Food, Writer’s Groups and Inspiration From Cate Kennedy

There’s nothing quite like the support, enthusiasm and talent of other writers to inspire you.

They make you want to write better, and often, they show you how.

Some of our writer's group. Food is almost as important as writing :)

Some members of our writer’s group. Food is almost as important as writing.

I’m a member of a writer’s group that’s made up of an ecclectic mix of playwrights, screenwriters, kids’ and YA authors, novellists, short story writers, and poets.

The group has been going about ten years, but I’m a relative newbie having joined just four years ago.

Last year our group was asked to provide short stories for an anthology, for which each of us was paid $100. We pooled our money to fund projects that would help us improve our craft

So last weekend, the amazing, award winning short story writer, novellist, poet and memoir writer, Cate Kennedy came to talk to our group. You can find out more about Cate here.

The workshop went from 10.00am till 4.00pm (with yummy food breaks in between) and it was amazing.

Cate Kennedy is an enthusiastic and inspiring presenter

Cate Kennedy is an enthusiastic and inspiring presenter.


I can’t share Cate’s 6 hours worth of wisdom here, but I can tell you ten things she said that resonated with me.

  1. Write with the reader in mind – don’t be self indulgent – it’s not about creating something beautiful for the author to gloat over – it’s about creating something for the reader.
  2. Always answer your reader’s questions. There has to be set up but there also has to be a payoff for the reader.
  3. When revising, ask yourself, “why am I showing the reader this?”
  4. Think about yourself as the director of your story with a camera … this will help you show the scene rather than tell it.
  5. Good writing is about deliberate decisions the author makes to encourage the reader to think in a certain way.
  6. During the course of your story’s journey, the main character needs to transform. So they need to be put under pressure or duress, backed into a corner – something must happen to force them to change.
  7. The resolution occurs when the main conflict has been confronted.
  8. Practice writing about things going wrong between people.
  9. There has to be something to stop the protagonist walking away from the conflict.
  10. Don’t state the subtext, let the reader work it out for themselves.

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My tip, if you’re in a writer’s group, pool your financial resources to get speakers or workshoppers who can help you hone your craft. It’s totally worth it.

2011becket_med-4This July, I’ll be presenting at the CYA conference in Brisbane with more tips on how to get the most from your writer’s group.

I’ll also be sharing tips on how to form your own group, and how to give and get the best feedback. Hope to see you there.

Happy writing 🙂



7 thoughts on “Food, Writer’s Groups and Inspiration From Cate Kennedy

  1. Cate’s tips are outstanding. Can’t wait to hear more from you too, Dee. Will C U @ CYA!!

  2. Really good tips. I especially like the tip about writing with the reader in mind. Wish I could be there to hear your presentation. Do share with us afterwards.


  3. Thanks Deb,

    I particularly like that one too. It takes the focus on trying to write ‘beautifully’ to trying to write so the reader gets the message.

    Wish you could be here for my providing feedback presentation too. I’m also doing one on putting characters into conflict.


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