I’ve been a professional writer on and off for more than 20 years now, which means I’ve produced my fair share of fun, quirky or entertaining articles – so here’s a sampler pack of those I’m proud of. Some were original ideas researched and pitched by myself; others were commissioned by editors. Together they give an idea of the way I write.
In the article below, which appeared in the October 2010 issue of Metro, I took readers through the mix of feelings and experiences a hunter goes through when making a first kill. (Warning: animals were harmed, braised and casseroled in brandy during the making of this feature.)
Less bloody, and more recent, was this 2016 piece for North & South. It unpacked the secret occult history of New Zealand – including the little-known magical society that converted much of the small North Island town of Havelock North early last century. It was selected for the website Noted.co.nz which curates the best writing from within the Bauer Media group.
The paradox of travel writing is that the most wonderful experiences can make the dullest prose. Hence the philosophy I’ve carried with me on travel-writing trips to Spain, England, Australia, around New Zealand and – most recently – Malaysia: readers want to come with you as you roam, but baulk at boring ‘I did this, then this, and then this’ accounts.
A story on tiger-spotting in Nepal, from the Herald on Sunday’s Living magazine
A story on Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands, from the Dominion Post and Stuff.co.nz
A fresh view on New Zealand’s Mackenzie Country, from the Sunday Star-Times
Pitching original pieces is the most rewarding part of freelance writing. One of my favourites was this piece on Rob Jones, who cultivates endangered New Zealand butterflies and sneaks them into new habitats around the country. Sunday magazine published the article, doing a lovely job of the layout and photography.
On an entirely different tangent was this longer feature on the obscure spiritual group, Radiant Living, whose motif appears on the cover of the Edmunds Cookbook. The article arose from a chance meeting in a cafe, and was published in the Dominion Post’s Your Weekend, with this version included in the Christchurch Press as part of their September Christchurch earthquake coverage.
Butterflies for Sunday magazine
Radiant Living for The Dominion Post – page 1, page 2, page 3
A long time ago, in a newsroom far, far away I was the About Town editor for the Sunday Star-Times newspaper. Aside from managing the resident gossip writer and developing an intimate appreciation for the finer points of media law, I also wrote a pun-riddled weekly column.
Similarly silly were my entries in the 2010 Blog Idol competition, run by Stuff.co.nz. Ten finalists were selected from around New Zealand, and wrote a 600-word blog every day – with daily eliminations to find the eventual winner. I finished in third place.
Fashion, Art & Architecture articles
Writing about cool men’s shoes for Sunday magazine was a great regular gig. When top-notch photography has already done its thousand words-worth of describing the product, all that’s left is to enjoy writing snappy copy in a restricted space. I have also enjoyed being a frequent contributor to the effervescent creativity and design magazine No, and have written for the industry-leading design and architecture magazine Urbis.
Industry-specific copy should always be enjoyable, whether the subject is Eft-Pos terminals or how restaurants handle demanding clients.