Line Editing

Edit RuthlesslyEdit Ruthlessly (Photo credit: Dan Patterson)

I am up to my neck in line edits for Brumby’s Run. The deadline is 5th March. Thank God it’s a leap year! I might end up being very grateful for that extra day. Line editing looks at the style of the manuscript – ensuring it says what it’s meant to say, making it more readable, effective and interesting.

I’ve already taken on board the list  of suggestions contained in the structural editing notes, and have completed a redraft. The story is in place, the characters set to go. My editor has now shone a bright searchlight on the manuscript, looking not only to refine the voice, but to point out any inconsistencies that may have been brought about by the redraft. Are any scenes out of context? Is the chronology right?  Has a plot trigger disappeared, or accidentally been repeated because the narrative had been rearranged?

Following the advice of Nathan Bransford (wise author and ex-literary agent), I allowed the edited manuscript to sit for a day or too, while I mulled it over. Then I read through the changes, and accepted all the obvious ones. Now I’m tackling the tricky ones, and the controversial ones that I might not agree with. Line editing is not meant to interfere with, or change an author’s voice. It is meant to clarify plot and character, and ensure a polished end product. I have every confidence in my lovely editor, and I know the process is improving the story. But I must confess, at times over this past week, I’ve felt like tearing out my hair!

The Lucky Country

The 13th annual Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, brings together individuals, communities, organisations and businesses who share a vision for a sustainable world. The festival showcases and celebrates the many aspects and benefits of this lifestyle. It is Australia’s largest and oldest sustainability festival.

Sustainable living means living within the Earth’s limits. It means making consumer choices that are mindful of finite resources. It means living more simply – taking care of nature so nature can take care of us. The ultimate aim is to meet our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

The Festival’s Big Weekend event at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne will celebrate the very best examples of ecological and social sustainability. The event will fuse interactive workshops, talks, demonstrations, artworks, exhibits, films and live performances.

I am a member of the Environmental Farmers Network, and John Pettigrew, our spokesperson on Murray Darling matters, will be speaking at the festival this Sunday 19th February at Federation Square.  John is a passionate environmentalist who believes in a scientific approach to saving the basin. A retired orchardist who lives on the banks of Goulburn River just north of Shepparton, he is under no illusion when it comes to the importance of the river to his community. “It is our life support here in the Goulburn Valley as it is (with other rivers) right across the Murray-Darling Basin.”

If you are in Melbourne this weekend, why not come along and hear what John and the other festival guests have to say?

The Tarkine

It’s a beautiful and dramatic region, with wild rivers, deep gorges and vast rainforests. Here, some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world are being logged for woodchips — irreplaceable virgin forests turned into toilet paper.

The second-largest temperate rainforest in the world is right here in Australia. It’s a safe haven for one of the last wild populations of Tasmanian Devils free of the tumor disease that is threatening the species with extinction.

Tasmania’s Tarkine is Australia’s only wilderness area dominated by rainforest. It is 70% of the total forest cover. More than 90% of this is old-growth forest.

Temperate rainforest is the rarest of rainforests — existing only in fragments in New Zealand, Chile, western Canada and the US. It is more highly threatened than tropical and subtropical rainforests. The Tarkine contains the largest continuous tract of temperate rainforest in Australia, and the second largest in the world.

The Tarkine contains 60 species of flora and fauna which are listed as either threatened or endangered, including the spotted tail quoll, the eastern barred bandicoot and the grey and goshawk bandicoots.

Rainforest timbers have little value as timber trees. Current estimates put the amount of veneer and sawlog taken out of rainforest coupes at less than 10%, the rest going to woodchips. However, the rich basalt soils of the Tarkine make this a very attractive plantation region.

Rainforest is often clearfelled, then burnt and replanted with more commercially viable species. This process of converting unprofitable rainforest is the single biggest cause of species extinction in Australia. Logging pristine rainforest on public land has been banned in all mainland states.

Environment Minister Tony Burke has let the Tarkine’s emergency heritage status expire, and now the mining companies are circling. Let’s protect this treasure before it’s too late!

Young Australian’s Best Book Awards 2012

YABBA – stands for Young Australians’ Best Book Awards. What better way to start the National Year of Reading than by having students nominate their favourite Australian Books onto the YABBA 2012 Shortlist?

The aims of YABBA are:

  • To encourage and promote children’s reading.
  • To give children the opportunity to vote for their favourite books each year.
  • To develop children into discerning readers, who will express their opinions about books.
  • To promote an awareness of Australian children’s fiction.




Children in years 1 – 9 are eligible to nominate. All the downloadable forms you need are on the YABBA website  Go to the NOMINATIONS tab. Children can nominate books that have been written by Australian authors between 2003 and 2012.




The books cannot be previous winners and must have been published within the last ten years. After researching the books and authors, children nominate their favourites. They can do this by filling in nomination forms which are tallied and sent to YABBA. An alternative is to nominate online by logging on to the YABBA website and filling in the online nomination form. Nominations are due by 23 March 2012. Once the shortlist is published the reading begins in earnest in readiness for the voting in October. What a great way to encourage a new generation of readers.



Congratulations to the 2011 winners!

Section 4 Fiction Years 7-9  – Now by Morris Gleitzman

Section 3 Fiction Older Readers – Conspiracy 365 series by Gabrielle Lord

Section 2 Fiction Younger Readers – The Very Bad Book  by A Griffiths  & T Denton

Section 1 Picture Storybooks – The Wrong Book by Nick Bland