fostering, developing and promoting writers and writing

Archive for the category “Tips”

Writing Prompts and Inspiration

Here are some great writing prompt sites to help you bust through any moments of writer’s block (or just keep you in an internet spiral all day long):

 Writing Prompts on Tumblr

Creative Writing Prompts

 Awesome Writing Prompts

Daily prompts sent to your inbox

 200 Fantasy Writing Prompts

 Spec Fic writing prompts  (don’t forget to come to our Members Monthly on Spec Fic this week).

Random Lists of Things

1000 Awesome Things

List of Fictional Things

Pinterest board of pictures to inspire writing

Share yours below!


Top Tips for Successful Writing

By Sue Fleming

  1. Give yourself time in your life for your writing and do justice to your muse!
  2. Preserve the ideas as they come to you – scribble them down, cut them out or scratch them on the wall!
  3. Read, read and read.
  4. Always draft and re-draft your work until it shines like summer.
  5. Proof reading is vital!
  6. If you find yourself cleaning the bathroom instead of writing you know you’re in trouble!
  7. Talk to other writers and learn from them.
  8. Take a course- it may well include material you might have discovered on your own but you’ll discover it more quickly!
  9. Keep to deadlines.
  10. If you feel out of your comfort zone when writing, be comforted that this is a good thing


Sue Fleming has coordinated the Professional writing program at the Adelaide College of the Arts (TafeSA) for more than four years and has taught more than 200 new writers the basics of creative writing. She also acts as mentor to final year students studying in the accredited Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing). Sue has a passion for writing and writers and has participated for the last two years in the Peer Assessment Panel for Literature at Arts SA. Her current challenge is helping to shape ‘Co-West Coworking’, Adelaide’s first creative writing coworking space.

Sue will be running the workshop Creative Writing Basics on Thursday 20 March, 6pm – 9pm. Bookings essential.

Useful Things on the Internet for Writers

By Vanessa Jones


Scrivener is handy software for writers that is like a word processor, virtual pin up board and filing system all in one. Once you’ve completed your writing project, it will even compile your project into a file suitable for epublishing. It backs up automatically everytime you close the project, which is terrifically handy for someone so “unhandy” at backing up like myself. It’s helpful because I can see how many chapters/sections I’m working on in the display sidebar in each project.

Cost: $US45


This is an online project management tool. I was finding that I was accumulating a plethora of incomplete writing projects on my laptop (no surprises there) and I couldn’t remember the status of each project and where I’d saved it on my computer. Trello lets me coordinate the documents in sections, for example – short stories, then I can further subcategorise it by incomplete, needs editing, first draft etc. It’s also great for collaborative projects and works across smart phones, tablets and desktop computers.

Cost: starts at $US5 per month.


This is probably the sweetest invention to mankind. Have you ever noticed how much writing you get done when there’s no internet? This program is a temporary net blocker – simply type in the amount of time you want to have “freedom” from the internet for (forty five minutes is the default) and it won’t let you access the internet until the time is up. But don’t stress you can access the internet by restarting your computer if there’s a cyber emergency.

Cost: this was the best ten bucks I’ve ever spent.

Write or Die

This is a terrifying slash amazing program. As the name suggests, you have to keep writing otherwise consequences will be forced upon you. If you cease writing, alarming mechanisms may happen, for example digital spiders infest your screen, or sirens whir and colours flash. Such fun. If you ignore these first few gauntlet tests and choose kamikaze mode it will unashamedly delete everything you’ve just written, never to be retrieved. The pressure to write something or lose it forever is magnificent. And also quite damaging. The latest version has incorporated some experimental positive reinforcement options as well.

Cost: $US20 (free trial available)


SourceBottle is an online “call out” service where journalists, media professionals, bloggers and publicists post a short ad requesting sources to help with their stories. Whilst it is generally targeted more at the general public, if you keep your eye on it enough there just may be some very valuable PR or writing opportunities that are worth following up.

Cost: free to signup

Automatic Random Generators

Can’t come up with a character name? Here:

Need your next creative idea? Here:

Stuck on a book title? No stress:

Cost: free (how great is the internet?)


I’ve used seven adverbs ending in “ly” during this post. I certainly didn’t bother to tally that up because I used an automatic critiquing program. Autocrit is a nifty analysing wizard that will tell you how many clichés, redundancies, overused words you have incorporated into your text, plus many more handy editing nuances.

$US47 (minimum)

free trial


Share your tips below.


Vanessa Jones is the Marketing Manager for SA Writers Centre. This post was not sponsored and only represents her unbiased opinion as an avid internet user. Information is correct to the best of her knowledge at time of posting.

Editing Tips for Everyone

Here are some editing tips that we’d like to share we you. We also have a copy of this article on our website.editing-rates

There are many different ways to edit your work. Some writers edit and polish as they go, while others wait until they have a complete first draft.

