Making a living from writing

Jackie French

Yes, you can do it. No, most authors in Australia don’t make $13,600 a year, despite how often you hear that discouraging quotation. I doubt there is a single author who makes $13,600 and, if they exist, they are extremely skinny. That’s the average that Australians make from writing books. My darling husband makes $56 more

Australian short story trends

Craig Bolland

It’s hard to pin down an Australian tradition, stylistic or conceptual, that reliably runs through our short stories. Lawson may have had an early influence, but for as long as Australians have been writing, our short stories have poked at the edges of convention. It’s fair to say that Australian short stories, notably those from more

Trends in Young Adult Writing (Excerpt)

Amie Kaufman

“I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence, I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve more

Like plumbing (Excerpt)

Kristina Olsson

Here’s the writer in her garret, quill in hand, parchment at the ready, starving. She lives on bread and gruel and inspiration. The latter arrives punctually every day, courtesy of her muse, who alights on her shoulder and whispers in her ear. She, dutiful amanuensis, scribbles away, oblivious to her drear surroundings and unkempt hair, more

Literary translation

Angela Meyer

Literary translation is an important part of the local book industry, whether it’s Australian writers being translated for overseas audiences, or Australian readers discovering exciting stories from around the world. Translated works bring a diversity of voices and subjects to a publisher’s list, and some books really take off with local audiences, as has recently more

Visual Novels: Literacy’s surprise lifeboat

Simon Higgins

Visual Novels are books you play, games you read. If you’ve never read one, nor considered creating one, this might just be the time. What are Visual Novels? A hybrid of textual novel and interactive computer experience, Visual Novels (VNs) evolved in Japan and are now gaining ground in English-speaking countries. They represent a new more

The Tyranny of Probability – 3 considerations for Australian writers wanting to break into the US market (Excerpt)

Jay Kristoff

Hello friends. Before we join hands and jump down this particular rabbit hole together, I’m going to post a disclaimer. Imagine, if you will, this caveat standing in 40-foot high letters, set alight with phosphorescent accelerant, surrounded by trumpet-blowing angels. It reads: “This is just my opinion.” There are no golden rules in publishing, except more

Top Five Networking Tips for Authors

Angela Slatter

“Networking” isn’t a dirty word. Unfortunately, sometimes it feels dirty. Some writers will tell you that the entire idea of networking dilutes or sullies your art − that you should get back to starving in your garret, producing a masterpiece that people will magically know about when it’s done. The word has most certainly received more

Making Your Submission Stand Out

Sophie Hamley

AFTER months or years of crafting your manuscript, putting it in the proverbial ‘bottom drawer’ for a while and perhaps soliciting feedback from friends or members of your writing group, you will be ready to send your work out to the wider world. The first contact your manuscript will have with the publishing industry will likely more

Visual Novels: Literacy’s surprise lifeboat

Simon Higgins

Visual Novels are books you play, games you read. If you’ve never read one, nor considered creating one, this might just be the time. A hybrid of textual novel and interactive computer experience, Visual Novels (VNs) evolved in Japan and are now gaining ground in English-speaking countries. They represent a new step in the evolution more

Writing in the Pea Soup

Anna Krien

‘When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible,’ Ernest Hemingway told Paris Review in 1954. ‘There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.’ Ah, dear Hemingway, more

The Real Life of an Author

Natasha Lester

Many authors dream of becoming that mythical creature: the full-time writer, a person who is able to support themselves by doing nothing other than turning words into books. But I wonder whether such a thing as a full-time writer actually exists? Are there any writers out there who only write books? Even ridiculously famous and more

Top 5 Tips for Believable Characters

Angela Slatter

Characters: we love them, we hate them, sometimes we want to be them, but the most important thing is that, no matter how we feel about them, they are our guides through the stories we read. So, how do you ensure (and when I say ‘ensure’ I mean ‘do your level best’) that your characters more

