GENRE is dead, long live genre: a paradox as pertinent to fiction in 2010 as ‘progressive conservatism’ is in today’s politics. Both are non-sequiturs sporting similar bad comb-overs that smack of existential angst. It’s not that the reading public has abandoned their appetite for ‘good stories, told well’ but that cut-throat marketing toughs would have authors…

WHENEVER I teach worldbuilding in creative writing classes, I start with two essentials: character, and maps. Character, because all writing starts with character for me. I have a tendency to do my worldbuilding on the fly, creating the ground under the feet of my characters after they’ve already started walking. Maps, because everyone likes to play…

I WRITE what I call faction: fact-based historical fiction. Why write history? Because I believe the best, the strangest, the most riveting, heart-breaking, laugh-out-loud stories aren’t fiction. They’re real. They come from history. I’m constantly amazed, overwhelmed, when I come across one of these couldn’t-possibly-be-true-but-they-actually-are stories. Stories and events that make me go ‘Wow!’ when…

I’VE always seen the world primarily in patterns. This is probably why I love mathematics and etymology. The word penultimate is pieced together from Latin paene ‎(almost) + ultimus ‎(last): not the end but close. Relativity’s ending was clear from the first draft but the penultimate scene – post-climax yet pre-coda – continued to feel…

IN 2007, the Australian Haiku Society committee asked the New South Wales writer John Bird to advise the Society in formulating a definition of haiku.  After two years of extensive correspondence with fellow haiku writers, no specific definition was arrived at.  John pointed out that even the need for such specific instruction was only really…

IF there’s one thing I learned from writing the Detective Ella Marconi crime series, it’s that the characters and the crime together make up the heart of the work. The characters are the reader’s gateway into the story world. It’s through the character that your reader experiences the story, so if you do your job right…

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