Writing Tips and Tools

Get tips, tricks and tools on the craft of writing.

Photo of Sofie Laguna

"Get to know your characters intimately, on the page," says WV tutor Sofie Laguna, "Give them time and space, and plenty of words. Over-write them in the first draft. If you need to, you can always delete later!"

Photo of Julien Leyre

"The best way to find our original voice is not to resist influence, but embrace influence as diverse as we can," says WV tutor Julien Leyre.

Julien is a French-Australian writer and educator. After studying Humanities and Classics, he published a novel and short stories in Paris while teaching linguistics and translation at the Sorbonne.

Photo of Arnold Zable

"Follow the story," says WV tutor Arnold Zable, "do not try to control it."

Arnold is an acclaimed Australian writer, novelist, storyteller, and human rights advocate. His books include ‘Jewels and Ashes’, ‘The Fig Tree’, ‘Café Scheherazade’, ‘Scraps of Heaven’, ‘Sea of Many Returns’, ‘Violin Lessons’, and most recently, ‘The Fighter’. He is the author of numerous essays, columns, stories, features and works for theatre.

Photo of Toni Jordan

"My first draft is all about the characters," says WV tutor Toni Jordan. "I try to be true to them, to do right by them."

Toni is the author of the international best-seller ‘Addition’ (2008), longlisted for the Miles Franklin award, ‘Fall Girl’ (2010) and ‘Nine Days’, which was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award and named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013.

Photo of Sofie Laguna

"Use a journal," says WV tutor Sofie Laguna, "a private space where you can establish a daily practice of writing for yourself, without criticism or judgement."

Sofie is an award-winning author of over twenty books for children. Her books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia.

Photo of Micheline Lee

"You often hear about writer's block as a negative thing," says WV tutor Micheline Lee. "I have found that a block can be constructive, prompting you to stop and re-evaluate."

Micheline was born in Malaysia and migrated to Melbourne when she was eight. After completing law at Monash University, she lived in Darwin for 15 years. Her first job was as a criminal prosecutor, her next job as a painter holding exhibitions in Australia and overseas. Micheline now lives in Melbourne with her partner and son, and continues to alternate between art and the law.

Photo of Kate Armstrong

"Writing is like any good adventure," says WV tutor Kate J Armstrong, "there's as much trial as there is triumph."

Kate writes and edits books about travel, nature, and adventures of all kinds. She’s helped adventurers tell their stories in books like National Geographic’s ‘Everest: Mountain Without Mercy’, edited travel beauties like National Geographic’s ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Places’ and written about exploring nature in titles like ‘Greatest Parks of the World’.

Photo of Kate Mildenhall

"Read. Read. Read," says WV tutor Kate Mildenhall. "When you're not doing that, sit down and DO the writing."

Kate is a writer and teacher. Her education work has taken her into schools, universities, volunteering with Teachers Across Borders in Cambodia and, currently, into State Library Victoria. Her debut novel ‘Skylarking’ will be published in August 2016.

Photo of Karen Andrews

"Blogging can be a powerful platform to develop your voice, utilise your talents, develop skills and make connections with new readers," says WV tutor Karen Andrews.

Karen is an award-winning writer, author, editor, poet and publisher. Her work has appeared in journals and publications throughout Australia. Her latest book is ‘Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood’.

Photo of David Brewster

"At a time when freelance writing work for media outlets is becoming increasingly hard to find, keen writers would do well to consider ghostwriting as an alternative," says WV tutor David Brewster.

David started writing for a living in 2008. He has ghostwritten over a dozen books and countless blog posts and articles, mostly for business clients. He has also gained substantial self-publishing experience. His most recent ghostwriting project was a memoir entitled ‘Scattered Pearls’ (2016).