18 The Anthology – Get your copy

18 Anthology

On one of my recent posts I mentioned that my Writers’ group – Vision Writers’, were producing an anthology. Well, I am happy to announce that ’18’ is here! Woohoo, I hear you all shouting. And believe me, I am just as excited as you are.

The anthology celebrates 18 years of Brisbane based writers’ group – Vision Writers’. The group has a number of published members, including our founders Marian De Pierres and Rowena Corey Daniels. Vision Writers’ has a variety of characters from all walks of life, and as a member of the group you’re sure to get honest and invaluable feedback on any stories you submit for critique. I have learned a great deal from this fantastic Medley of Sci fi, Fantasy and Horror Authors.

18 Showcases the talents of some of our current authors with thirteen stories to lose yourselves in. The anthology covers tales of Wizards, Dragon’s, Spirits, Mobsters and much more. These stories will take you to new worlds; worlds of fantasy and worlds of horror. Thanks to all who helped put this anthology together: Trahern, Belinda, Talitha, Meghann, and all the other writers involved.

18 is available as an E book on Amazon for 99c today, and if that’s not cheap enough it will be available for free on the 9th, 14th, 19th, 30th & 31st of May 2014 from Amazon.

So enjoy and once you’ve sated your reading appetite, please let me know what you think.

When Is A Writer Right?

Picture by Shannon Hauser

I have been writing for a while now, but I still have a lot to learn and find that I benefit greatly from the advice of other writer’s. Sometimes I wonder though, which advice is right? Both readers and writers have such individual preferences that it makes it hard to know what is right and what is not.

I have my own style, and I know it needs improving, so in the pursuit of becoming a better writer, I do listen to other views. The problem is that it gets so confusing at times. Some people like flashbacks and some do not, some like action beats, starting a new line for a new characters actions, and some don’t. Some will swear that you should never start on a dream sequence or end on a character going to sleep. All good advice I know, but surely not in every situation?

So how do we become unique and develop our own style, our own voice, when we are following everybody else’s rules? On the one hand these techniques are tried and tested, and more importantly, they work! On the other hand, maybe it can be done different and…maybe, just maybe, that will work too. I suppose it is purely the writer’s choice, but that doesn’t always make it right.

I’m definitely no expert, but the solution as I see it can only be to try. Try it and see if it works. Whether you think it works or you’re not sure, get feedback from trusted sources before you go ahead and publish. If you don’t have any trusted sources – get some! There are, so it is said, many authors with blogs that are happy to help out. Another alternative is to join a writer’s group.

Writing, like everything else in life, has its own rules, but once we know the rules, we learn when they can be broken. Sometimes through our own trial and error, sometimes through other people’s mistakes. Without mistakes we wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t, I strongly believe that every mistake is a learning experience that gives us an opportunity to grow. So we should not fear them, we should embrace them.

So, how do you know what is right and what is not?

An Interview With Sharna Walsh

Picture by Eelco


An Interview with Sharna Walsh.

Sharna Walsh is a vibrant and talented young Brisbane author. At the tender age of sixteen she wrote her first published work, a short story titled – XVIII: Crazy He Calls Me. Born in London, UK and raised in Australia, this 17 y.o. ‘Aussie’ girl is a writer to watch out for. So I caught up with her for a chat. This is what she had to say.

Allan Walsh: Hi Sharna, it’s great to catch up with one of Australia’s upcoming young authors. So tell me, what made you want to be a writer?

Sharna Walsh: Initially, it was fond memories─ I always loved being read fantasy when I was a kid, and the idea that I could create my own little, magical worlds, and live in them, even momentarily, was something that stood out to me. So, really, I started out writing for myself. I didn’t really consider it as a profession until people started telling me I was good and encouraged me to do it. I’d never really had anything ‘recognisable’ that I could do well and it sort of got me thinking, ‘Yeah, sure, I could do this.’

Allan Walsh: There are many great authors, but who are your favourites and where do your influences come from?

Sharna Walsh: An old graphic novel my dad used to read to me is always the first thing that comes to mind when I’m asked this sort of question. It’s called ‘Elf Quest’, written by Richard and Wendy Pini, and it created the fantasy nerd in me. I wanted to hunt with the wolves, swing from the trees, run with the elf-tribe and hunt the evil humans with my wicked bow. It made ‘untouched’ nature seem like the only mystical spots of magic and perfection that still existed in our world, the one connection that we had to the undiscovered and the unexplored, like everything you’d ever dreamt of or imagined could be lurking between the trees, waiting to be discovered.

