Last weekend I took part in a flash fiction workshop at Varuna in Katoomba, run in collaboration with the Sydney Writers' Festival. On a drizzly grey Saturday, when the mountain mist smothered the town like a blanket, a group of writers gathered in front of a crackling fireplace in Varuna's cosy lounge room to learn … Continue reading Ten tips for creating outstanding flash fiction
I am a walking bundle of contradictions: a strident feminist who still does the whole family’s ironing, a creative working in a non-creative field and, like many writers, an introvert who doesn’t feel at all comfortable about the idea of spruiking myself to agents and publishers, yet desperately wants to be noticed. At some point, … Continue reading Can you learn to pitch your novel via online courses?
Last November, I decided to embark on NaNoWriMo for the first time. The experience has taught me a lot about how much can be achieved in a short period of time with sufficient motivation. And how many under-utilised hours and minutes there are in every day, even if it sometimes feels almost impossible to carve out … Continue reading The importance of backstory: why you should interrogate your characters before planning a rewrite
Last weekend, I attended the Australian Writers' Centre in Sydney for an intensive weekend course in Creative Writing. The idea was to consolidate my knowledge, acquired largely by bumbling around, and build on my skills. Indeed, I learnt a lot from the lovely and talented tutor, Pamela Freeman, who generously shared the wisdom of her … Continue reading Embracing creativity: you don’t need to reinvent yourself to benefit
This year my mission has been to read widely, outside the range of books I'd normally be drawn to. And to read more work by Australian women. Rather than listing my favourite books of 2017, I have listed five books which changed my opinion about something this year. Some would definitely make my list of … Continue reading Top five 2017 memorable reads
A few friends and relatives have told me that they've always dreamed of writing, but can't come up with any story ideas. Indeed, when the bug to write fiction first took hold, I felt the same way, coming up with plenty of lack-lustre ideas before settling on the idea that would sustain me through the … Continue reading Finding inspiration for fiction in everyday life.
Image from flickr.com/photos/peonieandthistle/8184709931 As a child, there was rarely a moment when I didn't have my head buried in a book. Of course, they were simpler times—BC (before computers)—but I imagine I would have been a bookworm regardless of other distractions. My kids still manage to read voraciously despite the constant lure of screens. … Continue reading Favourite books from childhood and why I’ll never reread them
A close-up of my writing desk, and my bowl of Jacaranda seed pods. Superstition is a funny thing; it creeps up on you. One moment you consider yourself a perfectly rational individual, scowling at those who read horoscopes and place their faith in the power of fate. The next moment, you find yourself adhering to … Continue reading Literary talismans and writerly superstitions
Nanowrimo, for those who are uninitiated, is a hare-brained scheme dreamt up in the land of hare-brained schemes—the US of A— some years ago, with the express purpose of torturing writers. It is now an international phenomenon involving a community of thousands of writers from all corners of the globe attempting to write 50 000 … Continue reading The busy person’s guide to preparing for NaNoWriMo
Text Publishing, 2017, ISBN: 9781925498202 This is the book that I was planning to write, and the book that I could never have written. As an anaesthetist and a writer, I'm fascinated by the subject of consciousness and the concept of how anaesthetic agents work on the brain to alter it. I've even toyed … Continue reading Book review—Anaesthesia: The Gift of Oblivion and the Mystery of Consciousness, by Kate Cole-Adams