Tag Archives: Walter Mason

Writing Teachers I Love #SelfPubIsHere

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Last week for #SelfPubIsHere I spoke about editors that I love, people who make your manuscript glow. But what about before you have a manuscript? Are there people who can help you before you have finished, or before you have even started? The answer is quite simply yes, writing teachers exist. And fortunately we live in a time where there are more and more teachers available to learn from. I’m going to share with you some writing teachers that I love and where to find ones that you’ll love too. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s quality teaching. Not only did I teach for over a decade, including being Acting head of English, Drama coordinator, placed on secondment briefly to the body now absorbed by NESA amongst many other things, BUT I also studied directly with the creators of Quality Teaching and Productive Pedagogy. So trust me, I know teaching, and I say these people are awesome.

Toni Jordan is a truly incredible teacher. The three scenes that are consistently held up as excellent by critique partners of my WIP were all written during Toni Jordan’s Character and Dialogue course held at NSW Writers’ Centre. She is Melbourne based and has lectured at RMIT, presented extensively at The Wheeler Centre, tutors at Writers Victoria, and indeed lots of other places too. You can even get personalised mentoring from Toni through Australian Writers Mentoring Program. She has really strong opinions on structure and dialogue tags and is not afraid to state exactly what they are, which is very useful in a teacher. And although her opinions are strong she is never brutal; think of Toni as the epitome of firm but fair. Find Toni Jordan’s website here. Find her books here. Find Toni’s Robinpedia entry here.

I was lucky enough to do Pamela Freeman’s two day speculative fiction course a few years back. Since then, she has taken me under her wing and allowed me to ask her all sorts of inane questions. She is the kind of teacher who continues on thinking about her students long after the classroom door has closed and the lights have been shut off. She is very much the mother duck of the Australian writing teaching world, but with a truly wicked sense of humour. She has a PhD in writing, she knows her stuff, and she’s quite forward in telling people what she thinks. And you’re in luck, because Pamela is currently supercharging her Advanced Fiction Writing Course at AWC. She is a regular teacher at AWC who also have a mentoring program, teaches occasionally at NSW Writers’ Centre, pops into a couple of Sydney universities, and all around the place really. Find Pamela Freeman’s website here. Pamela gets bonus points for following along on the #SelfPubIsHere twitter storm. Find her books here, and her books as Pamela Hart here.

Kate Forsyth made me tear up my prologue, literally. She didn’t even read it, she just asked me a few questions, didn’t like the sound of my answers so told me to rip it up. Shocking, I know, but… she was absolutely right. Kate is able to get to the core of your writing very quickly and gives crisp advice that will improve your manuscript immeasurably. I don’t go anywhere without her plot arc worksheet. She is a regular teacher at AWC, also teaches at NSW Writers’ Centre, a few universities, and pretty much everywhere else including overseas. Find Kate Forsyth’s website here. Find Kate’s books here. (And I know she’d also love it if you could check out her cooking and books show, Word of Mouth TV.)

A woman that needs no introduction, Anita Heiss. She’s pretty much an icon in Australia. When I was volunteering at one of her panel events at the Sydney Writers’ Festival we had to form a separate line for her signings. She is a really practical teacher who urges writers to listen to their readership. She’s all about knowing what you write. Very thorough in her approach and her preparation is phenomenal. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with her at NSW Writers Centre but she teaches at a lot of other places too. Keep your eyes wide open to see her courses pop up and book quickly. Anita Heiss’s website can be found here. Find Anita’s books here.

Emily Maguire is a very quiet and serene teacher. She is never without an encouraging word for people and always listens to students thoroughly before responding. Emily also provides so many worksheets for you to take home so that you can continue to look back and relearn for years to come. She teaches the hugely popular Year of the Novel course at NSW Writers’ Centre and so you get to learn from Emily all year long. Find Emily Maguire’s website here. Find Emily’s books here.

One of the most exciting speakers I have ever seen is L.A. Larkin. She is very animated, very witty, and above all else, very clever. L.A Larkin mainly teaches in the UK but lucky for us the AWC recently snapped her up to teach crime writing so she’s not just swanning around British universities anymore, we can learn from her in Sydney. You can also find her speaking at a variety of other places, check L.A. Larkin’s website for details here. Find her books here or even here. Find L.A. Larkin’s Robinpedia entry here.

Jan Cornall is the first writing teacher that I ever had (aside from school) and she blew me away. She is a very calm person and has a soothing effect on the soul. Jan utilises short bursts of meditation in her teaching and, despite the fact that I am truly crap at meditating, it really works. She teaches at WEA, NSW Writers’ Centre, pretty much everywhere and runs her own draftbusters course in the Inner West that I cannot recommend highly enough. Find Jan Cornall’s website here. Find Jan’s books here.

