Writing and publishing opportunities for Townsville readers and writers. 

Human Writes

October 2016

What's on around Townsville


North Queensland Wrimos and the Townsville Writers & Publishers Centre are holding the following write-ins.

  • Saturday 5/11 - City Library between 9:00-11:45am
  • Wednesday 9/11 -TWPC Riverway Arts Centre between 10:00am-12:00
  • Saturday 12/11 - Thuringowa Library between 11:00am-2:00pm
  • Wednesday 16/11 - TWPC Riverway Arts Centre between 7:00pm- 9:00pm
  • Saturday 19/11 - Thuringowa Library between 11:00am-2:00pm
  • Saturday 26/11 - City Library between 9:00-11:45am
  • Wednesday 30/11 - TWPC Riverway Arts Centre between 7:00pm- 9:00pm

These write-ins are possible due to the support of Townsville Libraries and Townsville Writers & Publishers Centre.

Sarah will be at all the TWPC hosted events and we will supply tea, coffee and snacks. Sue Johnston is Townsville's ML and will attend all sessions.

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Hidden Valley Writers Retreat

Last month I was one of a small group of people lucky enough to be able to take advantage of The Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre’s (TWPC) Hidden Valley writers retreat. The weekend was an amazing opportunity to escape from both the demands of our regular lives and the distractions of modern technology. Upon arrival on the Friday evening, we were immediately welcomed by the friendly and extremely accommodating owners and treated to our first of many delicious home-cooked meals. On Saturday we did a fantastic workshop on novel planning. During the session, we went through a range of techniques and were given the opportunity to discuss our work and receive valuable one-on-one feedback from Ariella van Luyn, JCU Lecturer in Creative Writing  to help improve and progress these projects. The rest of the day and Sunday morning was spent exploring the beautiful and idyllic surrounds, writing, socializing and relaxing before our return to reality on Sunday afternoon. I found the entire weekend to be thoroughly enjoyable and owe thanks to the TWPC for their efforts in planning and running the retreat.

- Joelle Cronin

Writer's Block: The Musical by Tamantha 

Snacks. Check. Drinks. Check. Computer, typewriter, paper, quill, or stone tablet. Check. You’re ready. Now you can write, right? Wrong. Whether it be a novel, essay, Dungeons and Dragons storyline or fan fiction - writer’s block has a habit of rearing its ugly head. The pacing starts, back and forth, across the room looking for some sort of divine intervention, a spark, an idea, something. Anything.

There have been countless studies exploring the pros and cons of using music to foster concentration. Some say it improves the ability to focus, while others think it is a distraction, forcing your brain to multi-task. However, in a world of creativity, music can do more than just help focus. When that writer’s block appears, Spotify, iTunes or YouTube could be that little spark of divine intervention. With NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) just around the corner, it could be time to start creating some playlists.


Some studies will tell you that listening to music you enjoy improves your mood, and therefore improves your productivity. Listening to music helps you perform tasks quicker and form better ideas. A moderate noise level can boost the creative spark, however, music that’s too loud can cross the line from focus to distraction.

Writing is a language-based exercise, therefore, attempting to write while also listening to music with lyrics can distract unless the music is already familiar. Your mind attempts to shift focus in order to concentrate and decipher lyrics. It’s akin to attempting to write or read while someone is having a conversation. Your brain begins to zone out of the process of reading in order to focus and translate the conversation.

So what do you do if you want to write with music? Game and movie soundtracks, orchestral and instrumental pieces, anything without lyrics can foster the sense of immersion and improved productivity without the distraction. If you have a favourite game or movie that has ties to your preferred genre, try writing to it.


Hidden deep within iPods, phones, and music streaming services lurks a stray exercise playlist - upbeat motivational music to get the blood pumping, or bopping music to build hype. Why should writing be any different? Everyone knows the music they want to play in the background of an heroic montage - the soundtrack to life’s most epic moments. Sitting down to write, no matter the format or subject matter is its own epic battle and therefore, requires its own dramatic opening. I find myself blasting a motivational show tune montage comprised of Hamilton’s Non-Stop and Hard to be the Bard from Something Rotten! As Aaron Burr and the ensemble continue to ask “how do you write like you’re running out of time?” my brain prepares for battle. My opponent is writer’s block, and almost like a training montage I am building myself up to face it. Yes, this montage may consist of head bopping and questionable dancing while I gather my writing supplies. I find that nothing gets me in the mood to smash out a story like my favourite show tunes. While you’re piling up the snacks and drinks, throw on a couple of fun songs from your ‘most played’ to get those brain muscles ready for battle.


