Original image credited to Bridgerton (Netflix). Characters credited to Julia Quinn.

Part 1: where it all went wrong.

For a while, it seemed like there was only one escapist drama on every tv-binger’s screen: Bridgerton. After its December 2020 release, it quickly rocketed away to become one of Netflix’s most popular original series and, now that the hype has settled, we can now take a closer look at what is going on underneath the tiaras and tailcoats.

For those that aren’t up to speed with all the ballroom drama, Bridgerton is a regency era period show based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn. Set in the early 1800s, the…


“But within every Dystopia there is a little Utopia” — Margaret Atwood

Writing Dystopia In a Pandemic

What COVID-19 can teach writers about building pre- and post-apocalyptic worlds

As writers we are told to write what we know and, although I believe that to be rubbish advice, I wouldn’t be surprised that if, over the coming months, we see a resurgence in the dystopian genre with a common theme: pandemics, pathogens and contagions.

The stories may be speculative but it is a situation that we are perhaps all too familiar with that moment and there is a lot we can learn from our circumstances now to better inform our writing.

To start…


Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay and for writers navigating these waters can be as unsettling as swimming with sharks.

The time for debate over whether social media is necessary in today’s literary arena is over. Short answer: it is.

Will it make and break your first publishing deal? Potentially not. But it will be the difference between selling 10 copies and selling 10,000.

Every man and his dog (literally) has a social media account on one platform or another (or usually half a dozen) and the rise of social media entertainment has given birth…


Short Story: Japan is a Wonderland of Closed Doors

Ella doesn’t know if Lewis Carroll ever set foot in Japan but, if he had, she likes to imagine that Alice would have had a very different start to her adventures.

White rabbits in waistcoats? How about shape-shifting foxes with nine tails?

Perhaps the latter wasn’t quite Carroll’s style, but Ella is certain that, had she found a nine-tailed fox, Alice would never have tumbled down the rabbit hole. Instead, she would have stepped through a door.

She shouldn’t be surprised to discover that small towns close early in Japan and…


Accentuating the positives and eliminating the negatives.

If you haven’t heard of COVID-19 by now, you’ve probably been living under a rock and, frankly, a lot of us would like to join you. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty spreading throughout our communities at the moment, and it’s all too easy to let the media whirlwind whip us up into a panic-driven frenzy.

They may not always be easy to spot but there are good news stories out there as well; ones of kindness, spirit, generosity and solidarity. …


“The trouble is, you think you have time.” Buddha

Time.

It is the world’s only universal currency but, unlike dollars and cents, we cannot store it, accumulate it or trade it. Time management, therefore, is just everyday economics: managing the demands on us with what we have in supply: 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day… you know the rest.

It is a simple concept to grasp and yet time management is one of the hottest topics in non-fiction. Everyone from college students to multi-millionaires wants to learn the secret of how to…


Inspiration comes from the strangest places. I learnt about the definition of success from a book designed to iron out my finances.

But here we are.

Outside of Australia, Scott Pape is probably just another man on a farm but over the last few years, he’s stirred up our finance industry by teaching ordinary Australians how to wrestle back control of their finances with his book, The Barefoot Investor.

My copy of this guide is more than a few years old now — with more tea stains, dog-ears and annotations than it was originally printed with — and there is…


India is a country that will turn even the most steadfast of travellers inside out. Stay long enough and there is something in the chaos and contrast that will take you apart and put you back together in unexpected combinations.

Even if you’re an experienced traveller, there a few things you should know.

1. Pre- Plan


How To Deal With Rejection As A Writer (From Someone Who Just Got Rejected)

I had been waiting months for this email and the first word I saw on the preview was, “unfortunately.”

Ask any writer and they’ll tell you that words have power and that some — “unfortunately” and “we regret to inform you” being prime examples — only need a second to carve out your heart and drop it at your feet.

Eventually, I mustered the courage to open this particular email and, although the positive wording didn’t sting as much as I predicted, rejection was still rejection…


Whilst the rest of Japan takes refuge under the inviting warmth of their kotatsu blankets, winter is the time when Sapporo comes alive. With a population of just over 1.9million, the capital of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, is one of the largest metropolises north of the equator and, for a two-week period in February, that number doubles. Most of the tourists that set out to brave the sub-zero temperatures and icy death traps (otherwise known as sidewalks) for one good reason: The Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri 雪まつり).

If you’re one of the crazy ones, here is how to get the…

Sarah Pragnell

A tea-drinking, tiny-house loving, snowboarding, martial art-doing, sometimes-designing Aussie writer exploring the world one country, and one story, at a time.

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