The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

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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. 

Since 2007, Writers Victoria has offered writers the use of a Glenfern writers’ studio for a period of three months, thanks to the support of the Readings Foundation (from 2007 to 2014) and the Grace Marion Wilson Trust (since 2009).

The Fellowships give authors the time and space to write, as well as the opportunity to be involved in a vibrant community of writers in the historic surroundings of the Glenfern mansion in St Kilda East.

Part 1

July 2016, Jerusalem

I am sitting on a bench, in the park in Jerusalem, watching mothers pushing children on swings. I am eating an ice-cream, alone.

It’s debatable what’s harder: to produce a piece of creative writing or to find someone willing to read a draft and give authentic feedback. I was pleased and relieved when Jude readily agreed to read my draft crime novella. After all, I argued, not only was he a good friend but also a well-read and incisive member of a bookclub. I could certainly count on him to be objective in his feedback, yet encouraging. If he wished, he could do so over lunch. I’d shout him and we’d make it a social occasion. It should be fun, I thought. Little did I think the day would end as it did.

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

Writers Victoria is thrilled to announce the finalists of the 2017 Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competitions.

In the Fiction category, of which there were over 100 entries, judges Mark Brandi and Michelle Scott Tucker were impressed by the high quality of the submissions, reporting that they saw "a diversity of form, content, and genre."

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.