I have long testified that Walter “the inconceivably incandescent” Mason is like viagra for the creative soul. This man simply oozes love and passion. To sit by him is to sit in the presence of inspiration. But he doesn’t just sit about being all inspirational, he also gives concrete tasks to do. He really is a spectacular speaker and I urge you to go see him whenever you can. He regularly teaches at WEA, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, NSW Writers’ Centre, Ashfield Library, and pretty much everywhere you can think of. Find Walter Mason’s website here. Find Walter’s books here. Find Walter Mason’s Robinpedia entry here.

Alison Croggon would come close to being the queen of Australian literature. She’s a poet, a spec fic writer, an opera critic, and so much more. You want to know how to write an arts submission? She’ll teach you. You want to know how to write a proper poetry review? She’ll teach you. You want to know how to write a fantasy novel? She’ll teach you. And, like Toni, you can have Alison all to yourself through the Australian Writers Mentoring Program. Find Alison Croggon’s website here. Find Alison’s books here. Bonus, she’s a huge #SelfPubIsHere advocate.

I did a Garth Nix course through ASA waaaaayyyy back in 2014. I rarely see his name crop up on workshops so was eager to attend, I think it pretty much booked out on its first day of advertisement. First up, the food they provide for the ASA courses is fantastic, seriously, if you haven’t done a course there yet… well… do it! Secondly, I was really impressed with how Garth took a different tac than many other teachers. He was explicit on who to pitch to, he was explicit on filling up your creative bank. It was a very informative workshop. He said nice things about my WIP, and as I am a complete saddest I have subsequently changed it from being set in Germany to Australia, from first person to third person from present tense to past tense. Whyyyyy??? Imagine what I would have done with negative feedback or if he’d actually suggested any changes? Burned my laptop and thrown it from the Harbour Bridge? Find Garth Nix’s website here. Find Garth’s books here.

Cass Moriarty is from up above… in Queensland. She is a tireless supporter of writers and somehow manages to write novels, write reviews of ALL the books, teach and be a doting grandmother. I am in awe of this woman and have no idea how she does it all. Her motto is ‘I can adapt’ and she brings that to your manuscript. You can find her floating about up at Queensland Writers Centre where she does workshops and mentoring. Find Cass Moriarty’s website here. Find Cass’s books here. Find Cass Moriarty’s Robinpedia entry here.

Thriller, chiller, and teacher Tania Chandler has been writing and editing for years. Recently, we’ve been lucky enough to see her helm her own workshops. She brings a wealth of experience with her, and is a very dedicated teacher. If you get a chance to get to SPAN Community House Inc. book in for a course with Tania. Find Tania Chandler’s website here. Find her books here. Find Tania Chandler’s Robinpedia entry here.

Aleesah Darlison is here by very special request, my 6 year old daughter’s request to be precise. I have not had the pleasure of learning from Aleesah but my daughter has. Aleesah visited her school last year and my daughter assures me that Aleesah is the best teacher ever, and very qualified. My daughter tells me that Aleesah has written over 100,000 books, and writes 1000 a week, so I’m fairly confident she’ll teach you a lot about time management, and possibly how to create time vortexes. We actually owned quite a few of Aleesah’s books before she went to may daughter’s school so my daughter’s claims are way less exaggerated than you think. Aleesah is a powerhouse. My daughter rarely steers me wrong so in order to keep tabs on the clearly enchanting Aleesah Darlison find her website here. Find Aleesah’s books here. Find Aleesah’s Robinpedia entry here.

And no list could be complete without #SelfPubIsHere rockstar Ellie Marney who teaches both YA and self-publishing workshops.

You can find her slinking around Writers Victoria and plenty of other places too. Just keep those peepers peeled. Find Ellie Marney’s website here. Find Ellie’s books here.

This is a list of general writing teachers that I highly recommend, I will do a blog entry on self-publishing specific courses later on. Now of course there are other fab writing teachers out there and I can’t possibly go learn from every single one of them, so I’d like to hear about who you love. Especially those fab teachers such as Natasha Lester who I hear so much about from WA friends. Which writing teacher really boils your potato?

Find friendly writers organisations here. Just click on “8. What other organisations in Australia support writers?” These places have been created to help you grow. They can and will help you. They have an array of courses and resources.

See #SelfPubIsHere featured in Books+Publishing here.

Also in Australian Self-Publisher here.

Read about my #SelfPubIsHere Festival dream here.

