Robyn Collins (author of “Glued” and other children’s books) sends her best wishes to the “Rendezvouser’s” and hopes we are all busily writing.
Jane, Carleton and Vicki attended the Brisbane Writers Workshop Salon at the Fox Hotel, South Brisbane on Tuesday the 3rd of February. They had a wonderful time connecting with other authors and editors through casual discussion and information sharing. As the salon will be held every bi-monthly, it is highly recommend that you consider coming to the next one. Lauren Daniels also produced an excellent "quick notes" guide to creative writing. I have added it below.
Our homework task is now under the “Current Task” on our website. Please email Vicki with your contributions. Constructive criticism is welcome regarding the homework task or if you wish for someone to read their homework out at our next meeting, please make a comment in the blog section.
A Week in Review (from Facebook)
Vicki has posted up a course from the Australian Writers Centre entitled “How to write a Murder”. The course is online and costs $195.00. For details please go here:
Peta has posted up the KYD Unpublished Manuscript award which is now open. For details please go here:
Happy Publishing day for H.G. Wells final novel:
Maps are always handy to have in a novel especially when set in another world:
The Queensland Memory awards are now open:
Carleton has posted up a very interesting article on writing and publishing in the digital age. For more information please go here:
I have also posted information up onto the calendar of events. You will need to have a gmail account. Please let James know so he can add you to the calendar. You can email him at email@example.com for further information on how to obtain a gmail account and be added as an administrator to the calendar so you can add events.
Creative Writing Workshop Guidelines by Lauren Daniels (Direct copy from document provided by Vicki).
These Creative Writing Workshop Guidelines were given to me by André Dubus III, author of the acclaimed novel, House of Sand and Fog, during my master of fine arts studies at Emerson College [Boston, USA, 1996-1999]. They enable productive workshop proceedings while upholding the integrity of the creative works and protecting the writer’s creative process.
All work is in progress. Be sensitive to the delicate nature of the process, the writer’s nerves and tendency to defend one’s work during the critique.
Before the critique begins, a writer can address concerns about his/her work. Once the critique begins, the writer keeps silent unless asked a direct question for clarification.
During the critique, the group discusses the work in turn while the writer takes notes. This, like the bullets above/below, avoids creating an attack/defense situation.
During the critique, address the work, not the writer. Avoid using the word you but instead say, the piece or the character, etc.
Say what IS WORKING early in your critique before what needs work. Use evidence. Cite pages, paragraphs and lines with positive feedback.
Use cautious, positive wording. Use the language of suggestion and phrase your feedback as rhetorical questions, i.e., “What if…?” or “I felt that the ending needed further development. I wonder if there is more to the story there.”
Be specific. Cite pages, paragraphs and lines to support your feedback on areas that are opportunities for polish, edits and revising/re-seeing.
Don’t write the piece. Creative solutions can convolute an already complex process for the writer and can be tempting for a group of writers. Say, “I think the main character of Jack needs another character close to him who can help the reader to grasp him more clearly, because he seems distant and hard for readers to imagine,” but don’t say, “I think Jack needs a best mate to help the reader see him better.” Suggesting a best mate is writing the piece.
At the end of the critique, ask the writer to respond to the feedback. Here, the writer can ask questions and receive clarification as well.
Electing someone to lead the critique creates a sense of order. Do your best, and when breaches of the guidelines happen, make a note and try to get the group back on track again. Employing this method will give participants the feedback they need while incorporating respect for their endeavours. At the end of a session like this, participants should feel both inspired and equipped to revise their work.
When Submitting Your Writing for a Workshop
Identify your genre: Memoir; Speculative Fiction; Historical Novel; Short Story; Children’s; etc.
Note the format & audience, i.e. Travel article for magazine; Chapter from a Young Adult book; Short story for a horror story contest, etc.
Format dialogue in the professional format. Use any published works as reference.
Put your writing in the format universally acceptable to publishers Times New Roman Font [or similar]; Size 10 or 12; 1.5 or Double Spaced. End work with a ####
When Reading/Assessing Others’ Writing
Identify the angle [theme/core message]. It could be in the title, such as “Bargaining in Argentina's Markets”, or within the prose itself, such as young love.
Observe the narrative arch [storyline, the way the story unfolds], and if all the parts/sections contribute to the narrative and support the angle.
Identify the plot and the plot points which compose the narrative arch. Remember plot is action, e.g.,
1. Giges kills the king; 2. Giges marries the queen; and 3. Giges becomes king of Lydia for 30 years.
Question where the story starts and how the story ends.
Consider the overall structure.
Consider the characters and setting.
Are you shown more than you are told?
Consider the voice of the piece.
Identify the perspective of the piece.
Have a look at the sentence structure, verb phrases and verb tense.
BWW Hot Tips
Always be specific with observations and cite elements that work as well as the areas that need polish.
Write/type your notes directly on your copy of the piece, using pencil or pen [not red as it freaks some writers out] or MS Word’s Track Changes editing tool. All copies will be returned to writers.
Be open minded to genres outside your taste. If someone presents crime fiction and you don’t normally read it—it’s an opportunity to use those analytical muscles and to see, objectively, what makes a good story and what presents opportunities for revision, further building your own writing skills. A true exercise in being analytical over judgmental, when we look at whether or not a thing works over whether or not we like it or agree with it, we see the gears, motors and switches that make the technical aspects of writing orchestrate into art.
Please do not write/rewrite the piece for the writer. Make suggestions, cite areas of confusion or inconsistency, let the writers know something needs to be fixed…but don’t tell them exactly how. Leave the creativity to the author. Use gentle language in your critique, such as: "Something here doesn't feel real or authentic," or "The bias is a bit heavy," or "I cannot picture this place/character and need a more detail," are some examples...but please don't say, "The story would work better if the lady had a cat,” since it contaminates the creative process.
That said, let’s enjoy the ride. It’s going to be creative, supportive and rewarding for everyone.
Let me know if you have any questions as we go. Phone 07 3351 7003 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com anytime.
That is the round up of Rendezvous News for this week. If you have any news, articles or interesting books you are reading please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook page.