How to Write Horror, by Shelley Timms

Image from Pexels free images What makes a good horror story? Is it the shocking gore, or the slow burn of psychological torture that the reader is subjected to? In my experience, both types of horror can have similar effects—it is how the author constructs the story that matters. With the Underground Writers Horror issue…

Overcoming Shiny Object Syndrome, by Jess Gately

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay We’ve all been there. You’re down to the nitty gritty bits of your manuscript. You’re not quite sure how your character gets from A to B, you’ve written yourself into a corner and don’t know how to get out, and your enthusiasm just seems to have stalled. And then, lo and…

Years later: Reflecting on your own writing, by Jess Rae

I read a short story I wrote 10 years ago and I have some thoughts… COVID-19 self-isolation has meant spring-cleaning time for my family and I. For clarification: we have a shed that is the family’s dumping ground. In the midst of cleaning it recently we came across boxes of all our primary school documents…

Social Media Finally Invests in Wellbeing by Dylan Dartnell

Cover image from Pixabay free images My uncle has lived a life of first-class flights, with contacts and friends in every country around the world. He has been retired for a number of years but still has a robust calendar of luncheons and ceremonies, and holds a mentoring role for many members of his former…

Is literature elitist? By Shelley Carter

Our taste in books is often a very personal and very unique aspect of our personality. Not only do the types of books we read depend on what stories we personally enjoy consuming, it can also depend on the access we have to those books. It is an immense privilege, financially and otherwise, to have…

How to Title Your Creative Piece, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Do you struggle with finding the perfect title for your work? After writing a poem/short story/novella/novel, do you know what you want to label your work? A title is your first opportunity to stand out from the rest. A title should hint at what the piece is about, so don’t name a sci-fi piece set…

Perth Fringe Festival for Literary Nerds, by Jess Rae

Perth Fringe Festival is in full swing and if you’re anything like me you adore the arts and like to take full advantage of the shows. This year there are a tonne of shows on for us bookish nerds so I thought I’d compile them all in a list for you: For the grammar-nerd… Comma…

Should I Use a Different Author Name? by Jess G.

Image from Unsplash There are many reasons why writers may choose to use a different name to associate with their work. Across history, pseudonyms have been used by writers to get published, to encourage different readers to pick up their books, and to avoid confusion across genres. While we all know the stories of women…

Take your Nonfiction to the Next Level by Shelley Carter

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Writing long-form nonfiction can be difficult; there is a fine line between cramming as much interesting information into a book or article, and the resulting work coming out drier than a Gingernut biscuit. Originally, my field of study was journalism, and my lecturers often shared bits of advice that have stayed with me up…

The Year That Was… by Dylan Dartnell

Image from Canva free stock images The year that was—that still is. You have done so well… but I need just a little more from you. It’s not quite over yet. It’s time to recalibrate. It’s time to reassess those goals you made in January, forgot about well before June but picked up again when the panic…

I’ve got a story to tell; now what? By Jess Gately

‘I’ve got a story to tell, but I don’t know how to go about it?’ As writers, it’s not uncommon for us to have friends come to us and ask us for advice. Usually, some variation of these words is where it starts. It can be difficult to answer that question; there are so many…

7 Journaling Activities to Improve Your Writing by Jess Gately

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Journaling is a popular way for writers to improve their skills and practise their craft on a daily or regular basis. The concept is simple enough; it’s like writing a diary—you write in it every day (or near enough), and you only write as much or as little as you want….

Visualisation Tools for Planning Your Story by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Let’s say you have an idea for a story but you don’t know where to begin with planning the nitty gritty of character profiles, thematic influences, subplots, and so on. This is very common, particularly when starting out on a novel-writing journey, but can also apply to short stories and…

How To Create a Compelling Villain, by Jess Rae

Image from the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive I recently re-watched all the Harry Potter films and whilst doing so found myself rolling my eyes at “he-who-shall-not-be-named.” I found Voldemort to be, quite frankly, rather boring, with boring motives; his followers were far more interesting. It got me thinking about villains I do enjoy in series…

What to do when you receive feedback on your writing, by Jess Gately

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Receiving feedback can be a painful process. As writers, we should actively seek it, but there’s no taking away that sting when your feedback says something isn’t working. And it’s ok to feel that sting. It’s only natural when you’ve shared a project you’ve worked hard on and feel passionate about…

Writing a Story Cycle, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

As an admirer and writer of short stories, I decided to challenge myself by writing a different genre. After a bit of research, I discovered I did not have to stray far from my beloved short stories! Enter: the short-story cycle (also called short-story sequence, short-story composite, composite novel and novel of interlinked stories). A…

Writing Your Author Bio, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Whether you enjoy or loathe writing them, an appropriate author bio is essential when presenting yourself to your audience as it orients you within the writing canon, and educates others on your particulars. Some authors use their bio to denote what genre or format they work in (e.g. poetry, essays, etc….

