Category Archives: Spiders Group

Posts in this category pertain to my Sydney writing group.

Spiders Camp 2012

The Tree House, where Spiders Camp is being held this year.

I am excited. Quite excited actually. My writing group has arranged a little writing retreat at Pearl Beach this weekend. The landscape is gorgeous, the house we have rented is amazing, and I have all these brainstorming plans I want to put in to action.

I want to deconstruct a story I started writing a few years ago, and plan how to rewrite it. I don’t usually do in-depth plans, but I also end up going on long involved tangents as I write. I want to use this time to see if I can tame this habit of mine. I bought an A3 notebook, I’ve packed my coloured pens, and I’ve been trying to find all my notebooks with scraps of the story in it (I lost the original at one time so I continued in a different book). I know most of my friends will be working on their laptops or tablets, but I don’t have that luxury. I enjoy writing by hand, but it does make it harder to edit or change around parts of the story. I do plan to buy an Android tablet soon so I can start typing up all my bits and pieces, but until I do my tax return it isn’t likely to happen. I’ve been to Queensland five or six times in less than a year, and have another trip (the last one for quite some time!) planned for November – it sadly put a bit of a dampener on my plans to buy a laptop or tablet by November. So, I’ll continue writing and planning and editing the good old fashion way! I’m a stationery slut, so it gives me excuses to buy amazing pens and pretty notebooks 😉

Our Spiders Camp is in its second year. Last year it was in The Blue Mountains. I had just quit my previous job and wasn’t able to attend. This year it is at Pearl Beach in Broken Bay. I’m quite excited, because it backs onto the Brisbane Waters National Park. Most people would shrug and say it was pretty, but I am quite excited for its personal significance. I grew up on 40 acres backing onto the Brisbane Waters National Park before my family moved up to the Darling Downs. My first six or so years were spent playing in its creeks, riding over its hills and looking for fox kits and lyre birds in its ferny valleys. We used to go yabbying in the creek, swimming, exploring, and canoeing. It was quite idyllic. I wouldn’t change any part of it for the world. My family has been living on the Central Coast for more than 150 years, I say more than, because we also have aboriginal blood, and my heritage in that area spreads further back into the untraceable past than the history books go. Everywhere I go between the Woy Woy/Gosford region up to the Hunter Valley has little family stories attached to it. Some of the are as banal as ‘your auntie’s brother’s wife’s best friend grew up in that house’ to ‘your great grandfather was post master in that old building’. I called my Nan up yesterday, because that is what good little granddaughters do sometimes. She had heard from Mum where I was staying and became all excited. Apparently she and my grandfather met on Pearl Beach! Yes, where I will be staying this weekend. She then proceeded to tell me where down there she had lived at that time, and the nearby church where they had been married! I lived most of my life in Queensland were my Mum and Dad have their property, so I’ve missed about 16 years of stories my cousins down here have probably forgotten. It is funny how we perceive landscape. It is not only a physical landscape made up of trees and water and earth, but one made up of a tapestry of stories. Some of them may be woven from our family heritage, others may be about ‘that one time at band camp’ and yet others are a patina made up of stories and facts about wildlife or people we once knew. In this way, our ‘landscape’ isn’t just a physical thing, but an intangible sense of belonging that defies boundaries and property rights. I may never own a plot of land at Pearl Beach (prices there are astronomical and belonging is exclusive), but I own a piece of her history. I am so excited to be able to step in my grandparent’s footsteps tomorrow when I walk down to the beach. We used to go to the rock pool sometimes when I was little, so I’ll be walking in my childhood’s footsteps too.

And, before I forget that this weekend is mostly about writing, I’ll be doing a lot of brainstorming, plotting and serious work too! 😀


Planning Nano: a dystopian for 2011?


I think i finally have an idea for nano! It’s based out of an observation I had when I went back to Toowoomba & saw how nature bounced back. My brother took me for a drive up through Murphys Creek and told me every family’s story and also a bridge he made after the flash flood. My dad later took me for a tour of our property post-flood and I saw how nature has already reclaimed the land. So I guess I am writing a dystopian this year. Just for me, nothing to do with trends. I love dystopia and have since I was a child. I don’t write for an audience & have no plans to publish. I don’t care if my stories ever see light & would prefer they stayed in the gloam. So, yeay, a dystopian nano for 2011! Now I just need to flesh out my ideas ^_^

Writing Prompt: Light

Elle at my writing group gives us 100 word flashfic prompts. This week’s was light. I wrote others, but here is one. I was playing with dialogue, because it is my most hated part of storytelling. I try to get the cadences sounding realistic, but sometimes they sound contrived.


The light faded from his eyes, his smiled died.

“What do you mean, dead?”

“Dead means dead, man! Look it up in a dictionary!”

His shoulders slumped as he remembered Maxxie’s zest for life.

“But, but, she can’t be! When did this happen?”

“About five years. She died of a heart attack or something”

His brows rose in surprise.

“But I just saw her last week!”

“Blonde, in her fifties?”

“That is her.”

“Couldn’t have been her. I was at her bloody funeral. Maxxie Granger? Do you have the right woman?”

He squeezes his eyes shut.

“Yes… Yes, I do.”

Writing Prompt: Modern Fairy Tales (Part II)

The latest Spiders Group prompt from Elle is “modern fairy tales” – once again, of just 100 words. I wrote a modern Little Red Ridding Hood and decided to reinterpret others. I am having fun with the 100 word constraints, as I usually blather on like a fool.


A retelling of Snow White

The music pulsed around me like a living creature, the beat sent loving shockwaves through my body. Bliss. Pure bliss. My body undulated, moving with the crowd flowing around me.

Margaret came back with our drinks. “I picked up some goodies from some guy”, she proffered a green and a red capsule in her wrinkled palm. “I know you like red sweetie, you can have that one”

She smiled sinisterly as we swallowed our fun with a swig of vodka.

The music took me over again, and swallowed by a sea of bodies, I sagged into the arms of a handsome stranger.

Writing Prompt: Modern Fairy Tales (Part I)

The latest Spiders Group prompt from Elle is “modern fairy tales” – once again, of just 100 words. I wrote this and then wanted to take on some other fairy tales. I am having fun with the 100 word constraints, as I usually blather on like a fool.


A retelling of Little Red Ridding Hood

My scarlet high heels click-clack on the road, legs pumping in time to the beat of my heart. Buildings rise up around me, closing in, impenetrable in their shadows. My crimson hair streams in the wind rushing past me. I run for my life, for my sanity. I can hear him as he jogs behind me, his workman’s boots slamming the bitumen, the scent of sawdust and sweat seeking me out. I turn a corner, fumble with my keys and fling open my door. Just in time; he curses. Rushing from the kitchen, Wulf tugs me into his safe embrace.

Writing Prompt: Greece

Elle, who runs the writing group I attend gave us a writing prompt and a quest to write exactly 100 words on it. This is what I came up with.

Modern > Myth

She sings at night on a street corner, her teeth flashing, her curls writhing, bathed in moonlight. They come, lured by the soul in her songs. She can no longer call them to her with enchantments. She remembers a time, millennia ago, when she held the seas in her throe, sailors hers to command, to toy with, to kill. She grieves at time’s passing.

The siren nudges her busker’s cap and winces at the sound of the few lonely coins jostling together. Looking at what she has become, sitting on a dirty street, she wonders, “Where did the magic go?”