Our Creative Writing Courses
2019 Author Talks @ Brisbane City Council Libraries
Sat, 13 July: 11am-12pm, 37 Heliopolis Parade, Mitchelton, Queensland. Tues, 23 July: 10.30am-11.30am, 641 Oxley Road, Corinda, Queensland. 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 a bit of 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 over 80 published titles for a friendly, informal chat about fiction, writing and gathering our lives and wisdom into story form. All writers and readers welcome. Register here to claim your seat with Brisbane City Council.
Bunya House, 1167 South Pine Road, Arana Hills, Queensland, AUSTRALIA.
Courses cost $235 with variations in listed below.
All Levels Welcome | VERY Small Groups | Qualified & Published Author/Editor Presenters
During 2020, Bunya House courses are limited to 4-5 attendees.
Courses may sell out/be postponed, depending on demand.
Writing for Children & Young People: Picture Books to YA with Three Industry Professionals [SOLD OUT]
Sun, 19 Jan: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Cost: $229. Meet with author/editors, Lauren Daniels and Anna Bartlett, 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. Includes light morning & afternoon teas. Bring your lunch.
The Hero & Heroine’s Journey: Blueprints for Writers @ QWC
Sat, 25 Jan: 10am-4pm, Queensland Writers Centre, State Library, South Brisbane. Cost: $100-$190. Register with QWC HERE. In both fiction and non-fiction, characters are the pillars of a good story. This workshop, driven by discussion and writing exercises, explores where literature and psychology converge. Drawing from Joseph Campbell, Maureen Murdock, Caroline Myss, and Carl Jung, we examine character flaws, tests, and transformations and the satisfying storylines these create. We trace the classic hero and heroine’s journeys as psychological templates and contrast archetypes with stereotypes as we unpack these compelling story drivers. Perfect for both fiction and memoir writers as a way to unleash the resonant power of your narratives. We will:
- Understand hero and heroine’s journeys as surpassing gender and embracing the human experience.
- Incorporate the hero and heroine’s journey into both fiction and nonfiction works.
- Integrate the power of character flaws into authentic characterisation.
- Create engaging and entertaining main and secondary characters for fiction and memoir.
Understand clearly how story and character arcs work together to serve our narratives. For Beginner, Intermediate and Emerging Writers. Check out Lauren’s blog post on the workshop HERE and register with QWC HERE.
Person & Place: Character & World Building on the Gold Coast [SOLD OUT]
Sat, 7 March: 10am-12.15pm @ Helensvale Library, Corner Lindfield Rd + Sir John Overall Dr, Helensvale, QLD. To book, phone: 07 5581 7441. 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.
Family Ties & Life Stories: A Memoir Weekend [SOLD OUT]
Four Consecutive Sunday Mornings from 26 April on ZOOM. 9-11am. Cost: $235. 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/editors, Lauren Daniels and Margie Riley for a weekend of exploration and experimentation. Morning/afternoon teas included. Pack a lunch on Sunday.
Short Story Writing with Queensland Writers Centre [ONLINE COURSE]
One Day Course: Sat, 6 June: 10.30am-3.30pm. Queensland Writers Centre: Register HERE and click on ‘Buy Tickets’. 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 [SOLD OUT]
Sunday, 26 July: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. $235. Very small group of 4. Strict COVID compliance. Seeking one more writer of speculative fiction with a work-in-progress to join a supportive critique. Short stories or novel excerpts welcome. We have one young adult urban fantasy and one junior fiction and need one more writer to make this experience outstanding.
Submit 2000-3500 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.
- 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 our 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. Morning teas included and served outside. Pack a lunch and your own cutlery for outdoor seating in breaks.
Travel & Lifestyle Writing: Blogs, Articles & Books [SOLD OUT]
One-Day Workshop: Sunday, 2 August: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Very small group of 4. Strict COVID compliance. Cost: $235. 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. Morning and afternoon teas included but pack a lunch for Sunday.
Seriously Short: Small Group Short Story Clinic [2 Seats Left]
Sunday, 16 August: 10am-4pm. $235. Very small group of 4. Strict COVID compliance. “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. It’s what we learned at school. Practice. Start small. Observe the nuance of literary technique. In this course, join 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.
Morning & afternoon teas included; bring lunch on Sunday.
Fiction Blitz: A Crash Course for Novelists
Sun, 13 September: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Very small group. Strict COVID compliance. $235. 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.
- Elements of appealing fiction.
- 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, energising writing exercises and morning and afternoon teas. Pack a lunch for under cover, outdoor dining.
Fantasy, Sci Fi, Horror: Otherworldly Writing
Sun, 27 Sept: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Cost: $235. 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 weekend.
Intro to Creative Writing @ Gympie Library
FREE One-Day Workshop: Saturday, 5 September: 10am-1pm, Gympie Library, 8-14 Mellor Street, Gympie QLD. With seasoned author/editor, Lauren Daniels. 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. Registration link to be listed here.
Seasons & Symbols: Writing the Inner Journey [2 Seats Left]
Sun, 11 October: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Strict COVID compliance. Very small group. Cost: $235. “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 lunch.
Shaking the Tree: Magic Realism for Rebels [SOLD OUT]
Sun, 18 October: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Cost: $235. 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 Whistler Writer’s Festival 2019 to a full house, the feedback for Shaking the Tree was inspiring. We’ll explore this very special genre in the following ways:
- Like myths, fables, folk and fairy tales, these naturalistic stories are both grounded in reality and threaded with fantastic elements to convey visions that may be confrontational. How can we balance these forces in our writing?
- Magic realism is a way to tell the truth, when truth is drowned out by force. What truths keep driving us?
- It explores gender, diversity and power disparities. What voices do we hear, that need to be shared?
If you want to write with purpose, imagination and true grit, come hang out with awarded author/editor, Lauren Elise Daniels and shake the tree. Bring your lunch, a notebook or a tablet, for some wild writing sessions.
Intro to Creative Writing: Light My Fire
Sun, 1 November: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. Cost: $235. 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. Morning and afternoon teas included. Bring your lunch on Sunday.
Self Editing for Creative Writers with 3 Industry Professionals
Sun, DATE T.B.D.: 10am-4pm, Bunya House. 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 & Josh Brockbank, & author/publisher of Hawkeye Books, Carolyn Martinez for lively discussions and morning and afternoon teas. Pack a lunch!
Creative Writing II: Light My Way
Saturday, Date TBA 2020: 2.30-5.30pm; Sunday, Date TBA: 10am-3pm, 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.
The Character Arc: Psychology, the Hero’s & Heroine’s Journey
Sat, Date TBD: 9.30-1.30pm; Sun, Date TBD: 9.30am-1.30pm, 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.
Memoirs & Family Stories Mini-Course: Recording Lives
Date T.B.D.: 10am-12.30pm. Cost & Location T.B.D. Everyone has stories to tell. To make your family and life stories sing, combine elements of fiction with a strong focus. In this 2.5 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.
Women Who Write
2020, 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.