Northland, New Zealand

Creative writing class for Mahurangi community

On Saturday May 26 I ran a successful creative writing workshop for the community north of Auckland in the Snells Beach – Mahurangi – Warkworth – Leigh area.

We covered:

  • Structure of novel, short story, play/drama and flash fiction
  • Essential word counts you need to know
  • Workflow – the benefits you’ll get from polishing a piece of writing – how great it feels
  • Voice – real, practical advice including To make the voices of your characters distinctive:
    • Mix up vocabulary that is archaic, retro, then modern, contemporary, and even futuristic
    • Be creative with spellings
    • Some characters’ voices will have idiosyncratic punctuation
    • Some voices will have their own jargon/slang/idiom
    • Your voices must be written so distinctively that the reader can tell who is speaking without attribution.
    • You won’t need he said / she said on the page if you have written distinctive voices.
  • Real, practical advice including
    • Write with the door closed
    • Edit with the door open
    • Expect your work to require 2-10 drafts. Never one draft.
    • Intoxicants are fine – but you’ll need to edit sober.
    • Anticipate mood swings as you write and await response
  • How to make your characters ‘pop’ off the page
  • WAYS TO POLISH PROSE:
    • Hit CTRL+S every 30 seconds
    • Write with the door closed; edit with the door open
    • Get your writing perfect – then cut 20%, usually from the start. Murder your darlings.
    • Leave white space on your page. It makes your writing more inviting to look at.
    • Difficult Titles Deter – select a title that your hero would select. Don’t get clever in the title.
    • Murder your darlings.33814860_1889854614394039_4191097630819876864_n

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