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Roland's Creative Writing Blog
Inspiration, tools and techniques to develop your creative writing.
The Writers' Studio Success Stories
We love hearing from writers who have taken our courses to see where their creative journeys have taken them. We've recently received updates from several former participants and wanted to share their good news.
What makes writers succeed is not talent. It's their ability to do the work and persist until they get a result.
As Gordon Lish said, "I don't think that talent or gift, if such things exist, has anything to do with what the final receipts will be. My notion is that anyone who speaks, by reason of that speech, has prospects of achieving important imaginative writing. I see the notion of talent as quite irrelevant. I see instead old-fashioned notions of perseverance, application and industry...It comes down in every instance to this dualism between what one wants and what one may be afraid to have."
David Moon recently contacted us to say, "I completed one of your novel and script classes about five years ago. It was paramount in helping me complete what has been a life-long ambition to write a novel that I'm proud of.
I got close to having the story "properly" published, but in the end I self-published it as an ebook. The story is called The Hunting and it's by Max Bolt."
Here is a link to the story on Amazon:
Jess Black completed Unlocking Creativity and the Novel & Script First and Second Draft courses with The Writers' Studio. She worked at Random House as a writer on The Bindi Wildlife Adventure Series, a fictional series about helping endangered animals around the world. She wrote twelve books, then worked on the RSPCA Animal Tales series where she wrote three books. Recently she completed two books for an older Bindi series called Bindi Behind the Scenes and she's currently working on a children's book.
Karen Davis completed Unlocking Creativity in 2009 and has signed a two-book dealwith Simon & Schuster. Her first crime novel, Sinister Intent, will be published next August. The book is based 20 year career as a front line police officer, detective and under-cover operative.
Gerry O'Sullivan published his book after doing Unlocking Creativity and our 10- Month Novel & Script First Draft Course. Flag of All Nations focuses on the French Revolution and Limerick, Ireland. Click here for more info.
Alex Gilly, who completed all of our Novel and Script courses and worked as a tutor at The Writers' Studio, recently signed with the Ed Victor Agency in the United Kingdom.
They loved the story he developed and wrote with us and will pitch it to publishers.
Another Writers' Studio alumni, L.A. Larkin, just published her second novel, Thirst, on August 1. Here's a sample of some of the great reviews she's received:
"Action that hits like an icepick in the back of the head." John Birmingham, author
"A savvy, entertaining environmental thriller." The Age
"A frantic rollercoaster of plot twists until the final resolution." The Herald-Sun
"Deserves comparisons to Michael Crichton and John Grisham." ABC North Queensland
Internationally acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard has been working with us for several years and recently wrote and directed a short film that has been making the rounds on the festival circuit.
The film screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May and will also be shown at the St Tropez and Cockatoo Island Film Festivals.
Moth follows the story of three young women and their search for freedom and stars The Slap's, Sophie Lowe.
She is currently working on a feature film script involving dance with The Writers' Studio.
Jamie Hilton is currently in our 10 Month Novel & Script First Draft Course and was recently named the Australian producer most worth watching at 37° South Market, a financing event held during the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Jamie is currently working on the supernatural thriller Backtrack, which was written and will be directed by Michael Petroni, who wrote The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader and directed Till Human Voices Wake Us. They are partners in See Pictures and are also working on an adaptation of Tim Winton's book Breath.
Vanessa Casswill is a film and music video director who is writing the first draft of her screenplay with us. She recently emailed us with good news. "I have got my first TV directing job for a 30 minute rom com for Sky in the UK. I'm heading out on Tuesday and won't be back until Dec - I'm hoping to make it back in time for the farewell dinner with you guys." She said what she learnt in the first draft course really helped her with her pitch.
Martin Quadroy has published his espionage thriller Red Sky Night. The book's website says, "If you like your spy fiction unmistakably authentic, full of mystery and intrigue and with characters and storylines drawn straight from the headlines, then you've come to the right place." Read more
Maree Santarossa, who recently completed our Four Week Unlocking Creativity Course, sent us the following email.
"Just letting you know after your course I have done the following:
Wrote and submitted an hour play for the World BBC radio competition (I used a story that came out of your course)
Wrote and being performed - 10 minute play for Crash Test Drama (I used a story that came out of your course)
Wrote and being performed - comedy skits for http://www.notquitecabaret.com
Every chance I get, even waiting for coffee, I whip out my notebook, take a few deep breaths and write."
Financial consultant Jim Stackpool has just launched his second book, Delivering Certainty: The Secrets to Engaging Financial Advice Clients.
Jim regularly tours Australia holding Great Advice Workshops.
Cathy Bray will make her third appearance at the Sydney Fringe Festival next month with her show, Inappropriate. Here are some reviews from her last Fringe Festival appearance:
"Bray doesn't miss a beat, effortlessly moving between the personal and the objective to produce a truly memorable show. I wouldn't have missed it for quids!" David Musgrave, poet
"...a fantastic show - so witty, hilariously accurate, fine samples of other people's bon mots, good slabs of poetry, moving snippets about family, great clarity of vision about America and our Aussie relationship to it." Anna Kerdijk Nicholson, poet/author
Alumni Sue Mackinnon has produced a new film called Paul Kelly: Stories of Me, which debuted at the Melbourne International Film Festival earlier this month.
The film follows the 40-year-career of one of Australia's most talented singer-songwriters.
Gilbert Mane has been the Headmaster of John Colet School, a primary school in Belrose since 1989 and recently gave a talk for Ted TV. Gilbert's speaks of how to immerse children in the best and finest ideas from a range of different traditions and cultures to show them pathways to making their ideas live, and make their own contribution to this rich human archive. He contributed a chapter on values education to Education and the Ideal. And his first book 7 Steps to Freedom is based on several decades of practical experience in self-awareness techniques.
As Matt Sherring, co-writer of The Killer Elite, starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Ben Mendelsohn and Robert De Niro, said after his film was released:
"The lesson that has stayed with me is; not to be afraid. Someone who wants to write but hasn't, can be fearful. Afraid that they have nothing to say. Afraid they don't have the instinctive skills to write something worth reading.
"That was certainly true in my case. But your classes taught me that everyone has a story inside them. You just need to learn the craft of writing in a nurturing environment - like The Writers' Studio - and your stories can be told. For me, that was an enlightening and liberating lesson."
If you dream to write a novel or screenplay, make the commitment to yourself to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.