Writer hones skills through group
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.