Posted in Creative Writing, Editing, Fiction Writing Courses, Story

Fiction Blitz with Brisbane Writers’ Workshop

Image from Brisbane Writers’ Workshop

On Sunday 28th August 2016, I’ll be heading off to a Fiction Blitz workshop with Brisbane Writers’ Workshop.

I’m pretty excited because every time I attend a course run by Lauren Daniels and Josh Brockbank, I come away with a sense of creative delight, new ways of approaching story and practical tools that I can apply immediately to whatever I am working on.

Over the years, as I have continued to study how to write stories that pull a reader deeper and deeper into the life and conflicts of my characters, I have picked up numerous practical tips from the Brisbane Writers’ Workshop.   I’ve found that they make you feel welcome and your stories are valid and worthwhile no matter what you’re creative writing passion.

If I’ve not understood an aspect of the world of writing fiction, I found I could safely ask my questions of Lauren and Josh, and they were more than happy to help me develop my understanding.  They give lots of relevant examples and help writers pick up skills to apply to their creative writing projects.

Since attending one day courses with Brisbane Writers’ Workshop, I’ve learned so much, it’s hard to list out.  But here’s a few of the things I’ve pick up along the way:

  • The basics of writing a novel with rising action and tension.
  • How to unleash my own creative voice through simple writing prompts.
  • How to bring characters to life on the page by exploring their flaws and exploiting them, then writing those flaws into scenes where the characters are faced with the very thing they don’t want to admit about themselves.
  • How to use the enneagram to create complex character behavioural traits that live on in the minds of readers long after the last page has been read.
  • How to take an archetype and go beyond writing cliche characters.  Actually, this was one of the most interesting writing exercises I’ve done in a while and it sparked my imagination in new ways.  I’ve thought a great deal about ways I could use archetypes to write fulfilling characters in my own stories since doing this exercise.
  • And, I’ve learned about characterisation, voice, point of view, theme, narration, character roles, and heaps more.

Lauren Daniel and Josh Brockbank have introduced me to new ways of thinking about creative writing and helped me to grow into my own creative writing style.  Thanks so much for their ongoing support and dedication to creative writers.

So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to attending the next course in August because I always come away from the Brisbane Writers’ Workshop with a lively sense of excitement and creative drive that filters into my stories as I actively apply what I’ve learned from the course.

This next course, Fiction Blitz is going to focus on how to write hooks and style, and literary devices. And we’re going to examine the subtlety of rhetorical devices which is a relief because I really need to learn about that!  Especially as I’m close to finishing a novel and starting on the editing phase.

Anyway, if you’re interested in attending a Brisbane Writers’ Workshop or want to find out more, I suggest you check out their website.

Happy writing.  May your characters live long in the minds of your readers!


Posted in Uncategorized

The Novelist’s Helper

Tonight, I’ve been writing up my outline cards for Chapters 1 through to 23 of The Misadventures of Tuppence Weatherstorm.

And I have a little helper.

Miss Poppy is The Novelist’s Helper!

I’m pretty sure she’s been giving me cat advice on the ragdoll cat in my story.

She tells me to relax and have fun writing.  Giving me a show of her belly.

Here she blesses my work in progress with her Ragdoll belly.

Lastly, she tells me, “yes, you may take my profile.  I shall sit here and hold the magic of your story on the cards for you, my human companion.”

I do love my furry companions.  I’m sure my poodle would be lying all over my outline cards if he had an opportunity, but tonight, it is Miss Poppy’s turn to shine and give the novelist at work some much needed feline encouragement.

Posted in Creative Writing

Tips on the Art of Writing


I’ve been writing an online book called Tips on the Art of Writing to share what I’ve been learning about creative writing.  It’s a work in progress.

Basically, I do research on how to write novels, publishing options and look for tips to help others who love writing too.  When I learn something new, I write a new chapter in the ebook on Wattpad and share the knowledge.

