Writing Gold

There’s a moment I’ve achieved sometimes while working that I regard as ‘writing gold’. It comes when the characters and locations become so vivid in my imagination that they actually spring to life and begin doing all the ‘writing’ for me. When it happens, I find myself sitting back (metaphorically, truth is I’m slaving over […]

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October 10, 2011

Tips for Young Writers 29: Two unusual ways to solve your story problems (possibly)

When you’re grappling with a story problem and just don’t know what to do about it, you might like to try one of the techniques below. They’re what I do and they’re extremely easy. 1) Sit back, close your eyes and silently ask yourself for the solution. Then just relax and listen to your thoughts. […]

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July 4, 2011

Tips for Young Writers 28: Make sure all your characters want something all of the time.

When you write a scene, try to make sure every character in it, secretly or openly, wants something. Not all characters have to actually know what they want, but they’ll be way more ‘in’ the scene if they’re hoping for some sort of outcome. Characters who are ‘unmotivated’ can become passive deadweights – they’re like […]

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February 15, 2011

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Make sure you’re ready for the moment when inspiration strikes.

I think Pablo Picasso may have provided the best advice I’ve ever heard for creative people. It’s translated in many different ways, but in essence it is … ‘When inspiration comes,  let it find me working.’  – Pablo Picasso   Inspiration isn’t all that effective if we don’t know what to do with it. We […]

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March 12, 2010

Why it’s important to write visually

I’ve been trying to work out why visual writing is so powerful and here’s what I’ve come up with. Please feel free to agree or disagree. Visual means recognisablerecognisable means realreal means universaluniversal means profound Therefore, visual writing is profound.

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July 15, 2009

Making Sense of Tense

Here’s an article about ‘tense’ that I wrote for the Melbourne Age newspaper in 2008. Happy reading … Making Sense of Tense If you’re reading a story at the moment – and I really hope you are – it’s probably written in the past tense. Most stories are for very good reasons. However, experimenting with […]

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March 29, 2009

Four books that have changed my life

This is an article I wrote for Sydney’s Sun-Herald in late 2008. A Fraction of the Whole by Steve ToltzIt’s embarrasing to admit this as an author, but until I’d read this book, there was no way I’d trouble myself with a 700 page novel. I love reading, but there are limits to how much […]

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March 29, 2009

Tips for Young Writers 27: Don’t forget that writing is fun.

Don’t forget that writing is fun. Writing’s not a job, it’s an art, like painting and acting and playing music. So, laugh while you write. Listen to music while you write. Cry while you write – if that makes you happy. Whatever you do, have fun while you write.

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March 28, 2009

Tips for Young Writers 25: Learn to enjoy conflict – in your writing, at least.

Understand that conflict is the writer’s best friend. Conflict, in life, is unpleasant (well, for most of us), but it’s brilliant in stories. Conflict brings a story to life. Try to include conflict in most parts of your story, whether it’s in the form of an argument, a fight, a war, a debate, a sporting […]

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March 28, 2009

Tips for Young Writers 26: Lead an interesting life.

Lead an interesting life. If you’re an interesting person, your writing will be interesting too. So, do scary things sometimes. And difficult things. And amazing things. And unexpected things. That way you’ll learn to understand yourself and other people much better. And that will not only make you a better writer, it will make you […]

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March 28, 2009