Reading beyond our comfort zone

I’ve noticed a curious anxiety among some writers who teach writing about coming across as supposedly elitist when they discuss reading with their students. While these writers themselves are often ambitious readers and may complain to their peers about how little their students read, in the same breath they often say it doesn’t matter what the students read as long as they read, and it is not their role to pass judgement on their choices. Such an attitude might be beneficial for certain … [Read more...]

eBook: an innovation or a nostalgic gesture? A guest post by Julian Novitz

In a 1999 interview with the New York Times, Annie Proulx was quoted as saying: ’The internet is good for bulletin boards on esoteric subjects, reference works, lists and news – timely utilitarian information, efficiently pulled through the wires… Nobody is going to sit down and read a novel on a twitchy little screen. Ever.’ We’ve come a long way since then, but the sentiment expressed in Proulx’s statement is clearly still relatable for large numbers of readers and writers, who remain … [Read more...]

My Top 13 Writing Resources

We live in the time of Writing Resource Cornucopia. There are myriad aides for writers out there – books, magazines, courses and websites offering writing advice and exercises;  sometimes even recipes for creating the next bestseller. I have my reservations about how useful it is to have such a great choice. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of available information, and to grow confused in the face of often contradictory advice. Worse, the impression such plenty creates is … [Read more...]

‘Loosening up’ your creative nonfiction writing: Guest Post from Nicola Redhouse

For the past few years I’ve been writing a work of creative nonfiction that brings together memoir and research. It tells the story of a period of time in which I was blindsided by overwhelming postnatal anxiety and felt uncertain about the value of a decade of self-inquiry that I had undergone through psychoanalysis. This experience sent me on a quest to explore what current-day scientific investigations are showing us about Freud’s theories of the human mind. My father is a psychoanalytic … [Read more...]

The Pre-writing Stage

It’s been three years since I’ve worked on a book-long manuscript of my own. Lately my itch to write a new book has intensified. By nature I am not a short form writer, even though I’ve published many short fiction and creative nonfiction works. But there is something leisurely and expansive about the long form that I prefer. I find such writing more conducive to deep thinking. When I work at this length, I am less likely to cut corners while exploring life’s complexities. Plus, I have more … [Read more...]

Tips for successful blogging from the leading blogger Karen Andrews

If you’re thinking about blogging, let me say this up front: DO IT. I’ve been writing online since 2003, but mid-way through 2006 a friend sent me a link to this website she called a ‘blog’. It was Dooce.com, where Heather Armstrong documented her post-partum mental health struggles. As I was also going through a traumatic time following my second pregnancy and birth, my friend thought reading someone else’s experiences would help me process my own. Indeed, it did. I was also inspired, and in … [Read more...]

How to seduce a reader

My favorite writers are not so much writers as seducers, shamans, tricksters. Their works affect me on a gut level. Reading their books feels like being hypnotised or making love. I cannot explain my excitement about Marguerite Duras, for example, in intellectual terms, cannot say I love her work for her characters or plots or even themes, though these do matter. But many other writers craft characters, plots and themes well, and yet, while I enjoy their works, I am not obsessed with them like I … [Read more...]

The challenges of stream-of-consciousness writing: A guest post by Leon Silver

I wrote my first novel Dancing with the Hurricane from the perspective of a fifty-one year old man sitting at his comatose uncle’s hospital bed. The nursing staff had advised him to squeeze his uncle’s hand and talk to him about things they did together. So he sat there recapping their lives in the hope that the uncle might still be able to hear him. After the novel was published I kept contemplating: perhaps comatose people can hear and possibly even feel without responding? Perhaps they … [Read more...]

The Certain Uncertainty of Writing Fiction: A Guest Post from Kirsten Krauth

I didn’t do a lot of research for my first novel, just_a_girl. Speaking from the point of view of a teenager, full of contradictions: I could do that. Speaking from the point of view of a mother, fretting about how to get it right, often failing: I could do that too (or so I thought). My starting point for each scene was to place the character in a situation and consider the emotional response in the moment. What does the character feel, how does that play out in the body, in the way they speak, … [Read more...]

Writing about Others

Sometime after my memoir The Dangerous Bride came out, I received an email from a woman who had read my book. Her name was Anna, she was of a Russian origin and lived in Melbourne. There was also a Russian ‘Anna’ (pseudonym) from Melbourne in my book. The woman felt disturbed by this fact and emailed to assert that she and I had never met. I don’t want people to think it was me, she wrote. This was a puzzling concern, considering that Anna is a name as common among Russians in Australia as … [Read more...]