On Writing

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

Some geniuses write alone. Without a single word of encouragement or criticism, these annoyingly self-motivated authors emerge with a fully formed masterpiece ready for publication. For the rest of us, being part of a community of other writers helps us polish our work and find new publishing opportunities – not to mention helping us maintain sanity in a world where words are cheap and writers are seen as financial fools in the thrall of some ridiculous bohemian mythology.

Some of Australia’s most remarkable and inspiring stories stem from true life. Told in voices plain, ornate, and everything in between, first-person accounts serve many purposes and begin from diverse places. A great number of successful books are sparked by the writer’s curiosity about a detail of family, which has always been puzzling or unspoken: a gap in the records. Others explore a powerful and cherished relationship. Yet others stem from a profound bond with place. And some stories arise from a terrible loss or tragedy.

I begin every talk I ever give – no matter what the subject – by telling people they need to have something worth selling. It applies to agents, publishers, and authors. The best description of something worth selling is: a good story, well told. This applies to fiction, narrative non-fiction and children’s books.

Do you have a manuscript in your ‘bottom drawer’? One that you promised yourself that you would finish, polish, and get out to agents and/or publishers this year?

Now it’s October. . . The year is almost over and you’re keen to make good on that New Year’s resolution and get it onto someone’s desk before midnight this New Year’s Eve.


Could there be a better time to make your submission?

on the left, Graeme Simsion; on the right, Paddy O'Reilly

Graeme Simsion and Paddy O’Reilly will be discussing their distinct approaches to writing at our inaugural Plotters Vs Pantsers debate.

They spoke to Program Intern Kate Steele about plotting and flying by the seat of your pants.

The recipients of the annual Glenfern Fellowships and emerging writers’ competition.

The 2014 Glenfern Fellowships for Mid-Career and Established Writers (supported by the Readings Foundation) were awarded to Jennifer Down, Lee Kofman and Christian Ryan.

The 2014 Glenfern Fellowships for Emerging Writers (supported by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust) were awarded to Allison Browning, Matilda-Dixon-Smith and Shivaun Plozza.

Photo of Clare Allan-Kamil

With over 25 years’ experience in the industry, Clare has plenty of advice to help us break down the art of the dreaded synopsis.

In Part 1 of this interview, Clare gave us her top tips on how to get your synopsis right. For Part 2, she shares her thoughts on the sort of things you should try to avoid when writing your synopsis. What are the key mistakes authors make when writing a synopsis?

Photo of Clare Allan-Kamil

Writers Victoria sat down with Clare Allan-Kamil to get her take on the art of synopsis writing.

As the synopsis is the first example of your writing an agent, editor or publisher sees, it’s vital to get it right – if they don’t like your synopsis they might not bother to read your sample chapters. As daunting as it seems, there are tricks and tools you can use to make your synopsis stand out.