ONE of the hardest challenges writers of all formats face is getting inside the head of their characters. They have to find out who these people or creatures are, what their motivations are, and how the story world looks from their perspective. Then, the writer must try to take these facts and creatively portray them in…

ONE of the lovely things about writing romance is creating intense, intimate scenes (not just the steamy bits!) where characters reveal their souls. I love writing those scenes. However, a couple taking the journey into love inevitably also belong to families and societies. To my regret, frequently those other people enter the story. Even more to…

ANYONE who has felt the gut-punch of grief will tell you that emotion is experienced in the body. As writers it is our job to bring this visceral dimension to our characters. We’ve all been told about the importance of using the five senses when we write, but to really bring our characters to life we…

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…

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…

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