The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Speculative fiction is a popular genre, yet figuring out where to submit your work can be overwhelming, particularly if you’re an early or emerging author. Definitions of ‘speculative fiction’ vary, so I’ll clarify what I mean when I use the term here: writing that falls into the genres of fantasy, science fiction or horror. These encompass many subgenres, from alternate history to futuristic dystopia to supernatural mystery. Speculative genres are about possibility, whether rooted in the real world or completely removed from it.

Story is an ancient art form. They stood by the campfire, the early storytellers, and gave shape to their experiences, and in doing this, they gave voice to the collective. The storyteller acquired their art through practice. Their tales took shape as they worked at them. They found the best ways to tell their stories by standing in front of an audience, and seeing what worked, through trial and error.

Does gender still matter?

A portrait of Liz Conor

Writing historical non-fiction is daunting, but also thrilling, says Dr Liz Conor. Ahead of her workshop, part of our Having a Voice: Writing Women series, Liz gave WV an insight into her writing process, uncovering untold stories, and the pleasures of the archive

Balancing research with personal experience is often tricky for non-fiction writers. Ahead of her Writing Women's History workshop, part of our Having a Voice series, WV intern Nicola Wetzel caught up with Iola Mathews to find out how she researches and writes about women's stories.

Annual Report 2016

Huge thanks to all of our Writers Vic members who joined us for our 27th Annual General Meeting last week.

Welcome to our monthly brag about our Writers Victoria community members who have won awards, been shortlisted or longlisted for writing prizes or received industry recognition.

Em must sleep awhile with the others; unconscious in an instant, like turning out a light. Then all at once they are beyond the city, the wide, tidal salt-flats, and into the glittering bay. Em shocks awake, doused in icy spray. It is dawn, and it seems they are all waking, dropping into a nightmare rather than surfacing from one. Spluttering, Em lunges for Matilda. She calls the child’s name even before she can rub saltwater from her eyes. But the little girl is still there, already awake, rigid with fear. The men have set the outboard wheezing, keeping them on course.

It’s not every day you get to step onto the surface of an alien planet. I got to do that in February, not as an astronaut but as the 2016/17 Australian Antarctic Division’s Arts Fellow. My plane touched down on the ice runway at Wilkins aerodrome and there I took my first bold step into the environment on earth that’s closest to Mars. All in the name of research.

In fights about realist literature versus speculative fiction – fights that happen mysteriously often online and on the stages of writers’ festivals – spec-fic fans like to say that the point of the genre, what makes it so great, is that it helps us imagine the future.