Our Creative Writing Courses
Author Talks on Fiction for Your Event, Writing Group, School & Library
Upon request. In person or via Zoom. Story is a powerful healer. As writers, we’re compelled to collect that which is in danger of being forfeit or forgotten. Some of us seek to capture truths about the human condition that might otherwise evade expression. We might use fables, fairy tales, magic realism and speculative fiction to unfold the heart of difficult or even taboo stories. With imagination, we can frame our questions about the world and allow others to explore even the most harrowing of adversaries from a safe distance. We can examine resilience, courage, even trauma and the profound growth that follows the darkest of moments. We can, through telling and reading stories, encounter ourselves. Meet Lauren Elise Daniels, author of Serpent’s Wake: A Tale for the Bitten, and editor of nearly 100 published titles for a friendly, informal chat about fiction, writing and gathering our lives and wisdom into story form.
Author Talks on the Short Story for Your Event, Writing Group, School & Library
Upon request. In person or via Zoom. Meet Lauren Elise Daniels, literary judge since 2004 for long form and short story competitions [IP Picks, Hawkeye Publishing, Society of Women Writers Queensland] and co-author of Winning Short Story Competitions: Essential Tools for the Serious Writer. Editor for nearly 100 published titles, and co-editor for Aiki Flinthart’s upcoming star-studded international anthology, Relics, Wrecks & Ruins, Lauren would love to join your group for a chat about short fiction, a judge’s perspective on long and short lists, what to expect from an editor, and how to write with power and resonance.
Bunya House, 1167 South Pine Road, Arana Hills, Queensland, AUSTRALIA.
Bunya House courses cost $239. Courses sponsored by Queensland Writers Centre & Council may be free or vary in fees.
Small Groups ONLY for In-Person Workshops | Qualified & Published Author/Editor Presenters
Courses may sell out/postpone/or migrate to Zoom depending on demand & changes in COVID restrictions.
Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction for Teens: FREE Online Course
Saturday, 12 January: 5pm-7.10pm via ZOOM. Course Fee: FREE. Register HERE. Learn the secrets of speculative fiction in this crash course & sharpen your writing skills. If you are an aspiring writer of sci-fi, fantasy, superhero or supernatural fiction, this is for you! Be guided through a range of writing exercises to improve your world building and character development with editor and author, Lauren Daniels. This workshop is hosted on Zoom by Lauren Daniels, in partnership with Moreton Bay Region Libraries.
Writing Memoirs & Family Stories: FREE Online Course
Saturday, 16 January: 9.30am-11.30am via ZOOM. Course Fee: FREE. Register HERE. Everyone has stories to tell. To make your family and life stories sing, combine elements of fiction with a strong focus. In this 2 hour mini-course, we:
- Frame personal meaning within universal themes.
- Grapple with emotional truth over details and the unreliability of memory.
- Explore research techniques to ground, colour & reconstruct our stories.
- Pan for gold through discussion and a writing exercise.
Intro to Creative Writing: Light My Fire [SOLD OUT]
Sunday, 31 January: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. Grow your skills with this small-group course presented by Lauren Daniels & Joshua Brockbank. A popular starter or a writing refresher, this workshop is suitable for budding writers across all genres: poetry, short stories, novels, memoir, travel writing, even ‘how to’ and personal development articles. We welcome beginners but don’t treat you like one. Our topics aim to lift your awareness around your strengths, invite freshness into your technique, and bolster your knowledge. We will:
- Practice literary techniques/devices through writing exercises.
- Explore common issues like ‘purple prose’ and ‘show don’t tell’ as we sharpen our authentic voices.
- Discuss focus & perspective.
- Unwrap theme & character & models for structure & plot.
- Discuss why all the great writers study fiction & poetry.
- Deconstruct a classic working story.
Developed for those with a desire to push ideas into drafts, this course provides the fuel. COVID safe environment under strict Council regulation. Bring your lunch on Sunday for outdoor undercover dining.
