The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Photo of Alli Sinclair

“A romantic story is boring if the potential couple are a perfect match straight away,” says tutor Alli Sinclair. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Alli about what appeals in romance writing and how to write compelling, memorable romance characters.

Ally means partner, or so I’ve heard. Someone who cares, who'll be there when the walls fall down. Ally is an action, an alliance you build, not something you identify as. Ally is meant to mean something, like a marriage, because that's how marriage started too.

Paddy O'Reilly headshot

"The longer you can leave a work before editing, the better," says tutor Paddy O'Reilly. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Paddy about some tips and tricks of the editing process.

Fran Berry headshot

"Whilst style and story craft are still major assessment points," says tutor Fran Berry, "in non-fiction and memoir we are first drawn to the subject, issue or unique perspective that the writer brings to their subject." Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Fran about strategies for pitching memoir and non-fiction.

A portrait of CS Pacat

CS Pacat's 'Captive Prince' fantasy trilogy evolved from online serial to commercially-published book series. She shared her thoughts on worldbuilding, self-publishing and the future of fantasy with Michelle McLaren, republished ahead of her Digital Fantasy Novel Intensive, starting January 2018.

"All obsessions are intensely personal and often obscure in origin," says tutor Bella Li. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Bella about what draws her to ekphrasis, and what she loves about the dialogue between writing and the visual arts.

The 2017 Deborah Cass Prize for Writing has been awarded to Rafeif Ismail, a 23-year old Perth woman from a Sudanese background.

We are making some improvements to the way we communicate with you. In 2018, we will be dedicating more time to strategic planning to ensure our communications are as effective and engaging as they can be.

As part of this change, from January, the WV e-news will be sent fortnightly. Don’t worry, we will still be bringing you all of the stuff you love, writing advice, Q&As, comps and opps, and more! There’ll still be heaps of great content on website and our social channels too.

Prologue: One Year Ago


“There are too many ghouls in the forest. We need you,” said Kolya.

The poor kid was exhausted and pale. Silvie gave him a second fruit bun, figuring there was no harm in a little petty crime.  The buns weren’t selling; besides, it was depressingly likely that she’d have to resign from the bakery before the day was over.

“I’m not due back at the barracks for another week,” she said.

“Bd hr d—” Kolya paused, swallowing his mouthful before trying again. “But you’re the best, and we need you.”

Today is a muggy Melbourne day that threatens with sunshine and rain, yet inside St Kilda café Galleon, fans sweep cold air and Ella Fitzgerald croons smooth and slow from the radio. Today, I’m meeting writer Bram Presser, who arrives on the dot of 3.30, folds a bookmark into ‘The Standing Chandelier’ by Lionel Shriver, orders a green juice and sits down to talk.