The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Ellie Marney headshot

When choosing to self-publish, "People often assume that you can slap something together and hit Publish," says tutor Ellie Marney. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Ellie about the importance of being organised, doing the research, and most importantly, writing a book that readers will love.

(Warning: this article contains fictional graphic violence involving a child)

He would do Alison first. She was the oldest. Jane would be next, baby Felix last. Hugh Anderson paced the lounge room, clenching his fists. Orange light drenched his home, pooling on the floor, splashing the walls.

Shivaun Plozza headshot

"What connects an intellectual understanding of story to the ability to construct one," says tutor Shivaun Plozza, "is tied up in soliciting and digesting quality feedback." Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Shivaun about how to give an receive feedback effectively, and the role it can play in fine-tuning your writing.

Part of the role of being a good agent is to stay on top of what publishers are looking for – the publishing trends. It is not as easy as looking at the bestseller list, however, because by the time a trend reaches the reader, agents and publishers are already looking for the next big thing.

A few years ago a wit wrote a piece describing the grief that would be heaped on Charles Dickens by his publishers if he were he writing in today’s market. The imagined dialogue went along these lines: ‘So, Charles, what are you working on now? A sequel to ‘The Pickwick Papers?’’ The writer imagined the increasing dismay of modern publishers confronted by the bleak social satire of ‘Oliver Twist’, followed by historical fiction and even – horrors – a ghost story.

The architect enters the room

Wearing a black velvet blazer

Crisp white shirt, skinny leg jeans

A caricature – oozing ‘starchitect’ cool

In July this year ‘The Super Moopers’, a kids’ book series created by Scott Edgar, Sally Rippin and myself, was unleashed on the world. Watching the small army of smiling faces crowd into the Little Bookroom to support us on our launch day was a humbling and emotionally overwhelming experience. 

The internet didn’t invent fan fiction. It’s been flourishing for sixty years in the form of the regency romance novel. In this time-span much has happened in the genre.

On being released from a Turkish prison recently, writer Yusuf Karataş said ‘whether we are inside or outside, we will continue to speak the truth’. These words are emblematic of the ongoing courage of writers who dare speak truth to power.

As writers, we spend a lot of time looking at our screens and our notebooks. But writing is as much about the world outside the page as the words we scrawl on it. Great writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum – we need to look outwards to invigorate our imaginations, question our assumptions and become better writers.