Fiction and Illustration

Sarah Fallon

My bookshelf is woefully short on illustrated fiction. Some Roald Dahl books with the unforgettable cartoons of Quentin Blake, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the caricature-esque artwork of John Tenniel found within, and a fat collection of fairy tales with illustrations by almost as many artists as there are stories. None of these are what more

Conjuring Stories

Melaina Faranda

When I give a creative writing workshop, I’ll sometimes break the word imagination into three: I for the self; MAGI being an archaic term for a magician, wise man, or sorcerer; and NATION representing a country or terrain. Put together and we might consider that each of us contains a kind of inner magician able more

Writing on the Road

Claire Coleman

The first impressions that would become my story began on the road. I had always intended to try to write a novel on the road; I had even started one once, so abandoned now that I can’t even remember what it was. As I crossed the Nullarbor Plain, the great desert that stretches across Australia’s more

Writing Games

Brooke Maggs

I remember approaching a writer of a game I love, Bioshock, and asking him: how do I write for games? He said, ‘Be a writer. Write a lot of things.’ The simplicity of the advice shocked my younger self: become a storyteller, regardless of the medium, with a body of work. While I can’t profess more

An interview with Gillian Wills

Can you tell us a little bit about Elvis? Had you had any other animal companions previously? I’ve had many pets – tortoises, guinea pigs, budgies, stick insects, hens, cats, ducks, fish, dogs and a goat. But never a horse until I encountered Elvis, in a terrible condition, on a hillbilly farm in Green Pidgeon more

Poetry changes. Nothing is certain. But write.

Nathan Shepherdson

Florence. Italy. Two nouns. Two places. One location. Two concepts for what they evoke within traveller mythology. If I’m allowed the sports arena-like satellite digital drill-down: we find two poets in the mesmeric and genteel surrounds of the NYU Campus in Florence.  I can put my hand up to being one of those poets, with more

Designing drunken text

George Saad

George Saad explores how new kinds of partnerships between authors and designers can help enrich the story-telling experience for readers …   With the growing popularity and quality of cinema, television and video games, storytelling has expanded from the static pages of books. We are absorbing stories constantly, while seeing bookstores diminish and being led more

What if the business of books is not just about business?

David Hardy

David Hardy discusses the power of books to promote awareness and change …   When I initially considered a collection of stories about older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Australians, I was surprised that this might be the first. I could only find anthologies by community groups or university research and mostly centred more

Creating Your Own Online Pyjama Party

Claire Christian

In mid-2014 I quit what I thought would be my ‘dream’ job to commit to my freelance arts practice. I wanted to write every day, finish that novel, start a podcast, work in my pyjamas, and of course, I wanted to turn into an over-night entrepreneurial success and have Julia Roberts play me in a more

Reading Ferrante: a masterclass in storytelling

Melissa Fagan

A writing technique that beginner writers hear a lot about is “show, don’t tell”. “Show, don’t tell” can be handy advice for a beginner writer who reports rather than reveals, who races past important plot points, or recounts backstory instead of describing how characters interact, or what they look like, or how they fare under more

On growing and learning as a writer

Ellie Matama

When I jumped with both feet into the freelance writing pool in 2011, I had no idea of what to expect or what to do. I had never even met anyone in Kenya who worked full-time as an online-based freelance writer. So basically, I went in blind. Any fantasies that I had about a writer’s more

Sep-Nov WQ print magazine available now for QWC members

Contents: The Tyranny of Probability – 3 considerations for Australian writers wanting to break into the US market – Jay Kristoff (see excerpt here) What if the business of books is not just about business? – David Hardy Domestic Noire, two cats, a dog and a rabbit – Interview with Kim Lock by Kathy George Creating your own pyjama more

Walking out of your comfort zone and into fear

Sally Piper

When writing about what you don’t know, the best way to learn about it is to experience it firsthand. This might include fear. When I started writing a novel about three women who were to face their worst fears while hiking in a remote area, I realised I’d only ever hiked safely. Walks on my more

