I teach workshops on performance poetry and The Moth-style storytelling, so I’m always telling people to get off the page. Memorise your piece, look up, connect with the audience! Write something visceral, rhythmic, easy to remember! However, doing readings at festivals and literary events often means performing something that wasn’t written for performance. If you’re…

What attracted you to genre fiction and how did you get started? MdP: I’ve been reading genre all my life, and I’m attracted to the fact that genre novels usually contain strong narrative drive, distinctive worlds, characters I can relate to, and meaningful conclusions. I find that fiction that is solely about the writer’s personal…

SOME of cinema’s and television’s most enduring pieces were hatched not directly from screenwriters’ heads, but were adapted from novels, short stories, comics and non-fiction books. Vertigo, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Godfather, The Shining, Brideshead Revisited, Silence of the Lambs, Schindler’s List, Band of Brothers, Master and Commander and Atonement are each testament to…

Whether the place is Tarragindi or Middle Earth, every story happens somewhere. That sounds obvious, but it was a notion that eluded me when I started writing. I wrote stories about characters in generic cities and those characters never quite found their feet. My writing – and my luck – changed when I started setting…

SO now I am a Young Adult (YA) writer, apparently. On Wednesday 9 December, my novel marketed at teenage readers, Clancy of the Undertow, will be published by Text Publishing and my name will begin to appear in a whole different section in bookshops, a whole different category on websites and my chances of being…

The motto for a writers festival is ‘be prepared’. Have your book’s one-line pitch ready, be organised, know your Twitter handle, have business cards and ‘get amongst it’. But what happens if you spend big on hot tickets, splash out on a hotel room and buy new shoes and it all goes wrong? Here’s my…

I’M pretty sure I’m one of the best book-starters in the world. The first thousand words? Not a problem. I can bash that out for you over a cup of tea.  For years, this was my M.O.: start a book and quickly rustle up a synopsis of the imagined finished product to accompany it. Then,…

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