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Six must-listen podcast interviews about writing

Six must-listen podcast interviews about writing

Old habits are hard to break and, while I’m not co-hosting So You Want To Be A Writer podcast this year, I still get an itch every now and then (okay, I admit, quite regularly) to interrogate another writer about their creative process and their work.

I do love a nitty gritty podcast interview about writing.

Fortunately for me, writers are still happy to talk to me.

My ’10 minutes with…’ interviews for Your Kid’s Next Read podcast are proving incredibly popular – and NEVER last ten minutes (apparently I just can’t let go of a good conversation, who knew?).

Plus, I’ve been lucky that Dani at Words And Nerds podcast says yes when I send an email saying ‘I’m thinking I’d like to chat to X…’

The thing I love most about interviewing other authors is that I learn something each and every time.

Here are five recent interviews that I found illuminating.

 

Writing a ‘read it again’ picture book

Alison Lester on creating picture booksThere was a bit of fangirling, I confess, when I interviewed Alison Lester for episode 075 of Your Kid’s Next Read.

I had interviewed Alison previously for So You Want To Be A Writer (you can hear this, much longer, interview here), but, with only 10 minutes to chat, I wasted no time in drilling down into the secrets of creating ‘read it again’ picture books.

Alison is so generous with her creative knowledge. Listen here 

 

 

Creativity and crossing categories

Allison Rushby creative writing across categoriesAllison Rushby is the much-less-chatty third member of Team Your Kid’s Next Read. While Megan and I waffle on weekly for Your Kid’s Next Read podcast, Al remains in the background, keeping us humming along.

I considered it a coup, then, to wrangle her for an interview for Words And Nerds – an interview in which I interrogated her (in a most loving way) about how she gets away with writing everything from junior fiction to commercial women’s fiction with great success and apparent ease.

Listen here

 

 

Engaging reluctant readers

Morris Gleitzman how to write for kidsIn ep 073 of Your Kid’s Next Read podcast, I spent 10 minutes (actually, much longer) with award-winning, bestselling author Morris Gleitzman, talking about ‘Digging Up Dad’, his latest collection of short stories.

We also dig (see what I did there?) into the secrets of engaging reluctant readers (and publicists), writing stories with heart and why kids need both light and dark stories.

One of our most popular episodes ever. Listen here. 

 

 

Creativity, memoir and mental illness

Anna Spargo Ryan on creativity and mental illnessIt’s always a pleasure when I get to chat to Anna Spargo-Ryan, but this interview for Words and Nerds podcast is next level.

Anna and I dive deep into her creative process, mental illness, the ins and outs of writing a memoir, cats and, er, navels.

Listen here

 

 

 

Big themes in middle-grade fiction

Nova Weetman on getting feelings on the pageYou only need to listen to a few episodes of Your Kid’s Next Read to know that Nova Weetman figures in our top ten author recommendations. Megan and I are big fans of her thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent contemporary novels for middle-grade readers.

In this interview in episode 71, Nova and I discuss her latest novel THE JAMMER, big themes in middle-grade fiction, how to get the feels on the page and determining ‘age appropriateness’ for young readers.

Listen here

I’m also lucky that other podcasters like to talk to ME about writing. In fact, I recently had a terrific chat with Joanne Morell for episode 40 of The Hybrid Author podcast.

 

Writing in your real life

How to start writing while you still have a day jobJoanne and I talked about So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), how authors can make the most of their writing time around other commitments, being kind to your writing self and more!

The secrets of writing with the time you have, not the time you wish you had.

Listen here

 

 

Other writing interviews

Other recent interviews are those conducted for my Write With Allison Tait group Industry Insider Zoom events. These include:

• a brilliant chat with international bestselling author Kate Forsyth about Deep Point of View (and how to make it work on the page),

• an insightful discussion with Sophie Hamley, former literary agent now non-fiction publisher at Hachette and bestselling author under the name Sophie Green about the inner workings of the publishing industry

• expert advice from literary agent Annabel Barker about getting published in children’s literature

And more!

Those (video) interviews are archived in the group for easy access and I’m gradually sharing highlights on my YouTube channel here.

[For immediate access to full interviews and to attend our next Industry Insider Zoom event with Natasha Lester on Monday 14 November 2022, join Write With Allison Tait now! ]

 

Allison Tait head shotAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait – author, podcaster, speaker – and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, insights and more amazing writing advice.

