‘Imaginary gardens with real toads in them.’
– Marianne Moore
Using as a framework the techniques of a number of celebrated writers, we’ll play with a variety of triggers to let our stories reveal their true intentions. The participant receives the module on Friday, has five days to write a piece in response to the triggers, sends me the work on Wednesday, and receives both feedback and the next module the following Friday. This course is suitable for writers of all levels.
Week 1 – Characterisation
We’ll learn how to make characters come alive visually, as well as via dialogue and interior thought, with examples and an assignment.
Week 2 – Mood and Atmosphere
Participants will be shown examples of stories that vividly evoke mood and atmosphere, and use these as templates for their own work.
Week 3 – A Sense of Place
Great writers create a particular sense of a place. We’ll look at examples of how to make a place feel vivid for the reader.
Week 4 – Story Arc
We’ll look at process of revelation in stories by master writers, in terms of pace and structure. Participants will also be given triggers to produce their own work.
Week 5 – Point of View
Again, after studying stories by the masters to uncover the mechanics, we will experiment with points of view.
Week 6 – Editing a Piece of Work
Editing, in my view, is the key to excellent writing, and writers should be prepared to do numerous drafts before considering a story ready for submission. Editing involves assessing the entry point of a story, pace of the narrative structure, each paragraph unit, word choice, title, proof-reading (for correct spelling and grammar) and, not least, identifying ‘false notes’ that don’t ring true with the writer’s own ‘voice’. We will attempt to address these issues in the final module, using an example of writing in need of editing. We learn by doing. Thereafter, participants can apply these editing skills to their own work.