On Writing

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

‘Good morning Eliza, my name is Dr Gillespie, I am here to talk to you.’

‘What did you say your name was?’

‘Dr Gillespie.’

‘Your first name?’

‘Still Dr Gillespie to you Eliza

The sound of chairs scraping across wooden floorboards roused me from my Sunday morning slumber. Rubbing my eyes, I slumped down the stairs to find one of my six-year-old son’s living room ‘rehearsals’ in full swing. He had been given a part in the movie ‘Gremlins 3’, as one of the Gremlins of course, and he was preparing furiously at home.

ALAA agent Jacinta di Mase answers some common questions about literary agents.
 

What does a literary agent do?

A literary agent is a writer’s representative in the commercial world: their manager, their business representative, protector of their copyright, the one who weighs in on the side of the author/illustrator in all dealings. 

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.

Our job as storytellers is to deliver delight. That delight can come in many forms such as horror, intrigue, romance, suspense, and of course, that wonderful sense of sinking into another world that feels totally real. But how do you build a believable world? Is it a case of getting all your world-element ducks in a row before you start writing, or is it more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants affair?

One of my favourite movies as a child was a time-travel romance called ‘Somewhere in Time’. It stars the late Christopher Reeve (think Clark Kent without the glasses) and is embarrassingly corny now that I look back, but the reason my sister and I kept renting that worn old video cassette wasn’t the romance, it was the origin of the pocket watch.

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.