So Tips on the Art of Writing has the following topics:

    • Avoidance, Resistance and Commitment to your work
    • Writing – Smart Butt in Seat Time
    • Forget the ‘Nay-Sayers’ – use the Power of Compounding Effect
    • We are allowed to write a crappy 1st draft
    • Are you a Plotter, a Panster, or a Snowflaker?
    • Writing, Editing and Publishing with Lauren E. Daniels, Author, Editor and Director of Brisbane Writers’ Workshop (Youtube Interview)

    • Poetry, Digital Narrative and Publishing with Dr David Reiter, CEO of Interactive Publications (Youtube Interview)

    • Wattpad Success & Fantasy for YA with Sarah Benson (Youtube Interview)

  • Anne Rice – Advice for Writers 18/9/2012 (it’s still applicable today!)
  • Use your dreams as inspiration for writing
  • Sometimes, you … just-gotta-give-it-a-go
  • Emotionally Ruin Your Protagonist’s Life – this has a great Youtube video by Jenna Moreci – I love her channel.  She’s very funny and informative.
  • Story – Characters, Settings, Conflicts?
  • Plotting

I’ll be adding much more to this ebook over time and will edit it when it’s finished.  But for now, I thought I’d share it with you.

I hope you enjoy it and the tips are helpful to your writing journey.

P.S. Creative Anarchy and Synergy Interactive are podcasts I had a go at and due to life circumstances and writing schedules, I had to let it go.  But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on pod and video casting.  I’ll get back to it soon.

Posted in Drawings

Doodling in my Art Diary

New Beginnings butterfly on heart filled with flowers
‘New Beginnings’
Coloured Ink Pens in my Visual Diary
Created: 23/12/2013
Artist: Selina Shapland

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time to reflect on what we have achieved and what we might want to achieve in the coming year of 2014.

2013 has been a pretty good year for me.  I have created a lot of arty stuff including drawings, some paintings and jewellery.

I met the man of my dreams and now have a lovely relationship with him.  He works with animals and cares for the wildlife at a local zoo in Australia.  So, thanks 2013 for finally bringing him into my life.  I’ve been waiting for at least 3 years to meet this guy, probably a whole lot longer, but it was worth the wait.

So, my drawings are very reflective of the love I find myself soaking up at this point in time.  I do love this part of ‘falling in love’ with someone.  It’s that time when there are many new beginnings which seems appropriate, given that the world is about to transition into another new year.  My drawings are beginning to fill with flowers and love hearts, white space and colours that speak to me on a deep level.  I like the simplicity of what I have been doodling lately and I look forward to seeing where this type of doodling will go.

I don’t know if I have mentioned my keen interest in creative writing, but I do have one.  The problem I have is that I seem to block myself from taking the ideas that I want to develop into a story and putting it down in a written form.  I’m pretty good at reflective writing, but when it comes to writing from a Character’s point of view… well, I seem to have creative constipation.  It surely can’t be just me, can it?

So, 2014 is my year to explore my creative writing side a little more thoroughly.  I hope to find the key that will unlock the creative fictional secrets of my heart so that I can write something, anything, even if it is complete crap.  That would be way better than driving myself slowly insane wondering how to write something good.

Ocean of Flowers in a yin yang style drawing
‘Ocean of Flowers’
Coloured Ink pens in my Visual Diary
Created: 26/12/2013
Artist: Selina Shapland

So, here’s to new beginnings.  New goals to take baby steps towards achieving in 2014.  I want to develop my creative writing and have enrolled in a mini-creative writing course to run mid-January 2014 and I am jotting down little ideas in my journal on a daily basis, even if they are random and cliche – hey, I have got to start somewhere, don’t I?

The thing about cliche ideas is that I think they can be a jumping off point rather than something for me to get stuck in.  It’s a bit like the art scene… sometimes you see the same style of art over and over again, or even with some actors, they seem to act the same no matter how different their characters or the story lines are.  Yet there are many stories, actors and artists out there that consistently reinvent themselves and spin something new from an old and overused cliche that freshens things up for us.

I think I might be rambling here.  Maybe it was too much Christmas Cheer yesterday and food, oh the food… I think 2014 will see me hitting the gym on a regular basis to work off my newly acquired ‘life style’.  I say that while rubbing my pudding tummy!

Hope you are having a fabulous holiday season and are spoilt with love, presents and good food.

May the in-between spaces of transitioning from the old year to the new year bring you deep reflections that see you achieve your personal dreams and become all that you can be in life!