Watling Street Writers

Wednesday, February 15

Get Writing 2012

Having attended the Get Writing 2012 conference at the weekend I thought I would share with you some of the hints and tips from the conference.

The day was a mix of workshops, speakers and panels with lunch and pitches to agents thrown in. .

I attended a workshop on characterisation with Toby Frost and a workshop on plotting with Suzanne Mcleod.

Regarding Toby's characterisation workshop, the most idea I found most interesting was what he called 'The Dune moment'. This relates to where places can essentially become characters in your novel and drive plot or at least add colour to the overall story.
A haunted house is a classic example of this and in Dune there are many examples of how the planet itelf became a character in the story.
Toby described the moment when a local tribesman spat on a table to show respect (water being a precious commodity) and the imapct this had in a particular scene. This one memorable scene related to the location of the story adds real colour and background and it made me think about how I could use a similar approach in my current novel.

Suzanne talked about plotting and one of the approaches she described was the use of scenes and sequels in her writing. The idea that for every scene (which may or may not be a chapter) containing character goals and conflicts there has to be a sequel i.e a reaction to that scene from the characters. This sequel in turn will lead to the next scene.

More on this idea can be found on the links from Suzanne's website - particularly the link to Jim Butcher's blog and the book "Techniques of the Selling Writer" by Dwight V Swain.

Finally I will add a couple of links about pitching that I found useful. As it turned out, pitching to the editor, Donna Condon was a lot easier than I had built it up to be - she was very friendly and that helped a lot!



Overall I found it a very useful experience and would recommend it to anyone looking to move their writing forward. Roll on Get Writing 2013!


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