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Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag: until now it has been rare for a female TV character to ‘break the fourth wall’ and address the viewer directly. Two Brothers Pictures

Fleabag’s feminist rethinking of tired screenwriting tools

Key to the success of the much-lauded Fleabag is its creator's repurposing of two cliched narrative devices: flashback and breaking the fourth wall.
Susie Porter as Marie and Kate Jenkinson as Allie in Wentworth. The show’s drama revolves around a women’s prison. Fremantle Media Australia/Xinger Xanger Photograph

Inside the story: writing the powerful female world of Wentworth

In the popular Australian TV series Wentworth, the setting of a women's prison is a pressure-cooker for drama. The setting also allows for greater representation of diverse female characters.
Walter Withers, ‘The Drover’, 1912, oil on canvas. A recent book reinterprets Henry Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife in 99 ways, offering new perspectives on the classic short story. Wikimedia Commons

Inside the story: 99 versions of the same tale in The Drover’s Wives

Ryan O'Neill's book reimagines a classic Australian short story. He retells The Drover's Wife 99 times in various forms, including a poem, an Amazon review, and even as a Cosmo quiz.
In the novel Coach Fitz, the narrator is seemingly unaware of his humorous voice. This device is one way that the novel subverts expectations. Shutterstock

Inside the story: Coach Fitz and the accidentally comic voice

At the centre of the novel Coach Fitz is Tom, an anti-hero whose unintentionally humorous voice drives the narrative. Tom is an awkward everyman, a naïve Don Quixote, a digressive Tristam Shandy.
View from a highway rest stop east of Ravensthorpe, Western Australia. In Kim Scott’s Taboo, the landscape becomes a narrator. Chris Fithall/flickr

Inside the story: the all-knowing narrator in Kim Scott’s Taboo

The omniscient narrator is alive and well in fiction. Kim Scott's most recent novel uses a collective narrative voice that encompasses the landscape as well as the human.
A retouched photo of Mary (Mollie) Dean from Sydney newspaper Truth (1 February 1931). Dean, who was murdered in Melbourne in 1930, was the subject of two Australian books published in 2018. Public domain/The Conversation

Inside the story: humanising a cold case victim – writing the life and brutal death of Mollie Dean

True crime-related storytelling has shrugged off its former low-brow baggage. Two recent Australian books show how victims' stories can be told sensitively and humanely.
Cynthia Banham with Kevin Rudd in 2008. Banham’s memoir explores both the trauma she experienced during a plane crash in 2007 and her family’s history. Dean Lewins/AAP

Inside the story: writing trauma in Cynthia Banham’s A Certain Light

In her fragmentary family memoir, Cynthia Banham interweaves narratives of war and migration with her own traumatic plane crash - ultimately reclaiming her identity in the process.
Man Out of Time is an affecting portrait of a family rocked by the patriarchal figure’s long-term depression. shutterstock

Inside the story: Man Out of Time and the inheritance of suffering

Stephanie Bishop's latest novel demonstrates a sophisticated approach to the relationship between time and narrative: novelists and aspiring writers would do well to look closely at her achievement.

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