About Me

Hi. My name is Sally Hall and I write YA. In 2016 I was shortlisted for the Varuna Publisher Introduction Program and in 2014 I won a PIP Fellowship with Varuna for a young adult manuscript. In 2013 I was awarded the CBCA NSW Charlotte Waring Barton Award which included a mentorship with Penguin Books Australia. I've had magazine and short stories published in various anthologies and placed in many competitions. My website is www.sallyhall.com.au.




Monday, March 28, 2016

Great posts about writing & meeting Rachael Johns

Out NowOn Good Friday we went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. It was crazy, with so many people that you ended up just going where the flow of the crowd took you because it was too much effort to navigate away. We had fun but it was hard work!

The highlight for the kids was, of course, the show bags full of lollies. For me however, it was meeting Rachael Johns, author of many rural romance books including The Patterson Girls and recently released Outback Sisters. I really enjoy Rachael's writing because there is always a strong story line or action element to her books so that the romance factor almost becomes secondary to the drama unfolding.
 
Rachael was friendly, approachable and seemed genuinely happy to meet people at her stand. She even gave me some tips for my own writing including joining the Romance Writers of Australia who have helped her enormously over the years.  
(http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/1/Home)
 
I heard about Rachael's visit to the Easter Show via her facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/RachaelJohnsRomance?ref=ts&sk=wall so it pays to like authors you admire on facebook and keep up to date with their appearances.
 
http://www.rachaeljohns.com/
 
Lately, I've seen a heap of posts with writing tips and so I thought I'd share in case you missed them:
 
Ten things that editors don't like
http://www.elawreads.com/blog/2014/7/15/finishing-the-hat-ten-things-that-make-an-editor-stop-reading-your-manuscript
 
Alisdair Daws reviews writing software packages
http://www.agdaws.com/2016/03/software-writers-part-1-scrivener/
 
Alison Tait's top ten posts about writing
http://allisontait.com/2015/11/my-top-10-posts-about-writing-as-voted-by-you/?utm_content=buffer02426&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
 
How to stick with your writing by Natasha Lester
http://www.natashalester.com.au/2016/03/16/3484/
 
To plot or not from Kate Forsyth
http://www.kateforsyth.com.au/kates-blog/writing-to-plot-or-not?utm_content=buffer9d250&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
 
Wildcare Tasmania Nature writing competition ($5000 first prize)
http://www.taswriters.org/natureprize/?utm_content=bufferbdbbd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
 
Happy writing!
Sally

Thursday, February 18, 2016

8 reasons why entering competitions is so important for emerging writers

There are many writing competitions out there and I believe it is vitally important for new and emerging writers to enter them regularly. Why? Well, let me tell you...

1. Competitions teach you to work to a deadline

This is a skill you will need if you want to be a writer. There's no point being brilliant if it takes you forever to finish a paragraph because no one will ever get to read it. Set goals for your word counts and really try to stick to them.

2. Competitions often have word limits

Word limits can be frustrating but they teach you to make sure that every single word earns its place in your story. You may have to start the action in a different way than you originally wanted just to save on the word count but more often than not your story will be stronger for the cut. Make sure you stick to the prescribed word limit for competitions though, most will immediately disqualify your entry if you go over.

3. Competitions stretch you as a writer

Many competitions have themes or a phrase that you must incorporate into your entry. A theme that you wouldn't normally deal with might give you an idea for a new full length manuscript in the future or a different style of writing than you would normally go for.

4. Feedback

Some competitions offer feedback as part of your entry. One such competition is the CYA Competition (for YA and children's writing) http://www.cyaconference.com/program/competition/aspiring-unpublished/. At the conclusion of the competition entrants are emailed the judges score sheets which include comments and suggestions for improving your story. So, you might win, you might not but at the very least you'll have some industry feedback to improve your writing for next time.

5. Exposure

Entering competitions exposes your work to new people. Judges are often published writers, publishers or industry insiders who know what they are talking about.

6. Writing Resume Credits

If you win or are shortlisted for a writing competition it is an entry you can record on your writing resume. When you submit a manuscript to a publisher or agent you will be asked what your writing history is. If you have some competition wins or anthology entries to your name it will look like you are dedicated to becoming a published writer.

7. Having your work published

Some competitions include the winners (or top 10 entries) in an anthology that is published at their expense. You are usually sent a copy for yourself but can purchase additional copies for friends and family.

8. Endorsement of your work

Writing can be a frustrating and lonely occupation sometimes so it's nice to have your work acknowledged by a third party who doesn't know you or worry about hurting your feelings. If they picked you as the winner, it's because your work is genuinely the best.

How do you find these competitions?

  • Join your local or state Writers' Centre and they will email you opportunities and competitions
  • Google
  • Industry newsletters e.g. Buzz Words http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/

I recently was placed on the shortlist for the 2016 Varuna Publisher Introduction Program. http://www.varuna.com.au/varuna/index.php/programs/varunanews/item/508-pip16-shortlist

The winner is announced in April. I was lucky enough to win a PIP in 2014 and it was an amazing experience to work with Stephen Measday and spend a week at Varuna. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Keep writing. Sally x


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Writers Unleashed Festival

The Writers Unleashed Festival this year was held on 14th November at Gymea Tradies.

There are always lots of good points about attending festivals but let me tell you what I love the most.

