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A Month of Murder and Mayhem. The free ebook and podcast series.

Jul 27, 2016 Podcasts, The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

Crime. Murder. Espionage. Mystery. It’s a world filled with more evil and crime than you can shake a sharpened stick at – where people save the world from certain destruction, where spies, terrorists and thugs abound, and where the killer could be someone in your very own home. It’s also a world often filled with flawed heroes and likeable villains. But above all, it’s a place where we explore the authors who tell these very stories – what makes them tick and how their words manage take us to some of the darkest corners of our imaginations…

If you’re interested in crime or thriller writing, join us on on a journey of murder and mayhem that’s set to enhance your own writing skills.

This is A Month of Murder and Mayhem, a free series brought to you by the Australian Writers’ Centre.

By the end of the month, you’ll be creating compelling villains, developing unique mysteries and sending your heroes off to save the world.

Enter a world of power and iniquity, unspeakable evil and delicious domestic intrigue.

A Month of Murder and Mayhem features authors such as:

  • L.A. Larkin
  • Candice Fox
  • Matthew Reilly
  • Linwood Barclay
  • Caroline Overington
  • Michael Robotham
  • Ellie Marney

And covers topics such as:

  • Plotting your thriller
  • The power of language
  • Linking fiction to real life
  • Writing real heroes
  • Getting published is about more than just writing
  • Self-publishing to get noticed by the big guns
  • Staying current in the thriller business
  • Writing crime for young adults

It’s 31 days of murder, mystery and mayhem.

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41 short, short stories containing “winter”, “writer”, “silhouette”…

Jul 27, 2016 The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

Recently, to celebrate the shortest day of the year, our CEO Valerie Khoo asked our community (via our weekly newsletter) to create a 23-word short story that had to contain the words WINTER, WRITER and SILHOUETTE. That was the only rule.

The challenge certainly struck a chord! We were overwhelmed by the number of entries we received – HUNDREDS. (And yes, we read them all!) It was fascinating to see what different stories emerged with only 20 other words of your own to choose from. As a writer, this simple exercise helps your creative brain to flex.

Many (many!) stories had a very similar feel. A writer’s silhouette at the snowy window, or words to that effect. It’s easy to reach for that image in your mind. However, others found more original ways to tell their stories. We hope that by seeing this selection of submissions (still fewer than 10% of those we received), you’ll discover new approaches that you could add to your own writing. Enjoy!

The silhouette of death arose from the unfinished book.
“Get back in there” the writer said, there’s been too much discontent this winter!
Darryl Best

I am merely a silhouette of a writer – just an outline.

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Q&A: Coming vs Upcoming

Jul 26, 2016 Our legendary Q&As Dean Koorey

Q: We’ve had a few people, including David on email last week asking us about the use of the word “upcoming”.
A: We do like to throw that one around a lot with regard to our “upcoming courses”!
Q: Well some clearly don’t think it’s necessary. Bordering on flagrant tautology. For example, Fairfax bans it in its style guide.
A: Whoa, calm down. Let’s handle this like the civil pedants that we are.
Q: Fair enough. So, most wonder why one wouldn’t just use “coming” instead of “upcoming”? David took it a step further with the assertion that there’s no such word as “downcoming” so surely an event should merely be “coming”.
A: Okay okay. Form an orderly queue. We’ll start with David’s point. There’s also no such word as “downstanding” but that doesn’t mean that “upstanding citizen” should become “standing citizen”. This is English. And English throws its head back and laughs like a banshee at any attempt to find meaning in its meanderings.
Q: I shake my fist in your general direction, English.
A: And yes, Fairfax and countless others will say, “why use ‘upcoming’ when ‘coming’ will work just as well?” And we agree with them. But only when “coming” WILL work just as well.

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Ep 118 The huge self-publishing success of romance writers, and meet author John Birmingham.

Jul 26, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 118 of So you want to be a writer: Are you writing a hybrid book? Discover the people writing poetry as a service and the predictive text generator writing fan fiction. We dive into the huge self-publishing success of romance writers and share the meaning of ineluctable. Our writer in residence is author John Birmingham. Find out how a literary agency discovered a writer on social media, and much more.

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes
30 Outstanding Podcasts for Writers

Are You Writing A Hybrid Book?