10 posts about writing you may have missed

10 posts about writing you may have missed

Things have been a bit quiet around here, it’s true – but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out and about sharing writing tips, tricks and advice!

So here’s a round up of some writing posts you may have missed.

From how some of Australia’s top authors got their first publishing deal to a really great overview of book publicity, I’ve got you covered.

Click the links to read more.

 

1. 10 great reasons to write short stories

2. 8 great songs about writing to use in your Instagram reels

3. 7 publishing opportunities right now

4. How to establish and build a longterm author career

5. How to make a living as an author

6. Top three tips for writing cosy mystery stories

7. Six things you need to know about book publicity

8. What does it take to create a bestselling novel?

9. How I got my first publishing deal: 5 Australian authors share their secrets

10. How to write a book dedication

 

So You Want To Be a Writer bookWould you love more writing tips and advice? Check out my book So You Want To Be A Writer: How To Get Started (While You Still Have A Day Job), co-authored with Valerie Khoo and based on our top-rating podcast.

Buy it here!

Come and write with me!

Come and write with me!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve established a new online writing group called Write With Allison Tait.

For over a decade now, I’ve been sharing my journey as a writer, my tips and tricks, my highs and lows, my inspiration and, especially, information for over a decade now.

I’ve written countless posts here on this blog, as well as guest posts for sites such as the Australian Writers’ Centre, Write To Done, The Creative Penn, Anne R. Allen and more.

I talked endlessly on the So You Want To Be A Writer podcast for 462 episodes across seven years and two million downloads, and co-wrote a book of the same name with my co-host Valerie Khoo.

I’ve taught classes and workshops for writers of all ages, spoken at conferences and festivals, mentored and coached, coaxed and cheerled.

I bring a background in journalism, writing non-fiction books, writing fiction for adults, writing fiction for children, content writing, blogging, podcasting, speaking, social media, editing… you name it, when it comes to writing and publishing, chances are I’ve done it.

Now, I’m bringing all of my knowledge, experience and expertise into one spot.

 

Introducing Write With Allison Tait

 

WRITE WITH ALLISON TAIT, is my new paid Facebook community for writers of all kinds, at all levels.

My key words when creating the group were these: Information. Inspiration. Motivation. Connection.

That’s what you’ll find there.

You can find all the details and join here, but here’s a taste of what’s on offer:

•Monthly livestream ACCESS AL AREAS (see what I did there) Q&A sessions with me

Quote from member Alison after our first session: “Thanks for a great start, Al, 60 minutes of gold already in the bank!”  

•Monthly Industry Insider interviews (prerecorded video and livestream) – my first one is Monday 16 May with GRAEME SIMSION, and I have an exciting schedule planned

Practical writing tips and advice – I’ll be in the group regularly offering my thoughts and answers to questions

•A library of articles, posts and interviews, regularly updatedabout everything from how to get a book written to how to build your brand as an author

Connection with likeminded people who are on the same writing journey as you are

Accountability within a supportive environment

Motivation – I’ll be running my #writeabookwithal challenges inside this group

News and updates about competitions, submission opportunities and more

It’s a brilliant, supportive community of writers and I do hope you’ll join me. All the details are here.

 

Allison Tait how to be a children's author Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

Or check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.

Graeme Simsion’s Top 10 Tips For Writers

Graeme Simsion’s Top 10 Tips For Writers

Graeme Simsion is not only the author of The Novel Project, a new writing craft book, and a bunch of international bestselling books, he’s also a very generous soul.

When Valerie Khoo and I began our So You Want To Be A Writer podcast all those years ago, Graeme was my very first interview in episode #1, revealing many tips along with discussions about a duck suit.

When we celebrated 100 episodes (still many years ago, as we had recorded well over 460 episodes when I said farewell last year, as well as clocking up over two million downloads), Graeme, by that stage, a multi-international bestselling author, graciously popped back for an update on his stellar career, talking about the joys (and jitters) of following up his incredibly popular debut novel, The Rosie Project.

And now that I’m starting Write With Allison Tait, Graeme has kindly agreed to be my very first guest expert, a session that will feature in the group in May (I have such an exciting schedule of guests I can hardly contain myself!).

It’s almost like he’s put me on his To Do list as The Allison Project and I am so grateful for his support.

As a taster, Graeme has compiled his top 10 writing tips, shared below.

