In this online workshop author Jock Serong provides an overview of planning, researching and writing good historical fiction.
Australian historical fiction is going through something of a boom: Australian writers are re-thinking many of the accepted narratives about our past, and finding more diverse and inclusive stories to tell. But approaching the task of writing an historical novel can be daunting: how do you make it plausible? Compelling? How much research is enough, or too much? What will be your relationship with the “truth”? This workshop aims to provide a primer about some of the thornier issues that arise, as well as techniques to keep it lively and fun.
An hour and a half that covers:
Managing the weight and complexity of the material
Jock Serong was once a criminal lawyer. He’s since been the editor of Great Ocean Quarterly, and a regular writer in the surfing media and more generally in publications such as The Monthly, The Guardian, the SMH and the Australian Financial Review. His first novel, Quota, appeared in 2014, and since then his work has been awarded the Colin Roderick Prize, the Staunch Prize and an ACWA Ned Kelly. His current book, The Burning Island, is the second novel of a trilogy about the early history of Bass Strait’s Furneaux Islands. He’s in the late stages of a Creative Writing PhD based around his first historical novel, Preservation. More than anything, he likes to write about the sea.
Most writers know their manuscript will require a structural edit, but have little understanding of what this means.
This three-day course explains structural editing, what role it plays in manuscript development, how to go about it, and how to survive it.
Breaking the process into stages, participants will learn strategies and tools to apply to their own work, with the course format guiding writers as they work on their current draft.
Who is it for?
The course is for writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction with a complete draft of their manuscript who are willing to explore the challenging inner terrain that underlies critical engagement with one’s own work.
When: Three Saturdays – 7, 21 Nov & 12 Dec Time: 10am – 4pm Where: In person, Byron Writers Festival Office: 2/58 Centennial Circuit Byron Bay Cost: $220 Members, $250 Non-Members
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Laurel Cohn is a developmental book editor passionate about the power of stories in our lives. She has been working with writers for 30 years and is a popular workshop presenter. She has a PhD in literary studies.
Have you ever heard the common imperative ‘show, don’t tell’ and wondered what it really meant? This two-part workshop will clarify the differences between showing and telling, and give you practical and effective ways to include more ‘showing’ in your work. Using a combination of tuition, examples and writing exercises, the course will cover topics including scene versus summary, concrete detail, character and imagery. This is an empowering workshop that will give you the tools to enrich your own prose and allow it to make a visceral and lasting impression on the reader.
Session 1 will include a general discussion of “showing and telling,” and a session on “scene vs summary.” The workshop will include a presentation, examples, writing exercises and group discussion.
Session 2 will focus on ‘showing and telling’ in relation to two specific areas of writing: detail and character. Once again, the workshop will include tuition, examples, writing exercises and discussion.
Emily Bitto is an award-winning Melbourne based writer of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. The manuscript of her debut novel, The Strays, written as part of a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne, was shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. The published novel went on to win the prestigious Stella Prize in 2015. It was also shortlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, the NSW Premier’s Prize for New Writing, and the Dobbie Literary Award, and was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC prize. The Strays has been published in the U.S. (Twelve Books), UK (Legend Press) and Canada (Penguin).
Emily’s fiction, poetry and non-fiction has appeared in various publications, including Meanjin, Island, the Age, the Saturday Paper,the Big Issue, and The Sydney Morning Herald. In 2018 she was a recipient of a six month Australia Council International Residency in the B.R. Whiting Studio in Rome, where she completed the draft of her second novel, which will be published in 2021. She is currently also working on an adaptation of The Strays for the screen with leading producer See Pictures (Breath). Emily has taught creative writing since 2013 and is currently a tutor at RMIT and the Faber Academy. She also co-owns Carlton wine-bar Heartattack and Vine.
You’ve Got Words on the Page, Now What? A Group Workshopping Series with Chloe Higgins
You’ve got some words on the page, now what? Where does your story want to go? What’s working, and what isn’t? What does the editing process look like, and how does workshopping (i.e. seeking feedback) from peers form part of this process? This workshop is for anyone who has some words down (a paragraph or a whole manuscript), wants to figure out what to do next, and find a group of like-minded people to continue workshopping with.
All sessions follow the same format:
1-1.30pm: Each week, we’ll start with a round-robin check-in to see how everyone’s daily writing and reading practice is going. At the beginning of this course, participants will plan and commit to a daily practice that will involve at least 15 minutes of writing (5 days per week) and half an hour of reading (7 days per week).
1.30-3.00pm: Each student will read up to 500 words aloud to the group and will then receive feedback. This is a ‘as needs arise’ approach to developing your work. It will help you identify the weak spots in your craft so that you can focus on improving one or two key priorities. Before the end of your allocated time, I’ll set you personalised homework to work on for the next week before we meet again.
