How to create something that feels truly original? What makes a story fresh, vivid and memorable? How to develop strong characters and present authentic dialogue that drive the story? And, without divulging too much in the early pages, how can writers most successfully invite the reader to come along with them on a literary journey? To talk about their own writing practices and observations, we present screenwriter and novelist Doina Rusti from Romania; novelist, short story writer and children’s author Pierre Mejlak from Malta; and from China, novelists and short story writers Wei Wei and Zhu Wenying. In conversation with writer and literary academic Shen Xiayan.