Start to Write: Fiction - with Gretchen Shirm and James BradleyGretchen

Tuesday 10 November, Wednesday 11 November and Thursday 12 November 2020

3 evenings, 6.30-8.30pm

Course fee: $ 195/$ 165.75 alumni


JamesYou've got a great idea for a story. What do you do next?

Start to Write is the writing series at the Faber Writing Academy designed to kick-start your writing life.

Over three nights, you'll get the hands-on teaching you need to start writing from acclaimed tutor and novelist Gretchen Shirm, with a guest appearance from James Bradley.

• Discover the tools you need to start writing.
• Overcome common problems shared by emerging writers.
• Understand the fundamentals of fiction.

Course program:


  • Ideas: where do they come from and how are they generated
  • Starting with an idea: the first stages of writing with an idea
  • First thoughts: how to start when you don’t have a clear idea
  • Writing exercises focused on getting started


  • Speaking to books: what books do we love, and why?
  • All about story: some archetypal story structures to help you plan your writing
  • Momentum: how to maintain enthusiasm for a writing project
  • Writing exercises focused on constructing a story


  • What am I writing? thinking about where your writing fits into the broader picture
  • Revision: what to look for in the redrafting phase
  • Troubleshooting: some common structural mistakes early writers make
  • Writing exercises focused on revision

About the Tutors

Gretchen Shirm is the author of a collection of short stories Having Cried Wolf, for which she named a 2011 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her first novel Where the Light Falls, published by Allen & Unwin, was shortlisted for the 2017 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. She is currently working on a novel-in-stories titled The Crying Room.

Gretchen has taught in the undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing programs at the University of Technology, Sydney, the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. Prior to turning to teaching, Gretchen worked as a public law lawyer for over ten years.

Her writing and criticism been published widely, including in The Saturday Paper, Best Australian Stories, Sydney Review of Books, Australian Book Review, Kill Your Darlings, The Australian, The Monthly, Art Monthly, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Review of Australian Fiction and Southerly.

James Bradley is an award-winning writer and literary critic. His books include the novels Wrack, The Deep Field, The Resurrectionist and Clade, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, The Penguin Book of the Ocean, The Change Trilogy for young adults and his latest novel, Ghost Species which was published in 2020.

His articles and reviews have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Australian Literary Review, Australian Book Review, The Monthly, Locus, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Heat, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. In 2012, he was awarded the Pascall Prize for Criticism.

N.B. You will be charged a booking fee of 50 cents ($0.50).

If you have done a course with us before, you qualify for our alumni discount so add your promotional code at the checkout to receive 15% off the full price, or ring us if you do not know the code on 02 8425 0171.

For further information contact Faber Writing Academy:
Email us at: or phone (02) 8425 0171.

Please note in the event of unforeseen circumstances, courses - including tutors and venues - may be subject to cancellation or change.