Lifestyle & Travel Writing: Our Experiences in Blogs, Articles & Books [3 SEATS LEFT!]
Sunday, 14 February: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. With seasoned author/editor, Lauren Daniels as your guide, join this expedition into one most the most popular and elastic approaches to writing. Whether you want to start a travel/lifestyle blog, compile your experiences into a cohesive draft, or pitch articles to magazines, take our workshop with you. From blogs to books & across commercial articles, the writing skills are universal and set out to captivate your readers. We:
- Strengthen our voices & match our writing to an audience.
- Explore how to do & earn more with your professional, personal & travel experiences.
- Unpack inspiration & the truth about writer’s block.
- Examine strong openers, strategic details, & killer angles.
- Try out structural & stylistic variations to enhance our stories.
- See portraits & interviews as pivotal as we capture characters with economy.
- Review publishing myths & realities & offer a word on photos.
Bloggers seeking more clout and authenticity are encouraged to join us. Absolute beginners to advanced writers create our supportive atmosphere. Pack a lunch for outdoor dining.
Self Editing for Creative Writers with Two Industry Professionals [4 SEATS LEFT!]
Sunday, 21 February: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. As you may know, first contact with an editor can point you to publication. A vetting process often begins as editors consider suitable publishers, so you want your manuscript to shine. Sometimes, however, writers expect editors to teach them the basics, but it’s just not their role. Manuscripts littered with common mistakes also communicate that writers haven’t educated themselves and look daunting to industry professionals. This course teaches you what you need to know before spending a cent on editors or assessments. Our qualified, experienced author/editors show you how to:
- Apply the editing cycle from structural editing right down through copyediting & proofreading.
- Establish & access a style sheet, the most essential tool for your proofreaders.
- Resolve common errors considered ‘earmarks of the amateurs’.
- Professionally format your work for submission.
- Compile a market savvy synopsis that gives the editor & publishers precisely what they want.
- Hone your expectations of an editor to get the best return.
- Read, manipulate, accept/reject & apply ‘Track Changes’ left on your draft by an editor.
- Access top resources like style manuals, etc.
Join author/editors, Lauren Daniels & author/publisher of Hawkeye Books, Carolyn Martinez for this informative roundtable. Pack a lunch!
Editorially Savvy with Lauren Elise Daniels & Geneve Flynn
27 February, 1-3pm. GenreCon 2021 ONLINE. Get GenreCon tickets HERE. With seasoned pros Lauren Elise Daniels and Geneve Flynn, learn what to expect when navigating the editing world, including contrasting your original draft with editorial suggestions, how to negotiate editorial advice and invent organic solutions alongside critique, and much more.
A powerful workshop for emerging authors trying to understand what they have to do and how to do it, and how to tell a good editor from a dodgy one.
Person & Place: Character & World Building @ Carindale Library: FREE
Sun, 7 March: 1.30pm-3pm @ Carindale Library, Westfield, 1151 Creek Road, Carindale, QLD. Course Fee: FREE. Registration Link Will Appear HERE. For fiction and non-fiction, characters are the pillars of a good story. Through discussion and writing exercises, we explore where literature and psychology converge. Drawing from Joseph Campbell, Caroline Myss, and Carl Jung, join Lauren Daniels to examine how transformation and character arcs drive a story. We:
- Trace the arcs of the hero & heroine’s journeys.
- Consider ‘hubris’ and the power of character flaws.
- Contrast archetypes with stereotypes.
- Examine psychological models as character blueprints.
Seriously Short: Small Group Short Story Clinic
Sunday, 21 March: 10am-4pm. Course Fee: $239. “I would also suggest that any aspiring writer begin with short stories. These days, I meet far too many young writers who try to start off with a novel right off, or a trilogy, or even a nine-book series. That’s like starting in at rock climbing by tackling Everest. Short stories help you learn your craft.” ~George R.R. Martin
Martin says precisely what editors and publishers are thinking. Practice. Start small. Observe the nuance of literary technique. In this course, join editor/author/short story competition judge Lauren Daniels to examine and practice the elements of taut narrative and sharp characterisation. We discuss and observe the literary pattern of rising action to climax to falling action so we can do it beautifully ourselves. We cover:
- Conventions from flash fiction to novella.
