The Collaborator Author, Diane Armstrong’s Tips for Writing That Book This Year

The Collaborator Author, Diane Armstrong’s Tips for Writing That Book This Year

About Diane Armstrong:

Diane Armstrong is a child Holocaust survivor who arrived in Australia from Poland in 1948. An award-winning journalist and bestselling author, she has written five previous books.Her family memoir Mosaic: A chronicle of five generations, was published in 1998 and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction as well as the National Biography Award. It was published in the United States and Canada, and was selected as one of the year’s best memoirs by Amazon.com. In 2000, The Voyage of Their Life: The story of the SS Derna and its passengers, was shortlisted in the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction.Her first novel, Winter Journey, was published in 2004 and shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. It has been published in the US, UK, Poland and Israel. Her second novel, Nocturne, was published in 2008 and won the Society of Women Writers Fiction Award. It was also nominated for a major literary award in Poland. Empire Day, a novel set in post-war Sydney, was published in 2011.Diane has a son and daughter and three granddaughters. She lives in Sydney.

Buy a copy the The Collaborator here.

Read a review of The Collaborator here.

Top Tips for Writing

Years ago, when I started writing, there were times when my mind was as blank as my computer screen. To try to motivate myself, I placed a large sign on my desk: You wanted to be a writer, so write! That did the trick much of the time, but in summer, when parks, beaches, and cafes beckoned, the temptation to be outdoors was too great.

Eventually I discovered that giving in to temptation stimulated my imagination and helped to hone my writing skills. Here are some tips that worked for me.

  1. Make a date with yourself to write regularly. It doesn’t matter whether you set aside ten minutes every evening or half an hour twice a week. The important thing is to keep to it. This is your writing time. You might be surprised to find that once you start writing, the ideas will keep flowing past the allotted time.
  2. Pay close attention to what you see along the road or in the park instead of walking in a daze. Look at the joggers pounding the pavement, the sweat spreading under their arms. Notice the patterns the trees make on the dappled paths,  and that young woman whizzing past in her sports car.
  3. Be specific. Name the trees. Are they blue gums, pencil pines or Moreton Bay Figs? How many kookaburras were sitting on the power lines? And that car—it was a yellow Lotus convertible, wasn’t it? Being specific makes your writing visual and fresh.
  4. Use what you see to evoke memories. At the beach, you hear the waves lapping on the shore, and see children splashing in the waves. Near you, a boy and girl are kissing, lost in the delight of the moment. Do you remember your first love? Your first kiss? Being dumped by a wave, terrified of drowning? Try to evoke those feelings.
  5. Show, don’t tell. In the café, the waitress seems fed up. You infer that from the way she bangs your coffee cup on the table, sighs loudly when you ask for sugar, and trudges around. So describe her actions. That’s more powerful than writing interpretations. You might consider why she acts that way. Has her boyfriend left her, is she worried about the child she left at the day care centre, or is she ill? Already you have a character for the story you might write when you get home.
  6. Jot down what you saw, heard or felt during your writing time. If your mind is blank, and you can’t think of anything to write, just start by writing `I can’t think of anything to write because…’ You’ll find that the ideas will soon flow.
  7. Don’t forget: you wanted to be a writer, so write!

Related Articles

Podcast: Diane Armstrong, Author of The Collaborator, Discusses the Inspiration behind her Novel and her Fascinating Life. 

Podcast

14 October 2019

Podcast: Diane Armstrong, Author of The Collaborator, Discusses the Inspiration behind her Novel and her Fascinating Life. 

    Publisher details

    The Collaborator
    Author
    Diane Armstrong
    Publisher
    HarperCollins
    Genres
    True Story, War
    Released
    19 August, 2019

    Synopsis

    It is 1944 in Budapest and the Germans have invaded. Jewish journalist Miklos Nagy risks his life and confronts the dreaded Adolf Eichmann in an attempt save thousands of Hungarian Jews from the death camps. But no one could have foreseen the consequences...It is 2005 in Sydney, and Annika Barnett sets out on a journey that takes her to Budapest and Tel Aviv to discover the truth about the mysterious man who rescued her grandmother in 1944.By the time her odyssey is over, history has been turned on its head, past and present collide, and the secret that has poisoned the lives of three generations is finally revealed in a shocking climax that holds the key to their redemption.
    Diane Armstrong
    About the author

    Diane Armstrong

    Diane Armstrong is a child Holocaust survivor who arrived in Australia from Poland in 1948. An award-winning journalist and bestselling author, she has written five previous books.Her family memoir Mosaic: A chronicle of five generations, was published in 1998 and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction as well as the National Biography Award. It was published in the United States and Canada, and was selected as one of the year's best memoirs by Amazon.com. In 2000, The Voyage of Their Life: The story of the SS Derna and its passengers, was shortlisted in the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction.Her first novel, Winter Journey, was published in 2004 and shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize. It has been published in the US, UK, Poland and Israel. Her second novel, Nocturne, was published in 2008 and won the Society of Women Writers Fiction Award. It was also nominated for a major literary award in Poland. Empire Day, a novel set in post-war Sydney, was published in 2011.Diane has a son and daughter and three granddaughters. She lives in Sydney.

    Books by Diane Armstrong

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    1. Jane Ryan says:

      Thank you. Years ago I went to a creative writing course you held at Tafe, inspired an elderly friend of mine.
      I’ll pay heed to your wise words. Warm regard Jane Ryan