On Writing

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

Laura Jean McKay headshot

There's no time for small talk in short story writing, says Laura Jean McKay. Ahead of her upcoming online Beginner Short Story Clinic, we talk to Laura about what draws her to the short story form.

A photograph of Karen Andrews

Writing is often loosely divided into fiction and non-fiction, but the reality is far more complicated. Karen Andrews discusses some of the key challenges ahead of her Write-ability: Finding the Form workshop.

There is a great deal of work to be done before a memoir is ready to be written. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talk to Lorna Hendry about the risks and rewards of research and interviews.

Roselina Press Headshot

If you're looking to change entrenched beliefs, using emotion can be more persuasive than facts, says Roselina Press. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talk to Roselina about using storytelling to bring about social change.

Business Writing program logo

Effective report writing is a key skill in business, government, and the non-profit sector, yet even experienced staff can struggle to keep a report engaging and concise. In the leadup to her half-day Business Writing workshop on Clear and Concise Reports in September, Kyra-Bae Snell shares insights from her years as a teacher, editor, and corporate trainer. 

One of the most interesting areas of change in literature over the last fifty years has been in non-fiction. Creative non-fiction is a term that seeks to encompass its shifting boundaries. Much of the excitement in literature is happening at the intersection of fiction and non-fiction, so that what the writer invents, with the reader’s cognisance, becomes integral to the narration and creates a wholly satisfying whole, where ‘satisfying’ involves some aspect of engagement that spills over into enjoyment.

I come from a long line of self-deprecators, a large family in which every sibling has gained some measure of success in their chosen field but none has ever been allowed to trumpet that success without being pulled back into line. Pumping up your own tyres, flying your own kite, blowing wind up your own arse, whatever the euphemism employed, the intent has always been to make sure you stay humble.

Annabel Smith

Authors really have to dig for the meaning of ‘success’. That’s never been truer than in this less-than-golden age of publishing, when the question ‘How’s it selling?’ from your mates is more reviled and feared than ‘How could you do that to your parents?’ from an interviewer.

There are words from other languages that cannot be easily translated into our own beautiful bastardised English. One such word, that comes from the Finns, I think encapsulates everything that we, as emerging writers, need to have. The Finnish concept of sisu can be defined as an ‘extraordinary determination in the face of adversity’. The English words ‘grit’, ‘perseverance’ or ‘resilience’, according to Finnish speakers, do not come close to describing the inner strength encapsulated in their native term.