Read the article that kicked #SelfPubIsHere off here.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.
Also, cough-cough, find my book at Booktopia or anywhere.

P.S. HAPPY TOWEL DAY!

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Oh Shit! It’s Fathers’ Day and I Forgot to Get a Gift.

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So it’s Fathers’ Day this weekend and you haven’t gotten a gift yet. You’re thinking of buying your old man a selection of imported beers but there’s only so many times you can do that exact same gift before it begins to look thoughtless. Don’t worry, I’ve got the perfect solution to your problems. BOOKS!

1. Error Australis by Ben Pobjie. A hilarious look at Australian history in the style reminiscent of the TV recap. If your father doesn’t like the Project Rum Way section then he is a souless monster who does not deserve a gift in the first place. Seriously, fuck him and get it for yourself. There, I said it, everybody was thinking it, but I said it, and I don’t regret it.

2. Walking Wounded by Brian Freeman and Tony Parks. Brian Freeman is an ex soldier who takes young soldiers who have served in Afghanistan on treks through the Kokoda tracks. This process helps rehabilitate the soldiers. This book is filled with the incredible stories of sacrifice that those soldiers have told Brian Freeman. A most humbling read.

3. Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham. There’s crime, there’s suspense, there’s conflict, there’s danger. It’s got everything you’d want and expect in a book by the highly acclaimed, criminal master writer, Michael Robotham. Maybe give dad a torch as well so that he doesn’t get too scared. A big sturdy one.

4. Bound by Alan Baxter. Has your dad ever wanted to see a mixed martial arts champion go up against mosters? Then this is the book for him. If he hasn’t ever wanted to see this, then you need to chat to your dad about expanding his imagination and sit him down for a Jet Li movie marathon.

5. Destination Saigon by Walter Mason. The author describes it as Eat, Pray, Love but fat and gay. It’s a beautiful exploration of Vietnam with touching and humorous anecdotes. One of my favourite travel memoirs of all time.

Heck, if your dad doesn’t like these books at least you will. They’re all good choices. Enjoy.

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Don't get dad socks.

Walter Mason: #Robinpedia

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Walter Mason is a Sydney based writer, mentor, and teacher. He has worked in every part of the book industry and is one of Australia’s foremost literary citizens who always encourages the spirit of generosity and giving back to the writing community. His principles of Literary Citizenship can be found HERE</.

Walter Mason is the author of two travel memoirs, Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia. Both have been well received by readers and critics.

Walter Mason teachers writing courses through WEA Sydney, City of Sydney Alexandria Library, NSW Writers Centre and many other locations around Sydney. His courses Fabulously Creative, Creative Groove and The Mindful Writer are particularly popular amongst writers.

Walter is so popular amongst Sydney writers that he has accumulated a group of followers affectionately dubbed Walterites. Some noted Walterites include writers:

Claire Scobie http://clairescobie.com/

Vanessa Berry https://vanessaberryworld.wordpress.com/

Sharon Livingstone http://sharonlivingstone.com/

Ashley Kalagian Blunt https://fullofdonkey.com/

MEEEEEEE!!! You’re here already!!!

 

Walter Mason is one of the founding members of The Universal Heart Book Club. This is an online book club and podcast which focuses on books that refresh and enhance your spirit.

 

Find Walter Mason’s Website HERE.

Find Walter Mason on Twitter HERE.

Find Walter Mason on Facebook HERE.

Subscribe to Walter Mason’s Enewsletter HERE.

Find The Universal Heart Book Club HERE.

 

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Please feel free to comment with extra information that you would like  me to add to this Robinpedia entry. Particularly if you wish to be added to the list of Walterites. As I always say, if you don’t love Walter Mason you have either never met him or have no soul.

Learn more about Robinpedia HERE.

Literary Citizenship with Walter Mason

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Today I attended the First Friday Club talk for members of the New South Wales Writers Centre. Today’s talk was about a subject near and dear to my heart, literary citizenship, and involved two people likewise near and dear to my heart, Walter Mason and Ashley Kalagian Blunt.

Walter Mason, as I have mentioned earlier, is a standout member of the Australian writing community. His generosity is legendary and his workshops never fail to inspire. Walter is one of the forerunners of a concept known as literary citizenship. It’s essentially the idea of looking after and promoting others in the writing community. This is especially important for the Australian writing community because we’re so small.

