While becoming a published author in recent years has been a thrill, the highlight of my career has been my involvement in the publication of someone else’s book. This probably needs some clarification. The ‘someone else’ I refer to is not one person but fourteen young Indigenous students from remote communities all around Queensland and…

A sense of place has always been important to my writing, but perhaps never more so than in A Hundred Small Lessons. I’d arrived in Brisbane in 2008 with two manuscripts – The Body in the Clouds, set around the Harbour Bridge; and The Railwayman’s Wife, set on the NSW south coast. For almost two…

Claims by critics that fiction that draws on domestic themes fails to address important issues ignores the fact that the domestic space can be politicised. When comparing literature written by men with that written by women, Virginia Woolf famously states in A Room of One’s Own: ‘…this is an important book, the critics assume, because…

As a fantasy writer, worldbuilding to me is a performance in three acts: building, creating a sense of authenticity, then expositing. The world must first be imagined and developed, then I must find ways to make the reader believe in it, and finally I must impart it to the reader through exposition. This is the…

American poet Stanley Kunitz once observed that ‘the unconscious creates, the ego edits’. With this overview of the writing process, Kunitz is acknowledging the ideas of psychoanalysis, developed by Sigmund Freud, and considerably expanded upon by his colleague Carl Jung. Below I list seven psychoanalytic ideas that I have found helpful in my writing practice….

To Become a Whale would not exist without research. I was not alive in the 1960s. I’ve never cut into a whale with a flenser. I’ve never even handled a flenser. Yet, when writing this novel, my job was to transport my readers there. Essentially I was a tour-guide to a place I’ve never been. If…

When writing about what you don’t know, the best way to learn about it is to experience it firsthand. This might include fear. When I started writing a novel about three women who were to face their worst fears while hiking in a remote area, I realised I’d only ever hiked safely. Walks on my…

Flash fiction is any short story under 1000 words. Sometimes, flash is only 50 words. But just because it’s short doesn’t mean it’s easy to write. Here are ten flash tips on writing good flash fiction. Read flash. The best way to learn how to write a form is to read a lot of it….

It’s after dark, the children are asleep, and I’ve had a glass of wine. I approach my husband and ask him to join me in the bedroom. I need help only he can provide. Sounds like the beginning of an erotic scene, doesn’t it? But believe me, it’s far from romantic. Half the time, I…

How do you write tense, suspenseful stories that will keep readers racing to the end? It’s a question I’m asked at writers’ festivals, via fan mail, during workshops and book signings. The answer is simple: you make the reader wait. That’s right, my business model is all based on information deficit. As a storyteller, I’m…

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