Saturday, 28 May 2011

New Courses, New Interview, Renewing the Writing Fun

In the Sutro Room at Trinity College
Last week my fictionfire class and I had a great time, playing around with point of view and choosing the right distance, the right perspective, from which to tell a story. We looked at some powerful examples of voice (the voice of the child in Emma Donoghue's Room was considered to be particularly effective, for instance) and we embarked on some fun writing exercises which, as is often the case, threw up intriguing characters and situations and what ifs with potential. I think my students are often taken by surprise by just how exciting their writing can be when they're - ahem! - forced into producing it, on the spot like that!

Both of my spring courses have been an absolute joy: I hope they were helpful to those attending. I certainly know that one by-product for me was a revving up of my own creativity - the past few months have not been conducive to writing in the least! Sometimes you lose a sense of what is at the core of it all: an imagination that will not shut up and lie down, a brain that mints characters, a desire to hold people enthralled while you spin them a yarn. That's the essence of it, under the pontificating and the theorising, the writing manuals and the writing blogs. You need to recapture the love, if you've lost it. The paradox is that you need to be both consciously critical and unconsciously creative - you need to be willing to learn your jobbing skills as a writer but you must also be allowed to tap into the childlike freedom and instinctiveness you once had.
The Sutro Room is on the first floor of the Jackson Building

If you're writing, then, I wish you joy and a constructively playful summer ahead.

What lies ahead for fictionfire? Well, my head is buzzing with new plans for that as well as for my own writing. In the autumn I will be starting up a new kind of course, as a complement to the Trinity College day courses. My new workshops will be called Fictionfire Focus: they'll run more frequently and will offer a wide range of topics and a new kind of flexibility. I hope that makes you hungry to hear more! All in good time ...

Beautiful carved panel, part of the Sutro Room's fireplace
Meanwhile, do keep in mind that I offer editorial, critiquing and mentoring services at fictionfire: go to the website to find out more.

Just time now to announce that next week I'll be posting another guest interview: this time with Bobbie Darbyshire, who has published two novels, Truth Games and Love, Revenge and Buttered Scones. She'll be telling us the fascinating story of how she chose to take an active role in hand-selling her books in bookshops. She's out there tirelessly on the circuit, meeting her potential customers - and what's more, racking up the sales!

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