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Thursday, January 20, 2022


For those of us who dreamt of writing muder mystery stories, but weren’t sure how to start, award-winning author, Dorothy Johnston, will be hosting a class for the ‘Winter Mysteries’ Writing Workshop at the Queenscliffe & District Neighbourhood House.

Johnston has written a number of literary novels, as well as numerous short stories, leading to being shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, twice.

The workshop aims to teach attendees how to begin the process and develop a story worth reading. The workshop is called ‘Finding the Body’, where Johnston said participants are encouraged to bring along their favourite descriptions of finding bodies.

“‘Finding the Body’ is a fun workshop. Participants can really let their hair down and write frightening, gruesome scenes, if that’s what they feel like doing. I have several favourites too. I read them at the start to get people’s imaginations working. Then it’s up to the participants to see what they come up with”, she said.

Before her move to the Bellarine, Johnston fell in love with this genre in her time living in Canberra.

“I turned to mystery or crime writing as a way of trying to write about our national capital. Once I’d started, I became hooked! I wrote a quartet of mysteries set in Canberra before returning to the Bellarine Peninsula to live, and embarking on my Queenscliff series”.

“My words of encouragement for writers having a go at a first novel – number one, just start! People are too scared to begin, so they keep putting it off. So start and tell yourself that you can always go back and revise later. And having started, keep going! People attempting a first novel often believe they need large stretches of uninterrupted time. Not true. Give yourself a couple of hours three times a week and you’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish”.

“Reading your work in public can be a daunting experience, and while I encourage participants to read their work to the group, and gain confidence that way, reading aloud is never compulsory”, she said.

Johnston lives in Ocean Grove and said she is currently working on a sea-change mystery series set in Queenscliff. The first three titles are Through a Camel’s Eye, The Swan Island Connection and Gerard Hardy’s Misfortune. The fourth book in the series, The Lodeman, will be published in October 2021.


August 15th: ‘Finding the body’

‘Winter Mysteries’ Workshop Location:

Queenscliffe & District Neighbourhood House

3 Tobin Drive, Queenscliff, Victoria 3225

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