Mini Master classes

Announcing our Mini-Masterclass podcasts! These are “bite-sized” conversations with professional writers, poets and editors, focusing on different aspects of story and writing – some examples of topics covered are: creating characters; gathering ideas; beating writer’s block; world building; research; writing poetry, and so on.

Best of all, they are completely free!!


Latest masterclasses:

Episode 24:

STORYTELLING
with Lee Castledine

Children’s and Young Adult Librarian from Blacktown City Librarians and long-time member of the Australian Storytellers’ Guild, Lee Castledine, talks about storytelling as an art-form in its own right, including the history, trends and new applications of storytelling, and how new storytellers can get started.

The link mentioned in the podcast can be found at: www.storytellersnsw.org.au

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 23:

BOOKS ON WRITING
with James Roy

James Roy (WestWords) talks about his favourite three books on the writing craft, along with some honourable mentions.

The three books are:
Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott (Pantheon, 1994)
On Writing by Stephen King (Scribner, 2000)
Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations For Writers by Susan Shaughnessy (HarperOne, 1991)

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Please check them out, share and subscribe!


Previous masterclasses

Episode 22:

“BRING GOOD BISCUITS” –
RUNNING WRITING GROUPS
with Michelle Rickerby

Producer and freelancer Michelle Rickerby speaks with James about the benefits of private writing groups, how to go about setting one up, and some of the pitfalls to watch out for.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 21:

CRIME WRITING
with Malla Nunn

South African-born crime writer Malla Nunn (When the Ground is HardPresent DarknessA Beautiful Place to Die)talks to James about writing with originality whilst honouring the tropes that make crime such a popular genre.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 20:

PICTURE BOOKS – A PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE
with Margaret Hamilton

Former Australian publisher and children’s literature expert Margaret Hamilton talks about picture books, but from the publisher’s perspective.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 19:

THE PERSONAL ESSAY
with Tanya Vavilova

Tanya Vavilova (We Speak in Code) talks about her approach to the personal essay, what “writing from the fringes” means to her, and why dogs would make good early-draft editors.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 18:

THE BARN-FED POET with Ali Whitelock

Author of poetry collections “and my heart crumples like a coke can” and “the lactic acid in the calves of your despair“, Ali Whitelock, talks about different poetry forms, and offers her views on everything from orange teacups to sheltering from bushfires under a woollen blanket.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 17:

HIP-HOP FOR FUN & PROFIT
with Nardean

Nardean is a Western Sydney singer, poet and hip-hop artist who featured on Triple-J Unearthed, and has garnered a strong following in the urban music world. She talks to James about how she got started in hip-hop, and the steps any new and aspiring hip-hop artists might go about kicking off their career.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 16:

WRITING WITH A PURPOSE
with Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Adbel-Fattah is a fiction writer, and essayist, and an academic. She has written for adults and young adults, (Does My Head Look Big In This?;When Michael Met Mina) and edited (with Sarah Saleh) the collection Arab, Australian, Other: Stories on Race and Identity. In this conversation with James Roy, she discusses her personal approach to writing about the big issues without being preachy and didactic.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 


Episode 15:

FINDING TIME AND PLACE
with Scot Gardner

Award-winning YA author Scot Gardner talks about how he found the headspace and physical space to be the best and most productive writer he could be. There’s also a gratuitous reference to Danger Noodles of Fury.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 


Episode 14:

EDITING PRE-EDITOR with James Roy

Editors are a writer’s best friend, but it’s important to send in the best draft you can. In this masterclass, James steps into the presenter’s chair to offer a few easy tips that will help ensure that you’ve done as much as you can to help your editor do all they can.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Epsiode 13:

WORLD BUILDING with Deborah Abela

Popular Australian children’s author and highly sought-after creative writing teacher,
Deborah Abela (Grimsdon; New City; The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee)
talks about creating worlds that are immersive and ring true to the reader, even if they’re fantasy or science fiction.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Epsiode 12:

WRITING PICTURE BOOKS with Amelia McInerney

Amelia McInerney (The Book Chook; Bad Crab) speaks with James about that first idea, learning from the best,
and letting go of the reins once the text goes to the illustrator.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 11:

SHORT STORIES with James Roy

Our very own James Roy (WestWords’ program manager for Blacktown and the Blue Mountains) is also the award-winning author of 35 books, including Town, a collection of short stories which won the 2008 Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and was nominated for the prestigious German Youth Literature Prize. In this masterclass he goes from interviewer to presenter, to discuss some of his best tips to help writers who are struggling with the short story form.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 10:

POETRY FOR BEGINNERS with Harry Laing

Poet for adults and children, Harry Laing, shares his love of poetry, offers some useful tips for getting started, and explains why we should even bother.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Epsiode 9:

SETTING with Tim Harris

Bestselling author for young people, Tim Harris (Toffle Towers; Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables) talks with James Roy about how he uses setting to create believable worlds for his characters, and his readers.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 8:

WRITING ABOUT IDENTITY with Melina Marchetta

“The middle ground between tokenism and stereotype is just good storytelling”. Australian YA legend Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi; Saving Francesca; Finnikin of the Rock; The Piper’s Son) talks about what she has learnt about writing from the perspective of identity in the 28 years since her first novel was released, and what has changed – or hasn’t changed – in the way writers can best approach questions of identity in their work.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 7:

USE OF LANGUAGE IN HISTORICAL FICTION with Catherine Jinks

Award-winning writer of over fifty books, Catherine Jinks (Pagan’s Crusade; Evil Genius; City of Orphans series; Shepherd) discusses her approach to finding authenticity in language when writing historical fiction.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 6:

I, MEMOIRIST with Fiona Wright

Poet, essayist, critic and memoirist Fiona Wright speaks of her approach to the intersection between essays and memoir, and how she uses the smallest details to explore the bigger, grander themes of family, belonging, and our social fabric.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 5:

ANGER & ELOQUENCE – CREATING TENSION with John Larkin

Award-winning writer John Larkin (The Shadow Girl; The Pause) talks about how he creates and raises tension in his works of fiction. Plus there’s a retelling of his infamous Possum Story.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 4:

NON-FICTION – BRING ME AN ANGLE with James Knight

“Don’t bring me a story – bring me an angle.” Journalist, sports writer and biographer James Knight discusses how a non-fiction writer takes an idea, then zooms in, zooms out, and examines it from every side, looking for the best angle. Plus James Roy tells a terrible joke about Sherlock Holmes going camping.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 3:

CHARACTERS FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with Rawah Arja

Rawah Arja (The F Team) discusses how she drew on personal experience – and a deep dislike for reading as a child – to create the characters in her debut YA novel.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 2:

PLOTTING & PLANNING with Tim Harris

Bestselling author for young people, Tim Harris (Toffle Towers, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables), talks to James Roy about plotting and planning, and accepts a time-sensitive challenge.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Episode 1:

HUNTING & GATHERING IDEAS with Deborah Abela

Popular Australian children’s author and highly sought-after creative writing teacher Deborah Abela (Grimsdon; New City; The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee) talks about how she hunts, gathers and uses ideas, and how she turns them into stories that keep her readers turning the page.

Listen on your favourite podcast app or listen right here:
https://westwords-mini-mastercl.captivate.fm/episodes 

Please check them out, share and subscribe!