Showing posts from August, 2015

Specialising in Story: A short course for new and emerging writers

Specialising in Story: The teacher 'Caroline's guidance allowed me to discover depth and structure that I didn’t even realise was threaded throughout my work. She reads subtext, recognises quality and applies structured technique in order to allow the true meaning of the work to shine through.'  Here's the thing: On September 9th something new is happening in the Adelaide writing scene. For the first time, a small group of  writers are going to meet in one of the cosy rooms at the Mockingbird Lounge in South Glenelg. They're going to explore and play while upgrading their writing skills; connect with like-minded people while deepening their story-writing ability; and they're going to be encouraged by a teacher who invests in people. They're also going to explore the fundamentals of storytelling such as characterisation, point of view, dialogue and setting; how to harness Stanislavski's seven questions when a story doesn't seem to b

Using the power of observation to create poetry

Snowman, chalk on concrete I've recently been spending my Sundays with some wonderful folk in a park in Berri, South Australia. You can read details about the Manifold Project here and here,   but in a nutshell it's spearheaded by the innovative and enthusiastic Alysha, Hermann, and is an invitation for local residents to tell their stories in collaboration with professional artists (I'm one of those). Alysha sees this project as long term (as in, years) so we're only just scratching the surface. What I want to do in this blog is demonstrate how I harness that power of observation I've talked in previous blogs to create new work as part of a project. In this case, the new work is poetry. But first, a little context ... Berri is in South Australia's Riverland, and like everything else in the Riverland, Rotary Park on Manifold Crescent has been affected by the recent, severe drought. Water restrictions meant the council stopped watering the park. Tree

What to do with all those pieces of paper #collage

As a writer you probably have piles of paper, drafts of stories, poems, and notes stacked away and sure, you could throw them in the recycle bin or print on the other side of the paper (if you haven’t done so already) but here’s another suggestion – try transforming some of those pages into art. It can be a cathartic experience and a pleasurable distraction from writing (and we all need that from time to time!) Here’s a recent example … It began with my withdrawal from a creative writing Masters course at the University of Adelaide. (I’m happy to say I don’t regret withdrawing, nor do I regret attempting it and that I haven’t abandoned the project, a work of fiction that has sisters as its focus). But the experience was a bit stressful and challenging and because I like to process stressful experiences through writing and making art, I thought about what I could do with the printed pile of project proposal drafts that I had filed away; I thought about the photocopied

A-Z writing exercise

Before I dive into some fairly intense or dense writing as I have been doing lately, it's nice to begin each day with a warm up exercise or two, in the same way that a musician does their scales and arpeggios before they begin practising the piece they're working on. This is one of my favourite writing warm-ups. I allow myself to write nonsense, be playful and if it's very early in the morning I also find myself reaching for the dictionary, especially with those last few letters. What you are going to do is write a story where each word begins with a new letter of the the alphabet (in order). Do it a few times to get the hang of it and to see if there isn't something in it you could use. (in my example below I was surprised and pleased by the term 'mournful night'). At the very least, like all good exercises, this one gets you thinking about specific word choices and how a single word can change the direction of a story. Enjoy! My example: Abalone balleri