The Swap – Greg Moriarty

by Amanda on October 27, 2015


This is a guest blog from Greg Moriarty who attended my fiction workshop in 2011 and recently self-published his crime novel. You can find out more about his book HERE

Writing & Publishing my crime novel – The Swap

Developing the idea
The idea for my novel had just come to me when I took Amanda’s ‘Write a Page Turner’ workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre in 2011. Those two days were the first time I had aired my writing, the plot and the book title – and the environment felt safe to do so. A combination of the workshop and the group’s sharing of ideas inspired me to push on and finish the first draft.

To come up with twists and storyline, I found Julia Cameron’s morning pages invaluable. I would ask the question ‘what next?’ and the pages would throw me an answer. It’s one of the best tools I’ve ever used.

Staying Motivated
I wouldn’t say I was consistent in my dedication to writing a novel. But outside of work commitments, I managed to keep at it. In the writing workshops I deliver, it gets a giggle when I tell people my surname and add that I write crime fiction. I found regularly telling people I was writing a novel definitely motivated me.

Once I’d completed the first draft, I got a manuscript assessment through the NSW Writers’ Centre. The reviewer praised some of the plot elements and gave me pointers on atmosphere and setting, which led to another revision.

Handing a draft over to my sister-in-law’s book club was a major turning point. Before this, I thought I had carved out a new genre – the thriller without any thrills. But what the reading group confirmed was that there were indeed one or two thrilly bits tucked in there. The group’s feedback – the glowing and the constructive – gave me the impetus to complete a further two revisions.

The best remarks commended the final twist, which served as a huge pat on the back. The toughest comments to accept were about my ‘two-dimensional’ characters.  But I even managed to turn that into a positive – it was after all one more dimension than I had written into them!

Choosing self-publishing
Since I was about 13, I’ve wanted to write a crime novel. So this project of mine has mainly been about realising that dream, and not necessarily about becoming a marketable novelist. Having taken four years to complete the book, I didn’t fancy waiting for publishers to accept or reject it. So I took on the job of self-publishing.

Exploring e-books and print on demand felt right, given my personal reasons for writing fiction. And browsing for a book cover was satisfying after all the hard work of writing.

Reading reviews
As daunting as it is, reading the online reviews has been thrilling. I relish feeding off readers’ enjoyment of the story and the Goodreads giveaway feature is perfect for this.

It turns out my harshest critic has been a dear friend, whose surname happens to be Holmes. Once again, Moriarty and Holmes ‘collide’.

Greg Moriarty.



Memoir Made Simple Workshop

by Amanda on October 7, 2015

mms cover

My October workshop at Berkelouw Books Mona Vale still has a few places left.

As always nice small class max. 8 people – details HERE



Magda in Mona Vale

by Amanda on August 14, 2015

9781925240436I’m thrilled to have been invited by the lovely Gillian May, Manager of Berkelouw Books Mona Vale, to engage Magda Szubanski ‘In Conversation’ to promote her soon to be released book ‘Reckoning’ in early October 2015 . Sounds very intriguing – look forward to reading it!

We have also scheduled the final 2015 Memoir Made Simple workshop which will run Monday evenings in the store from October 12th to November 16th – bookings can be made directly to Berkelouws on 9979 2112



Can creative writing be taught?

by Amanda on July 19, 2015


Excellent article in The Australian by Tegan Bennett Daylight about creative writing workshops. It really encapsulates my own teaching philosophy of opening up the craft of the subject – without getting bogged down in technicalities – to help each aspiring author to improve and grow in their own way. When it comes to completing a first, second – tenth! draft, it’s down to each individual to find the tenacity and self-belief to keep on learning and writing.

Fighting Words…



Jane King – Book Launch

by Amanda on July 16, 2015


I was very thrilled last night to attend the launch of Jane King’s beautiful memoir ‘Is it Tomorrow Today?’

Jane attended my memoir workshop at the NSW Writers’ Centre more than three years ago and was absolutely determined to embark on and complete this book. She joined my 12in12 mentoring programme and completed the first draft and then there was a long period of gathering all the photographs together and editing the draft.

[click to continue…]



Extreme Writing! Workshop

July 2, 2015

Just finished a two-day ‘Extreme Writing!’ school holiday workshop for budding young writers – always a heap of fun – and have another running in Avalon next week. I’m always blown away by the imagination and enthusiasm of young writers, although it saddens me how often they ask if they are ‘allowed’ to do something […]

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School Holiday Workshops

June 8, 2015

EXTREME WRITING! No workshops currently scheduled.

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Evernote – The Writer’s Besty

May 19, 2015

I never thought I’d be the one to say that a mere app has dramatically changed my life – but it’s true. When it comes to writing, I lean towards old school, not exactly back to the quill but inclined to be dismissive about specialist writing software programmes that purport to make it easier to […]

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Berkelouw Autumn Fiction Workshop

May 18, 2015

We had a great six week workshop series at Berkelouw Books in Mona Vale culminating in writerly drinks in Edison’s bar next-door. During workshop time we’re on task so finishing up with social drinks is a wonderful opportunity for people to get better acquainted beyond the shared writing aspirations. It’s generally quite an eye-opener, always […]

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Best gift for aspiring authors!

December 21, 2014

50 years on and ‘The Elements of Style ‘ –  more often referred to as ‘Strunk and White’ – is still the bible of good writing. It’s straight-forward, definite and endlessly entertaining. Read it once, read it ten times and be a better writer for it.    

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Productivity Tips

December 10, 2014

Writing that first word, first sentence is the hardest part – but once you push through and have 500 words, even if your genius has failed to shine through, at least you have something to work with. Some good ideas here.

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