Justine Sless, writer, comedian: Creative Space

Justine Sless, writer, comedian: Creative Space
Justine Sless has always been writing. It could be thoughts that she just had to get down, Fringe festival shows, her own stand-up comedy, award-winning short stories, or what she is working on now — a full-length manuscript. Justine has only recently stepped down as Creative Director of the Melbourne Jewish Comedy Festival, which she started in 2015, but she’s managing to fill the time completing a Master of Arts in gender and comedy at La Trobe University.
The lovely Justine always has time for a good laugh and a good beer though!


Where are you working from today?
Home at my desk.
Below Wassily Kandinsky’s In Blue  
I often like to stand when I write and I like a clear desk, unless unless I’m working on redrafts, then I print everything out and work from that.
What are you working on?
A short story – about excessive use of take away cups – it’s funny as!
How’s it going?

Pretty good  – I like the short story form because it’s similar to writing comedy –  every word counts.

When you get stuck, what do you do?
It’s an intuitive process and I know when to let a piece just sit, over night is best, it’s like a marinading process – I let the work filter a bit , then I print it out so that I can read it first thing when I wake up and make changes to it.
Or just go back to it on the screen the next day,  or work on something else – I usually have three or four stories on the go at any one time.
And I’m working on my exegesis for my MA in creative writing – for that I always like a long stretch of time to get my head into the academic space. When I get stuck with that I go and see my incredible supervisor Alison Ravenscroft at La Trobe Uni.
If I have a comedy gig coming up and the joke isn’t working, walking is the only thing that helps. I rehearse it   and get a  feel for the pace of the material when I’m walking.  Some of my best material comes when I walk – pity there’s no audience during the walk.
Who sees your earliest draft & at what stage?

Angela Savage  – CEO of Writers Victoria has been my writing mentor for over two years and sees very early drafts of short stores, chapters and essays.
It’s very rare that we disagree on what needs work.
Angela has an incredible knack of knowing what to say and has made me finally believe that I can write a good story.
Tony Birch has seen a lot of early drafts of short stories too and it’s been great to get his feedback on why a story is or isn’t working.
Tony knows A LOT about writing and has loads of great advice like:
‘The only thing that matters is the story’
‘Always write in your socks.’

Justine_Sless by Suzanne Phoenix

Justine Sless is worth keeping up with. Luckily she is available on these.

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