 

Ten Writing Tips from Graeme Simsion

1.     Know why you’re writing. And what you want.

Some writers want a bestseller, some critical acclaim, some to change the world. Some write for the pure joy of writing, and some write for therapy. Accept that if you’re aiming to do one, it’s likely you won’t achieve the others. Don’t complain when you don’t. (Whenever someone tells me their novel is semi-autobiographical, I push them to explain whether they’re writing for therapy or publication. ‘Both’ is seldom a realistic answer.)

 

2.     Writing can be taught and learnt.

I shouldn’t need to say this: to me it’s obvious that you can improve your writing by learning theory, practising and getting feedback. Yes, there are people who can write a book without any study, and people who will never write a good book no matter how much they study, but study will make both of them better writers than they would have been.

Practically, join a course and / or a writing group. Read about writing, do lots of it, read others’ work critically, get your own work critiqued.

 

3.     Learn the language of storytelling.

Which is, to a large extent, the language of story structure. You need words to be able to critique and accept criticism, and, more importantly, to articulate what you’re doing or trying to do.

Writers in my experience are far more literate about sentence structure than story structure. (Screenwriters are the opposite). You need both.

Did I mention that story is important, at least if you want your book to sell?

 

4.     You need a process.

It can be as simple as ‘sit down and wait for the words to come’ or as  complex as you need to make it. I use the nine-stage process described in The Novel Project.

The important things are that (a) each day when you start work, you know what you’re going to be doing and (b) that you revise your process after each project to reflect what you’ve learned.

 

5.     If your process isn’t working, change it.

In particular, writing by the seat of your pants (‘pantsing’) is a choice, not an identity. I see so many writers getting stuck, typically at around 30,000 words, abandoning their work, starting again…almost inevitably they’re working without a plan.

Maybe time to think about modifying your process to include a planning stage.

 

6.     You don’t have to write every day.

Many of the (possible) stages in writing a novel are not about getting words on the page.

Before the drafting you may be devoting time to  concept, title, character, plot points and an overall plan. Afterwards, there’s editing.

Throughout, there’s problem solving.

Sure, write something else to stay in shape if you want, but a day in which you do nothing but come up with a brilliant title or decide it’d be better if two characters were combined is a good day.

 

7.     Creativity can be managed.

There are many practical techniques to improve your creativity. Start with noting when you have your good ideas, including solutions to problems. (Often it’s while doing some routine, non-intellectual activity such as walking or driving).

Start thinking about such times as your creative times, and specifically devote them to your biggest creative challenges.

 

8.     Interrogate your characters’ decisions—especially the big ones that drive the story or reveal important information about your character.

Dig deep; why did they do this? Think like a shrink. The answers will give you insight, inform other more minor behaviour by your characters, and often suggest set-ups to make the decisions more convincing and powerful.

 

9.     Show don’t tell is good advice—and amongst the most commonly given.

Failure to follow it is one of the most common problems that writing teachers see. It’s sometimes their own fault for failing to explain exactly what it means—I’m amazed how many writers find it hard to explain or are not sure if they’re doing it.

I see it as writing in scenes: if you can imagine your prose as playing out in a movie, in real time, you’re showing. If not, it’s telling.

 

10.  Believe your editors and early readers when they tell you there’s a problem—no matter how bad the solution they’re proposing.

So when they say, ‘I suggest you change A to B, the message is that A is not working. B may be worse, but that’s not the issue. Your job is to find C.

_________________________

 

Graeme Simsion writing tips

Photo by Darren James

Graeme Simsion is the internationally bestselling author of The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie EffectThe Rosie Result and The Best of Adam Sharp, as well as Don Tillman’s Standardized Meal System, Data Modeling Essentials and, co-authored with Anne Buist, Two Steps Forward and Two Steps Onward.

His latest book is The Novel Project: A Step-by-Step Guide To Your Novel, Memoir or Biography.

 

 

Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

For full details about Write With Allison Tait, my new online writing community offering Inspiration, Motivation, Information and Connection, go here

4 new writing books by Australian authors

4 new writing books by Australian authors

Is there anything better than a new writing book to inspire, motivate, inform and entertain?

I’ve written before about my favourite books about writing – heck, I’ve even written a book about being a writer myself – but I’m always happy to discover a new one, and particularly when they’re written by Australian authors.

Because who better to help shape the ideas, words and careers of aspiring Australian writers than those who have trodden a successful path before them?

Fortunately for me, we seem to be experiencing a halcyon moment for writing books of this kind, with four arriving in the mail for me in recent weeks. Here’s a little round-up for you (click the titles to find out more and buy the book at Booktopia).

