June Newsletter & Upcoming Courses

Welcome to our June Newsletter. We’re thrilled to share with you that three of our Novel and Script writers have debut novels being published either this month or very soon.

We always stress to writers in our courses, that the writing has its own reward and not to get obsessed about the end result. Rather, focus on what you have control over, the writing and creating the best story you are capable of writing.

As Robert McKee, whose book ‘Story’ is considered a classic, said, “Unrecognised genius is a myth. For writers who can tell a quality story, it’s a seller’s market. Always has been. Always will be.”

It is good to bear this in mind wherever you’re at in your writing journey. Whether that be in our 4-Week Unlocking Creativity writing course or our Novel and Script courses. Focus on doing the work and enjoying the journey. It is the best gift you can give yourself.

Check out our writers’ books below, and commit to doing the work and making your writing dream a reality too.

Maya Linnell

Maya Linnell’s debut novel ‘Wildflower Ridge’ published by Allen & Unwin, has just been released this week and is now available to purchase.

“I always knew I wanted to write a book, but the idea of a framework made me more confident to start the journey. My tutors were my cheerleaders throughout the process. The course gave me a great insight into the classic novel structure, with great hints, tools and suggestions along the way, and the all-important accountability.”

Penny McIntyre loves her life as an ambitious city professional, with a marketing team at her fingertips and a promotion just within reach. So when she’s floored by a mystery illness, and ordered back to the family farm for three months’ rest and recuperation, she is horrified to find her perfect life imploding.

Within days, Penny has to leave her much-loved job, her live-in boyfriend, and her beloved city apartment … to return to the small country town in which she grew up. Back to her dad and three sisters, one of whom has never forgiven her for abandoning her family. And to her ex-boyfriend, Tim Patterson, who was the biggest reason she ran away in the first place.

When Penny’s father is injured in a farming accident and Tim campaigns to buy the property, she must choose between the city life she loves and the farming dream she buried long ago.

To purchase Wildflower Ridge, and see what Maya is up to: click here

Cait Duggan 

Cait Duggan’s debut novel ‘The Last Balfour’  (published by Harper Collins) will be available for sale on 22 July.

“The Writers’ Studio provides a pathway to getting a novel both started and completed. The Writers’ Studio has a proven methodology to get you writing. They provide a fantastic framework for commercial fiction writers that works for all genres. The Last Balfour is now being published by HarperCollins Publishers Australia. It really is a dream come true.”

Magic and fire are kindred things … Iona Balfour’s life is turned upside down when her beloved aunt Grizel is executed for the crime of witchcraft. Before she dies, Grizel appoints Iona as guardian of a precious family bloodstone and tells her she must flee their village and deliver the stone to the mysterious Guild of the Green Lion.

Accompanied by a new friend, Cal, Iona soon realises that she’s awakened the powers of the bloodstone. But it promises to be a perilous journey. The wolf month is no time to be on the road. And there’s a witch hunter on Iona’s trail, who has a strange obsession with the stone. When a devastating betrayal throws her into the hands of her enemies, Iona soon finds herself in the fight of her life. Will she suffer the same fate as her aunt, or will she escape the witch hunter and fulfil her destiny?

For all pre-sale information: click here

Sarah Thornton 

Sarah Thornton’s debut novel ‘Lapse’ published by Text Publishing, will be launched on 6 August.

“I didn’t know if I had an imagination left after twenty years in corporate legal work. Unlocking Creativity showed me I did—a tiny shriveled peanut of a thing, but it was still there. It was a hallelujah moment. I went straight into the Novel & Script course which helped me to understand the novel’s backbone, the spine upon which the entire body hangs. Practical, example-rich guidance and the push and support you need to keep writing until ‘The End’.”

“All it took was a lapse…a momentary lapse, to bring Clementine Jones’ world crashing down. Now she’s living like a hermit in small-town Katinga, coaching the local footy club. She’s supposed to be lying low, but here she is, with her team on the cusp of their first premiership in fifty years—and the whole bloody town counting on her, cheering her on.

