At last week’s Writing Race, we were joined by internationally-published sci-fi and fantasy writer Charlotte McConaghy. As a writer from a young age now published by Random House and Pan Macmillan, as well the author of the Australian Writer’s Guild award-winning screenplay Fury, Charlotte’s insights gave Racers a glimpse into the dazzling world of screenwriting and what it takes to become a successful author. Here is what Charlotte shared with us…

…on the writing process…

Write like the wind, always! Get lostCharlotte McConaghy! That’s where the beauty is! If you get stuck and hit a wall, then go back and look at where you’ve started, look at the trajectory and the structure, but if you’re not struggling then don’t ever stop – just write, write, write! I tend to have a vague sense of plot when I start – key points I know I need to write towards, but then I allow myself to get drawn into big detours along the way. I always find I only really discover what my book is about during the writing of it – and it inevitably turns out differently to any plan I might have made.

…on adapting novels into screenplays…

It’s a whole other beast, screenwriting. Things get broken and put back together in an entirely new shape. You essentially have to be resigned to the fact that adaptations are probably going to be and feel very different to the original. But that’s exciting in itself. Creating something new from something that already exists. And it’s good for the work. It makes you really ask yourself what it’s about. You think ‘it’s about this – but what it is REALLY about?’

…on how to overcome the dreaded writing rut…

Usually if I’m in a writing rut it’s because I haven’t input enough. I always like to think of it as input/output. You can’t output unless you’re inspired. So do interesting things and force yourself to think deeply about them. If I’m writing a dystopian novel (like I am now) and I’m not feeling it, I watch or read something really smart and emotional to inspire myself. Meaning I saturate myself in the genre.

…on discovering new horizons…

It has been amazing to move overseas, and I’ve actually been writing more than I ever have. New landscapes and places are inspiring, and it’s always good to infuse your writing with your own experiences and perceptions and musings, even if you’re writing speculative or genre fiction. It’s also good to be thrown out of your comfort zone every now and then – I think it gets you to ask yourself bigger and more challenging questions, which is always the key to writing well: keep questioning yourself and the world.

This week’s Writing Race will be kicking off at 8:00 pm on Wednesday night over on Facebook. Come join us!

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