- Why writing short fic first is key to long-term success.
- What makes short fic great: citing amateurish errors & rising above the average.
- What calls characters alive & how structure makes a plot rock.
- Writing exercises & sample critique.
- Writer’s resources: markets, submission guidelines, industry formatting, comps & publishing.
- Self editing & finding good writing groups.
Bring your lunch for outdoor dining.
Family Ties & Life Stories: Exploring Memoir
Sunday, 28 March: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. Everyone has stories to tell. The secret’s in using the literary techniques of good fiction along with focus and intention. Like Ariadne’s golden thread guiding us through the labyrinth, one core theme can structure the wealth of our memories into a cohesive story. Join us to explore ways to connect and frame your journeys. Through readings, discussions and writing exercises, we:
- Transform memories into memoirs through an array of literary devices & structures.
- Explore broader contexts to frame personal meaning within universal themes.
- Reflect upon integrity, emotional truth, subjectivity & the unreliability of memory.
- Cite the differences between a diary entry & personal essay; autobiography & memoir.
- Cultivate trust between reader & speaker.
- Trace the path to grow short works into longer ones through research & reconstruction.
- Enjoy freewriting exercises that practice technique & pan for gold.
- Emphasise focus as the key to good memoir & strengthen the central theme of our stories.
Join seasoned author/editor, Lauren Daniels for a day of exploration and experimentation. Pack a lunch for outdoor dining.
Magic Realism for Rebels: Shaking the Tree with L.E. Daniels
Sunday, 11 April: 10am-4pm. Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. Is your writing…different? Are you drawn to social issues and extraordinary ways to explore them? Magic realism conjures the imagery of Frida Kahlo and Henri Rousseau and is something Salman Rushdie calls “a newish name for a very old thing”. We’re talking Kafka, Woolf, Márquez, and Murakami. Linked with Latin American writers of the ‘50s, magic realism has deep roots for storytellers. Launched at the ‘19 Whistler Writer’s Festival in Canada to a full house and online in ’20 with the Queensland Writers Centre, Magic Realism for Rebels is designed for fiction writers with a mission. We’ll investigate this very special genre in the following ways:
- Magic realism explores gender, diversity and power disparities. What voices do we hear that need to be shared through our stories and how can we capture them?
- Magic realism is a way to tell the truth, when truth is drowned out by force. We’ll explore point of view as an intrinsic and fluid aspect of this genre’s structure.
- Like myths, fables, folk and fairy tales, these naturalistic stories are grounded in reality and threaded with fantastic elements to convey visions that may be confrontational. How do we balance such forces in our writing?
- Transforming the wisdom of our experience into cohesive prose is a mean feat. How does our place of origin and the events that have grown us translate into stories readers will care about, and even see playing out in their own struggles?
If you want to write with purpose, imagination and true grit, tune in with awarded author/editor, Lauren Elise Daniels and shake the tree. Have your cuppa and lunch on standby and prepare for some wild writing sessions.
Fantasy, Sci Fi, Horror: Otherworldly Writing
Sunday, 18 April: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Cost: $239. This unique course is homegrown for aspiring writers of sci fi, horror, fantasy, superhero and supernatural fiction. While ‘speculative fiction’ has gone more mainstream, let’s help you meet your readers’ expectations. Our course is intensive and delivers a survey of the crucial elements you’ll need for this genre. We unpack:
- The history & styles of spec fic.
- Psychology, motivation & character arcs.
- Killer opening lines, world building & kick butt fight scenes.
- Tropes & clichés…heroes & villains.
