Writing Workshops

If you are a school, library or writing group looking for a writing workshop tutor with vast experience, I could be the author for you. I’ve tutored over 200 writing workshops and worked for the Qld and NSW writers centres, Brisbane/Logan/Redlands/Moreton/Gold Coast city council libraries, Romance Writers of Australia and many schools and writing groups.

I am currently available to conduct writing workshops or inspirational/author talks, and am a regular visitor to regional Queensland as well as most Australian capital cities.  Some of my workshops are listed below, or you can negotiate specific topics to suit your needs by emailing me at mail@louisecusack.com

SHORT WRITING WORKSHOPS or TALKS come in 1, 2 or 3 hour formats :

  • Fantasy Workshop: building fictional worlds (highly popular with  primary & high school students, as well as adult fantasy writers)
  • Writing for Computer Games: learn how big International game companies work with writers
  • Getting Published: tips from a professional writer
  • Suspense: creating a page turning novel in any genre
  • Self Editing: tips from a professional manuscript assessor
  • Characterisation: using the Show, Don’t Tell method
  • Romance Writing: from sizzling start to a satisfying The End
  • The First Five Pages: how to catch an editor’s eye
  • Getting Started With Writing: for beginners of all ages
  • Plotting a Fiction Novel: easy steps to create a strong plot
  • Setting up a Writing Group: it’s easier than you think
  • Digital Publishing Opportunities for Writers: It’s a brave new world
  • Memoir writing: looking at your life from the outside

FULL DAY WRITING WORKSHOPS: 6hrs teaching

  • Writing that Book: planning, writing, editing and selling your novel
  • Fantasy Workshop: building fictional worlds
  • The Craft of Writing: show don’t tell, viewpoint and self-editing
  • Novelists pre-writing checklist: plot, characters, conflict
  • From Character to Plot: creating page-turning novels from the characters up
  • Memoir Writing: looking at your life from the outside

TWO DAY WRITING WORKSHOPS:  2x6hr teaching (often held over a single weekend)

  • Fiction Writers Toolbox: everything you need to write a book
  • How to become a writing mentor

FIVE FULL-DAY WRITING WORKSHOP SERIES: 5x6hr teaching (often held over the course of a year)

  • Write That Book series: fiction novels from conception to The End
  • Edit That Book series: through structural and line edits, ready to submit

LIBRARY SESSIONS DESIGNED FOR WRITERS AND CURIOUS READERS (1hr  each)

  • Unlocking Creativity 101: Explore what we mean by “creative writing”. How do we do it? How can you get started?
  • Research and Development of Story Ideas: Learn how Louise develops ideas and researches for her award-winning novels with examples from her New York and Florence, Italy research trips.
  • Writers Promoting Themselves: Writers sharing their novels with readers is only the beginning. Blogging, Tweeting and Facebooking are now mandatory promotion tools. Why is that, and how do writers retain their sensitivity to create, alongside the thick skin required to weather criticism?
  • Once Upon a Time: Appreciate the power of story. Learn the secrets to creating characters and plotlines that remain vivid in the reader’s imagination.
  • Different Genres: Each genre (crime, romance, fantasy) has different requirements. Learn which best suits your writing style and story ideas.
  • Telling Your Own Story: Can you use your own experiences to create a story? When to embellish and when to stick with the facts

PRICES:

I charge Australian Society of Authors rates and all prices INCLUDE GST:

Speaking and teaching in libraries, writers centres, residencies, literary festivals (and other public appearances except for schools):

  • Short Workshops: 1 hr = $385,  2hr = $495,  3hr = $605
  • Full Day Workshop: 6hr = $968.
  • Two Day Workshop Series:  2 x 6hr = $1,936
  • Five full-day Workshop Series: 5 x 6hr = $4,840

Speaking and teaching in schools: Primary & Secondary

Sessions run from 45-60 mins, to be set by the speaker.  Workshops for longer may be negotiated.  Single class size for workshops, year cohort for addresses, unless otherwise negotiated.