Allan Walsh: Was your story XVIII: Crazy He Calls Me, the first story you have written or do you have a stack of them hidden away in a box, a drawer or under your bed somewhere?

Sharna Walsh: Well it’s my first completed work, outside of school. I tried to write a novel when I was about 12 and had my cousin edit it for me. I read over it now and I’m like ‘I shall take it! I shall take the notepad to Mordor!’, but thinking about it, it’s the only hand-written piece I have and, at the time, I thought it was going to make me a famous writer. Ah, innocence.

Allan Walsh: When you’re not writing, what is it you like to do most?

Sharna Walsh: Gaming, I love gaming. I think it’s the same kind of thrill; you’re involved in the world and the story, you feel like you’re in danger and it’s the adrenaline and the panic you can get from being as involved in a novel. And really, it’s a similar form of art─ someone has created this world and invested parts of themselves in it to share an experience with someone else. It can be emotional, thrilling and terrifying, just like a novel.

Allan Walsh: With one piece published at such an early age, what are you working on right now and what can we expect to see from you in the future?

Sharna Walsh: Hopefully a lot. I’m currently working on a whole stack of things (a few short stories, some novels, I have a few folders of stuff), but between work, school and having a social life, it is taking me a while to get through everything and to organise all my thoughts into something I can mould into a story. This year’s a big year, QCS exams coming up before I go out into the big, bad world, so I’m trying to focus on my grades more than anything else, though I am a world-class procrastinator.

Allan Walsh: Well Sharna, it’s been a pleasure talking to you, thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best with your writing in the future.

For any readers interested in picking up Sharna’s story, you can grab a copy in the anthology ‘18’ from Amazon for less than a cup of coffee.

Places That Readers And Writers Go – Literally.

18 Anthology

One of the places many readers and writers go is the Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF). The festival is running from 3rd-7th September and will soon be upon us. And what a line up they have this year! But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself here.

Why am I so excited? I’ll you. It’s because this year my writers’ group is amongst the line up. That’s right…Vision Writers are holding a free open event for people interested in finding out what happens in a writer’s group critique session. So if you’ve ever wanted to join a writers group but weren’t sure if it was for you, why not come along and check us out. Details are available here.

If you want a taste of the stories by writers from the Vision group, you can get them here


Research methods come in all shapes and forms.

Picture by Frank Lindecke

Hmmm…I have a confession to make. I went out for a drink on Friday to catch up with a few mates I’ve known for several years now. It’s one of those things we do every six months or so and I should know better. One drink leads to another and before I know it’s 2.00am and I’m drunk as a skunk. That’s the fun part, but then there is the next morning to face. I don’t know about you, but I don’t pull up as well as I used to after a few drinks.
Anyway, the next morning not only did I feel hung over, I felt really guilty. I spent the whole day sleeping it off, in recovery mode, feeling sorry for myself. I could have spent that time much more productively, writing, editing, or blogging. Yes I enjoyed myself, but that time has slipped away and I did nothing constructive with it.
So to make myself feel better I’m going to mark it down as research. I’m going to remember how I felt, both physically and psychologically. I will remember how much I didn’t do and how much I could have done. I dare say it won’t deter me the next time the boys want to get together for a few drinks, but at least it won’t be a total waste if I can recount the thoughts and feelings of both the night before and the day after. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, I’ll take it a bit easier next time.

Some lessons are worth learning.

Picture by Andre Ludtke

My quest for knowledge and magical writers’ artefacts – the ones that can only be found hidden in the depths of my writers’ group critique sessions – has come to an end for another month. I suited up in my shiniest coat of armour, packed my shield, hoping to deflect the verbal blows I expected to rain down upon me, and rode my white charger into the fray of battle.

I’m not sure whether it was because I was prepared or if it was because my group felt a little sorry for me after reading last nights post, but I came out of the critique session relatively unscathed. Yes, I took a few blows from metaphoric swords and maces, but on the whole I reckon I dodged a hefty war hammer. Why do I do it? well, once again I have come away with hidden treasures that I could not find without facing my fears. The feedback is invaluable and makes me a better writer.

It is no surprise to me that I may get feedback I don’t want to hear. The challenge is to listen with an open mind. Thankfully they are an honest bunch and they’re not afraid to tell me when they think I’m getting it wrong. This creates an opportunity. The opportunity to learn something great. The opportunity to reflect on my writing and to improve. But, there is another lesson I have learned from my group, and that is that they care. They care about my writing, they want me to write well, and they want me to succeed.

And so the adventure will go on.