Greetings fellow wordsmiths, Amy the Intern here for another weekly update on the AWMOnline Writing Races.

Guest Captain Charlotte Nash

Last week we were graced with the presence of the one and only Charlotte Nash! Charlotte’s first novel ‘Ryder’s Ridge’ came out on the 26th of March and I was first in line to grab my copy from my local bookstore. As an aspiring romance novelist I was excited to ask Charlotte a few questions about the genre.

Ryder's Ridge - out now!

In particular we got talking about the sense of place in a novel, Charlotte had this advice:

I usually always have my main setting as a fictitious place that is surrounded by real places to give some touchstone to the approximate location. I then usually have some scenes in those places. For example, Ryders Ridge is a made up place, but a few hours from Mt Isa, where some of the story happens. Brisbane also makes an appearance.

With that knowledge I got to work on my goal for the evening, and Charlotte shared that she was working on the opening of a steampunk romance short story.

She kindly shared some of the fruits of her labour at the end of the Writing Race:

Fortesque found her in the forbidden quarter, buried in a snowdrift, the edges of her cheeks flushed with the last of her body’s heat. He could no longer see the path she’d taken to reach here; all above and around covered in white, the steely sky promising more. He knew from that building, on that angle, that they weren’t far from the sinkhole, and he debated the wisdom of leaving her here. Sometimes, the cold and desperate tried for the heartland of the steam Daemon, with the plumes rising from the sinkhole promising a heat most could only remember. But the crawlies always got them before they sole a molecule of heated air. If that was her fate, his thick heart had a bead of sympathy.

Steampunk is defined by Wikipedia as ‘a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century… often set in an alternate history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”’. Charlotte had these recommendations for those of us interested in expanding our reading list to include steampunk literature:

I’d suggest the two volumes of short stories edited by the Vandermeers (Steampunk I and II). Shorts are a great way to sample many flavours of steampunk. For longer works, I actually like a combo of steam and cyberpunk – The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson is a favourite.

Thank you so much Charlotte for joining us as Guest Captain, and good luck with your manuscript revisions!

April 3rd Writing Race – Tonight!

This week I will host the Writing Race solo, so please come along and keep me company!  Next week we will are lucky enough to have Guest Captain Jodi Cleghorn joining us! Jodi is co-founder of eMergent publishing – and – a writer, editor, and publisher of several anthologies. You can find more about Jodi at her website or blog.

Here at the AWM we are also undergoing some cosmetic and structural work and so our Writing Race next week will be taking a different form. I will keep you up to date over the next few days so that you can all join us again next week! For this week just head to the AWM Forum as per usual.


The AWMonline Writing Races are a self-directed, one-hour long writing session that takes place in the company of other writers as part of an online forum.  If you’ve never done a writing race before, you can download the Writing Race Guidelines2011

We will gather at about 7:50pm (Queensland Time; 9pm for those of you enjoying daylight savings time down south, and 6pm for our Western Australian writers) and share our writing goals for the evening, then start the clock at 8:00pm and keep working until 9:00pm. Inspiration, perspiration, and fun guaranteed!

Inspirational quotes will be provided as refreshment at half-time.

At the end of the hour feel free to share how you progressed over the evening and encourage your fellow writers in their pursuit of the craft.

Remember to use the ‘Quick Reply’ button to add your comments.

Hope to see you there.

Amy Chatwin is a currently undertaking her Masters in Writing, Editing, and Publishing at The University of Queensland. She has also attained a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) and Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies) from Queensland University of Technology. She is based in Brisbane and blogs about food, books, running, and everyday abundance at Thoroughly Nourished Life.

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