So why the hell would her star player quit on the eve of the finals? It’s a question she wishes she’d left alone. Other people are starting to ask questions too—questions about her. Clem’s not the only one in town with a secret, and as tension builds, the dark violence just below the town’s surface threatens to erupt. Pretty soon there’ll be nowhere left for Clem to hide.

For all pre-sale information: click here


Quick Course Round-up

Unlocking Creativity Online course will commence again on 19 June.

Unlocking Creativity Live will start on 25 July with only a few places still open.

Our next upcoming 6-Week course, the Character & Critique Short Story Course – Online starts on 17 June. (Unlocking Creativity is a prerequisite for this course and all of our courses. Please register early & reserve your place, as these courses book out.)

The 10-Month Novel & Script First Draft Online course starts 28 October for those who have not undertaken Unlocking Creativity. The 24 June course is still open for bookings, but you need to be undertaking, or have undertaken Unlocking Creativity to be eligible to join the June course. Please check that you are booking into the correct course when registering!

The next 10-Month Novel & Script First Draft Live course starting 7 September, with Roland, Kathleen & Richard is filling fast. Reserve your place early, this course has limited places.

The next Second Draft Online course starting 16 September is open for bookings.

The next Third Draft Online course will start on 19 August, with limited places in this course.

Third Draft Live will commence again this coming November.

Third Draft Extension Online with Kelly will commence on 11 November with limited places. (The July course is now booked out.)

Please contact the office on (02) 9386 4994 between 10.30am and 3pm Monday to Friday, if you have any questions at all about which course is right for you.


Recent Course Feedback

Some snippets of the wonderful feedback that we receive back from recently completed courses. We update these each newsletter. They show what a large variety of writers get out of our writing courses. 


What a lucky find. These guys are the real deal if you want to write. I wanted to do the course in person, but I couldn’t make it fit around work, so I enrolled for the online course. What a rewarding experience, it exceeded all my expectations!” Darren, Unlocking Creativity


“An excellent and highly effective springboard from which to launch creative writing of any description! It’s been an amazing experience. My creativity has definitely been unlocked and unleashed!” Fiona, Unlocking Creativity

“It’s a really good 4 week course, and is affordable and has really helped me work out an approach to get a story completed.” Ben, Unlocking Creativity

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the structure. If felt like a guiding hand placed gently on my back guiding me foreword. I believe this course enabled me to put my writing at the top of the to-do list!” Sophie, Unlocking Creativity

“The online course materials I found really easy to use – the step by step process, numerous inspirational quotes and the video messages from Kathleen and Roland. And my fellow writers were so supportive with their feedback and inspirational with their words and diversity of creativeness.” Theodora, Unlocking Creativity

“This course is structured to teach you the craft of writing, is inspirational, and really does unlock your writing creativity. Truly. The feedback focuses on the skills you are practicing – it was positive and helpful and several times gave me ‘ah ha’ moments of enlightenment.” Ruth, Unlocking Creativity

“The course has really helped demystify the process of writing for me. I found the course materials really helpful. I have been pleasantly surprised by the results.” Edward, Unlocking Creativity

“I can tell you that each week my confidence and my skills increased as I followed the lessons. It was throughout the 4 weeks and amazing experience, not just ability wise, but really a time of growth and maturing for me personally.” Butch, Unlocking Creativity

Four Week Unlocking Creativity

Whether you are a complete beginner, a professional writer or somewhere in-between, this is the first step towards achieving your writing goals, whatever they are. This introductory writing course will give you essential tools and techniques to unlock the power of your imagination and dramatically improve the quality of your writing. The ideal place to kick start your writing journey.

“After two unsuccessful manuscripts I was searching for a creative writing course I could do to give me the confidence and tools needed to find a stronger voice and allow me to tap into my imagination. Unlocking Creativity did all this and more. I walked away from this course feeling much more confident in my own abilities as well as full of motivation to start my next manuscript, which turned into my first fictional crime novel Sinister Intent.” Karen Davis

Ten Month Novel & Script First Draft

If your dream is to write a novel or screenplay our first draft course will get you doing it. You don’t need to have a clear idea for a story to start.

