Why do you think it’s important for writers to tell stories with Australian women at the centre?
It has always been important for Australians to tell their own stories, and as women make up over half the population, of course we should be at the centre of ours. We are not a ‘niche’ group, and shouldn’t really have our own genre – women’s fiction – but here we are. Our stories need to be normalised, and women represented in all their myriad, marvellous complexity.
How has women’s fiction been impacted by the #metoo movement in the last few years?
Long-held tropes are certainly being challenged. In my role as an editor in particular, I’m seeing a marked impact on what is deemed acceptable in the portrayal of male and female dynamics. And I couldn’t be happier with this development. It’s not ‘political correctness gone mad’ but an essential correction of acceptable norms. Language has power; literature has to reflect what’s happening in the world. And the times are a-changing.
With a successful writing career spanning nearly two decades, what advice do you have for emerging writers who may struggle to maintain the kind of stamina and persistence needed to finish writing a novel?
Well, the truth is, if you don’t have the stamina and persistence to finish a novel, you won’t survive in publishing for long. The pace is relentless in commercial fiction. On the other hand, there are more options than ever to get your work out there. But before anything, you need to have a complete manuscript – so sit down and write! I will share tips on how to do just that in my course.
Dianne Blacklock is an author, teacher and editor who has been immersed in women’s stories for more than two decades. She is the author of 10 novels of contemporary women’s fiction published in Australia and internationally. She is also a busy editor, working with the major publishing houses on some of the most successful authors of women’s fiction and romance. She has taught several courses on women’s fiction and continues to mentor past students.
Writing Contemporary Women’s Fiction will take place on Saturday 21 September at Writing NSW, 10am-4pm.