Writing Tips and Tools

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

picture of Earl Livings standing at a microphone and reading from a book

“A successful writing career requires three key ingredients,” says WV tutor Earl Livings, “talent, luck and persistence.”

Earl has published poetry and fiction in Australia and also Britain, Canada, the USA and Germany. He has a PhD in Creative Writing, taught for 17 years in the Professional Writing and Editing course, and edits ‘Divan’, Australia’s first all-Australian online poetry journal.

headshot of Martine Murray

“Place is the quiet ground on which your story stands,” says WV tutor Martine Murray.

Martine has published stories ranging from picture book to middle grade fiction to Young Adult fiction, including ‘The Slightly True story of Cedar B Hartley’, ‘How to Make a Bird’, ‘The Slightly Bruised Glory of Cedar B Hartley’ and ‘Mannie and the Long Brave Day’.

headshot of James Button

“Only long hours of writing makes good writing,” says speechwriter James Button.

James is a former deputy editor and Europe correspondent at ‘The Age’. He has won two Walkley Awards for feature writing. In 2009 and 2010 he wrote speeches for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, an experience described in ‘Speechless: A Year in my Father’s Business’.

picture of Tom Doig wearing a t-shirt that reads "moron" with an arrow pointing left

“Make your descriptions out of words that are simple, powerful and surprising,” says WV tutor Tom Doig.

Tom is a writer, PhD candidate and moron. In 2013 Allen & Unwin published his first book, Moron to Moron: two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure. Tom has an MA in Hitler Comedy and is currently a Journalism PhD student, researching people’s experiences of climate change in Australia.

picture of Marianne de Pierres laying across rocks outside with her face resting in her hand

“Write consistently. Finish what you start,” – just some of the writerly advice from WV tutor Marianne de Pierres.

Marianne is a multi-award winning Australian author of novels written in the science fiction, fantasy, crime, and young adult genres.

headshot of Mark Dapin

“If you think you have read a sentence before, don’t write it again,” says WV tutor Mark Dapin.

Mark was born in England 50 years ago and moved to Australia 25 years ago. For 10 years, he was an extremely popular features writer and columnist on ‘Good Weekend’ magazine. His first novel, ‘King of the Cross’, won a Ned Kelly Award.

picture of Tim Cope smiling and hiking

“If you knew what the book was going to be, then you would never begin writing it,” says travel writer Tim Cope.

Tim is an award-winning adventurer, author and film-maker whose most renowned journey was a three year, 6,000-mile odyssey by horse from Mongolia to Hungary on the trail of Genghis Khan – a quest to understand the horseback nomads of the great Eurasian steppe.

headshot of Phillip Taylor

“Writing about a contact sport requires as much training and application as playing one,” says sports writer Phillip Taylor (but there’s less chance of doing a hammy).

Phillip is a Melbourne-born writer and long-time fan of Hawthorn Football Club. He was at the MCG in 1971 when the Hawks won the premiership and has now seen them play in 15 Grand Finals, winning 10 of them.

headshot of Bernard Caleo

“When you start drawing as a form of writing,” says Bernard Caleo, “there are really old and really new ways of telling stories that are opened to you.”

Bernard has been making comics since the early 1990s, in collaboration (‘The False Impressionists’ with Tolley, ‘Café Ghetto’ with John Murphy), solo (‘Flâneur’, ‘Mongrel’) and as an editor (the ‘Tango’ anthology). I

headshot of Maria Tumarkin

“Do not make your mind up before sitting down to write,” advises WV tutor Maria Tumarkin.

Maria’s latest book, ‘Otherland’, is part-memoir, part-reportage, part-investigation of mothers, daughters and the fate of the former USSR.