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Katherine’s short story course with a twist in the tale

Katherine’s short story course with a twist in the tale

Among hundreds of submissions from other writing students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Katherine Pinczuk's short story was selected to be part of an anthology called Strange Objects Covered With Fur. The 2015 publication featured UTS’s most talented new writers.

Shortly afterwards, Katherine was asked to read it at the Sydney Writers' Festival in front of a crowd of enthusiastic readers, writers, and members of her own family:
"… My stomach muscles tighten and the veins in my arms burn. I brace my heels against the border of the garden bed and grip the weed closer to its base. I don’t care if I hurt my back. I heave it out. Little comets of soil tasting of dead insects fly into my mouth. I spit out half the planet, throw myself backwards onto the grass and stare at the moon. I wish I could cry. Howl the pain out like a hurricane …" [excerpt from Weeding by Moonlight by Katherine Pinczuk]

Words and wellbeing go together

Now, Katherine runs her own short story writing workshops at Macquarie Community College. "I tell my writing students that artists should lead creative, harmonious and joyous lives. It’s a myth that artists must suffer to produce great work."

To help people access their creativity and remove what blocks it out, she uses a unique technique – guided meditation. Words and wellbeing are the perfect match, she explains. Meditation enables writers to be less critical of their writing, and story writing creates greater wellbeing.

"You don't have to sit on a mountaintop in a robe to meditate. Any experience where you’re fully immersed is an act of meditation. In writing, we're tapping into creative energy flow and I get people to really be in the present moment, to simply be in the now so that while they’re writing, they're not judging or analysing. I get them to tap into the concept of abundance, where ideas are as endless as grains of sand on the beach, or stars in the sky, or leaves on a beautiful gum tree."

The craft of short story writing and workshopping

The most important element of Katherine's writing courses is helping writers discover their own authentic, creative voice. "We're all unique and can discover who we truly are through writing. Good writing is about emotion; about the journey that you take the reader on. The more vulnerable you're prepared to be – the more of your authentic self you're prepared to be – the more unique your work is going to be."

Katherine also spends time familiarising her students with the other elements of short story writing, including:

  • What is the short story form?
  • How do you write well-rounded characters?
  • How do you write believable dialogue?
  • How do you write good beginnings and endings?
  • What is plot, shape, turning point, tension?
  • How do you get work published?

Finally comes workshopping, where writers take their raw piece of writing and improve it through the support and engagement of other writers. "Workshopping is a way of getting feedback for your own writing but also about seeing what other people are doing. We only give positive reinforcement. You will learn far better and quicker by seeing what other people are doing that is right, and looking at constructive ways of workshopping a piece of writing."

Come along to Katherine's unique short story courses at Carlingford or Chatswood combining words and wellbeing. She also conducts practical meditation courses, helping participants live a more fulfilled, focused and creative life. Call Macquarie Community College on 1300 845 888 or enrol on the courses page.