Walter wrote an article about literary citizenship quite sometime ago which has been reprinted and reblogged many times. You can find the article here. The article recommends that to be a good literary citizen you should attempt to do the following 7 things:
Buy new books and read them
Get your books at a bookshop
Be a fan
Go to author events
Subscribe to a literary mag
Be a campaigner
Embrace generosity

This article has inspired many people, including myself, especially with the idea of fandom. I am a fan! As well as author Sharon Livingstone who was in the audience as she is a fellow acolyte of Walter, and also Ashley Kalagian Blunt, program officer at the New South Wales Writers Centre, who has an article coming out in this months News Write on her attempt to utilise Walter’s principles for a full year. Some she found easy to take on board, others she struggled with more so. Keep an eye on your mailbox and make sure you read all about it when your copy of News Write comes OR subscribe to the New South Wales Writers Centre newsletter.

I was very flattered when not only both Walter and Ashley mentioned my name as a person who was a good literary citizen but so did author Sharon Livingstone from the audience. She says she likes my author memes. Which is great because I love making them. Walter mentioned my recaps of The Book Club ABC hosted by Jennifer Byrne, another labour of love. I tell you what, if my two greatest loves – Walter Mason and JByrne’s Book Club – could combine I would pass out in ecstasy. And it was really nice to know I’m not the only one who enjoys what I’m doing. They used those things as examples of bringing your own unique spin to being a fan. It was a lovely surprise to be mentioned.

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It was a really great talk and I do urge you to do a future course with Walter because he is such an inspirational teacher and I hope to see you all next month at the First Friday Club. Especially Dr Crisetta MacLeod, who I sat next to and whispered the most hilarious commentary in my ear, Sharon Livingston who is even more entertaining in person than she is on twitter, and Nat Bayley who I also got to meet.

You Don’t Have to be a Millionaire to Support Authors

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Not long ago I blogged about how Walter Mason inspired the spirit of fandom in me. For those of you not familiar with Walter Mason, he’s probably the most charismatic person in the Australian book industry. And let’s be honest, there’s lots of competition, so this means he’s pretty spectacular. Today I’d like to speak about the spirit of fandom a little bit more and how that actually helps authors.

We always hear “buy books, if you truly want to support authors than just buy their damn BOOK! For god’s sake open that wallet, they need to pay rent!!!” Which is fair enough, buying books directly funds authors. It’s even better if you do it through your local bookshop, but  we don’t all have the money to buy books everyday. Fortunately, for those of us that want to love more than our budget allows, that doesn’t mean you can’t support an author every single day if you should want too. There are lots of ways you can help out authors you love that don’t cost an arm and a leg. 
When people love a movie they sometimes pay to see it many times but many simply can’t afford that but they still help out by providing much needed enthusiasm through raving to friends, tweeting, making fan art, blogging and generally being fanatical. We can do the same thing for books. Let’s bring the spirit of fandom to the book industry.

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Read and interact with an author’s blog. Most authors have a blog. Commenting on their blog and letting them know that you like what they’re on about helps provide a moral boost and let’s them know what their readers do and don’t like. Writing can be very solitary and knowing there are people out there loving your work helps. If you are a blogger write your own blog entry about how a book or author has inspired or moved you. Shout out your appreciation loud and clear, let your enthusiasm become contagious. Write a review.

Rave to your friends about your favourite authors. I’m far more likely to read a book recommended by a friend than by looking at an advert. They’re my friends so I respect their opinion. I started reading Kate Forsyth books after a friend loaned me a copy of Dragon Claw. I have now gone on to buy myself, and friends, over 30 copies of her books. One loan resulted in mutiple purchases. And the books of hers that I have gifted to friends have resulted in even more readers. So never feel like you’re cheating an author by loaning their book out, you could be getting them a loyal reader.

Connect with authors on twitter. Who doesn’t love a compliment? Who doesn’t work better with a little enthusiasm to warm their soul. Knowing that your writing has touched someone has power. Last night I received a tweet from Michael Williams, a person that I respect and admire very much, and it meant just as much to me as a book sale. No it doesn’t pay the rent but it does help keep the depression at bay and depression is a mind killer so it’s just as vital.

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Follow authors and interact with them on any of their social media platforms. Most authors aren’t guaranteed their next book will be published. If they have a strong fan base they seem like a safer bet to publishers. If publishers can already see that people love their work and connect with what they write then that’s a big vote of confidence. Show your confidence in your favourite authors by doing so publicly if you dare.

How about some fan art. Show what those words look like in your mind. Show just how much books have touched you by inspiring you to create your own art. Not an artist? Me neither. I like to create memes instead. I spend far too much time on imgflip. But I just love putting beautiful words on beautiful pictures and sharing my love. Feel free to give it a go. It’s easy and fun.

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Attend author workshops. Many authors earn most of their income through teaching. So attend their events if you have the means.