  • Per school session (max 1 session) = $330
  • Half School Day (max 2 sessions) = $495
  • Whole school day (max 3 sessions) = $660
  • Weekly school rate (max 5 days – average 3 sessions per day) = $2750

NR: This discounted rate applies only if the booking is for one school, for a one week block.

NOTE: Workshops held outside the South East Queensland area may incur travel (and if overnight: accommodation/meal) expenses, but not always.  Please query to check this.  If you are a Queensland writing group and want financial help to engage my services, you can apply for funding to Arts Qld or the RADF (Regional Arts Development Fund) which is run by your local council.  Don’t be daunted by the paperwork.  Most councils have funding that they’re looking to spend on worthy arts projects.  In one round of funding, three writing groups applied for me to teach them workshops in 2010 in three regional areas of Queensland and all three were successful in receiving grants to cover my costs.  If your group is located in another state you could inquire with your state Writers Centre re funding.  I’d be happy to supply a Letter of Support or Quotation as required.

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TESTIMONIALS:

Participant feedback on a full day From Character to Plot masterclass in May 2017 at Redcliffe Library:

  • “Louise was very knowledgeable and her presentation was packed full of information and tips for writing great characters and plots. She was and excellent presenter and was very approachable and helpful.”
  • “Louise Cusack was easy to follow and understand. The information was powerful and delivered well. The structure of the course outline was timed really well, we kept a steady pace but I didn’t feel rushed. It was inclusive with the activities designed for each of us to work within our own storylines which naturally makes the information clearer/more retainable.”
  • “The event was excellent. The author who led the workshop was very clear in stepping us through the info, which itself is such an extremely useful template. I cannot express how much value I got out of the event and how much I enjoyed the day.”
  • “Time to do exercises related to the teaching. Just having the time to think about our writing, even for a few minutes was very valuable. Louise also presented a very well structured day. She has much to impart. Her stories from her own experience were very valuable.”
  • “Comprehensive but nicely spaced out – good balance of lecture & activities.”
  • “Very practical. Louise is a skilled and generous teacher.”
  • “Louise is a knowledgeable presenter and had excellent information and activities for us to put our learning into practice in a real way with our own work. I have found this workshop has been an incredible help to my writing process and a particular work in progress. I appreciate Louise’s openness and availability in answering questions and working alongside participants.”

Feedback from council on a full day From Character to Plot masterclass at Robina Library in May 2016 as part of the Gold Coast City Council Writers’ Block program:

Louise, Thank you again for a fantastic Writers’ Block on Saturday. Of the 70 who attended, 55 took the time to fill in a feedback form for us, which was great! All of them rated the event as ‘excellent’ (76%) or ‘good’ (24%).

I thought you’d be interested to read a selection of the comments we received:

  • “I really enjoyed this and learnt a lot”
  • “learnt so much”
  • “helped me focus”
  • “instructive, interesting, very helpful and thought-provoking”
  • “could have stayed 3 days, four days, five days…”
  • “very interactive”
  • “Louise helped to focus my writing and identify areas for improvement”
  • “well organised”
  • “professional but relaxed, entertaining and very educational”
  • “well paced and relevant… good advice and examples”
  • “well organised (breaks, activities, material)… interaction (small groups providing good and rich discussions”
  • “great speaker, easy to talk to and learn from”
  • “so helpful and motivational. Really good structure”
  • “Louise was marvellous. Really opening my eyes! And mind!”
  • “great workshop. I learned heaps! Now I’m inspired to edit all my drafts”
  • “loved it. Productive. Relaxed”
  • “brilliant workshop”

In 2009 Gold Coast City Council(GCCC) engaged Louise Cusack to facilitate her Write That Book workshop series as part of the Cultural Development Unit’s Creative Juices Professional Development Program. Louise was an easy and reliable presenter to work with as she responded to requests promptly, was well prepared for workshops, and always turned up on time.

