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The Art of Interviewing by Tanya Nellestein

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Please note this OWL has been cancelled but Tanya shares her insights here with us! A profile story is a portrait of a person in words. Getting it right is not always easy, regardless of how interesting or newsworthy the person might be. Interviewing is an artform –  a set of skills you need to master in order to find your style and rhythm to ensure a great outcome every time (okay, most of the time. You can’t get blood from a stone!). As well as the facts, you also want to capture a sense of the person’s personality and …

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NOVEMBER OWLS | Newsletter Know-How by Bree Vreedenburgh

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The Golden Trifecta of your Author Newsletter An author newsletter needs to be three things: It needs to be received It needs to be read It needs to be replied to Those three things – received, read, replied – are the Golden Trifecta of email. But why are they so important? Sender Reputation Sender reputation is a score given to you by a mailbox provider and how good (or bad) your reputation is can affect how many of your emails are delivered within that mailbox provider. Your sender reputation is affected by many things – spam reports, engagement levels, and …

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OCTOBER OWLS | 800 Words—Writing for Magazines by Tanya Nellestein

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If you’re picturing Erik Thomson knocking out one column a week in Channel Seven’s 800 Words, and making enough money to provide for himself and two teenage children and thinking, I could do that … well, it’s possible. It is possible to make a decent living as a freelance journalist, even in this COVID-induced downturn. However as an author, rather than take it on as a full time career move, most of us are simply wanting to supplement our income using skills that we already have. Writing articles about what interests you, and getting paid, is a great way to …

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OCTOBER OWLS | Character-led plotting by Samantha Bond

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Several years ago, I developed a course on plotting. Like many things, I created it out of my desire to understand something better, in this case, ‘plot’. There are so many methods bandied about by writers and especially movie makers (Hero’s Journey or Save the Cat anyone?) that it’s difficult to keep it simple and find what works for you. I’ve been surprised by the popularity of this course, but I suspect that like my situation, many of you just want plot to be simple to understand and apply in your writing. The reason I was interested in plot was …

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SEPTEMBER OWLS | Fear of a different blank page

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Taking the plunge: your book submission pack with Janet Gover As writers, fear of the blank page is something we all understand. But the blank page I fear is not the one that says Chapter XX at the top. It’s the page that has the word Synopsis at the top. And the one that starts, Dear (agent or editor)… For me, the hardest part of being a writer is not coming up with ideas. My head is swimming with those. The hard part is letting go and sending my book out into the world to be read by someone else. …

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SEPTEMBER OWLS | Pen a kick-arse short story in 9 easy steps!

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Mastering the Art of Storytelling: Learn how to pen a kick-arse short story with Libby M Iriks Writing isn’t hard. Anyone can put words on a page. In fact, there are countless five-year-old children around the world learning to pen their names as you read this. Storytelling, on the other hand, is an art form, and it takes time to master. Experts have been known to say a person must write half a million to a million words before they can consider themselves a capable storyteller. Now, I know what’s running through your head—how many manuscripts does that equate to …

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JULY OWL | How To Pace Tension in Fiction

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The Importance of matching suspense to the fluctuations of plot Tension is a critical element of all stories and needs to be maintained in order to keep readers turning the pages, but how does this correspond to the fluctuations of plot? There can’t be life-threatening situations in every chapter, nor are all stories about mortal danger. So, let’s explore how you can match the fluctuations in a story’s plot to the level of tension.