Thursday, 18 October 2012

Venn diagrams

Remember in primary school when you learnt all about how important Venn diagrams were? Then you never saw one again?

Until someone created internet memes ...

This one's pretty awesome, though, and appeals to the new-found sense of creativity that I've discovered in my writing this year. If you're like me, you're aiming for that red sweet spot. I was thinking today: if I could create a balance amongst the elements of my life — my relationship, my friends and family, my work, my health, my finances, and my writing — then life would be pretty damn good.

Here's hoping!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Box Hill Institute of TAFE

It's nice to have a win occasionally!

So, on Friday evening I was catching up on my mail, which had gotten away from me during the week a bit, because it was my first week back at college. I was clearing out the spam folder in my Gmail account. Amongst all of the emails there — many of them strongly suggesting that I purchase vast quantities of industrial-strength Viagra — I happened to stumble across the following ...

'Dear Aaron

Congratulations! "Where There's Smoke ..." has won the $150 2nd Prize in the 2012 Avant Press-Box Hill Institute Short Story Competition.

Your story will be published in the 2012 Avant Anthology. You will receive a complimentary copy when it is launched on Thursday 6 December (at a venue to be decided).

Can you please email us the Word file of "Where There's Smoke ..." so we can edit it for house style.

We will email you an approval copy before going to press.

In November, you will receive an official letter from the Box Hill TAFE Administration requesting your banking details for electronic payment of your $150.

Congratulations once again!

Best regards

The Avant Press Team'

How exciting! This is my first competition prize! I mean, I had a piece published earlier in the year in the NMIT 'Time to Write' anthology — which was fabulous — but this is my first cash prize! And it's from another TAFE. Whoo and hoo!

I'm afraid I'll have to keep you in suspenders about the story until the anthology has been published, but then I'll post it here for y'all to read. But what I can tell you is that the theme of the competition was 'disasters'. My story was about a woman coming home to her house on fire, and the heroic efforts she then pursues. It was based on an exercise for my Novel class, so a big thanks goes to my Novel teacher, Louise, for setting that assignment!

Needless to say, all of the fame and wealth has gone to my head, and I've become insufferable to live with.

Here's the link to the Box Hill website with the announcement, too.

Photo credit: Box Hill Institute

Monday, 15 October 2012


Big name authors = big advances

Just popping my head back in the door of the blog. I'll be back again soon; hopefully more regularly!  :  )

In the meantime, an interesting article from 'The Age' about authors who take advances but don't deliver the books that they're contracted to write. If you're a well-known celebrity, you can often score yourself a substantial advance on a book.

But in more a more competitive book market, publishers are focussing on the business of making money and have to recoup their losses. I wonder what the ratio is between famous people not delivering on their promises, compared to all the hard-working writers out there trying to actually earn a crust from writing, and who do the right thing?

Photo credit:

Friday, 5 October 2012

'The Next Day'

To ease you into your weekend, here's a creepy little story from yours truly.

This was my very first piece of fiction writing for my course this year. It was published in 'INfusion 46', our NMIT student publication. I've tweaked it a little for this version. It's short and sweet. Indeed, it's the shortest thing by far that I've written for college this year!

I think I could adapt this into a longer work for young adult readers. I'm intrigued by the ideas behind it, which I'd like to explore. I'll let you know how I go.

Please to enjoy.


‘The Next Day’

She was awoken by a sudden white flash. The thin blanket of sleep slipped away. She held her breath against the rumbling of the early dawn.
She counted, getting as far as five. Another flash. She counted again, only getting to four.
It's coming quickly this time, she thought.
Her cold skin prickled from the ozone. She was completely awake. On the bed that had been his, she pushed back the stained quilt. She never slept deeply these days. No-one did.
She glanced up towards the sound of rain tapping on corrugated iron. She hoped she had sealed the roof tightly enough. She’d used all of the resin that she could find in his workshop. You couldn't trust the rain. You couldn't let it touch you. And you couldn’t let it in. Not anymore. The days of carefree walks in the rain with her father were past now. The days of trusting the rain — of trusting anything — were long gone.
The initial silence was replaced by a sudden roar. The rain was very quick. It was getting quicker each day. It could sneak up on you if you weren't careful. The rain could hide other noises if you weren’t careful, too.
Her gaze shifted to the door. She strained to hear over the storm. The old-fashioned key was still in the lock. She should still be safe, even if he came back. But, like many things in this house, the lock wasn’t very strong.
Myself included.
She stared out the window. She ignored the faint reflection of herself — a skinny, unremarkable girl with long brown hair. It was her mother’s hair, but with some of her father’s copper highlights through it. It was a face of dark hollows, and darker, empty eyes. She looked past herself and allowed her mind the rare luxury to wander. No-one let their concentration lapse for too long, not if they valued their safety. But the locked door was a measure of protection — for the time being, anyway.
She stretched out her awareness to the roiling sky. Her eyes widened, taking in the view.
Weather is too large to be concerned about someone’s death. Weather is vast. Weather stretches across countries, across the planet. The weather here is just a tiny part of a pattern within patterns within patterns. There's a reason The Scientists can’t make rain, or make it stop raining for that matter. The Forecasters might be able to give some vague predictions about weather based on years of gathered information, but you can’t ever reliably say what the weather the next day — or the next hour — will be like. And you can never create weather or try to control it. The Rainmakers had tried that once and everyone now knew the disaster that had become.
But life goes on. So too, it seems, does death. Sometimes death goes on in a cruel parody of life. That happened quite a lot these days. Life and death go on, and so does the weather. The million small dramas people wake up to every day doesn't matter to the weather. It doesn't care about what happened to you yesterday. It doesn't care about your sanity, or your safety. It's weather. It's just too damned large to worry about you. It’s too damned big to care. But we have to worry about the weather and life and death.
Today, she had to worry about all three. Especially death. In particular, his death. She hoped his death would be permanent, and that her life would continue.
I don’t want to have to kill my father again.
Across the room, the doorknob rattled.

© Aaron Hughes 2012

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