Hello and welcome to KSP's new blog series, Top Tip Tuesdays, designed to inspire your writing habits - or just distract you for a few moments! - during lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic.
These top tips have been retrieved from the KSP archives. They will be published fortnightly on Tuesdays and come to you courtesy of past Writers and Fellows in Residence.
Photo: Laurie Steed book launch of You Belong Here.
Top Ten Tips
By Laurie Steed, KSP's 2015 Emerging Writer-in-Residence:
1) Don’t teach the reader how to think. Show them how it feels.
2) Be willing to break away from convention in your stories, be that structurally or thematically. Regurgitation of a previously told tale is often the quickest road to literary mediocrity.
3) As a writer, your most pressing concern is not be clever, but to be honest.
4) Read not what others tell you to read, but what you yourself love to read. In turn, write stories you would love to read, those words you’ve not seen on other people’s pages.
5) Avoid comparing yourself to other writers. That is their journey; this is yours.
6) As you get better as a writer, pay it back. Be kind to other, earlier writers than yourself, and always, always, seek to find the soul within their every page.
7) Don’t be a dick. Work hard, be humble, and remember that it’s not all about you.
8) Never stop striving for your best work, your purest expression of self. There is always more you can learn.
9) Story is inherent in the human condition. Study it, evaluate what makes for a good story and why. Seek the freshest way of telling your own unique and exquisitely rendered story, and write.
10) Don’t take too much notice of tips on how to write. Instead, cultivate your own intuition on how and why you’re telling stories. Your intuition will guide you better than a thousand tips, if you let it.
Laurie Steed is the award-winning author of You Belong Here, which was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards in 2018, and the editor of Shibboleth and other stories, published in 2016. His fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Award Winning Australian Writing, The Review of Australian Fiction, The Age, Meanjin, Westerly, Island, and elsewhere.
He won the 2013 Patricia Hackett Prize for Fiction and the Creative Works Prize at the 2013 Higher Degree by Research Achievement Awards and was shortlisted for the 2012 Bridport Prize. A recipient of funded fellowships from The University of Iowa, The Baltic Writing Residency, The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, and The Katharine Susannah Prichard Foundation, he completed his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Western Australia in 2015.
He currently teaches short fiction for Writers Victoria and has previously worked in advisory roles for the Small Press Network, The Emerging Writers Festival and The Australia Council for the Arts. He also mentors through Westerly, The Centre for Stories, and The Peter Cowan Writers Centre, and teaches at The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre. He lives in Perth, Western Australia.
Note to aspiring and emerging Perth writers: Need some guidance and inspiration for a work-in-progress? Book a mentored writing retreat with Laurie Steed at KSP Writers' Centre. Limit of three positions are available in September 2020. (Deadline to book is August). See the KSP website for details.