Malcolm Knox, Caroline Overington, Mark Dapin

Mark Dapin, Malcolm Knox, Caroline Overington

Panel: WHAT CAN JOURNALISM AND FICTION LEARN FROM EACH OTHER?

MALCOLM KNOX (SMH, author): Writing fiction helped me to write fast. I’d written 7-8 complete novels before I’d walked into a newsroom, none of them published. Writing a million words without being published is a form of madness.

I like chronology. How people got into a fix and how they get out of it.

Fiction writers often draw from real life.

CAROLINE OVERINGTON (The Australian, author): Said she wrote fiction to explore issues she wasn’t legally able to discuss in print, such as child murder. Once the parents have been named, the child can’t be mentioned again, as it identifies other children in the family. Overington rails against this, as there are many other victims in the family, or connected to the case, who need help (eg. an adult child, whose murdering parents were about to be released from prison, wanted to make a media case to keep the parents in prison. But couldn’t, as the media has to refrain from identifying the case.)

MARK DAPIN: (writes column for Good Weekend, features, author) I write my column to please the editor, and books to please myself.

For 3000-word features, I stick to a beginning, middle and end.

I tried scriptwriting and can do dialogue but I’m not interested in the technical aspects of writing: “he walked across the room”.

Often people think that my journalism is all made up and my fiction is based on fact. Not so.

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