young writer are many and ritual. There isthe decision to be a writer. There is the unforgiving moment when onemust actually put pen to paper or byte to screen. There is the offering upof completed work to publishers, dramaturges, and producerswho seemto have no interest in the genus
homopaedoscribus
. There is rejection: ametronomic feature in the lives of most young writers. There is thenavigation of the glum world of literary politics, where you will needgreater resources than a Masonic handshake and, as Clare Forster puts it,"an elephant's hide". Finally, there is the uncomfortable reconciliation of one's buffle-headed ego with the sufferance of poison pen criticism. Only masochistsbless themwill find this kind of life rewarding.There are, however, ways to make it easier. This collection of papers, the result of a public forum organized by Arts Queensland withthe assistance of the Queensland Writers' Centre, is shaped to that end.Out of the mouths of relative babesVenero Armanno, Valerie Foley,Clare Forster and Gavin Sawfordcomes valuable advice about how bestto meet the above challenges.Venero's story is one of perseverance and talent rewarded. Veny'ssecond book and first novel,
The Lonely Hunter,
will be published by Picador in late 1993. The sophistication of this work is understandableafter you read about Veny's decade of trial and error in the world of proseand film writing. After ten years of toil he is an overnight success: shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award for
Jumping at the Moon
, a recipient of State Government grants for film and novel projects, and a signatory to amulti-book deal from Picador that will see out the Millennium
athousand-year-write
.Valerie Foley's words are more cautious. Despite her success as a“main stage” playwright, theatre-in-education writer, radio personality and theatre worker, she warns the young and hopeful to develop otherskills besides writing. The career path for young writers is uncertain. Youcan emerge full blown into the national spotlight, like Tim Winton orKate Grenville, but this is the exception. More likely, you will findyourself surrendering personal writing ambitions to look for paying work.

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