On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

Back in July 2012 a group of disparate strangers gathered at Writers Victoria to start a six-month novel-writing course taught by award-winning author Carrie Tiffany. We were to varying degrees anxious and excited, waiting for the first words from our teacher. Carrie’s unhurried and considered teaching cultivated our skills and knowledge, inspiring us to develop something more meaningful.

As the daughter of a writer, I know all too well what a writing life is like – full of impressive highs and lows, years of determination and grit, the monotony of writing, writing, writing and the constant fear of failure. Readers’ letters inspire joy and make a writer remember why they do this job. Royalty payments! Short-listings! Awards! And then, bad reviews. Goodreads. Slow sales.

I was twelve when I first held in my shaking hands an envelope postmarked from a writing competition I had entered. I can still remember unfolding the letter to see those words I have coveted ever since:

Dear Kate,

Congratulations!

‘When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free.’ – Orhan Pamuk

Photo of James Cristina

James Cristina talks to Writers Victoria about his debut novel 'Antidote To A Curse'.

Portrait of Lyndel Caffrey

It can be tricky navigating roadblocks in our writing, perhaps even more so with literary fiction. Often, as literary fiction writers, we head completely off the map, or we experiment with turning traditional story frameworks and structures on their heads. We chatted to Lyndel Caffrey ahead of her Winter School workshop, Problem-Solving in Literary Fiction, about problem solving specific to literary fiction.

Portrait of Kate Cuthbert

Great writing touches us, stirs something deep within and lingers. For this connection to take place, there needs to be a strong sense of emotional resonance for your reader. We chatted with Kate Cuthbert ahead of her Winter School workshop next week, Building Emotional Resonance. There are still some places available so book in and learn how to give your writing an injection of emotional spark that will reach right out of your pages and grab your reader by their hearts.

The body is the vessel through which we experience life. Through the body, we experience ourselves, our environment and other human beings. Our perception can be skewed by reflections, messages and stories in literature, the media and culture about what a ‘normal’ body is - stories that are often censored, biased and exclusive. We chatted to Quinn Eades ahead of his Winter School workshop, The Body, Writing, about his inspiration and passion for telling and portraying honest, authentic, raw and diverse...

I’ll begin with a disclaimer. I’ve always experienced considerable tension between my writer-self and my book-promoting self. However you approach the task, when you promote your books you inevitably take residence in the kingdom of niceness, where the drive to please prevails. I smile more when I promote my books. I seek agreement more. I often try to present as the kind of person whose company, and by inference whose book, will please you. Sometimes, if say I suggest myself for a public event, I even talk myself up a little.

Sally Rippin headshot

Sally Rippin is a prolific author, with the highly popular Billie B Brown series and several novels to her name. In celebration of her upcoming workshop, we're re-publishing some of the insights she shared with Sharona Lin about children’s writing.