The Wood for the Trees: writers and their editors

Rebecca Starford

ONE of the common questions I am asked when I talk about my memoir, Bad Behaviour, is whether being an editor helped when I was writing the book. Yes seems the obvious answer in many ways, but the insider’s experience of the publishing industry did also add layers of complexity I hadn’t anticipated. Before Bad Behaviour more

Notes from the Middle of My Career

Krissy Kneen

WRITING a novel is like running a marathon. You have to be prepared to stick with it despite the pain. You have to keep running the whole course for however long it takes. Finishing a novel could take one year, two years, five. When I hear about writers who have spent ten years writing their latest more

On Still Emerging

Megan McGrath

BACK when I was just a no-name kid from a patch of sand in Queensland, I had big dreams of making it as a writer. I wanted to be the kind of author who inspired other aspiring writers to create something meaningful. Penning stories about overcoming adversity, nature versus humans, and (of course, because I was more

Moving On Up: writing the next book

Anna Campbell

Writing a book is hard – mentally, emotionally, physically. It means digging in and sticking at it until you get to the final line of that story. For most of us, it’s more a marathon than a sprint. And now you’ve finished! Hooray for you! Stop. Look around. Celebrate (champagne never goes out of style). more

Getting Lucky: on writing a debut

Shivaun Plozza

I’ve been told (often) how lucky I am to get my debut novel, Frankie, published. And I am. Very lucky. The chances of having the right story at the right time read by the right editor in the right publishing house are astronomical. But in reality, luck plays a fleeting cameo in the drama that more

On Writing a Series

Paula Weston

Why is it that some writers need a series to tell a story while others take only a single volume? How do you know how many books it will take to tell your story? The answer is different for every writer, but for me, the key to writing a series is understanding why it needs more

Punching Up the Second Act

Peter M. Ball

THE second act. It makes up over fifty percent of your novel, and it’s frequently the source of greatest conflict and character growth. Get it right, and it will be the beating heart of your book, providing the context that gives your climax in the third act meaning. Get it wrong, and your book will feel more

Ta-Da! On Writing Endings

Jessica White

DEBRA ADELAIDE once described, in her grave, quiet voice, the exquisite pain of rushing towards the end of a book to find out what happens, while at the same time delaying it for as long as possible so as to remain in the story. I was unsurprised, a few days ago, to find myself digging my more

Writing the Body: beyond the five senses

Edwina Shaw

ANYONE who has felt the gut-punch of grief will tell you that emotion is experienced in the body. As writers it is our job to bring this visceral dimension to our characters. We’ve all been told about the importance of using the five senses when we write, but to really bring our characters to life we more

Put Some History In Your Worldbuilding

Tansy Rayner Roberts

WHENEVER I teach worldbuilding in creative writing classes, I start with two essentials: character, and maps. Character, because all writing starts with character for me. I have a tendency to do my worldbuilding on the fly, creating the ground under the feet of my characters after they’ve already started walking. Maps, because everyone likes to play more

Crime and Character

Katherine Howell

IF there’s one thing I learned from writing the Detective Ella Marconi crime series, it’s that the characters and the crime together make up the heart of the work. The characters are the reader’s gateway into the story world. It’s through the character that your reader experiences the story, so if you do your job right more

From Adult to Young Adult

Christopher Currie

SO now I am a Young Adult (YA) writer, apparently. On Wednesday 9 December, my novel marketed at teenage readers, Clancy of the Undertow, will be published by Text Publishing and my name will begin to appear in a whole different section in bookshops, a whole different category on websites and my chances of being more

Keeping the Pace

Sean Williams

PACING is the heartbeat of a story. Broadly speaking, it is determined by how rapidly events occur in order to serve the story to best effect. When employed correctly, pacing will propel a reader from beginning to satisfying conclusion. Getting it wrong, on the other hand, can kill a story dead. Although generic concerns may influence more

On the Importance of Being Edited (and Editing)

