I attended my first ever Webinar one  day, about a year ago. It was a web-based seminar on Characterisation, organised by the TBA Lounge, an American site, and was set to happen at 9.30pm Thursday Eastern American Time. This corresponded to 11.30 am Friday in Sydney. As well as filling in holes in my knowledge of how best to reveal characters in writing, it was fun to connect and interact with a lecturer and audience on the other side of the world. We, the participants, had the use of a bar for written responses, and a "golden hand" icon that allowed you to ask questions using the microphone on your computer or laptop. If you wished, you could just remain quiet and take notes in the traditional way. gandhi-madame-tussaud

the-first-stoneWhen I studied The First Stone by Helen Garner at the University of Technology, Sydney as part of a Master's degree in Professional Writing, I noticed that there were two camps: those who loved her book, and those who saw her as a traitor to the feminist cause. It made me ask myself whether I, too, was such a traitor. I was in the former camp, but many of the (younger) women belonged to the other side, along with (I think) the male teacher at the time. Admittedly, this was one of her more polemical works, in that it dealt with her support of a master at a Melbourne university college, who in 1995 was accused of sexual misconduct towards two female residents. The main reason for her support, I gathered, was her compassion for the master and his family, over what she saw as a minor incident that could have been handled differently. Instead, he and his family had to suffer the ignominy of his sacking and public disgrace. It showed up a dichotomy between older and younger  feminists

Many writers on literary structure and theory present a linear figure to portray the format of a short story, the narrative arc, of a memoir or a novel. Kal Bashir, however, represents structure in screen plays and in the above mentioned genres as circular. This fits...

This is a short excerpt, still under review, from Chapter Twenty-Seven of Karrana. Bridie thought Stella, curled up in the corner of the mail train compartment, her red curls squashed against the leather, looked like a ginger kitten she remembered from childhood. Two women on...

One of my favourite examples of "showing" is from Australian writer Tim Winton. In the following example from Cloudstreet, Lester Lamb and his sons, Quick and Fish, are netting for prawns, walking out into the water from the beach carrying the heavy nets. (This is...

How is Fiction Writing a Form of Folly? In order to understand the features of fiction, it is helpful to examine the features of an opposite type of writing: the academic essay. I taught Academic English to overseas students at the University of New South Wales in...

Emerging from the metro station, Hannah opened her eyes on a strange world into which she’d stumbled by chance. All was new and filled with a radiance she’d never known before in the antipodean world she’d left behind. Hippies were twanging their guitars along the River Seine, and flower sellers, good and bad artists, and precious bookstall owners, were hawking their wares along the promenade with its ancient cobblestones that had witnessed so many historic events, including bloodstained revolutions. She felt herself seduced at every turn. Perhaps there was such a thing as your spiritual home, quite distinct from where you were born? She would find out. The Frenchman she’d met while travelling across the Channel had offered her the use of his apartment for two weeks. Why not? she thought. Her tourist’s trip through the Mediterranean countries could wait. Surprisingly generous and eccentric to a fault, these French, she thought, which was opposite to what she’d been told to expect. Shed found his street in a Michelin Guide bought at the Gare du Nord: rue Servandoni, in the sixth arrondissement. One change and out at the metro station near the Seine.