 

New writing books by Australian authors

 

The Novel Project by Graeme Simsion

four new writing books by Australian authorsSubtitled ‘A step-by-step guide to your novel, memoir or biography’, this book is a lovely, accessible overview of the process of writing a novel from preparation right up to working with an editor.

Graeme Simsion is the author of the internationally bestselling Rosie trilogy, and he draws on his own experiences through each stage, while also offering universally useful tips and advice.

From basic writing principles, such as explaining three-act structure, to the thornier questions every writer must tackle, such as choosing a point of view, this is an accessible and readable guide.

I also like the fact that Graeme points out that the processes described in the book are what’s worked for him (and worked well), but that every writer needs to work through and figure out their own process along the way.

Having made some notes, I’m going to give this one to Book Boy (18), who loves a book about writing, and who, I think, will benefit a lot from this one.

 

What To Do When You Don’t Have A Book Coming Out (& Even More Sage Advice) by Angela Slatter

new writing books by australian authorsAngela Slatter is one of my co-presenters at the Australian Writers’ Centre and, frankly, I love her work. She is funny and sharp and infinitely sensible as a teacher, brilliant as a writer and well worth a follow on Twitter.

I read Angela’s gothic fantasy novel All The Murmuring Bones last year ahead of our interview for So You Want To Be A Writer podcast and was blown away by the spare luxury of her language. I was completely unsurprised when it was recently shortlisted for the 2021 Aurealis Awards.

But I digress. We’re here to talk about writing books, right?

Angela recently released the latest in a series called Writer Chaps, through Brain Jar Press. The series consists of short, specific collections of essays, no thicker than the average book chapter. But packed full of information.

What To Do When You Don’t Have A Book Coming Out is a collection of essays about sustaining your writing career after your book has launched.

I loved it because it is full of the same things that I have been banging on about on this blog for years – the importance of networking for writers, using blog posts and social media to put yourself in front of people, how to use your ‘waiting’ time wisely.

There’s also a very useful section on applying for grants, which is, I admit, an area I haven’t explored much but… why not?

Angela’s first Writer Chap called You Are Not Your Writing & Other Sage Advice is also well worth checking out.

 

Look – it’s your book! by Anna Featherstone

four new writing books by australian authorsThe sub-title on this one says it all: ‘Write, publish and promote your non-fiction book: a self-publishing guide for Australian writers’

Anna Featherstone describes the book as a comprehensive guide for Australian writers, and at 360+ pages, I think the claim is supported.

Covering everything from how to work out what you’re going to write to researching, writing, editing, formatting, publishing and promoting your book, it also goes beyond the creation of the product into … well, everything else that a self-publishing writer needs to know.

And that’s a lot.

I think one of the biggest mistakes writers often make is in thinking that the major work in self-publishing (or, in fact, publishing at all) a book is in the writing.

But the writing is just the beginning and the hard graft of self-publishing (or, in fact, publishing at all) is in finding an audience for that book and then actually getting the book into the hands of people who want to read it.

Anna has been on my radar on social media for many years, and has self-published several books herself, focussing on non-fiction. This book is the book that she couldn’t find to help her along the way.

The one that she hopes will answer the questions an aspiring self-publisher might have before they get to them.

It’s specifically for authors of non-fiction, and the advice within is a nuts-and-bolts overview of the entire process from start to finish. Find out more about it here. 

 

The Writer Laid Bare by Lee Kofman

four new writing books by Australian authorsThe latest addition to my writing shelf is The Writer Laid Bare by Russian-born, Melbourne-based author Lee Kofman, subtitled ‘Mastering Emotional Honesty in a Writer’s Art, Craft and Life’.

Part memoir, part craft book, Kofman deep dives into some of the most difficult-to-pin down aspects of a writer’s life – unearthing your true voice, bringing searing honesty to the page, stilling your mind enough to find space for creativity – as well as the bare, practical truths of the discipline of writing, the need to look after your body as a writer, the ability to fail with grace.

This is a literary approach to writing craft, weaving in the voices and advice of other authors, past and present. I plan to spend some time with it.

It’s that kind of book.

 

 

7 things children's authors must know presentation (Are you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait and you can find out more about me here and more about my online writing courses here.

In exciting news, I’ll be interviewing three of these authors in coming months in my brand-new online writing community, opening on 2 May 2022.

Find out more here and join my newsletter list to see exactly who’s on the schedule! 

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