Angela Slatter

THERE’s a particular kind of arrogance that can trip up a new writer (and sometimes even an experienced one) and it goes something like this, “I just wrote The End, so it’s all done.” No. The End, to paraphrase The Mummy’s Imhotep, is just the beginning. Your first draft is just that: a draft. It needs tender more

How to Build a Romance: characters and relationships

Kylie Scott

Check out the first part of How to Build a Romance on plot and story here. Dissecting your hero, heroine, and their relationship. Who is this person and what do they want? What makes them interesting and unique? Are they likeable? Why should your reader care about them? Would you want to be friends/in a relationship with more

How to Build a Romance: plot and story

Kylie Scott

“Anyone who tells you there’s a right way to write is a lying bitch.” – Nora Roberts   The general definition of Romance as a genre is a story where the development of a romantic relationship is the central plotline and a happy ending is ensured. Many people disparage romance’s addiction to the Happy Ever more

Writing for Robots Part 2 – Writing for a Robot Doctor

Christy Dena

This article is part of a series, and should be read after Writing for Robots Part 1. DURING my work on ‘Robot University’ I was commissioned to write a short creative work for the inaugural Deletions Online Forum of Science Fiction Studies. I thought about the theme of ‘deletions’ and decided to make this the governing more

11 Ways You Can Save an Editor’s Time

Glynis Scrivens

PICTURE a desk covered in submissions and empty coffee cups, a groaning inbox of emails, pending deadlines, and a phone that never stops ringing. Editors don’t have it easy. Many also work from home, so you can add on any number of complicating factors that steal their time. Sick children, computer malfunctions, visitors, school holidays…. Anything more

Writing for Robots Part 1

Christy Dena

This article is part of a series, and should be read in tandem with Writing for Robots Part 2 – Writing for a Robot Doctor. I love robots. I have written about robots and with robots. I have never written a story about a robot for such a human tool as a book. Instead, I’ve scripted characters more

Project: Novella

Megan McGrath

One would think that after taking out a top tiered novella writing competition I would know all there is to know about novellas. Writing them. Reading them. Selling them. The truth is, placing in Forgotten Stories, Griffith Review’s Novella Competition II doesn’t make me an expert. Whale station was my first novella. Ten times larger more

You Can’t Climb a Wall with a Broken Arm: plausibility in fantasy fiction

Kylie Chan

READERS tend to be extremely forgiving when a good story grabs them, and we fantasy writers rely on this suspension of disbelief to pull our readers down the rabbit hole of our twisted imaginations. It doesn’t take much though for the reader to pop back up out of the hole with an expression of disappointment when more

Push Your Book

Ellen van Neerven

YOU are in the fortunate position where you have secured a publishing contract, survived the editorial process, and now your book has gone to print. What happens next? What do you have to do to give your book a fighting chance to be noticed? If you’re a first time author, it’s important to realise you can’t more

So You Want to Write YA Fiction

Christine Bongers

NOW is a great time to be writing for teens. Young Adult fiction is kicking it in the market place, leaping gleefully over doomsayers predicting the death of the novel, and running roughshod over adult book sales in a riot of flatforms, connies and Docs. The YA juggernaut, propelled by John Green’s The Fault in Our more

Small Towns that Thrive

Jenn J McLeod

Writing what you know – fusing fiction and fact. THE term ‘write what you know’ means having a thorough understanding of your themes, your environment, and your characters. Without it your work may lack the author authenticity readers (and publishers) demand. The deeper your understanding, knowledge and/or experiences relate to your theme, the more formed and more

Small Town Fiction Secrets

Jenn J. McLeod

IT’S no secret that Shakespeare coined the phrase ‘sea change’, or that lots of Aussies dream of one day getting out of the city: semi-retirement, starting over, simplifying their lives, or as I did recently, downsizing to a home on wheels and hitting the road in search of more small towns to inspire new stories. This more