Poetry As A Service? Lyricists Pen Verses to Public On Street

Use This Predictive Text Generator To Write The Best Internet Fanfiction

Maverick women writers are upending the book industry and selling millions in the process

Writer in Residence

John Birmingham

John Birmingham is the author of the cult classic He Died With a Felafel in His Hand, the award-winning history Leviathan, and the trilogy comprising Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1, Designated Targets: World War 2.2 and Final Impact: World War 2.3.

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Convicted on a Comma: The Trial of Roger Casement

Jul 25, 2016 The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

We couldn’t help but notice that there is a play opening in Melbourne called Convicted on a Comma: The Trial of Roger Casement.

It’s the world premiere of a play written, directed and narrated by Brian Gillespie, marking the centenary of Casement’s execution on 3 August 1916.

If you’re not familiar with Roger Casement he was a British diplomat who was heavily involved in human rights investigations.

According to the play’s website: “Casement is a figure who is central to the story of the Dublin Easter Rising, but also a man who strode the world stage as a courageous reforming anti-colonialist. How did a lord of the realm, and a passionate humanitarian and diplomat who changed the course of colonial history, come to be hanged in Pentonville Prison as a traitor? How strong was the case against him? Who defended him? What dark forces mobilised against him?”

But he was convicted on a comma. According to Wikipedia: “At Casement’s highly publicised trial for treason, the prosecution had trouble arguing its case. Casement’s crimes had been carried out in Germany and the Treason Act 1351 seemed to apply only to activities carried out on English (or, arguably, British) soil. A close reading of the Act allowed for a broader interpretation: the court decided that a comma should be read in the unpunctuated original Norman-French text, crucially altering the sense so that ‘in the realm or elsewhere’ referred to where acts were done and not just to where the ‘King’s enemies’ may be.

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Word of the week

Jul 25, 2016 The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

Stentorian (adjective)

“Do you know what stentorian means? It actually comes from Greek mythology. A stentor was a herald with a loud voice. So the word stentorian is used to describe a loud voice or sound. So you might say that when Darth Vader was angry he expressed this in stentorian tones. Or ‘she barged through the door in a stentorian manner’.”

And to hear Valerie and Allison chat more about this and more on the world of writing, blogging and publishing, check out this week’s Episode 118 of our podcast, So you want to be a writer.

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Ep 117 Author Nova Weetman, new doco on romance writing and 6 tips for getting more traffic on your author blog.

Jul 19, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 117 of So you want to be a writer: A new documentary on the romance writing industry, scientists discover what causes writer’s block and seven ways to make yourself a better editor. Scrivener fans rejoice: Scrivener is now on iOS. Plus: discover what editors look for on an opening page, and meet Young Adult and Middle Grade author Nova Weetman. A parenting hack for writers with kids, six tips for getting more traffic on your author blog, and much more!

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes
A new documentary explores the billion-dollar romance novel industry

Scientists discover the antidote to writer’s block

7 Ways to Make Yourself a Better Editor

Hands-on with the Scrivener writing app for iOS

What Our Editors Look for on an Opening Page

News for Authors

Writer in Residence

Nova Weetman
Nova Weetman has been writing for 18 years as a screenwriter on everything from short films to Neighbours, as a writer of short fiction and non-fiction, published in Overland, Kill your Darlings and Fairfax Media, to name a few.

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Q&A: Harry Potter and the Protagonist’s Stone

Jul 19, 2016 Our legendary Q&As Dean Koorey

Q: Hi AWC, I’ve been having a discussion with a friend about the Harry Potter books.
A: And?
Q: She says that Harry is the main protagonist, but I’m all about Hermione being the central protagonist.
A: Well, you’re both wrong.
Q: It was Snape? I knew it!
A: No, you’re wrong about how you’re using “protagonist”.
Q: Enlighten me then. Lumos Maxima!
A: In a book (or a film), the protagonist is already defined as the main character – usually the hero.
Q: Isn’t that what we were saying?
A: Yes, except that saying “main protagonist” is wrong. That’s like saying “main main character” – a tautological faux pas.
Q: Remind me about tautology again?
A: That’s when you say redundant extra words. Like “free gift”, “ATM machine”, “final conclusion” or “dishonest car salesman”. Okay, maybe not that last one.
Q: And what’s a “faux pas” again?
A: It’s when you make an awkward etiquette blunder. It’s French for “fox fur” because that would be a blunder if you wore it to an animal welfare charity ball.
Q: Really?
A: No. It actually translates as “false step”.
Q: Oh okay. So, if I said that Hermione was the protagonist, rather than the “central protagonist” I’d be right.

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