LIAN TANNER

What to write?

August 15th, 2016

Every two years, a group of people get together and present a snapshot of current Australian science fiction/fantasy, including interviews with the various authors. The last one was in 2014, and the new one has just gone up. You can find my interview here, and if you want to see some of the other people currently writing in this area, and read a whole lot of interesting interviews, click on the home page. I’m slowly working my way through them.

One of the questions was whether I saw myself as always writing for middle grade/YA, or whether I’d follow my readers as they grew older. The answer I gave was the one that was true on the day of the interview – which is not to say that it’ll be true next week.

Before Museum of Thieves took off in such an exciting way, I was writing a whole bunch of different books. Let me tell you about three of them. (Keep in mind that no one else except me has ever seen this, so it’s just between you and me, okay?)

Trollbaby was a YA verse novel. Given that I haven’t written poetry since I was ten, I’ve no idea why I thought I could write a novel in verse. As it was, I found it incredibly slow going. Here’s the beginning of the first draft:

‘So what’s the news?’ says Deb.
‘I’m dating one of Them,’ I say.
You are?’ says Deb. ‘Who is he? A vamp?’
She grins. ‘I love the way they walk into class
as if they’re doing us a favour just by being there.
And that pale skin makes me shiver.
I’ve always fancied Lucas.
Though Winston is gorgeous in an evil sort of way.
What’s he like to touch, is he cold,
can you feel his heartbeat?
Has he got a heartbeat?’

‘He’s not a vamp.’

‘Oh…’ Deb’s disappointed.
Then her eyes light up again. ‘It’s one of the wereboys, isn’t it!
Oh god, who? Zack? Jake? Not Benbow?
Have you seen him—you know—do the furry thing?
Is it scary? Is it gross?
What if he forgets himself and bites you?’

‘He’s not a wereboy either.’

‘Really? Bum.
Me, I’d pick a wereboy.
They’re not as sexy as the vamps,
and Benbow gets dog-breath when he’s excited,
but at least they’re warm-blooded.’

As well as Trollbaby, there was Puppy Love, which was a trashy romance/bodice ripper aimed at adults, and another unnamed m/s which was going to be my very own vampire novel set in Tasmania. I was going to paste bits of them, too, but chickened out. 🙂

I go back and look at them every now again, and am awfully tempted to pick one of them up again. But that usually happens when I’m struggling with my current book. Whatever I’m not writing always looks easier.

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