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Difficult to say which was my favourite course at Swanwick as I learned so much from each one, which is fab. One course I particularly did just for fun was the Secrets of Comedy one and that was enlightening. The lovely thing is all writers are playing with words and it can be fascinating to find out how that is done in formats and genres you don’t work in (as yet anyway!).
Writing should be fun and there should always be a fascination with how others write. It makes you take a fresh look at your own writing and, hopefully, develop it further and appreciate it more.
I was delighted to draft a short story on the train up to Swanwick. I’ve now edited and polished it and sent it off to the competition I had in mind for it. I’ve got a few pieces drafted at Swanwick to now work on and am looking forward to that.
My Chandler’s Ford Today post this week looks at the benefits of a good writing conference, considering things such as the boost to confidence and how writers see themselves, amongst other thoughts. Link to go up tomorrow. Most pics are by me but I’d also like to say many thanks to Geoff Parkes for allowing me to use some of his great photos in this post.
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Story prompts are useful things. Sometimes I’ll use them and enter the competition they’re linked to, sometimes I’ll just see what I can write up and then decide where to try and place it. (Usually, it’s Cafelit! They like quirky there. And I like quirky a lot!).
Occasionally I’ll find a story doesn’t have an obvious home. Then I’ll keep a closer eye out on the competitions and their themes as a suitable one will turn up eventually. Nice thing with that is, after some final editing, I’ve got a story that’s good to go fairly quickly.
Have you tried writing a story in a sentence? Give it a go, it can be great fun. You basically need a subject and some sort of action which will show what the character is like (and make you want to read on were the story to develop further). For example, from me:-
1. He refused to cry again.
2. It was her 25th bank robbery in a month.
3. The dragon wouldn’t eat the girl, he was veggie.
4. Enter that book shop and never be seen in this world again.
5. The used car salesman disappeared up his own exhaust.
The great thing with these is you can, of course, expand the story out but equally they can get a reaction from a reader if you do not. Have fun with this, I often do!
Goodreads Author Programme – Blog – What Do I Want From a Story?
Call me fussy but there are certain things I want from any and every story, regardless of genre.
1. Intriguing characters.
2. A life or death situation (this can be life or death in the literal sense or a character making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill but it is still life or death to them).
3. Dialogue that rattles along.
4. A sense of place but not too much physical description, please. I just want enough images to form a vision of the whole thing but a few telling details are enough for that.
5. When the story ends, I’m sorry because I’ve loved being “with” the characters.
All of the above is why I read in and out of my genre as I love to find out how other writers achieve these things. And it has added considerably to both my online and physical bookshelves!