It’s taken four months, but I think I’ve finally cracked it

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I was stuck near the end of my current work in progress (WIP) — a novel, the ninth in a particular series — for months. There were only a handful of chapters left to write, so I couldn’t even blame “soggy middle” syndrome. I just couldn’t face it, and I didn’t know why. But I’d set myself a few goals for the year, and establishing a consistent writing routine was top of the list, so I had to figure it out.

Part of my problem was a change in lifestyle. It was a change for the better — my partner…

What we loved, what we hated, and what we learned about ourselves

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In hindsight, the middle of a pandemic was not the best time to pack up our lives, sell off all our stuff, and move into a tiny house on wheels. But lockdown dramas aside, the last twelve months have been an experience my partner and I will never forget.

There were things we loved and things that weren’t so great, but the most surprising part was what we learned about ourselves.

We went in with eyes wide open.

Our van, Wanda, was built specifically for us. …

What does that say about me?

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I’d been friends with him for over twenty years. On the odd occasion, more than friends. So when he — let’s call him B — told me he had pancreatic cancer, yeah, I was shocked. Devastated. But even back then there was a tiny portion of disbelief.

Really? You don’t look sick.

I hated myself for even thinking it. I pushed the frightening thought back into its box. B told me he was going to die. Who lies about something that big?

A lot of people, apparently, and for various reasons. Financial gain is the obvious one — a quick…

And how we can use it to inform our own stories

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I’ve been trying to figure out why my brother is so interested in motorsports. Specifically, he loves Formula 1 racing. Watching men in fast cars hurtling themselves around a track seems pointless to me. But something my brother said last night as we sat around the family dinner table may have finally shed some light on why he loves it so much.

“Sport is just another form of storytelling.”

When I asked him to explain what he meant, his passion for the sport suddenly made a lot of sense.

When we care about the players, we care about the sport

Part of getting involved in a sport is an appreciation for…

The best definition of story I’ve ever heard, and how to use it to help your writing.

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Whenever I start a new novel I like to go back to basics, which usually means picking up a few of my favorite writing books. Even now, eighteen novels in, I still find myself wondering what the heck I’m doing. Not so much why do I write — I’m pretty clear in my own head why I do what I do. No, I actually find it quite beneficial to revisit a different question — what is a story?

In her book Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel, Lisa Cron says:

You can live without a foot.

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There’s a news story that has captivated the attention of much of Australia recently, myself included. I’m not sure if it’s because the fraudster at the center of the story is a woman, but I suspect that’s at least part of why it’s piqued my interest.

Melissa Caddick stole over twenty million dollars from her family and close friends before her severed foot washed up on a beach three months after her mysterious disappearance. She spent years systematically defrauding dozens of investors in her fake retirement fund/Ponzi scheme, using the money to instead fund a high-flying lifestyle of designer luxury…

Two tips to help your fiction ring true without boring your reader to tears

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My partner recently read a five-hundred and fifty-page door-stopper of a crime novel. It took a lot longer than his usual reads, so when he finally put it down for the last time I was keen to hear his thoughts. He took a while to answer, but when he eventually did the conversation went something like this:

Him: ‘It was a decent story, but it could have been told in about half the pages.’

Me: ‘Oh?’

Him: ‘Apparently the writer spent a lot of time riding around with cops, and it felt like he had to put all of that…

Sometimes the best way to write is to not write

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First up, a confession — I’ve never read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, nor am I going to anytime soon. I’ve heard of it, of course. I may have picked up a copy once or twice, had a flick through. I’ve even given the idea of ‘Morning Pages’ a go. It wasn’t for me.

But there’s one thing Cameron espouses that makes sense to me, and that’s the idea of filling the creative well. She writes:

“In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well…

What I learned from twelve months of plant-based eating

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It was that bloody documentary that did it. The Game Changers, the one with the athlete who was looking for a faster way to come back from injury and discovered plant-based eating. My partner and I heard of it through a friend who’d switched to plant-based, and we were intrigued enough to watch just to see for ourselves what our friend was on about. Neither of us for a second thought we’d be ‘converted’.

“I could possibly be vegetarian, but I could never do vegan.” It was a sentence I’d heard — and have heard since — many times. I’d…

We can’t all be self-pub millionaires, and some of us don’t want to be.

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Yes, I went there. I just told the world how much I earned as a self-published author last year. It might amount to more than just beer money, but it’s definitely less than a full-time income. Right now, I’m okay with that. I’ll explain why, but first, some back story.

I started dabbling in fiction way back in 2006 when I was in a particularly stressful employment situation. The stories I worked on back then went nowhere, but they got me through a tough year. I figured once that year was over I’d go back to life as normal and…

Catherine Lee

Inspiring a healthy creative life.

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