Write That Book workshop series was a well-regarded professional development opportunity for aspiring Gold Coast writers. Workshop participant and recently published author, Angela Sunde, in her feedback said “The workshop has provided motivation and supported my belief in my ability to write a full length novel and provided the processes of how to do this. Louise is a skilled tutor and has delivered tools I needed at the perfect time in my writing career”.

After completing the Write That Book workshop series with GCCC, twelve of the participants formed their own writing support group, and applied for and received a Regional Arts Development Fund grant to continue working with Louise in her Edit That Book workshop series. The Prana Writers, as they are now called, recently won the National Write a Book in a Day 2011 Challenge.

Since Write That Book, Louise has presented the all-day workshop, Craft of Writing Fiction for the Creative Juices Professional Development Program and is shortly to present a workshop on Digital Publishing Opportunities for Writers.

I would be happy to discuss this further.

Jodie Munn
Cultural Development Project Officer
Community Services
for the Chief Executive Officer

Ph: 5581 7508 Fax: 5581 6150
PO Box 5042 Gold Coast Mail Centre Qld 9729
www.goldcoastcity.com.au/cultural

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Friday 27th November, 2009

(Feedback provided to the Gold Coast City Council on the “Write That Book” workshop series I tutored in 2009)

In a nutshell, the workshop series has been the highlight of my year. I have gained so much from each and every Saturday. Louise is a terrific teacher …. she is not only able to convey her lesson plans in a structured yet informal manner, she also is an incredibly positive person and instilled a sense of belief in all of us (as a writer this carries a lot of weight. We’re a self-doubting bunch!!!).

My novel, the Skylar Solution, is a little way off completion (Due around Match by my calculations), however the plot structure is firm. I am very pleased with its progress (when I originally commenced the workshops I was working on a different story idea, so started from scratch between workshop one and two).

Finally, it has been wonderful to be surrounded by a group of talented, supportive, like-minded people. We have developed a very strong rapport and will continue to stay in touch, sharing ideas, critiquing and generally being supportive of each others work  long into the future.

Cheers

Rebecca Fraser

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Wednesday 11th February, 2009

To the next workshop participant,

I attended Louise’s workshop at Nerang Library, Saturday 7th February 2009, ‘Tips on getting out of the slush pile.’
From my observation as participant and the attitudes from others at the venue, I noticed as soon as Louise started talking, we all relaxed and listened intently to her matter-of-fact style. She has a manner which is like chatting to a friend who has a wealth of knowledge to share. From lots of great tips, to sharing her real life experiences and anecdotes that made us laugh and enjoy her company immensely. The two hours went quickly and I am sure many will be at the next workshop on ‘how to get your finished novel published,’ my place is already booked!

Marion Martineer
Youth Group co-ordinator (Writers Force) and
Adults writing for children support group co-ordinator (The Ten Penners)
Gold Coast Writers Association Inc.

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TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

RE: Louise Cusack

On Saturday 25th August 2007, the Gold Coast Writers’ Association, with a grant from The Regional Arts Development Fund, organised a full-day workshop on ‘Creating Fictional Worlds’, run by Louise. Some months earlier, she had appeared as a Guest Speaker at one of our monthly meetings and impressed our members with her lecture on writing.

On the day, Louise arrived early to assist in the set-up of the room. She came prepared with a lesson plan, handouts and simple textbooks, which the writers were able to use to weave stories using her analytical formula.

Her systematic approach to  ‘world building’ allowed each member to walk away from the day with a methodical foundation to use in their future writing. She covered basic aspects of story telling as well as practical tips to enhance their future writing.

The action packed day of information ended on time and our members were impressed enough to write to me with their compliments about the course which they found most beneficial. They liked the fact that they worked individually with her as well as in groups and were able to walk away with useful hints and ways to improve their writing.

Terry Spring

VICE PRESIDENT

GOLD COAST WRITERS’ ASSOC

P.O. Box 441, Pacific Fair, Qld., 4218

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