Monday, 21 January 2013

In Memoriam

The best of people, the worst of times.

George Johnston Fergusson
Elizabeth Hay Findlay


Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Year Writing Inspiration: Upcoming Focus Workshops

The new year - time for those fresh starts: TV adverts urge us to start new diets, leaflets come through the door advertising gym memberships. How many resolutions have you made - and perhaps already broken? For writers, a new year marks a fresh chance to get going on a planned project or complete one which has stalled. I wish you every success if you're starting out - or even if you're feeling bogged down and want to know how to rev up your self-belief and productivity.

Writing successfully means being open to ideas, being experimental, trusting yourself - but also learning from experience, whether it's your own personal experience or that of a writing buddy or teacher. My Fictionfire Focus Workshops have been running for some time now and what I love about them is how warm and relaxed yet how productive and inspiring they have proved to be, creating a small friendly community of regular attenders who are keen to share ideas and provide mutual support. I hope that sometime during 2013 you'll be able to join us!

Here are the titles of the two upcoming blocks of workshops, starting later this month:


WALK-ON PARTS (January 26th)
It's important that even minor characters are convincing - we'll explore how to bring secondary characters to life and what functions they can perform in your story.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR (February 2nd)
With Valentine's Day approaching, we'll look at how to portray love and romance in your fiction - whether that passion is unrequited or fulfilled, brief or everlasting, innocent or corrupt ...!

In the first of two workshops about point of view, we'll look at the advantages of the close perspective: using first or second person in your story.


We'll explore degrees of distance when it comes to perspective: how to use third person, multiple points of view and omniscience.

This is a re-run of a popular workshop from last year. Writing convincing dialogue is an important skill to learn: it will make your characters spring to life and inject your plot with energy - but you need to do it right!

In this workshop you'll be invited to bring samples of your own work as well as engage in exercises designed to make you look closely at how you express yourself. The ability to look dispassionately at your writing and refine it until it says precisely what you want it to say, is of crucial importance if you want to self-edit your work.

Each three hour workshop costs £25 and there are discounts for booking more than one within a particular block. You can find out more and make your booking by going to the Focus Workshops page on my Fictionfire website.

Later in the spring, I'll be running two day courses at Trinity College, Oxford. How to Plot and Pace your Story is on 18th May and Perfect Pitch - How to Craft your Submission and Land an Agent is on 19th May. Details are on the course dates and details page of the Fictionfire website.

Booking is open for all of these - I hope you can join us! In the meantime, a very happy and creative New Year to you all!