On being longlisted for the Richell Prize

Andrea Baldwin

I am honoured and thrilled to have been longlisted for the 2016 Richell Prize. It’s a truism that writing can be a lonely business, full of angst and self-doubt. Hearing now and then that someone else values your story, and believes in your ability to tell it, is tremendously affirming. Along the same lines, it’s more

Turning Research into Writing

Trisha Fielding

“The fly-road from closet-pan to dinner table is very short.” This fabulous little quote turned up while I was researching an article on epidemics in Townsville in the early twentieth century. It was a warning to residents during an outbreak of typhoid fever in 1915 from a doctor who was concerned that householders were not more

Professional practice for authors

Rochelle Fernandez

Rochelle Fernandez is the Associate Publisher for Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Australia. Congratulations! You’ve spent time and energy writing a story, pitched it to agents, maybe got a few rejections, but then bam! It’s been picked up by a publisher and will actually be published. This can be both exhilarating and terrifying for lots of more

From Wannabe to ‘Pro’ – My Path to Publishing

John Ahern

The idea to write a book came from an unusual source. For years, whenever I have travelled, and I have been through over 85 countries, I would write long hand-scrawled letters home to my mother; twenty, forty pages of ‘nonsense’, as she called it. They were often boring, but sometimes filled with unlikely adventures of more

Dual Narratives

Jenn J McLeod

While I’ve had three novels published (using a different structure each time), book number four, The Other Side of the Season, is my first dual time period piece, with the storytelling load spread over two winters—1979 and 2015. The obvious benefit of the dual time period structure over the use of other methods is having more

Science and Story

if:book Australia Column by Simon Groth

In March, if:book took part in a panel on Science and Story at the World Science Festival in Brisbane. We are increasingly reliant on the applied science of technology, but our access to science communication has only become more fraught. As physicist Len Fisher notes, science begins with stubbornly checking out your beliefs against reality. But more

Primary Stories: Writing for the Middle

Samantha Wheeler

Do you remember being scared of the dark? How it felt when your BFF abandoned you at little lunch? You do, don’t you? All too painfully, I bet. Resurrecting childhood memories is an important part of writing for middle-grade readers, since rejection, fear and exhilaration are as real today as they were then. But here more

Keeping Pace with Pace

Sulari Gentill

Crime fiction is often characterised by pace… a sense of urgency. Rarely do people read crime novels to discover themselves or contemplate the meaning of the universe. Although the genre often examines and reflects the social, historical and cultural contexts in which its books are set, the primary attraction of a good crime novel remains more

So, What’s Your Favourite Australian TV Drama?

Anthony Mullins

What’s your favourite Australian TV drama? That’s the question I eventually ask any screenwriter who comes into the Matchbox office. Why? Because, that’s what they’re here to write, right? Unfortunately, the look I usually get after I ask this tells me they don’t really want to write Australian TV drama — they want to write more

Seven Ingredients of a Good Review

Felicity Plunkett

Attentiveness ‘Attentiveness is the natural prayer of the soul’. This line, beloved by writers from Paul Celan to Simone Weil, was written in the fifteenth century by philosopher, Nicolas Malebranche. Scrolling screens, clicks and likes and the delicious slivers and flakes of fast world information can make it hard to pay a book attention. Attentive more

An Observational Approach to Character Development

Laurie Steed

ONE of the greatest difficulties when writing convincingly well-rounded characters is maintaining a willingness to observe rather than shape their personalities. This concept can be difficult to grasp. Writers are by necessity crafting their work, so why would we step back to allow a character to develop in scene, as opposed to guiding the reader to more

Pictures that Ask the Right Questions

Kári Gíslason

I expect many people begin the writing of a memoir by looking through old photos. Pictures, after all, belong in the past, and they hold out the promise of delivering it to us again: everyone is younger, surrounded by yesterday’s world, a moment fixed in time. Even the size of the photo paper and printing more

