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- author Jackie French

Friday 2 August 2013

Guest Post: A Picture Book in One Day

KBR warmly welcomes writer and book aficionado Kimberley Gaal with this fabulous post on the WABIAD initiative. What's WABIAD? Read on!

Like writing children’s books? Yes! Like children? Of course! Do you want the chance to support the work of children’s hospitals AND cram the entire process of writing, editing and illustrating a children’s book into one jam-packed, 12-hour writing session?

The Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG) sure does, which is why they are taking part in the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre's Write-a-Book-in-a-Day Competition for the second year in a row.

The Write-a-Book-in-a-Day (WABIAD) Competition is open to teams of 5 to 10 participants who come together for one 12-hour marathon writing and illustrating session, any time between 1 April and 31 August. At that time, the team is given a set of parameters which must be included in the book: two human characters (one male and one female), one non-human (animal, bird, or other), a setting, an issue and five random words.

Then comes the fun – 12 hours of mad writing, drawing, rewriting, redrawing, arguing, caffeine overload, carpal tunnel … wait, I said it was fun, didn’t I?

According to the CSFG participants in last year’s competition, that’s exactly what it is.

Writing is a nominally solitary activity, and the chance to share enthusiasm for their craft is a large part of what brought the Guild together in the first place. Following the 1999 World Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne, a group of ACT-based writers formed the CSFG as a way to stay in contact, support one another, share resources and information, and develop their skills and passion for writing.

Since then, the CSFG has played a part in the lives of dozens of writers of science-fiction, fantasy and horror, from Canberra and the surrounding area, as well as members from other states and even overseas.

The WABIAD Competition is one of many activities the CSFG conducts, and is a great opportunity for members with a dual love for both speculative fiction and children’s books to flex both sets of muscles at once. It also provides an arena for a crash course in writing practice for new writers looking to learn from old writing hands.

Ian McHugh, who has organised CSFG's participation in the contest in 2012 and 2013, says:

"I first did Write-a-Book-in-a-Day when I was living in Perth in 2004. As a new writer, it was an amazing learning experience to plan and write a story with a group of mostly much more experienced writers, and to see how they approached the process of creating a story from scratch, from random elements."

Ian says that one of the aims of CSFG is to help members go from being new and unpublished to published, professional writers. As part of this process, WABIAD is very much geared towards developing members' skills, as everybody contributes to both creating the story and then in refining and editing it.

"Hopefully at the end of the day - as well as having written an 8,000 word children's book and coming off a massive sugar high - most team members will have added one or two new things to their writer's toolkit." says Ian.

As much fun as WABIAD is, it serves a higher purpose as well, supporting the crucial work of Australia’s children’s hospitals. WABIAD participants are sponsored for their efforts, with 100% of the sponsorship money going to the nominated hospital. The CSFG team is raising money for PatCH - Paediatrics at the Canberra Hospital – and is proud to have an opportunity to support such a valuable organisation.

If you would like to support the amazing CSFG team responsible for this picture book creation, you can donate:

Visiting www.writeabookinaday.com/welcome/welcome1.html

Choosing PatCH from the list of children’s hospitals and programs

Choosing CSFG from the list of teams supporting PatCH and entering your credit card details. 

Find out more about the CSFG at csfg.wordpress.com.