The South Australian Writers Centre is my home state’s writing centre. It’s been around since 1987, and I’ve been a member since 1988. Although it hasn’t helped me a great deal over the course of what we shall laughingly call my career, per se, it did give me the details of a writing competition which led to my first anthology publication 3 years ago, which has led me once more on this strange journey known as “writing”, and so to more than 20 short stories and one novella in print.
I have always bemoaned its lack of things that interested me and helped with the sorts of things I write. Well, anyway, in 2011 I decided to put my money where my mouth is and offered to conduct a workshop. ‘How To Write Fight Scenes’ was the title of it, and even though only attended by a relatively small number of people (I thought; average for a SAWC workshop apparently), it was fun and I got paid. I decided to try to do something else. But what? Then the SAWC newsletter became a e-publication, with a bigger, special print version coming out only 4 times a year to save on paper and postage. Fair call. But it seemed to me that the majority of the articles in the print magazine was geared towards people who wrote non-fiction, capital-L Literature (the stuff everyone says they want to read but no-one does) and poetry. I decided to look at something to help genre fiction writers.
Well, lo and behold, in the next edition they’ve gone and decided to put a 1500-word piece on the joys and pitfalls of small press publications written by yours truly, and as an adjunct, they’ve created a web-page with the outline of my article for people to peruse. And here ’tis:
So I would like to thank SAWC for this opportunity. Things are changing there, especially with some personnel changes, some very unfortunate. Rumours swell and grow (as they would in a place like Adelaide with its small population of a million people), and it’s hard to tell fact from fiction from exaggeration from rumour.
I’ve been through thick and thin with SAWC, from people in there telling me that genre fiction isn’t real writing and that it must mean my writing is crap, to wonderful people like Jude, Stephen, Barbara and Malcolm who have been easy to work with and get along with and have been wonderfully helpful.
I hope the new powers-that-be do not harm what is really a wonderful institution. And this coming from one of its longest continually serving members. I just hope they remember there is more to writing than autobiography, poetry and capital-L literature, and that every writer, from bare beginners to international best-selling authors needs a place like the SA Writers Centre has been, to help them and to see that everyone gets the most out of all their writing endeavours.