And of course, yes, buy their books when you can. (Note: there are a few authors who only appreciate this method of support so will probably feel bombarded by the above suggestions, so don’t do those to them, but most appreciate some enthusiasm.)

You certainly don’t have to support an author every day, but you can if you want too without going into poverty. What are some of the different ways that you like to show support?

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Edit: I’ve started using #auslitlove on my tweets that are about loving Australian authors so that I can keep track of who I’m loving and make sure I spread the love around far and wide.

Let Me Love You!

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Recently Lisa Fleetwood, author of Destination Dachshund, wrote a blog entry about letting authors know you love them. In the entry she says that little old me inspired her to write it because I have been posting tweets about loving people in our industry.

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I have to say that I was delighted to be the inspiration behind a blog post. It seriously gave me the tingles. So I felt that it was only fair to let people know who inspired me to write countless tweets shouting out Australian authors. It was none other than the ever charismatic Walter Mason.

Walter Mason is an institution in the Sydney writer scene. He not only wrote Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia but also runs the Universal Heart Book Club and provides inspirational workshops and talks regularly all across Sydney. I was fortunate to meet Walter through another writing mentoring legend, Jan Cornall.

I undertook my first ever writing course with Jan Cornall. It was called Write Your Novel on the Weekends and it was run through WEA. It was fantastic. I learned so much about writing a book as opposed to writing a story for creative writing that I still refer back to my notes regularly. In that two day workshop Jan said to me that she felt that Walter Mason would be a good person for me to chat with. It seemed like an odd choice on the surface as I was writing children’s sci-fi and he had published a travel memoir but I endeavored to follow her guidance because she had been so spot on with everything else.

So a few months later when I saw Walter speaking on a panel at a Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow I timidly went up to introduce myself. I have social anxiety that I generally mask pretty well but introducing myself to an author I had never met was so intimidating that I must confess that I was literally shaking. He immediately made me feel at ease and has been so generous with his time and advice ever since this first meeting that I have become one of his biggest fans, not just of his writing, which is wonderful, and not just of his workshops, which I would recommend to anyone because they never fail to inspire, but of him the person.

It was at another Emerging Writers Festival Roadshow that Walter gave me the inspiration to give Australian authors a shout out, loudly and often. He said to the audience, “bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature.” This resonated with me powerful. I’m a massive geek, I even run a page on Facebook called GEEK so I know fandom and fandomania. This was something that I knew I could do and it fit in with my personality well.

You see, I’m the kind of person who loves to rave about things that I love. If I love a show, or a movie, or a book I want to tell people about it. I even do this with my reviewing style. I only do reviews of 3 stars and over. If I didn’t like a book I don’t really feel like talking about it. If I like a book I want to tell EVERYONE about it. So bringing the spirit of fandom to Australian literature was something I could do. So I’ve written blog entries, I regularly give shout outs on twitter and I’ve even made pictures all because Walter Mason inspired me.

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So I’d like to pass on the challenge to everyone else reading this, bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature. Write a review, recommend an author to a friend, buy a book, follow an author on twitter, make some fan art. Just do something.

What will you do today to bring the spirit of fandom to Australian literature today?

Edit: I’ve started using #auslitlove on my tweets that are about loving Australian authors so that I can keep track of who I’m loving and make sure I spread the love around far and wide.

Fabulously Creative With Walter Mason ( @walterm )

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I love attending Walter Mason workshops because he is the writing equivalent of viagra. We writers can be a terribly insecure and depressive bunch, much inclined to wallowing and procrastination. Walter Mason is the antidote. An encounter with Walter never fails to send blood rushing to the brain and joy spurting from the fingertips to splatter words onto paper.

Those closest to me know that at the moment I’m not exactly winning my battles with depression. Hey, it’s a war, so I’m sure I’ll get there, but right now I’m just flat, tired, and not winning. These flat times make not only eating and moving hard, but also writing. These glorious notions of depression creating exquisite pain to tap into emotional brilliance aren’t entirely true. Sure, you need light and shade to truly feel and you want that in your writing but being in a depressed state isn’t really conducive of writing. It’s grey, not fifty shades of grey, just one shade of grey. And hard to climb out of or write from. Writing once out of it is easy. The stereotypes ring true, once out of the pit, not so much in it. So a pick me up is vital.

So if you need some inspiration or an extra dose of fabulous, I do urge you to attend a Walter Mason event or read either of his travel memoirs, Destination Saigon and Destination Cambodia. Everybody needs a pick me up every now and then.  Especially creative types.

For more information please visit:
http://www.waltermason.com/

P.S. when is a travel show going to pick Walter Mason up? Getaway, Sydney Weekender, I’m not fussy, but this man needs to be on television.