Chloe Higgins writes about the things we’re all afraid of: death, sex, love, and how she feels about her mother. The Girls, a memoir of family, grief and sexuality, is her debut and won the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. She was also recently shortlisted for the 2020 National Biography Award, with the winner yet to be announced. She is the Director of Wollongong Writers Festival, and also works as a writing mentor. You can find her on Instagram @chloemareehiggins
In partnership with Create NSW, Byron Writers Festival has launched the Write North Writers’ Group Residency. The Residency, valued at almost $40k, will support a writers’ group of up to four members in a creative residency across seven days from 7-13 September in Byron Shire.
The successful group will receive mentorship from award-winning author Charlotte Wood and further development in the individual writers’ projects towards publication. The mentorship includes workshops, group discussions and consultation sessions. . The residency also includes travel to Byron Bay, accommodation and per diems, plus $10,000 financial support for the successful group to continue their writing development after the residency.
If you’re a mid-career or established writers’ group, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Applications close: 5pm, Monday 27 July
Residency dates: 7 – 14 September 2020
Who can apply?
You must be:
a writers’ group comprised of up to four individuals who are residents in NSW;
Australian citizens or permanent residents;
and over 18.
Specific eligibility requirements for this opportunity:
to be eligible for the Write North Writers’ Group Residency you need to form or be an existing writers group based in NSW. Up to four of your members can be nominated in this application.
preference will be to groups, who amongst them, have two books published through a recognised Australian trade publisher.
Important notice: COVID-19 restrictions and public health orders
As the public health conditions of COVID-19 are dynamic and subject to change at any time, Create NSW will provide the opportunity to vary the program if required to ensure this Residency does not contravene any Public Health Orders that may be in place. Please refer to NSW Government Public Health Orders.
2020 Australian Poetry Slam events are going virtual. Byron Writers Festival, together with Australian Poetry Slam and Word Travels, is proud to bring you the Byron heat, live on Zoom, straight to your living room.
Register in advance of the event to participate or cheer along!
The first 18 poets to register will have two minutes to perform their original work; no props, no costumes, no music.
Two wildcard poets will be chosen from the audience.
Judges are randomly chosen from the online audience.
The two highest scoring poets will go on to represent Byron Bay in the APS NSW Final.
In the interests of maintaining fairness, poets must perform in their local heat to be eligible. To be eligible to perform in the Byron Heat you must reside in the Northern Rivers Catchment area from Grafton in the south, west to Kyogle and North to Tweed Heads. Poets who read at the Byron heat are not eligible to read at the Murwillumbah heat.
Short and Sweet: Writing Small Stories with Alice Bishop
Do you love short stories but need some inspiration for your work?
Come along to hear 2020 Best Young Australian Novelist (Sydney Morning Herald) Alice Bishop talk about her love of both writing and reading short fiction, how short stories can be a driver of change and her collection about the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, A Constant Hum. Learn techniques for getting to the heart of a story, and for paring back work so that every word counts.
Topic 1: Introduction: Introduction to very short stories
Topic 2: Writing and editing very short fiction, where to publish individual stories and how to think about your short fiction collection as a whole.
– Short writing activity
Topic 3: The importance of writing landscape during the climate emergency, and how short fiction can be a vehicle for change
Alice Bishop is from Christmas Hills, Victoria. Her collection of short fiction, A Constant Hum, tracks the lingering aftermath of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. The book was shortlisted in the 2019 Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction and has been critically acclaimed. She was named Sydney Morning Herald’s 2020 Best Young Australian Novelist. Find her @BishopAlice.
Fiction Therapy: Creative Writing for Wellbeing with Zacharey Jane
We know that our life stories connect and support us. Stories about our past, our lives, our futures, form our identity and offer a way to describe our world. But what about fiction? Can creating a fictional narrative offer similar emotional support?
Author and teacher Zacharey Jane is conducting creative writing workshops as part of her research into the therapeutic effect of writing fiction, for her Master of Research at Western Sydney University.
The workshops are free to all participants and open to those over 18 years of age who would like to learn about composing works of fiction, with a focus on beginning writers. As part of the course, all participants agree to complete short entry and exit surveys on their experience and attitude to creative writing, as well as a brief survey on mood at the end of every class; all information is anonymous. Information regarding the research details and participant expectations will be forwarded to all applicants interested in attending online, with an Extended Consent Form.
4 x 1 hour online workshops. After a brief introduction, the participants will be offered two short writing exercises, then encouraged to begin a short story that they will extend each session.
Session 1: concept and character, including dialogue.
Session 2: setting and how it informs the plot.
Session 3: writer style and voice.
Session 4: drafting and editing.
Who is it for?
This is a workshop series for beginner writers, who would like to be guided to finish a story.