  • The freedom of picking which sessions you want to go to. There's always more than one though...sometimes it's a very hard decision to make.
  • Being exposed to new authors. This year I discovered YA author, Trinity Doyle. I bought Trinity's debut novel Pieces of Sky at the festival (and got it signed). I started reading it almost the second I got home and it is an amazing book. It's about Lucy, a girl who has recently lost her brother in a surfing accident and she's dealing with her sudden fear of water, a new boy in town and the fact that her brother's phone is getting weird, mysterious text messages. It was uplifting and tear producing and I loved it.
  • Hearing from the Publishing Panel. This year there were four publishers who gave us an insight into the publishing industry and generously answered any question the crowd members asked.
  • Meeting new people, networking, catching up with old friends.
  • Learning things! Ber Carroll's session on characterisation was thought provoking and I also enjoyed Pamela Cook's presentation on getting published.
  • Buying books! The speakers usually have their books for sale should you wish to purchase them. You can even get them signed (to yourself or for a gift).
  • Having a day off from washing, running kids around etc.
  • Sitting in the crowd and secretly (don't tell anyone...) imagining myself giving the presentation one day.
I had a great time and I will definitely go back again next year. Thanks to all the organisers who donate their time to make this wonderful festival a reality. 

http://shirewritersfestival.weebly.com/

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Varuna, I love you...

I have recently returned from my second visit to Varuna (http://varuna.com.au/). It was just as magical as the first time! I got so much work done that I estimate it was equivalent to three months of work I would have got done at home.

Typewriter in Eleanor Dark's studio with my laptop in the background

So what's so great about Varuna? Well, let me elaborate...

  • It's a beautiful, historical home full of character, books, amazing vintage treasures and gardens
  • You have your own room and writing space
  • A delicious meal is prepared for you every night so that means no time wasted on grocery shopping or food preparation
  • There are four other writers there each time meaning you will meet some amazing, like-minded people
  • There are huge bookshelves of works by writers who have visited Varuna House in the past
  • It's close to the quaint and quirky town of Katoomba and walking tracks
  • You can write, write, write all day and night if you so choose!
I would encourage any aspiring writers out there to apply for the programs offered by Varuna House. I was lucky enough to win a Publisher Introduction Program last year (and hence my first visit to Varuna). It is truly an amazing place.

 I hope to go back again next year!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Time Out

View from my hotel in Dubrovnik. Yep, absolutely gorgeous.

I was recently lucky enough to have some well deserved and highly needed time out with a holiday to the UK and Croatia.
 
It was totally amazing, although not that relaxing with all the things I managed to fit in to such a short break... anyway I'm slowly recovering from the jetlag and it's time to get seriously back into my writing.
 
Here's some interesting blog posts I've found this week. Hope you like them!
 
 
Hope you have an amazing day.
Happy Writing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The importance of membership and subscription to industry newsletters and magazines


When I first started writing I felt guilty about spending money on anything but in particular on memberships and subscriptions until I realised that they are not only interesting but essential for your growth as a writer. If your passion was collecting coins or snow skiing you'd be investing in pieces or equipment so this is no different.

Benefits of joining your local writers' centre could include:
  • Receiving a newsletter which usually contains information about courses, lectures, writing competitions.
  • Gives you a chance to meet like-minded people and possible critique partners (maybe even a new great friend or two!).
  • Facilitates writing and critique groups.
  • Invitations to industry events and book launches.
  • Some writers' centres even publish anthologies of members work which is great for your writing resume.
  • Provide opportunities for volunteering your time on events or projects sponsored by the centre.
Similarly subscribing to industry magazines is also important. One that I love is the Buzz Words Magazine which is for writers of young adult and children's stories. It contains industry news, competitions, articles, book reviews, industry updates etc. It is delivered as a pdf twice a month to your inbox. It costs $48 for 23 issues and is very informative, keeps you motivated and aware of any competitions you could enter. For more information or a free sample copy see the website http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/p/about-buzz-words.html

Happy Writing.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Interesting posts for aspiring authors...

Hi everyone, I hope you are enjoying the long weekend. It's very cold and windy here on the South Coast of NSW. Perfect writing weather!
 
I have been busy concentrating on two writing projects and having a lovely weekend catching up with things on my to-do list. It feels great to put a line through each task as it is completed. Shame I keep thinking up a heap more... Anyway here's some links to a few interesting articles and blogs I've read lately.
 
The one super power that all published writers have by Alison Tait
http://allisontait.com/2015/05/the-one-superpower-that-all-published-writers-have/?utm_content=buffer6bc64&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
 
8 Secrets to kick start your writing by Karen Tyrrell. You may have heard these tips before but it's good to remind yourself of the basics now and again. http://www.karentyrrell.com/

Here's some happy writing tips from Gabrielle Wang http://gabriellewang.com/happy-writing-tips/

Natasha Lester, author of several adult fiction books tells us about a day in the life of a writer and how she uses her time most productively. While you are there have a look around Natasha's blog, she's had some interesting articles lately about what happens when you get a manuscript accepted and wether or not you need an agent. http://www.natashalester.com.au/2015/06/04/a-day-in-the-life/
 
For more news on what children's and YA authors are up to check out Sandy Fussell's OZKYAI blog which scoops up articles from various authors and illustrators. http://www.scoop.it/t/australian-children-s-authors

And to finish off a quote from Dr Suess... “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
 
Happy Writing.