My plays are generally regarded as Theatre for Young Audiences, but in truth this is not by virtue of themes or tone differing from adult plays, but by something as arbitrary as a child protagonist. It is then construed as a work for young people, but two simple factors discredit this: those who sit in…

To the stranger on the street, songwriting might seem like a powerful, mysterious art. What else could explain the song that makes you cry, exposing your soul and speaking to you at your deepest level? Yet the songwriter often vaguely describes the songwriting process as though they “woke up with it in their head” or,…

My bookshelf is woefully short on illustrated fiction. Some Roald Dahl books with the unforgettable cartoons of Quentin Blake, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the caricature-esque artwork of John Tenniel found within, and a fat collection of fairy tales with illustrations by almost as many artists as there are stories. None of these are what…

When I give a creative writing workshop, I’ll sometimes break the word imagination into three: I for the self; MAGI being an archaic term for a magician, wise man, or sorcerer; and NATION representing a country or terrain. Put together and we might consider that each of us contains a kind of inner magician able…

It’s hard to pin down an Australian tradition, stylistic or conceptual, that reliably runs through our short stories. Lawson may have had an early influence, but for as long as Australians have been writing, our short stories have poked at the edges of convention. It’s fair to say that Australian short stories, notably those from…

An essential component of any story, long or short, is the dialogue. Dialogue is very important because it’s the chance for our characters to speak. They speak to each other, to the reader, to their deities, enemies, loved ones, friends, the strangers who wander across the landscape of the tale and leave important details behind…

How Grammar Works Tips Roslyn Petelin

QWC interviewed Australia’s grammar guru, Associate Professor Roslyn Petelin, on the importance of grammar for writers … First of all: what is good writing? Writing that fulfils the reader’s needs and is appropriate for its genre and its context. Writing that’s coherent and compelling; writing that’s free of clichés, gobbledygook, redundancy, verbosity, and rambling sentence structure….

A writing technique that beginner writers hear a lot about is “show, don’t tell”. “Show, don’t tell” can be handy advice for a beginner writer who reports rather than reveals, who races past important plot points, or recounts backstory instead of describing how characters interact, or what they look like, or how they fare under…

Ozge Alkan, school librarian at an Islamic College in Melbourne, was asked by students for a young girl character in a hijab they could dress up as for their Book Parade. Unable to fulfill the request, however, Ozge asked author Hazel Edwards, whom she met at a professional development event for Teacher-Librarians, ‘Could you write one?’ Thus began…

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…

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