Standing ovations are a playwright’s GOLD. You know you’ve probably hit the sweet spot when a bunch of possibly jaded theatre-goers could be bothered getting up out of their chairs to give your show their appreciation and applause. And what’s especially nice is when an audience comes into a theatre completely cold —they do not know you, or your work, or the actors or not a single thing about the story about to be told—and within the space of a 115 minute performance they are warmed through with joy enough to bring them onto their feet with wild stomping and carry on. From Campfire toRead More →

It is done. I have 10,000 words, many if them in the right order. The last morning of the retreat, the last morning of the 2000 word contract. Considering that the average novel has about 300 pages, and a 300-page book will have approximately 82,500 words, I’m about 8% there. With consistency, it’s possible to reach that word count by writing 500 words per day, seven days a week, for about five and a half months. That’s daunting. Even 500 words, and they also need to be the best words possible. Bookity, bookity, bookity goodness. Do I believe what I’m working on could be a novel?Read More →

Love is a Battlefield. Life is a Highway. Death is a Mirror. Metaphors abound in songs and poems, and in literature. We love to draw metaphoric comparisons, and today I am a Raisin, desiccated and flattened. The challenge continues. The 2000 gig almost broke me today. I was pressed to the limit of my typing speed, my brain refused to spell, and I think I may have RSI (rapid story injury). Each day this is the drill: wake up early, go for a walk, have breakfast with my two villa-mates, then grab my laptop, walk off down the alleyway to a close by cafe, LaRead More →

Today I am exhausted. I have been trying so hard. Words. Too many words. Too many words. And then to be dealing with more words. I have used all the words. I cannot be using more. Someone mentioned in the last few days that Earnest Hemmingway used to write 2,000 words a day. I was suss of this and so looked it up today. In fact, old Earnest did write 2,000 words a day – getting up at 2am and then writing til dawn, but actually he stopped doing that because he started to feel ‘the real old melancholia’. He got exhausted. So after that heRead More →

The daily 2000 word challenge continues. I found myself at a local cafe by 8am typing the next chapter of my very strange little novel about a boy who appears to be having auditory hallucinations and whole conversations with inanimate objects. I do not know exactly what his affliction is or whether it is an affliction at all. He might be schizophrenic, or he might just being having conversations with otherwise inanimate objects. I do know that his character has emerged very rapidly, and today as I wrote a story of his life as a 20 year old, working in a local supermarket in hisRead More →

I’m telling you now, Bali has rarely, if ever, stressed me out. But today it stressed me out two times. Good stress. I think. The first was caused by the mere matter of tippy-tapping out 2,000 words for my new novel. Yes, the novel I do not truly have a clue about at this stage. But, as I say to all my playwrights, you cannot know your story until you tell your story. I awoke way before dawn thinking about this non-existent story of which I am to produce 2,000 words by midday. There was nothing else for it but to go for a longRead More →

Day one of my writing retreat in Bali. I’m so tired, absolutely rat-brained, but I am determined to reflect on the experience of the day. It’s been big. Mind you the only reason I’m tired is because I was on the midnight special flying into Denpassar last night, actually early this morning, arriving at my hotel very late, actually very early this morning. My head hit the pillow of my old-school style Bali homestay at 3am, Aussie time. I slept not fabulously and so the general knock on effect is a dismal one of constantly trying to sneak in some cheeky daytime shut eye, butRead More →

You hear a good story. It fires you up thinking about how that story would look on a stage. The story is coming from someone who has a very different culture to your own. Stop, stop, traffic light. Before you walk away saying (low key sanctimoniously) ‘this is not my story to tell, I have no business here’, I want to consider if there might be a collaborative opportunity. Ok, sure, I’ve been outspoken here before about leaving the stories of under-represented cultures alone. I stand by this. One or two celebrated Australian playwrights I could name have embarked on telling stories belonging entirely toRead More →

I have the impression that writers tend to undersell themselves. I see writers underselling themselves all the time, a habit that comes hand in hand with lack of self confidence and general bambozzlement. I keep coming across this with writers who are asked to talk about their work and writers who are asking for funding. Whether we fear we aren’t worthy, or we fear rejection or we fear what others will think of us, it’s time to unpack it. Sit ourselves down and give ourselves a good talking to. Perhaps it’s a theatre thing, or an Australian cultural thing or a women thing (most playwrightsRead More →

Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash I do a lot of work with people new to playwriting. They are so ’emerging’ as to be absolute beginners. Theatre companies don’t normally encourage absolute beginners but mine does. We encourage it because we recognise that only paying attention to ‘established playwrights’ is a surefire way to exclude diversity, eschew community relevant stories, and support pale, stale and elitist theatre. So in my work I see great stacks of freshly minted scripts by hopeful new playwrights, mostly by early career playwrights. There’s are a few novice playwriting habits that regularly come up and I just need to pointRead More →