Bearing witness in poetry vs. Overbearing poetry

Pascalle Burton

We define poetry as the unofficial view of being. ~ Wallace Stevens You don’t need to be inspired to write a poem. You need to reach down and touch the thing that’s boiling inside of you and make it somehow useful. ~ Audre Lorde Poetry is an economic, expressive and effective means to bear witness to the more

From Idea to Final Draft: What One Writer’s Writing Process Looks Like

Natasha Lester

EVERYONE writes books in different ways. But sometimes, if you’re stuck or unsure, it can help to look at another writer’s process and steal the bits that you think might work for you. With that in mind, I’ve outlined my writing process here—it’s the process I’ve used to write all four of my books so it more

The Two Things You Need to Write a Book

Natasha Lester

I’VE met hundreds of people who tell me they’d like to write a book. But most of them never do. The first thing I always ask my writing students is: ‘Do you want to be the person who has tried to write a book, or the person who always looks back on the idea of more

Hitting Send: Taking a short story from draft to market

Laura Elvery

I AM working on a new short story this week. About a fortnight ago, I finished one to enter in a competition. I don’t know what this week’s story is about, since I’m figuring it out as I go. At least half the time, I learn what a story is about, like many writers do, in more

Writing Characters with Disabilities

Steph Dower

ONE of the hardest challenges writers of all formats face is getting inside the head of their characters. They have to find out who these people or creatures are, what their motivations are, and how the story world looks from their perspective. Then, the writer must try to take these facts and creatively portray them in more

What Is This Thing Called Haiku?

Matt Hetherington

IN 2007, the Australian Haiku Society committee asked the New South Wales writer John Bird to advise the Society in formulating a definition of haiku.  After two years of extensive correspondence with fellow haiku writers, no specific definition was arrived at.  John pointed out that even the need for such specific instruction was only really more

Making Place Pay Its Way

Nick Earls

Whether the place is Tarragindi or Middle Earth, every story happens somewhere. That sounds obvious, but it was a notion that eluded me when I started writing. I wrote stories about characters in generic cities and those characters never quite found their feet. My writing – and my luck – changed when I started setting more

Writers Festivals: When It All Goes Wrong

Josephine Moon

The motto for a writers festival is ‘be prepared’. Have your book’s one-line pitch ready, be organised, know your Twitter handle, have business cards and ‘get amongst it’. But what happens if you spend big on hot tickets, splash out on a hotel room and buy new shoes and it all goes wrong? Here’s my more

Lessons for a Debut Author

David Burton

I’M pretty sure I’m one of the best book-starters in the world. The first thousand words? Not a problem. I can bash that out for you over a cup of tea.  For years, this was my M.O.: start a book and quickly rustle up a synopsis of the imagined finished product to accompany it. Then, more

Six Golden Rules for Editing

Charlotte Nash

Edit in order. Do structure first, then copy (line) edit, then proofread. Always. Always. Don’t waste your time making sentences pretty while you still have structure to address. If you don’t know the difference between the three, find out. Get external input. You will never see your story as someone else will (though the skill more

Love in the Heart of Danger

Helene Young

DO you appreciate a whole lot of action in your story, but also want an emotionally uplifting ending? Do you love writing a tense scene with impossibly high stakes that you know is going to force your characters into a life-changing decision? So do I and that’s why I write Romantic Suspense, a ‘two for the more

Flash Fiction

Angela Meyer

AS writers we search, often unconsciously, for a form that suits our concerns. Many of us experiment with short stories, poetry, or longer forms such as the novel. But there is another, incredibly satisfying form through which a writer can explore myriad voices, plots, settings, characters, themes and images – that of the very short more

Of Monsters and Inspiration: writing process cause and effect.

