Writer hones skills through group

Waitaki Herald - - NEWS - By NI­COLA WOLFE

When Bruce Costello re­tired from his coun­selling prac­tice in 2009, he joined the Waitaki Writ­ers’ Group.

Now, five years later, Costello has had more than 60 short sto­ries pub­lished in print mag­a­zines and on­line jour­nals.

Costello, who worked in ra­dio as a cre­ative writer and then as a coun­sel­lor, has al­ways been in­ter­ested in writ­ing.

He is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in sto­ries about peo­ple and what they face in life and has writ­ten sto­ries for mag­a­zines like That’s Life, Her mag­a­zine and Pink.

He has also writ­ten for New Zealand lit­er­ary jour­nals Flash Fron­tier, Tur­bine and Snorkel.

‘‘I write about life and peo­ple, what they face in life. Age­ing and death. Some have happy end­ings, some have sad end­ings,’’ Costello said.

‘‘I was a coun­sel­lor in full­time pri­vate prac­tice in Dunedin from 1992 till 2009, which helps to ex­plain my in­ter­est in peo­ple’s lives, which is re­flected in my short fic­tion.’’

Costello said he joined the Waitaki Writ­ers’ Group for sup­port and en­cour­age­ment.

‘‘When you write it’s quite a soli­tary pur­suit. You need the en­cour­age­ment.’’

He said the the group has helped shape his writ­ing, to de­velop tech­nique and style.

Other than the group, Costello said he had not had a lot of writ­ing train­ing.

He stud­ied for­eign lan­guages – French, Rus­sian and Ger­man – at the Uni­ver­sity of Can­ter­bury, a sub­ject that also looked at for­eign lit­er­a­ture.

It was a love for Rus­sian clas­sics like those of Chekhov and Tol­stoy that sparked a love of lan­guage and writ­ing, he said.

He has also taken part in a num­ber of work­shops at the Janet Frame House in Eden St which have been help­ful.

‘‘You learn tech­nique and the ba­sics. You learn what es­tab­lished writ­ers think and you meet other writ­ers and form col­le­gial re­la­tion­ships with them,’’ he said.

Those re­la­tion­ships are im­por­tant to writ­ers, he said.

‘‘No man lives on an is­land. You need a bit of fel­low­ship be­cause oth­er­wise you’re wan­der­ing around in a desert on your own won­der­ing what your do­ing. You can’t re­ally do it alone.’’

He said an­other key for keen writ­ers is per­sis­tence.

‘‘If you per­se­vere you will get there in the end.’’

The Waitaki Writ­ers’ Group meets on the sec­ond Mon­day of ev­ery month.

Ham­p­den man Bruce Costello has had more than 60 pieces pub­lished in mag­a­zines, lit­er­ary jour­nals and on­line mag­a­zines since join­ing the Waitaki Writ­ers’ Group in 2010. To see one of his sto­ries, turn to page 16.

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