• DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

    Writing for Africa

    I wonder how many British authors write about Africa, live in Transylvania and have worked as a BBC journalist and World Service trainer. The answer is probably one – Mike Ormsby. He’s responsible for my new favourite novel called ‘Child Witch Kinshasa’. It’s the first of a two-part series. So, if you get hooked like me you’ll need to read ‘Child Witch London’ too. The story is set between the Congo and England in 2002 and exposes the shocking phenomenon of child witches, where children are accused of sorcery, ostracised and suffer all sorts of abuse, while the pastors who charge a fee to exorcise them just cash in. From the…

  • DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

    Don’t Think; Just Write!

    I’m so pleased that I’ve discovered the practice of freewriting. Freewriting is basically non-stop writing for a few minutes off the back of a prompt. You could just open any book at home, pick a sentence and use that to get started, then press the stopwatch and get writing. The trick is not to think too much. It’s amazing what can flow from the subconscious if you can get into the zone and just let go, I guess it’s something akin to dreaming. The hardest thing is not stopping to edit until the time is up, especially when you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me. It’s arguably the most…

  • DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

    A novel way to know your own character

    I’ve recently been learning about characterisation in the context of novel writing, and how every little action and decision by a protagonist has to convince readers that they’re with an authentic mind, able to empathise with them as they travel through the story. What if we saw ourselves as the lead protagonist in our own life story, and used the same tools as an author to create or at least co-author ourselves? The ability to create believable characters to carry a story is a key part of any writer’s craft. An author will often use a template to ask and answer a whole series of questions about the main characters…

  • DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice,  Uncategorised

    Why projects need a creative spark

    Have you ever been at a party and asked someone what they do only to hear ‘I’m a Project Manager’, and have your eyes glazed over a little as you start thinking up an excuse to move on? Well I have, and I’m a Project Manager. I realised it was time to hit refresh so I’m having a creative sabbatical and studying the NZ Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries at NMIT. But while project managers may seem lacklustre, in fact they’re dream weavers, people who make stuff happen, creating things that began as someone’s dream. I haven’t lost my passion for that, but I make the case that projects…

  • DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

    Writing a profile for the first time

    In my first three weeks on the NZ Diploma in Writing for Creative Industries, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to write an article for the Nelson Mail. It’s not long now until the Nelson Arts Festival from 11th – 26th October 2018, and the task was to introduce the Page & Blackmore’s Readers and Writers sessions at the festival, and also to do a profile of one of the authors appearing on stage. The author profiled in the article is a feisty young wāhine called Lizzie Marvelly. She’s a multi-talented award-winning writer and musician who’s just released her latest book – That F Word – Growing Up Feminist…

  • DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

    A writer’s subject – what will you write about?

    I listened to this Radio New Zealand podcast with Annabel Langbein on food writing, and how she connects with readers through a shared joy of food. Langbein was recently awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit and it made me think of how a writer’s chosen subject is like a bridge between writer and reader. Food goes to the core of us all, a subject with enough universal appeal and power to reach everyone. So, in Langbein’s case the bridge has strong foundations. We all love food!  For Langbein she is compelled to write, partly because she loves to ‘cook the landscape’ as she put it, but also because she…

  • DCW502 Writing and Contemporary Practice

    Practical science for reshaping fear

    So I went searching for talks recently to inspire me on a journey towards being more creative. At first this Ted Talk ‘Your body language may shape who you are’ didn’t seem that relevant, but I ended up taking away really insightful science, and practical tips for dealing with those unhelpful waves of fear that can swamp a new challenge. For me my comfort zone disappeared a few weeks ago when I became a student learning how to write for creative industries. Shaping an article for newsprint, recording a radio interview, or penning a poem for the first time is scary ground and can leave you strangely vulnerable. If there’s…

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This blog is part of the NMIT Blog Network. The articles and comments in this blog are the opinion of the authors and not necessarily those of NMIT.