Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quotes from writers on writing

I think when you start off any piece of work it is because you have been moved in some way, maybe by some little thing, like in POTIKI. When I began that it was because I looked into a room and I saw a man there bending over a carving and making something.
Patricia Grace

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster.

Isaac Asimov

Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
Gene Fowler

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.  How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?  For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone.  That is where the writer scores over his fellows:  he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. 
Vita Sackville-West

In summary, don't let your writing days slip past by not writing. Find a way to make a start - write about something that moves you, write like there is no tomorrow and keep writing, even if the going is tough at times.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Community Bulletin Board and Forum

Be sure to check out two new features.

Bulletin Board

     This is a place to email us with any news you have. Book launches, articles or stories published, group get-togethers, writing group info. Send it to us at and we'll post it.


     Check out the new FORUM where you can have interactive discussions with other users about any matters relating to writing and storytelling. When you get into the forum page click on the link at the top left of the white forum block which says The Story Bridge Forum and it will show all the current discussion threads. You can then post a comment in an existing thread or open a new discussion thread yourself. 

Summer's here...

...and it's such a great time to spend with family and friends, but don't forget to work on your writing. I usually put up the sun umbrella and move my writing space out to the deck in summer, so I can get the summer air but keep working.

One great thing about summer for writers is that with the long daylight hours you might well have enough time to corral a couple of hours a day (maybe in the early morning), to your 'other' work, and still have time for that barbie or walk in the long twilight.

So make a commitment for the time you have off your day job. Write down a goal.

- redraft that short story
- write that next chapter
- decide on a workshop to kickstart you for the new year
- pull that half-forgotten novel from the bottom drawer
- go through the exercises we're putting up here under the 'free writing tips' and rework that piece you want to do more with

And plot your pathway forward from here...

Author Lloyd Jones, talking about the use of a persuasive voice in storytelling. Especially interesting is his comment around 3:14 about looking to the horizion where 'otherness' resides. That otherness can be construed as the unknown, the story that lies in subtext. This is the most fruitful territory for the weight of your story to come from. When you're writing, always keep an eye on that horizon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Designing the Course Programme for 2011

Jocelyn and I will soon be designing the course programme for 2011. 

We'll be covering:

Blogging and Self Publishing
Prose fiction writing – general
Prose fiction writing - short stories
Non Fiction
Life Writing
How to sell and market your books and e-books

The teaching options we’re considering are:

Single day courses
Weekend workshops
Longer courses, over an extended period
One-on-one coaching.

We want to hear from you in the writing community as to what you’d like us to cover, so we can tailor courses around your needs and/or work them into our workshops. Email us at or post a comment to this blog post. Remember always to sign up for our newsletter and we’ll keep in touch.

James and Jocelyn at the NZSA Auckland Branch meeting

We both recently spoke at the NZSA (New Zealand Society of Authors) Auckland Branch meeting, 05/11/10. Jocelyn spoke about her work on the First Chapters programme in South Auckland since 2005 (and it was great to see all the Writers in Residence from past years there at the same time.) James was asked to speak as part of a panel of three tutors/course co-ordinators from writing programmes around Auckland, on the state of creative writing teaching in general and their role in the wider teaching context. The other panelists were Robert Sullivan from MIT and Lisa Samuels from Auckland University. For the full text of James' speech, go to our Recent and Coming Events page.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tired of Publishers Who Say No?

Finally, There is a Proven Way to Publish and Sell Your Writing

This introductory workshop on self-publishing and blogging is for anyone who:
  • has written or wants to write their own memoir / family history, a “how to” book or other non-fiction books (e.g. cook books, caring for babies, travel adventures, etc, etc)
  • is serious about selling their written work 
  • loves to keep in touch with their readers, customers and followers  

  • might also have their own business and want to write on a specialist topic related to this business
  • wants to know if it is possible to blog your way to a best seller.
Note: This workshop has been rescheduled for early 2011.  To receive an 'early-bird' opportunity to book for this workshop and preferential seating, sign up to our free newsletter. Send us an email with "Newsletter please" in the subject line.
Click here to find out more about what you'll learn in the 2011 workshop.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At last there’s a way to help you to cross the bridge to publication

Getting published today requires you to be an outstanding storyteller

At last there’s a way to help you break through. This creative narrative workshop is for anyone who:
  • wants to empower their writing to improve their chances of publication
  •  has a piece of writing sitting in a drawer, waiting to be progressed
  •  can’t get started with their writing 
  •  would like a taster to see if writing is for them
  •  wants help to beat writer's block
  •  wants to try a new way of writing or needs to energise their writing
  •  needs a bridge over troubled writing.
Workshop topics:
  • How to create real characters that your readers will care about. What to focus on and why. How they give themselves away. Moving beyond the superficial or the stereotypical to create compelling characters.  
  • How to make scenes just the right length so that your story is a page turner. Handling scene and story structure and making the right transitions between scenes. Balancing descriptive narrative and dialogue in a scene. 
  •  How to ensure your readers keep reading - description and language, character, scene and story structure.  This includes show/don’t tell, handling information and exposition.
Tutor: James George, who has been teaching creative writing for 10 years and has published three novels, two of them shortlisted for major awards.

This workshop is offered by The Story Bridge team:
  • James George is a professional writer and creative writing teacher and mentor, based in Auckland. He loves teaching and helping people to get into the world of creative narrative and storytelling.
  •  Jocelyn Watkin is a full-time writer, blogger, promoter, freelance journalist and lecturer and she loves helping people to find the best way to create, publish and promote their stories. She has self-published and marketed two of her own books and three collections of new writers.
Note: This workshop took place on 6 November. It will be repeated in 2011.  To receive an 'early-bird' opportunity to book for this workshop and preferential seating, sign up to our free newsletter. Send us an email with "Newsletter please" in the subject line.

Instead of a road to nowhere, take the bridge to a new world of creativity. The Story Bridge team offers a supported pathway to new heights for storytelling and publishing.

Want free writing tips from The Story Bridge team? Our free e-newsletter is distributed every two weeks with ideas and inspiration for writers at all levels. Send an email to with "newsletter please" in the subject line.

A new bridge to lead your storytelling in fresh directions


Everyone has a story to tell. We engage with our family, friends, whanau and community by sharing our stories. We learn and develop through our stories by knowing more about ourselves and where we live. Coming soon... a workshop, which will help you cross the bridge into the world of publication.