Varuna Country

I can’t begin to tell you how stressful work has been lately. This speech writing gig is hard yakka. Still, I’ve resolved  to worry less and make my time away from work more productive in terms of the blog and my own writing. One thing I’m very glad about is that I made the time to go to the inaugural Varuna alumni master class, the brainchild of the illustrious Charlotte Wood.

The full day class – Screenwriting Principles & Structures, Filmic Solutions for Novelists’ Problems by film-maker and screenwriter David Roach – was held at the historic Carrington Hotel in Katoomba and I can’t fully express my joy at being back in Varuna country. I love Katoomba – just being there makes me feel writerly, productive, and calm all at once. David was fabulous. Apart from entertaining us on a set of bongos (while getting us to think about the accents in a scene), he really did provide a room full of novelists with some, well, pretty novel solutions to problems of structure. And every writer knows the heartache of structure. David even went so far as sharing his own tips for sturdy structure, which I’ve written in my notes as: David’s 14 Points to help understand story structure (esp after first draft). Helpful? Yes. Very.

The whole day was a fabulous experience and well worth the two planes, six trains and two bus journeys I had to make from Melbourne to participate. I got to meet new alumni I’ve not met before, including the lovely Patrick Cullen, whom I have prevailed upon to be the December Varuna blogger. He’s going to be fabulous of course. And fabulous right now on the blog is the oh so wonderful Cate Kennedy. Please go forth and read her first blog post immediately.


Charlotte Wood & David Roach


Serious writerly types



Filed under Art, Cate Kennedy, David Roach, Fiction, Melbourne, Screenwriting, Varuna, Writing

11 responses to “Varuna Country

  1. Katoomba is a beautiful place, indeed. It’s many years since I was there but I must get back.


  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed it Simonne! I so wanted to go but I just didn’t have the cash to spare right now. And you got to meet Patrick C – isn’t he lovely? I met him at the recent Sleepers Salon, and hope to get to his book v. soon.


    • I really did – it was great. Yes, I guess you’ve done a fair bit of travelling recently! Patrick is lovely. I wish I’d been able to speak to him longer. I literally flew in (bused and trained) and out and barely got to speak to anyone! His book is on my reading list too 🙂


  3. PG

    You’re so cute, Mon.

    I think the Blue Mountains are magical in general – I used to live near them and I would daydream constantly about them. My Grandma lived in Lawson in the Mountains and I have some enchanting memories from the time I spent up there. I also went to Norman Lindsay’s studio….now THAT is a very cool place!

    I’m not surprised it imbues you with such serenity and productivity…I reckon there’s creative songlines all the way through the Mountains….ahhh….I can smell the trees now.

    And I’m glad you went too. Planes, trains and busses be damned!


    • I didn’t know you lived near them! Lucky you 🙂 I have a Norman Lindsay print from that studio in our house (in the toilet actually!).
      Yes, the travel was well worth it.


  4. Simonne, that sounds brilliant, such a bummer on so many levels that the timing meant I couldn’t go and therefore couldn’t meet you in person – grrrrr. But I’m very happy your train, plane and automobile bonanza was obviously worth it!


  5. 2 planes what? Yoh yoh yoh that was a long trip but well worth it by the sound of things… Beautiful


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