The course’s step-by-step process begins by helping you find and clarify the key characters and story in a broad outline before embarking on writing your actual first draft. The course then provides the structure, accountability and support you need to complete your first draft in 10 months, and is designed for people working full-time.

Mad Max - Fury Road“The Writers’ Studio is my testing ground, and a place equipped with the finest mental technologies, which unlike the thousands of books on the subject, are designed to nurture the screenwriter through that arduous practice and discipline of animating a story step-by-step, day by day, and refining it so that it represents the best of what you are.” – Nico Lathouris, co-writer Mad Max IV Fury Road

The same principles apply to novels. Writers’ Studio graduate and former tutor, Alex Gilly, whose first novel, a high-seas action-thriller that he developed in this course, was published in July 2015 in the US by an imprint of Pan Macmillan.

Devil's Harbor, by Alex Gilly‘I’m thrilled,’ says Alex. ‘By sticking with my story and to the principles I learned at the Writers’ Studio, and by getting lucky, I’ve realised a life-long ambition. Thank you Roland and Kathleen!’

With a maximum of 20 writers, the First Draft Live course includes one weekend intensive and 9 monthly Saturday all-day workshops with weekly feedback to keep you on track.

Six Week – Character & Critique Short Story

This course is ideal for writers who have completed Unlocking Creativity and/or the Genre or Gym courses and want to continue with their creative process. It will give you tools and techniques to further develop your writing and storytelling skills.

Structure and character are two sides of the same coin. One exists to reveal the other. Structure is the key to creating powerful stories and characters. It gives your writing shape and meaning and helps evoke emotion in your readers. Some of the structural techniques you will learn during the course include:

Character Arc: You will learn techniques to build a strong character arc into your stories. You will take your characters on a journey where they will change as a result of the structural challenges you force them to face.

Ghost: All characters should have a past or a back story. You will learn how to flesh out a character by giving them a ghost or a history that drives them and your story giving both added depth and meaning.

Prison/Opening: At the start of most good stories a character is trapped in a physical, emotional or spiritual prison which puts pressure on your character.

Challenges: Learning how to challenge your key characters to crisis point will make your characters and writing come to life.

Worst Nightmare: Readers and audiences are fascinated by characters forced to face their greatest fears, which brings out the best and worst in them.

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Eight Month Novel & Script Second Draft

“I must confess to being a bit skeptical when Roland said the Second Draft would improve my story 200%. After all I had just spent a year driving my story forward, putting my hapless main character under intense pressure and finding out, at the end, how my story ended. Boy, that was a revelation. How could the Second Draft improve my story that much?

And I am happy to report I was right. The Second Draft course didn’t improve my story 200%. It actually improved it 1,000%! Irrelevancies were discarded, subsidiary characters came to life and revealed formerly hidden depths, events took on an internal logic and my main character, Aaron Stern, deepened and broadened before my astonished eyes. And I saw the same thing happen with everyone else’s stories as well.” – Gilbert Mane

February 2, 2020: Second Draft – LIVE

September 16: Second Draft – ONLINE

Eight Month Novel & Script Third Draft

You have found the dramatic spine of your story in The Second Draft.

The Third Draft is where all the hard work you have put into finding, developing, clarifying and structuring your story in the First and Second Drafts dramatically pays off.

The Third Draft is where we focus primarily on the writing. It is amazing how everyone’s ability to write a page turning story that engages your reader dramatically improves when you learn the art and craft of re-writing and editing.

“This has been my favourite course. I have loved focusing on the writing and the detail that needed to be fleshed out from Drafts One and Two. And I now see how important it was to get the structure in place before embarking on the Third Draft. I have learnt so much about the actual craft of writing in this course. The first lesson was about point of view and it has stuck with me ever since.” – Kylie Keogh

Twelve Month Third Draft Extension

By following the course process, learning advanced tools and techniques and giving and receiving feedback enables everyone to take their writing and story to another level.

“The voice of each writer is much clearer and confident; there is a sense of finding and settling down with the voice. There is a shift from being a slave to language to owning it. This is really satisfying to see. As I was reading everyone’s work for this session, I felt that the writing in general has reached a close-to-publishable standard, better than many of the printed books I read.” Wallace Lee

3 Debut Novels -

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