Last month, one of my writing prompts was The End is in Sight. And I hope that we may be getting back to something like our “normal” lives in the next few months. Spring is definitely on the way, which helps. I enjoyed a lovely walk along the local canal recently and as well as the peaceful scene above, I came across an intriguing bystander: you’ll find the picture on the Prompts page – there are stories there, I know!
I received three stories this week in response to my Time workshop last month. If you’d like to comment on any of them, please do send me an email.
This month’s Workshop looks at an advanced writing technique known as Deep Point of View. You have to really get to know your main character and then make sure your reader gets close to them too. Click here for the Workshop.
My book A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction has been on sale for a few weeks now and I’ve received some good feedback. But I’m just as happy to hear if you feel I’m missing anything, or you just don’t agree with me! Discussion is always good! A writing friend suggested that a ring-bound copy would be useful as she likes to have it open on her desk while she’s writing – and it’s easier to keep a ring-bound book open. So true! Details here.
At the beginning of the year, I said I’d try three Workshops and then have a break. So next month, there’ll be a blog and prompts and more if I have the time. I really would like to hear from you so please drop me an email email@example.com
Welcome back and welcome to the second of the three workshops I’ve planned to get you back into writing in 2021.
Thank you to all those who have written to tell me that last month’s workshop on Setting and the prompts helped in getting them going again.
I’ve had several writers send in their writing for me to look at. I loved reading their stories – both inspired by prompts from the workshop. You’ll find them on the new page on this website Your Stories.
If you are used to attending a class, then the workshops should get you back into a routine.
You don’t have to write about any of the topics I’ve set: if you’re inspired with another idea, then that’s great. It’s GETTINGWRITING again that counts.
The topic I’ve chosen for this month’s workshop is TIME.
Of course, the big news this month for me is that my book A Beginners Guide to Writing Fiction has now been published on Amazon. A huge Thank you to my beta-readers (B, J, M & C) who read and proof-read the book for me and gave me their thoughts on covers.
Probably like many of you during the recent lockdowns, I took the opportunity of signing up for a writing lesson on Zoom. It was free, run by a recognised writing website and, luckily, at a time that suited both English and American audiences.
When the meeting started, there were 500+ participants: within fifteen minutes, that was up to 1200. We, the audience, were not seen and not heard (thank goodness!) but we could add comments in a box that everyone could see.
The speaker was a young, personable lady who clearly knew what she was talking about, her words supplemented by a series of slides containing bullet points of her script.
There were two problems, as far as I was concerned:
She spoke far too quickly. Now, I know (and you probably do too) that I am getting on a bit. But even allowing for that, I felt that she galloped through her script, not allowing nearly enough time for her information to be either absorbed or taken down in notes. And she had a habit of tailing off the ends of her sentences.
She didn’t give enough, if any, examples of what she was trying to convey. For example, once her initial talk was over, she introduced some brainstorming exercises, and the audience was invited respond with comments in the chat column. One exercise was to come up with a character’s traits. She didn’t explain what traits were, and the comments from the thousand+ audience varied from red-haired to is cheating on her husband. I have my own ideas about what constitutes a character’s traits (quirks and tics, mainly) and I didn’t feel these fitted the bill. But, of course, there was no right or wrong, just enthusiasm for everyone’s contributions.
So, would I attend another Zoom writing class? Probably. I enjoyed the “lecture”, and I did some of the brainstorming exercises. I’d like to watch a few more to see how the speakers and formats differ and what I get out of each one. And just to let you know, I could access the whole 1½ hours the next day to see what I’d missed, or even to watch the whole thing when I wanted to, without the audience participation.
If you’ve taken part in Zoom classes, I’d love to hear what you thought of them. If you have recommendations, I’ll happily pass them on through this website.
There are more prompts this month, plus the Workshop and Your Stories. Happy Reading but, more importantly, Happy Writing!
I hope you’ve stayed safe and well during the lockdowns and tier restrictions here in Britain and worldwide. It’s been a strange time, hasn’t it?
I’ve heard that many writers have found it quite difficult to keep writing, despite having more time than usual at home. Others have managed to keep going – writing short stories, chapters of a novel, travel articles, entering competitions and NANOWRIMO. And, of course, there have been the ubiquitous Zoom meetings! Some love ‘em, others not.
We’re all different, so please don’t judge yourselves or your writing output against others.
Many of you have told me that you need the motivation of a class, a group, prompts, or a writing buddy to keep going. Perhaps this year we’ll be able to get back to face-to-face meetings at some point. I know I’m looking forward to the lively discussions, lots of laughter and really wonderful homework stories from my writing groups.
So, I thought it a good time to resume my blogs and I hope there’ll be something in the coming months to interest you on this website.
One idea I’d like to try out is to post a “workshop” each month.
This will follow the pattern of some of the classes I run:
A warm-up exercise
An article on a writing topic
An exercise on the topic
Sometimes a quiz
I’ll try it out for the next three months and I’d love you to let me know what you think.
If you want to send the exercise in to me, for a paragraph of feedback (completely free), then I’d love to hear from you. And if you want it posted on this site, I’d love to do that as well.