On Writing

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

Genre can be a tricky beast. Many writers spend a lot of time pondering what sort of genre they’ll write or how their idea or character fits within different genres. Sometimes they have their full novel written but they’re still not sure what genre it “fits” into. And does it have to fit into one genre anyway? Certainly there are a lot of novels out there that cross genres at some level, from the sci-fi murder mystery to literary thrillers.

I’ve just landed on a tropical island. I shouldn’t be here – I was going to an ancient temple but made a diversion on the hunt for treasure. There’s a ship onshore. I assume it is unguarded; I board and attack. I fell one man and feel triumphant. Nothing can oppose me. My luck runs out. Men swarm me. I’m overwhelmed. I fall.

Something has happened to Young Adult (YA) fiction in the last ten years: it has been genre-fied.

Though I try to be an open-minded reader, I continually find myself drawn to YA. I love its potential for uncertainty, for angst and listlessness, for fleeting joy and realisation. 

Running alongside Tom-William wasn’t easy. At a moment’s notice he could pull ahead of me with minimal effort. He was the older brother and the fastest by far. Not because he was taller or his legs were stronger, but because he was determined. He wouldn’t leave a game up to chance. He had to beat me.

Christine lunges onto the footpath; a taxi pulls away from the curb and onto the street almost striking her down. She leaps into the next car at the front of the rank, blood pounding in her head. Sweat pours over her skin as she gives the driver the address. The taxi makes a tight U-turn before surging forward; she asks the driver to hurry. Ten minutes later the car stops then drives off, leaving her alone outside Damien and Jenna’s house. 

“Do you write ‘Mummy-Porn’?”

The words fell from my anaesthetist’s curvaceous lips as I gazed into his vivid, violet eyes. “My goodness, he’s handsome,” the thought stumbled through my stupid, sedated mind. Even bleary with drugs, I still sensed the mocking tone. Internally I struggled, knowing I was incapable of intelligently defending myself. 

headshot of Melinda Houston

Feature writer and TV critic turned novelist Melinda Houston shares her thoughts on articles, research and the state of the television industry with Brendan Paholski.

Melinda has been a feature writer and critic for 20 years, and is currently the TV critic for ‘The Sunday Age’ and the ‘Sun Herald’. She taught magazine writing at RMIT for five years and has just published her first novel, ‘Kat Jumps The Shark’.

headshot of Narelle Harris

Narrelle Harris is a multi-published erotica writer who dabbles in print and online writing across numerous genres. She spoke with Writers Victoria intern John about the inherent connections between all stories and the importance of relationships in her writing.

Narrelle is published as NM Harris with Clan Destine Press. She has also written novels in crime, science fiction and fantasy as Narrelle Harris. Narrelle maintains a general writing blog as well as the romance writing blog,...

headshot of Laurent Boulanger

Laurent Boulanger is a screenwriter, director, short story writer, novelist and interviewer. He spoke to Brendan Paholski in the lead-up to his Scriptwriting workshop at Writers Victoria.

Laurent has been teaching scriptwriting at Swinburne University since 2004. His feature screenplay Six Lovers, which he also directed, was produced by Intermedia Arts in 2010. His feature screenplay Dirty Little Secrets is in pre-production for a 2014 shoot, and his French-language feature screenplay La Souffrance is currently in development.

Part of the cover of The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

Rose Michael will be facilitating Writers Victoria’s inaugural book club for established writers. She spoke to us about the need for peer learning and discussion, and how The Writers' Book Club will provide a place for that one evening a month over five months.

Rose is commissioning editor at Hardie Grant Books. She co-founded Arcade Publications in 2007 to publish unconventional – in form and format – histories. She established the Postgraduate Publishing and Communications internships program at the University of Melbourne, has been editor of the ‘Weekly Book Newsletter’, and her...