Spoilt for Choice

Spoilt for choice at local writers convention

The fourth Rockingham Writers Convention was a resounding success. Huge congratulations to all involved in preparing and running the day.  I could not fault one aspect.   I was sorry to miss out attending for two years running, due to family circumstances. This one made up for it!

A taste of the program was all anyone could get from the many workshops on offer. We were spoilt for choice. I attended-

  • Therese Edmonds – Creating Effective Story Structure
  • Natasha Lester – Goal, Motivation and Conflict
  • Rosanne Dingli – Writing Short Fiction

Which meant I missed attending –

  • Writing Commercial Fiction with Anna Valdinger (Harper Collins)
  • Find Your Creative Mojo with Josh Langley
  • Writing a Series with Sasha Wasley
  • The Right Words, Editing & Polishing Your Draft with Rachel Watts
  • Is That a Kids’ Book You’re Writing? with Jen Banyard
  • Trouble is our Business – Writing Crime Fiction with Guy Salvidge
  • Writing the Villain with Carolyn Wren

You can see how broad the topics were, and yet I found a theme that served my need to move forward with my writing.

Take away thoughts from each session –

For me, Therese Edmonds’ information packed session clarified story structure as a tool. Write first, then edit with the aid of the structure.


From Natasha Lester’s bright, bubbly session, I took away affirmation I’m on the right track in creating character-driven plot. It’s now a matter of consciously practising this approach.

Natasha Lester Workshop

From Rosanne Dingli’s dynamic delivery, I re-affirmed that short fiction is my way forward for me, following the recent acceptance of my short story for publication by Gumnut Press, and two prior publications in KSP anthologies.

Roasanne Dingli Workshop

Rosanne provided a three hour workshop in half the time, so her generous handouts; her offer of a copy of her PowerPoint; and the bonus copy of her short story, The Beige Porsche, all provide an abundance of material to work with.

The In Conversation Panel with Tara Wynne (Curtis Brown) & Anna Valdinger (Harper Collins) chat with Teena Raffa-Mulligan about all things publishing at the end of the day provided useful insights into the challenges faced by the publishing industry and what happens once your manuscript catches the attention of an ‘insider’. What a process! I know writing is a challenge. The insightful questions and responses illustrated that getting it across the line inside the publishing house is equally challenging, in its own way, as your precious manuscript has background research conducted against it and it is put before a committee for approval. And it’s not all easy going from there.

Panel discussion
Networking – always a bonus

I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with fellow writers: talking over lunch with Guy Salvidge who ran a workshop on writing crime; catching up with Peta Flanigan who was taking manuscript pitches; chatting with Nadia King about issues in relation to social media and marketing; a quick hello and laugh with Demelza Carlton; meeting Barbara Gurny at the start of the day; receiving warm hugs from Juanita Keys adn Rosanne Dingli; touching base briefly with Karen McDermott, Sonia Bellhouse and Danielle Line; meeting Claire Boston in the warmth outdoors and chatting over a coffee; saying hello and receiving a warm smile from a very busy Teena Raffa-Mulligan who was a key person running the event; and so many more who I managed to spy and wave to across the room of around 100 attendees. A fantastic number drawn from all over WA.

When I attended the first convention (see my post here) , my commitment to writing was relatively new. Over the past few years it’s been a matter of ‘seeking out my tribe’. Although I’ve taken a slow and steady path, it is proving a warm, welcoming community. If I were to take stock, I could add more names to those above, and say how blessed I am to now know or be acquainted with so many genuine people.

Lunch and morning and afternoon tea took into account dietary needs, for which I was grateful. An assortment of coffees and teas and choices of juice and provision of bottled water left no-one wanting, I’m sure. Each aspect showed a very thoughtful approach to catering. If anyone went without their needs being met it would have been a matter of not having asked! (When buying a ticket, opportunity is provided to mention special requirements).

The venue, the Mary Davis Library and Community Centre in Baldivis, was perfect for the number of attendees, with several rooms for the different speakers. Ample parking available nearby meant only a short walk to the venue.

Rosanne Dingli books

Next year’s convention will be the fifth and is already being planned by the Rockingham Writers Centre. I’m looking forward to it, and hope to attend. Congratulations to all involved on the resounding success of this year’s Convention.


Susan is a writer based in Perth's Darling Range, Western Australia. Her love for writing began as a child and is a life-long passion. Susan is also passionate about reading and attributes much of her learning to the wonderful world of literature. She enjoys photography and art and loves to write the occasional poem. She is often found indulging in a good cup of coffee and gazing over the hills from her backyard.

4 comments On Spoilt for choice at local writers convention

  • Avatar

    How lovely to be praised and mentioned more than twice! Thank you Susan for enjoying my work so much. Having appreciative, friendly attendees like you makes a whole world of difference.

    • Susan Dunn

      Thank you, Rosanne and my pleasure. I gained so much from each presenter’s session and thoroughly enjoyed learning new aspects of the craft of writing.
      I really enjoyed reading your story, ‘The Beige Porsche’.
      I’m already putting into practice what I learnt.

  • Avatar

    Sounds like a wonderful conference, Susan. Glad you were able to attend this year. Looking forward to hearing more about it soon.

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