- Myths & legends as inspiration.
- Writer’s resources & markets.
If you need some support from savvy editor/authors who love this genre as much as you do, join Lauren Daniels & Geneve Flynn for this fantastic workshop.
Seasons & Symbols: Writing the Inner Journey
Sunday, 2 May: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. “Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” ~Yoko Ono A weekend for all ages and creative pursuits, we explore our lives through the richness of our stories and experiences. We will:
- Discuss memories and dreams as wellsprings of creativity and insight.
- Draw our stories into form through exercises and gentle exploration.
- Explore the repeating themes, mythologies, and challenges that have served as guideposts for our growth.
- Play with the concept of our lives as allegory, stories lined with symbols and universal truths.
A great and rewarding course for writers, readers and those seeking a place to reflect on their own emerging stories. Bring your lunch for outdoor, undercover dining.
Writing for Children & Young People: Picture Books to YA with Two Award-Winning Industry Professionals
Sunday, 16 May: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Course Fee: $239. Meet with author/editor, Lauren Daniels and award-winning author/teacher, Janet Reid to glean tips on what children’s and young adult [YA] publishers seek and how to prepare professional submissions. We welcome beginners but don’t treat you like one as we cover a range of topics to open new doors, invite freshness to your technique, and bolster your knowledge. We will:
- Unpack industry standards & publishing trends of picture books & YA novels.
- Review the best literary techniques that engage & delight young readers.
- Take on some writing exercises to test our strengths.
- Examine conflict & tension as opportunities in good fiction.
- Cover developmental psychology models & the insights they offer into the motivation, capacity & existential exploration across age groups.
- Discuss why children are the toughest audiences & how to win them over.
- Get Anna Bartlett’s quick tips on how to make an impression with editors and publishers.
- Hold a Q&A with local YA author, Janet Reid, about her process in writing, developing and publishing Trouble for Toby, Granny Rags, The Ruby Bottle, titles listed with the 2018 & 2019 Victoria Premiers’ Reading Challenge.
Find out more about good storytelling techniques for young readers and how to earn the regard of your audience. Bring your lunch for outdoor covered dining in a COVID-safe atmosphere.
Online Short Story Writing Course with the Heroine’s Festival
Saturday Online Sessions via ZOOM in June. Short Story Workshop & Follow-Up Feedback Sessions. Details to come. Sponsored by the Heroine’s Festival. Registration Link Will Appear HERE. What can great short stories teach us? What can they do that novels can’t? And how can we turn our own obsessions into great fiction? This workshop is designed to help you generate ideas for short fiction based on your own interests. Discuss techniques and writing habits to help you develop, draft and improve your work. Through this course, participants will be able to identify and develop the following in their work:
- Voice & Point of View: A consistent voice for a defined protagonist becomes the driver of a story.
- Setting & Character Arc: The cast, their transformations, and the world that supports them create dramatic action.
- Plot & Theme: A contoured narrative arc delivers a clear message.
- Exposition vs. Scene: Cite the difference between when the narrative ‘tells’ essential information and when dramatic action unfolds in the reader’s mind.
- Literary Devices: Explore and use the tools that make stories cohesive and resonant.
Polish & Publish: Guided Critique Session for 4 Speculative Fiction Writers, 4 General Fiction Writers, or 4 Memoir Writers
Bunya House, 2021. Small groups of 4. Seeking four writers of specified genres with a work-in-progress to join a supportive, one-day critique. Short stories or novel excerpts welcome.
Submit up to 3000 words of your writing to collect constructive and supportive feedback, discover your strengths, define opportunities for improvement, and get the inside scoop on publishing. We will:
- Raise the status of our own writing skills & habits by critiquing others’ work.
- Work specifically in your genre for targeted market & audience insight.
- Gather targeted feedback from skilled writers who are becoming trained beta readers.
- Identify & apply literary terminology without ‘writing the work’ or contaminating another’s creative process.
