Showing posts from April, 2013

Writing in Paradise: Day 5

Day 5 of a Writing Retreat with Jan Cornall @ Daku, Fiji. Fijian welcome Juxtaposition, creating tension, action, graphing the emotional journey of characters, and structure. This was just some of the ground we covered on Day  5. Jan reminded us that all of these things - as well as graphs, flowcharts, index cards, postit notes – they are all just TOOLS to use in writing, exercises designed to get us thinking about our story. Then we put them aside and just write. The other important task that we did, and spent some time in the afternoon developing further, was to write a short paragraph of the story/novel that we were working on. A back cover blurb, a PITCH. Getting a story down to a short pitch is an important thing to do. It gets to the heart of story, tells the reader who the main characters are and what happens in the story. It’s important for the writer because it’s an exercise in distillation. I liken it to looking the story from a bird’s

Writing in Paradise: Day 4

The dining table @ Daku This is a summary of Day 4 of the Draft Busting Writing Retreat with Jan Cornall @ Daku, Fiji, I attended in March 2013. (The week long writers retreat saw us doing a writing workshop every morning, 10am-1pm, then in the afternoon we were free to do our own writing or other activity. We met in the bar in the evenings to read some of our work out loud before having a delicious meal as a family at a communal table.) Today’s workshop focus was writing from a place of emotional truth. We also looked at editing and raising the stakes in story. We began by writing down pet hates in other writers, which turned up a list that was somewhat contradictory. eg some people didn’t like reading lots of description while others relished this. However, there was some common ground that turned readers off – clich├ęs (unconsciously used), non-deliberate use of repetition, overuse of adverbs, disappointing endings/rushed endings &  monotonous sentence stru

Writing in Paradise: Day 3

This was Day 3  of a Draft Busting Writing Retreat with Jan Cornall @ Daku,Fiji. Daku Resort In the early morning of day 3 I woke and wrote these words… “I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this.” Oh dear. Drama Queen 101. To summarise, I was struggling with where my story was going. Felt like the engine had been taken apart and I was having trouble putting it back together. So many spare parts! To keep them or throw them away – that is the question. Ah, but it’s all process … by the end of writing those morning pages I had realised there were two stories and I was trying to squeeze them into one. One was the surreal piece I had arrived with and it had put its finger up at being shoved into a fairly straight narrative structure; and the other was about a father grieving for the loss of his son. After breakfast (we ate so well!) we began our 10am writing workshop. Today’s focus was on voice. What is voice? Jan defined it as when you find your stride.