Whether it be pop or alternative, rock or country, classical or instrumental, a song is a story within itself. Try this for an exercise. Pick a song, any song. Turn on a radio or find some random tune in your suggested songs, and listen. I usually find myself pouring through Lindsey Stirling’s repertoire, or looking up my discover pages in Spotify. Let the creative cogs in your brain start turning. Find the story within the song. The story doesn’t have to be what the artist initially intended it to be, but a thought sparked from a particular lyric, a scene you can imagine to accompany the soundtrack. Some writers just use the song’s title.

I, for example, have a habit of giving my character’s their own ‘theme songs’— the song that I can easily imaging playing in the background when they are introduced in one of those dramatic slow motion close-ups. This is also usually the same song that planted the character in my mind in the first place. The main character in my current novel was based on Halsey’s song Gasoline, one of the story’s villains inspired by Melanie Martinez’s songs Dollhouse and Sippy Cup.

Music is a creative tool and inspirational instrument. It doesn’t matter if you get the idea for a novel from one lyric in Arianna Grande’s most recent hit or if a battle was inspired by the words of Nikki Minaj. Music was created to incite emotional responses and to inspire those who listen to it, so it only makes sense to use it as a muse.

My iPod and Spotify are filled to the brink with writing playlists. I make playlists for my essays, short stories, novels, and even this article. Some writers may swear that they’ll never be able to listen to music and write at the same time. Others say they can’t write without it. It’s all up to personal preference and you’ll never know until you give it a try.

So grab some headphones and give writing with music a try. Over the next few weeks, the members of the Townsville Speculative Fiction group will be posting a weekly Spotify playlist comprised of their favourite music to write to. The first playlist by horror writer Kate Grenenger is already live on their Spotify account: townsvillespecfic.

Momentum JCU Graduate Exhibition: Perc Tucker Gallery

Come along to the opening night of James Cook University's 2016 New Media Arts Graduate Exhibition, "Momentum", and see the works of upcoming creatives in illustration, design, music, film and photography. Food and drink will be available along with live entertainment. To RSVP to the opening night event head on over to the Momentum Facebook page.
Opening Night: Friday 21st October, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Exhibition: Friday 21st October - Sunday 13th November
Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Corner of Flinders and Denham Street

Show Don't Tell with Sandy Curtis

Sandy Curtis, who recently ran a workshop for the Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre, is an Australian writer of thrillers and romances. Sandy thinks of herself as an organic writer, however she considers the development of formal writing skills and craft as important. She says that writing is hard work with many skills to be learned no matter the natural talent of the author in question.

Sandy, an organizer of WriteFest (Bundaberg Writers' Festival), which was started in an attempt “to bring industry professionals to our region to pass their skills to regional writers”, runs workshops and meet-ups around the country, including the Show don't Tell workshop held in Townsville recently. Show Don’t Tell is a common creed among writers that many find difficult to implement. This workshop aimed to explore this writing doctrine, so examples and activities demonstrating the difference were explored by the workshop participants.

When asked about her own writing Sandy said that thrillers take more planning than other genres, and recounted an anecdote where inquiries about finger printing resulted in a young Sandy having a strange conversation with her mother and then a tour through a police station. Sandy says that both the thriller and romance genres need emotional involvement on the part of the author for audience engagement but her main method of writing is to “let the story tell itself through me”.

For those of us struggling with our own writing practice, Sandy’s other advice is to “have the discipline to apply the bum glue to the seat and experience the joys and frustrations of actually writing.” In the end Sandy Curtis says the best skills to have as a writer are to “Read. Read widely...but most importantly, WRITE.”

Emotional Punch with Barbara Hannay

Barbara will look at how writers can make choices about plot, setting and character to enhance the emotional impact of their stories.
Saturday 29th October, 12pm-3pm
Von Steiglitz room, Thuringowa Library
$30 for members of the Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre
$40 for non-members

Romantic High Tea

The Romance Writers of Nth QLD invite you to join us for an intimate chat with two of Australia's favourite romance writers: Barbara Hannay and Rachel Bailey. There will be delicious savoury morsels, luscious cakes and tarts, plus a choice of premium teas and coffees. You may also bring books to have them signed if you wish. Tickets will be limited and go on sale soon.
$35 for members of the Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre or
$45 for non-members

Save the Date: Writers Workshop with Natasha Lester

You’ll learn:

  • What commercial fiction is and why publishers and readers love it.
  • What character likability is, why it’s crucial in commercial fiction, and how to create characters that readers love.
  • How to grab the reader’s attention at the beginning of the book, paying special attention to how the first three chapters of a book should work.
  • How to hold the reader’s attention by understanding how to fix common problems like collapsing middles, uninspiring openings, undramatic crises, and lack of narrative tension.
  • Why subplots are important, and how to create subplots that support your main plot and add dazzle to your story.
  • What stakes are, why they’re important, how to create them, and how to raise them.
  • Dialogue pitfalls, including how to transform wooden and expository dialogue to sparkling dialogue that sings on the page.
  • What to look for when you’re editing a work of commercial fiction.
  • How to sharpen your writing at the sentence level to create a book that is easy to read, as commercial fiction should be (although that doesn’t mean it’s easy to write!).
4 March 2017, 9:30pm – 3:30pm
Townsville CityLibraries, Aitkenvale

QWC Upcoming Events
The Queensland Writers Centre has a large variety of workshops suited for all ages, styles and crafts in the coming months. There are workshops across Queensland that are accessible in person and online, so please check out more by visiting the QWC website.

