Writing a novel or a screenplay is an art and a craft that takes time to master. We believe it is important that you follow a process that enables you to turn off your internal editor, setting up a dance between structure and imagination.

And above all enjoy the process of writing and experience the pleasure and satisfaction of telling your story in a way that other people will want to read what you have written.

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Bob Mayer is the author of The Fiction Writers' Toolkit. He has published 30 fiction books and has two million books in print, translated into eight languages.

He is a regular teacher and speaker at the Maui Writers' Retreat and Conference. He says there are six important questions to consider when writing a novel (this applies even more so to films.).

Daring is the X factor in creativity. That ability to take chances and explore the unknown. The American novelist, Eudora Welty said, "If you can't be a genius, immitate the daring."

Gore Verbinski, who directed the Pirates of the Carribean series and now the animated Western, Rango, gives some intriquing insights into his creative process in a recent interview.

Writing a powerful story is a four part process - planning, writing, re-writing and editing.

In a recent interview, American screenwriting structure teacher, John Truby talks about the importance of structure and planning when writing a fistory.

This is an excerpt from an ABC Book Show interview between Jennifer Byrne and best-selling Welsh novelist, Ken Follett. I thought it was a great interview that captured the essence of what makes a successful novel and reflects many of the key principles we apply in our courses at the Writers' Studio.

In her background briefing of Follett she said, “I think it's fair to say you went somewhat slowly to the top. Ten books which went nowhere, then the eleventh - Eye Of The Needle, which sold over ten million copies.

In fiction, particularly commercial fiction, the most important thing is to keep your reader turning the pages.

As the English novelist, E.M. Forster said in his book Aspects of the Novel, a story “…has only one merit: that of making an audience want to know what happens next. And conversely it can only have one fault: that of making the audience not want to know what happens next.”

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Writing a novel or screenplay is an art and a craft that requires writers to go outside their comfort zone and understand the challenges of the creative process.

To fully harness your creative potential, it is essential to grasp the subtleties of the creative process and understand how at first, elements of the craft of writing and storytelling can often feel counter-intuitive or counter-instinctive.

Having read practically all of Michael Connelly's books and being very much inspired by his character, Detective Harry Bosch, when writing my novel No Man's Land, it was great to return to my roots as a journalist, sit down with him at the Wharf during the 2015 Sydney Writers’ Festival and interview him.

He's a real master of the craft and I felt very fortunate to be able to ask him all those questions that have been bubbling away in my unconscious for years. And I'm pleased to say he seemed like a very decent bloke. 

At the end of last year, an award-winning Australian film director told me that people often asked him how to best learn to become a filmmaker. His response - study Breaking Bad created by Vince Gilligan.

Writing a novel or screenplay is an art and a craft

Below are some of the key elements from our 10 Month Novel and Script First Draft Course that enable writers to develop powerful stories. Below you can read how people felt on completing the process.

1. The Power of Process

Writing is very much a process and a journey and it is only by following the process to the end that people come to fully appreciate their talent as writers and the quality of the story they are writing. The story they have at the end of the process is invariably far richer than any idea they may have had when they started.

The last session of our 10-Month Novel and Script Live course is always very special. In the photo below from the group dinner, we are all on a real high after completing the journey together.

Everyone in the group shared how amazed and excited they were about how far their stories and those of their fellow classmates had evolved over the 10 months. As well as that, everyone's understanding of the process of storytelling and their ability to give constructive feedback to their fellow writers had gone to whole new level of insight.

The quality of everyone's story was truly inspiring to see and very rewarding for Kathleen and Roland who were the class tutors.

Writing a successful novel or screenplay that resonates with readers doesn't happen by accident. It is an art and a craft that takes time to master.  As John Tullius, author and founder of the Maui Writers' Conference, said, "I don't care how talented you are. It's not about contacting your muse. Success comes from taking the time to learn the craft."

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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.

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There are a number of writing courses out there. What makes the Writers’ Studio different?

There’s an old writing saying: You can’t be taught how to write, but you can learn.

Many people who take our courses are lawyers, investment bankers or other professionals who have always had that itch to do something creative instead of corporate.

Matt Sherring was an advertising executive when he first signed up for Unlocking Creativity. It was the first creative writing that he'd ever done and he said it gave him the confidence to keep writing.

He started writing his first screenplay at age 40, which turned into his first film, Killer Elite, starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro. The film opens in Australia on February 23 and we recently had a chance to chat with Matt about his creative journey.

John Truby is a Hollywood screenwriting teacher and story consultant who shares many of the beliefs we hold about the process of storytelling and structure.

One of the key lessons we took away from this interview with him is that a good story and good writing comes as a result of sound structure and a well thought out, step-by-step process. You cannot really judge your work until you've completed the process.

Writing is very much an art and a craft.

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Writing is an art and a craft. If you want to write a novel or screenplay that other people are going to want to read, you have to learn how to craft your story from beginning to end.

In this blog we are going to talk about the critical opening of your story.

Kathleen and I recently conducted a three-hour workshop at the New South Wales State Library as part of the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival. It was the third sold out workshop we’ve run at the event.

Our goal in the session was to give participants an introduction to fiction writing.

It's relatively easy for aspiring writers to understand the theory of what makes for good writing and a good story.