Last Wednesday night we were graced with the online presence of Mr Patrick O’Duffy. In between working on his own writing he kept the whole Writing Race community busily chatting on the boards, and as every writer reached the 200-word mark they were awarded with fluffy bunny photos (no cash prizes, sorry folks).

After reading his great piece on how to write believable heroes, I took the opportunity to ask him how to write villains that readers can invest in:

There’s one piece of advice I’ve always liked: no-one ever considers themselves a ‘villain’. They always have what they consider is a good reason and a justification for what they do; they’re always the hero of their own story.

So no matter how bad the bad guy, think about why he’s the good guy – or at least the justified guy – in his own mind. If you can bring that out into the story, without having him simply explain it to the protagonist and audience, then he’ll seem realistic and engaging.

Patrick also contributed to our half-time quotes with this wonderful manifesto from Annie Proulx.

‘You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.’

? E. Annie Proulx

We at the Australian Writer’s Marketplace will definitely be continuing to follow Patrick’s blog and connecting with him via Twitter. A very big, fluffy-bunny filled thank you to Patrick for joining us last week.

Now, this week we will be joined on our Writing Race by Fiona Palmer!

Fiona Palmer (source)

Fiona Palmer is a best-selling Australian author who writes rural romantic fiction. Fiona lives in Pingaring Western Australia (3 ½ hours from Perth), so we are very grateful for the miracles of the internet allowing Fiona to join our Writing Race.

Fiona started her working life as a speedway racer, and has held some interesting jobs as a rouseabout, tractor driver, secretary, teacher’s assistant, and shopkeeper. It was during her shop keeping job that she started writing what would become her first novel ‘The Family Farm’. This was followed by ‘Heart of Gold’, ‘The Road Home’, and ‘The Sunburnt Country’. Her new novel ‘The Outback Heart’ is due out in September.

Fiona still works in the shop a few days per week in between writing and looking after her two children and her husband. Her wonderful blog shares insights into country life and beautiful photographs of the Australian landscape.

You can connect with Fiona via her blog, Facebook page, or Twitter.

Australian rural romantic fiction has gained traction over the past couple of years and is one of the biggest sellers for Australian publishers. These books about romance and the bush aren’t only popular with Australian audiences though; rural romance is a popular export in many countries including Germany. For more on this phenomenon, further reading can be found in this article from The Age, and this great interview with Fiona Palmer.

Come and join us on the Facebook page this Wednesday night at 7:50pm for an 8pm kick-off and keep your calendar clear for the Writing Races! If you are new to the Writing Races, or you need a refresher, take a look at our AWMonline Writing Race FAQs.


Amy Chatwin is a currently undertaking her Masters in Writing, Editing, and Publishing at The University of Queensland. She has also attained a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) and Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies) from Queensland University of Technology. She is based in Brisbane and blogs about food, books, running, and everyday abundance at Thoroughly Nourished Life.

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