This past weekend, I attended the New Zealand Society of Authors’ (NZSA) Writing Roadshow — a series of lectures, discussions, and workshops about all things writing.

I’ve attempted to attend a few different writing conferences over the past two years, but all were canceled because of different Covid-19 outbreaks. I booked to go to the NZSA one a couple months ago with high hopes that it would go ahead. I was not disappointed.

It was refreshing to be surrounded by authors, all of us at different stages of our writing careers. Some were still working on their very first novel, others had self-published their books, and many others had succeeded with traditional publishing.

The day started with an inspiring key-note address from Witi Ihimaera (author of Whale Rider). He offered up a lot of great advice I thought I’d share with you.

  1. Be conscious of overwriting – Witi explained that the author and reader have a special bond, and you want your reader to be a part of the reading experience. Therefore, when you are reviewing your drafts, try removing sections of your writing to see if the story still makes sense. It helps give you clarity about what is needed and what might be you overwriting and not giving your reader the room to discover the story on their own.
  2. Never end the chapter on a climax – Witi never ends a chapter with a climax. He warns against ever allowing the reader to take a breath at the end of a chapter. You want the reader to turn the page and start the next chapter before having a moment to breathe.
  3. Carefully create your career – Witi emphasized the importance of doing everything in your writing career with intention – curate every aspect of your writing persona carefully. This is because readers buy your work because of your name and reputation. They don’t know the story, so they can’t possibly buy your book based on their knowledge of how good your book will be. It is all based on their perception and trust of you as an author they like.

Apart from Witi Ihimaera’s excellent opening address, many other workshops provided tons of other information, ranging from advice for self-publishing and getting agent representation to having a good story structure.

I was hoping this Writing Roadshow would give me the inspiration I needed to finish off our ancient Greece book and complete the edits of The Price of Pandemonium so we can get it one step closer to publication.