Stella Prize 2019 Overview: what was shortlisted this year? By Shelley Carter

Picture credit to 2ser Tuesday Book Club Since its inception in 2013, the Stella Prize has aimed to “recognise and celebrate Australian women writers’ contribution to literature.” It celebrates those who courageously and authentically share their stories, subvert genres, and experiment with form. This year was no different, and both the longlist and shortlist offering…

Planning a Novel, by Jess Gately

Image from Canva Free Stock Images Take what you will from this process and build upon it in a way that best suits you. You may wish to use all of the steps, or you may wish to use only some, but the key is to work in a way that is best suited to you and…

Is Your Idea Worth It? By Jess Rae

How to tell what story is worth writing.  I know as a writer I always have so many ideas but I never have any clue which idea to run with; I don’t know about you but I’m not usually confident in myself enough to make that decision. Well I’m here to tell you there are…

How to Create Fully Developed Fictional Characters, by Kate Lomas Glendenning

Image from Canva free stock images As a reader, it is incredibly frustrating to immerse yourself within a book with underdeveloped characters; as a writer, this flop is devastating. It is with frustration I must confess that there is no exact formula to create developed characters. Advice on the subject is varied and often contradicts itself, so…

What We Learnt in 2018

2018 was a big year for learning, and our editors were happy to discuss and share as much as they could. This post pulls together everything we learnt over the year about writing, reading and publishing.  Take a look and check out the posts you may have missed or the ones you might want to…

Aussie Titles Reviewed in 2018

 2018 was a huge year for reviews with our editors covering a range of genres, themes and authors. Take a trip down memory lane to see all the great Aussie titles we reviewed in 2018!   Defying Doomsday edited by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, reviewed by Jemimah Halbert Brewster Grace Beside Me by Sue…

9 Audiobooks to add to your 2019 TBR, by Shelley Carter

Featured image from Canva free stock images As someone who spends a decent amount of time commuting to work each week, audiobooks have been my saviour when it comes to smashing out my Goodreads goal and feeling like I haven’t just wasted an hour sitting in traffic. While some people consider audiobooks to not be…

3 things to consider when choosing books for your loved ones this Christmas

Have you ever heard of Jolabokaflod, the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve? Translated to ‘The Christmas Book Flood’, Icelanders spend months pouring over book catalogues in the lead up to Christmas before exchanging books and chocolate on Christmas Eve and spending the night reading together by a cosy fire. Ok so the…

Shelley’s Gift Guide for Literature Lovers

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, until you have to start writing a shopping list for your book-loving friends, and are at a loss as to what to buy them. You could stalk their Goodreads To-Be-Read list, and hope that what’s on there isn’t already sitting on their shelf at home. Or…

5 Fantasy Cliques and How to Make Them Different, by Jess Rae

Fantasy is hands-down my favourite genre to read, and just like any genre fantasy comes with many tropes, some overused. Some of these tropes are so overused that a quick peruse of the blurb or scan of the first chapter gives me a pretty good idea of the plot of the book. Not to say…

Writing big topics for the small page, by Jess Gately

[Image Description: A silhouette of a soldier carrying another soldier who is presumably injured or dead across an empty battlefield. The text reads ‘The bigger the issue, the smaller you write. Remember that. You don’t write about the horrors of war. No. You write about a kid’s burnt socks lying on the road. You pick…

7 Books That Celebrate Books, by Jemimah Brewster

I’m a book person: I read them, I write about them, and I like reading about how great they are. Deep meta. The following are novels that have, as a central theme, the importance of books, stories, reading, and writing. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows & Mary-Ann Shaffer I’ve written…

Writer’s Block. Is it real and how to get past it? by Jess Gately

Writer’s Block is the bane of all writers. Whether it takes the form of staring at a blank page not knowing what to write, or helplessly writing and rewriting the same line over and over again and never actually moving forward, writer’s block can be very destructive to those who allow it to rule them….

You Don’t Have to Finish the Book, by Jemimah Halbert Brewster

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and posts recently about not finishing a book once you’ve started reading it, and I feel it’s time to share my journey with this issue. There are many reasons a reader will resist giving up on a book, and for me they looked something like the following: “I…

When Should I Write? By Kate Lomas Glendenning

When should I write? How do I motivate myself to write? How do I make time to write? Honestly? It’s up to you! One method isn’t going to work for each person, so below I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to make time and motivate yourself to write. During the commute: On my way…

21 Things I Learnt from Books, by Jess Rae

In mid-April I turn 21 (I know: I’m such a baby) and so of course I’m having a 21st birthday party. In true book nerd fashion, my 21st is book-themed and so I’ve spent the last month or so reflecting on what books changed my life throughout my 21 years. I thought to celebrate my…

3 Reasons Every Writer Should Use Pinterest, by Shelley Timms

Let’s be real: not every writing session is spent madly tapping the keys, scenes unfolding effortlessly as you ride the wave of inspiration into the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, writing can be a struggle sometimes and we can find ourselves stagnating when it comes to smashing out that manuscript or assignment. On the…

Writing: What You Need to Know for 2018, by Dylan Dartnell

If you are like me, a stupendous procrastinator with wild ambition, you might have exhausted Facebook’s ‘save’ function and now have an archive of writing tips and tricks, and a reading list longer than the Dymock’s Top 100. Soon, the heaping volume of saved articles, podcasts, and videos will be enough to incite an aneurysm….

Australian titles reviewed in 2017!

Below are all the Australian titles reviewed by Underground Writers in 2017!     The Other Woman by Kylie Jones, reviewed by Kate, Shelley, and Jess Rae That Eye, the Sky by Tim Winton, reviewed by Kate Lomas Glendenning Rubik by Elizabeth Tan, reviewed by Jess Gately Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh, reviewed by Jemimah…