Zacharey Jane is an author and a teacher. She has published literary fiction, a children’s book and various essays. As a high school English teacher she is experienced in supporting beginner writers in their creative endeavours, understanding the sensitivity of the first-time writer. As a part of her Master of Research work she is investigating the therapeutic potential of writing fiction, working from the premise that it can be as therapeutic as self-reflexive writing. This belief is based on her work as a teacher and her many conversations with other authors. The 2020 Fiction Therapy workshops will explore this idea, while offering participants a valuable creative writing experience.
How to Make Your First Billion Writing Satirical Comedy with Charles Firth
Comedy writing is a dreary affair of unimaginable pain and suffering. But it’s a good way to get incredibly rich quickly. Sure, writing a novel or a play or a blockbuster movie might be more psychologically satisfying, but only comedy writing can buy you a harbour-side mansion next to the Prime Minister’s residence.
If you’ve tried investment banking or stock trading and are dissatisfied with your seven-figure base salary, perhaps you should quit your career and instead concentrate on the big bucks of writing comedy for a living.
This course gives you all the tips and tricks that you need to quit your day job. Includes a look at the technical side of comedy, as well as tips on what to do with the mountains of cash that you’ll have to wade through each morning.
What to expect
90 minute workshop
The rules of comedy,
The philosophy of satire
Making billions from writing comedy: the pros and cons
There will be small group discussion during each segment, and a Q&A will happen at the end of each segment.
If we have time at the end, we will have a plenary discussion on the topic: “What are the ethics of using sweat-shop workers to write your comedy?”
Who is it for
Anyone who is poor because they made the wrong career choices
Charles Firth is a founding member of The Chaser and the inventor of the decimal system.
Charles is author of the bestselling non-fiction narrative, American Hoax (Picador, 2006). He is currently managing editor of The Chaser website and The Chaser Annuals. His latest book, co-authored with James Schloeffel and Cam Smith, The Anti-Expert’s Guide to Everything came out in April 2020.
Charles has produced television comedy for almost two decades. He was executive producer of ABC-TV’s daily news satire show The Roast and the comedy documentary Mr Firth Goes to Washington (nominated for Most Outstanding Comedy Logie). Before that he was the US correspondent for the Logie winning The Chaser’s War on Everything. He was a presenter and writer on CNNNN, The Chaser Decides and The Election Chaser.
From 2017 to 2019 he was a presenter on Radio Chaser on the Triple M network. Nowadays he is a presenter on The Chaser Report for the Nova network.
In recent years, Charles has starred in several live shows, including The Chaser’s Australia, The War on 2018 and The War on the F*#king Election 2019. His latest show The Anti-Expert’s Guide to Everything, was touring nationally in 2020 until the world fell apart.
What better time than now to hunker down and write that novel? The Year of the Novel workshop series, facilitated by author Sarah Armstrong, will now take place as a combination of online and face-to-face classes.
The 12-week course is made up of three terms of four-week blocks, with a total of 36-course hours during which Sarah will give you practical guidance, tools and tips.
A long-term, structured approach to the often daunting task of novel-writing, this workshop series offers creative connection and support during a time of isolation. This course is designed for writers with a story in progress or an idea to develop.
Dates: Wednesday 20, 27 May & 3, 10 June from 5.30pm Delivery mode: Online
Explore how to come up with ideas, planning, how to build a first draft, and some fundamentals of fiction: character, plot, point of view, scene and summary. Sarah will also talk about how to tackle procrastination and writer’s block.
Dates: Wednesday 12, 19, 26 August & 2 September from 5.30pm Delivery mode: TBC Pending COVID-19 restrictions
We drill down into narrative tension, character development, how character drives plot, secondary characters and structure. This is the term where you’ll get individual, written feedback from Sarah on 3000 words of your first draft.
Dates: Wednesday 28 October & 4, 11, 18 November from 5.30pm Delivery mode: Face-to-Face at Byron Writers Festival Office
This term is all about how to tackle rewriting and editing: beginnings and endings, structure and themes, and a discussion about where to go from here. Course participants will be invited to a closed Facebook group where Sarah will post writing tips and answer questions, and where you can connect with each other between terms.
Sarah Armstrong has written three adult novels, including Salt Rain which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. She’s just completed her first novel for kids and is working on a fourth adult novel. Sarah is an experienced writing teacher, mentor and manuscript assessor. She teaches creative writing at university, in schools, for writers festivals and on retreats. In a previous life she was a journalist at the ABC where she won a Walkley Award. She’s passionate about giving writers the practical tools to find and tell stories.
‘Working with Sarah was the best thing I could ever have done for my manuscript. I got great, constructive advice and critique as well as the kind of encouragement every budding writer needs. I would recommend working with Sarah Armstrong to anyone. In a word: fantastic.’ – Jana H.