- Provide evidence-based editorial critique & practice diplomatic editorial skills in a positive setting.
- Self-edit with more precision.
- Compose a professional submission package.
- Learn what to expect from editors & publishers.
- Run your own respectful, goal-oriented writing groups beyond this course.
Enhance your writing with our passionate editor/authors and join the ranks of writers who take our workshops and get published. Submissions must be vetted to ensure a good match for the group.
The Character Arc: Psychology, the Hero’s & Heroine’s Journey
2021, Bunya House. In both fiction or non-fiction, characters are the pillars of a good story. This workshop, driven by group discussion and writing exercises, explores where literature and psychology converge. Drawing from Joseph Campbell, Ann Davin, Maureen Murdock, Caroline Myss, and Carl Jung, we examine transformation and how people evolve within a story. We also contrast archetypes with cliches and stereotypes and use psychological models to track how characters integrate or disintegrate through a story arc. We will:
- Read excerpts & experiment with character styles.
- Trace the arcs of the hero & heroine’s journeys.
- Consider ‘hubris’ and the power of character flaws.
- Explore how characters act ‘in character’ for authentic character arcs.
- Track character healthy integration & unhealthy disintegration patterns.
- Examine what makes good characters great.
Join author/editors Lauren Daniels & Josh Brockbank for lively discussions, writing exercises, morning and afternoon teas. Please pack a lunch. You can read Lauren’s blog post on this topic HERE.
Fiction Blitz: A Crash Course for Aspiring Novelists
2021, Bunya House. If you’re polishing a novel, we can help. Our Fiction Blitz gets rave reviews for its practical approach on what makes fiction stand up in today’s market. Our team of published and awarded editor/authors tackle:
- What publishers seek in a hook, plot, character.
- Anatomy of a scene.
- Metaphor, allusion, symbolism & motif.
- Show don’t tell.
- World building.
- Conflict & character.
- Rhetorical devices.
- Narrative & point of view.
- Cutting cliches & striving for authentic prose.
- How to format your work for professional submission.
Join us for lively discussions and energising writing exercises. Pack a lunch for under cover, outdoor dining.
Intro to Creative Writing, Online Course
2021, via Zoom. Spend a few hours with seasoned author/editor, Lauren Daniels for techniques, tips and motivation. We’ll explore:
- How to show more than tell using dialogue, the senses, imagery and a collage of literary devices.
- Character and story arc and the dance between the two to draw your stories alive.
- The contours and layers of scene.
- The common ground of fiction and non-fiction: the tools of great storytelling.
- A list of common pitfalls to avoid as well as industry pro tips.
- The basics of submission packages and what editors and publishers want.
All are welcome to join our supportive atmosphere.
Creative Writing II: Light My Way
2021, Bunya House. “If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.” ~Elmore Leonard Developed to follow on from Creative Writing I: Light Your Fire, we take things further to keep your passion and insight burning bright. We will:
- Explore & practice advanced literary techniques through writing exercises.
- Deconstruct challenging, layered pieces of fiction, a short story, & non-fiction, a personal essay.
- Demystify narrative & point of view.
- Self-edit with more precision.
- Articulate feedback on another writer’s work citing evidence & technique.
- Undertake & respond to critique of your work professionally.
- Run supportive, respectful, goal-oriented writing groups.
Have some fun. Join editors, Lauren Daniels, Josh Brockbank & Geneve Flynn for this creative writing experience and come away more confident in your knowledge of the craft. Afternoon teas included. Pack a lunch for Sunday.
Women Who Write
2021, Bunya House. “Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.” ~Jessamyn West Designed to refresh and energise, this workshop explores women’s writing in order to cultivate our own craft and confidence. Alongside contemporary and ancestral writers, explore perspectives of identity, spirituality, sensuality and philosophy in an evolving world. Gain momentum with your writing and enjoy the camaraderie. Come for the voices, writing prompts and cake. Morning & afternoon teas included.