Australian Society of Authors
The ASA is a leading organisation in Australian literature with its mission to help the advancement of writers and authors and to protect their rights and freedoms in publication. Not only do they provide a great wealth of resources and opportunities for both the published and soon-to-be, but they do so with a passion that will greatly benefit you as a member. If you would like to find out more about the services they offer or become a member, please visit their website here.


Our Writers Groups

Romance Writers Group

The heart of any romantic with a pen in hand is more than welcome to this new exciting writers group to share works and advice. As the name suggests, this group is aimed for the romantically inclined creative writer who would like to engage with other passionate wordsmiths who enjoy the genre. 
Every fourth Wednesday night, 7:00pm-8:30pm
TWPC Office at the Riverway Arts Centre
Please meet in the foyer a few minutes before 7:00pm

Speculative Fiction Group

Dipping into all genres of fantasy and fiction, the Speculative Fiction Writers' Group offers support and publishing opportunities, often in the form of collaborative anthologies. The latest project headed by TWPC member Marley is focused on the diverse lore of the mythological vampire, utilizing all perspectives of the participating writers to create a collection of fictional works detailing vampires throughout history. The group is not just limited to one project however so those who are eager to engage in our local literary community, produce works and further develop as a potential author are always welcome to come along!
Every first and third Tuesday night, 7:00pm-9:00pm
Please visit their website for more info
TWPC Office at the Riverway Arts Centre
Please meet in the foyer a few minutes before 7:00pm

Verb Writers Group

The Verb Writers group is all about writers and poets who are interested in connecting with like-minded creatives, developing skills and receiving feedback on their personal works. Run by Ariella, this popular group gives useful tips on publishing opportunities, how to effectively dedicate time for your creative work and get the most out of your literary passion. This group also regularly engages in collaborative writing projects, so if you have yet to explore what Verb has to offer and wish to join the tribe, we encourage you to give it a try!
Every second Tuesday6:30pm-8:30pm
TWPC Office at the Riverway Arts Centre
Please meet in the foyer a few minutes before 6:30pm

Emerge Writers Group

We want to present an opportunity for interested students and teenagers to get involved in our community and extend their passion for writing and find their own tribe among like-minded writers. If you are between the ages of 13 to 17 or know of someone who would like to participate, please feel more than welcome to join this great opportunity to learn new forms of creative writing as well as the tools needed for any young aspiring author. 
TWPC Office at the Riverway Arts Centre


Competitions & Opportunities 

Field of Words

Field of Words runs international writing competitions in the categories of short fiction and flash fiction. All entrants must be aged 18 and over. Both categories offer cash prizes for the winner and runner-up.
The 2016 Flash Fiction and Short Story competitions (Round Two) is open from July 1 – Nov 30. Early entrants have the chance to be published online as monthly finalists. Find out more here.

AWC Crime & Thriller Short Story Competition

WIN 16 books in our crime and thriller short story competition.
We challenge you to introduce us to a character of your creation.

Using your brilliant imagination (obviously), your entry must:

  • be 149 words or fewer
  • include the words birthdaysoftly and umbrella
  • feature your character having committed a crime.
Find out more here.


Membership & Benefits

The TWPC now has organisation membership to the Queensland Writers Centre which means that individual members of the TWPC can take advantage of the membership discounts for courses offered by the QWC. The WQ quarterly magazine will also be available at the TWPC and online by using the membership number and password which will be provided when members attend any of the writers’ groups that operate under the TWPC umbrella. 

We are also excited to announce we have subscribed to the online Australian Writer’s Marketplace which has a listings directory featuring over 2,000 opportunities for writers, with submission and contact details for Magazines, Newspapers, Publishers, Literary Agents, Industry Organisations, and Literary Awards.

Again, details of a username and password to access the AWM online will be available to members when they attend any of the writers’ groups.

If you would like to renew your membership for 2016 or become a new member, please click here. The benefits of becoming a member of the TWPC includes access to our resources and numerous writing groups. For more information please email

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Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre · PO Box 553 · Garbutt East, Queensland 4814 · Australia

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