Mike Jones

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into an abyss, the abyss looks back at you.” – Fredrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil When I was in the fifth grade I wrote a story for my school class about a knight more

Creativity and Constraint: Using characters to write fresh historical fiction

Jessica White

‘IT has long been my contention that the historical novel and the epic fantasy are sisters under the skin,’ said George R. R. Martin. Those who have read his novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (or been tormented by the television adaptation) might recognise the historical framework that provides some of the more

Written On the Body

Krissy Kneen

People often tell you to write from the heart. I understand why. What they mean when they say this is that you should write about your passions.  Write with truth and sensitivity and care. This is all very good advice, but when you are writing about the erotic, a lot of the work is, and more

Putting the Audience in the Story: audience agency and alignment in interactive narratives.

Mike Jones

INTERACTIVE narrative – stories where the audience has some level of agency to influence, effect, control, manipulate, or progress the story – presents a very deep bucket of creative potential. But interactivity is also a broad spectrum. A 3D, open-world, video game might provide a great deal of agency, where as a tablet-based interactive graphic novel more

Freedom! (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kindle)

Chris Green

FOR the purposes of this post, let’s discuss short stories, say ones that are between four thousand and ten thousand words long. Anything shorter is leaning toward pitchfork and torch territory amongst readers who buy such things, and anything longer is starting to creep toward a novella/novelette, at which point you may want to think about more

Dear Author

Richard Newsome

DEAR author, you’re stupid. At some point in the process of writing every manuscript, I end up composing a long letter to myself. No matter what the novel or the subject matter, the letter always has a common theme: Are you out of your freaking mind? Sometimes the letter writing comes early in the piece more

6 Observations on Writing in a Multiplatform World

Mike Jones

MY first professional writing gig was a stage play. Now, nearly 20 years later, my writing gigs include books, TV series, interactive games, museum exhibitions, and online multiplatform experiences. Certainly it would seem the world has changed quite a bit as the technology and diversity of how we deliver a story to an audience evolves. more

Words to Pictures to Words: reading comics

Kathleen Jennings

  IN October and November 2014, McNally Jackson Books in New York City and Mystery on Main Street in Brattleboro hosted readings from the Candlewick Press anthology Monstrous Affections. Since I was to be in the USA for the World Fantasy Convention, I planned to attend. Then I found out I was advertised as one of more

Get Lost: advice in novel writing

Sean Williams

NOVELS are big. I’m stating the obvious, but only because it bears restating. Novels are hard to write because there’s so bloody much in them. That’s one of the reasons why we love them, of course. You can lose yourself reading a novel in a way you can’t with short stories or poems. Which is not more

Advice for Aspiring Picture Book Authors

Jacinta di Mase

‘Writing a picture book is like writing “War and Peace” in Haiku.’ – Mem Fox Mem also offers tips for writers on her website such as: ‘Remember that a picture book is 32 pages. In printing, the pages are folded in half, then in 4, then in 8, then in 16, then in 32 which more

Troublesome Words

Gabrielle O'Ryan

CHANGING a single word in a sentence can make it into a good sentence. Changing punctuation can do the same thing, according to Lydia Davis. Look at Davis’s new first line of Swann’s Way: “For a long time, I went to bed early.” The comma makes it hesitate. Compare it to the Moncrieff (1954) version: “For a more

Three Things Writers Can Learn About Villains from Daredevil’s Wilson Fisk

Peter M. Ball

IT’S been a long time since I watched a TV show at the same time it entered into the cultural Zeitgeist, but the combination of Netflix coming to Australia and the recent release of Daredevil, Season 1, means that I’ve inhaled thirteen episodes of comic-book awesomeness at the same time as everyone else is watching it. more

IRL Festival

WQ Online

WITH their focus on contemporary culture, creativity and narrative, the Brisbane Powerhouse has launched the IRL Festival. This twelve-day event is a convergence of live performance, art and gaming through exhibits, film, installations and the two-day conference, Analogue Digital Brisbane. Founder of the New York Musical Theatre Festival and previously director of The Sydney Fringe Festival, more