  • Allowing yourself freedom during initial drafts without worrying too much about how it all hangs together allows your imagination free rein.
  • Content often gets cut at later stages or as the story changes direction, so over-editing passages or chapters in the early stages can be self-defeating.

Once you have a completed first draft it’s time to start some serious editing. Your first edit should be a substantive one. Here are some tips …

  • Look at the structure – how does it all fit together?
  • Look at the scenes, sections or chapters and ask yourself how work to produce an overall effect on the reader?
  • Do these scenes, sections or chapters serve or progress the story? If they don’t – get rid of them.
  • Does the story flow … does it logically hold together?
  • Remember – less is more.
  • One structural edit generally doesn’t do the job. There’s no rule of thumb but most writers will do at least three or four drafts, with many writers doing a great deal more.
  • Redraft and polish, redraft and polish, redraft …

After you’ve cleaned up the structure, you’re ready to move on to a line edit:

  • Read your work aloud as it shows weaknesses and inconsistencies in language and rhythm.
  • Is the writing stylistically coherent?
  • Are your sentences too long, too wordy, all the same length?
  • Does the writing have rhythm and pace?
  • Does each sentence, paragraph and chapter convey what you intended or have you gone off track?
  • Do you have passages or chapters that serve the same purpose or effect?
  • Do you have repeated phrases, overused favourite expressions or clichés that need trimming?

Finally, you’re ready to copy edit your manuscript:
This means checking spelling, grammar and syntax.
Have character names or descriptions changed during various drafts?
Is the chronology of events correct? Are events in the right temporal order?
Watch out for repeat words, especially close together in the text as they jar the reader’s eye.

At this point your manuscript should be ready to send off to a publisher or for you to get the opinion of a professional editor or manuscript assessment service.

Five Short Story Writing Tips

David Chapple shares his top five short story writing tips:

1. For me plot is usually just an excuse to push a character around. If you develop a good, three dimensional character the plot often writes itself.

2. A character doesn’t have to be sympathetic to be engaging. If they want something enough a reader will ‘care’ enough about them to engage with the story.

3. I was schooled in writing short stories that were high on technique. As I get older I find that I care less about really clever stories and prefer writing that is passionate even if it’s flawed.

4. Listen to advice but be prepared to disregard it. I often teach people the ‘rules’ as they were taught to me but I can give examples of brilliant writing that breaks all these rules and writers who seem blissfully ignorant of structure and deliver wonderful writing.

5. Buy and read short story anthologies and magazines. Not only does this arm your practice it also supports the form.

David Chapple is SAWC’s new Writing Development Manager. He has a Masters in Creative Writing, speci alising in Writing and Health and has worked as the writer in residence for a number of programs specialising in mental health, disability services as well as working as a writing teacher in prisons and schools. He will be presenting a two part workshop – Introducing Short Stories and Reading for Writers.

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job

By Paul Greenway


I always open my Travel Writing Workshop with this first rule of travel writing (although I ignored it myself).  While it is possible to make money writing travel articles for magazines and websites, it is unlikely – but certainly not impossible – that you’ll earn a decent living. But you can at least subsidise your travel costs (or maybe even get some free trips) while indulging in your love of writing.

Before you start, however, you’ll need to be honest with yourself and determine your motivation. Are you just writing for yourself, family and friends? Do you really want to be published and read by the public? Or are you more driven by the desire to make money? Your answers will determine the level of commitment you will require to become and remain a travel writer.

An increasingly popular alternative is to create a travel blog through a specific website, such as This allows you to write what you want when you want with no editorial interference. In this way, your thoughts and experiences can be read quickly across the globe, but, of course, your chances of making any money are extremely remote.

To earn an income, you’ll almost certainly need to publish articles through recognised travel magazines, newspapers and websites.  But the good news is that writers are always still needed to write these articles, as well as guidebooks, for the incredibly escalating travel industry. There are pitfalls and potholes to avoid, of course, about pitching editors, retaining copyright, negotiating fees, sending photos, and so on … and so on.

But perhaps you may want to also think a little outside the box, as I have: eg publish your own guidebook for a place or readership not currently covered; write a movie script or novel based in an exotic country; or get out your still- or video-camera and create something different.

C’mon along and learn about all of this – and so much more – at the Travel Writing Workshop at the SA Writers’ Centre on Saturday, January 18 2014.

Paul Greenway wrote and co-wrote 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, as well as numerous travel articles for magazines, newspapers and websites across Australia and Asia. More recently, he wrote Tuttle Travel Pack: Bali & Lombok, and is currently writing and providing photos for Journey Through Bali, both published by Periplus (Singapore). In late 2013, his first novel, Bali & Oates, set almost entirely in Bali and the first of a trilogy set in SE Asia, was published. Paul can be contacted through his website:

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