I attended a very useful course on Saturday called "Faster Novel Writing Techniques." It was inspirational and thought provoking as is already helping me to progress my work and my aspirations to be a published author. It has been particularly helpful in rejuvenating those ideas which have been festering at the bottom of the drawer.
It was held at the wonderful Farncombe Estate in Broadway, Worcestershire. I love going to courses there. It is worth going for the panoramic views of the Cotswolds and the delicious food almost regardless of the course which attracted you in the first place.
Participants on a course obviously decide individually that the content of a course appeals to them, apply, pay, wait and then travel to the common destination, often from all over the country. I find it fascinating given this that the assembled group always feels so right and that there are usually links between the students. One could almost say that the group was meant to be, either to teach you something (beyond the course content) or to enable you to impart some information which needed to be shared.
As we went through the day, wrestling with our plot lines and characters, some super quotes emerged. "It's never too late" referred to the fact that you can write at any age and any stage in your life. You can allow poems and stories to lie unfinished for a few days or a few years, but it is never too late to finish them and put them out there into the world.
Of course when you do send off your precious pieces the chances are a high proportion of them will be rejected first time and it was when we were discussing this and how to cope with the rejections that the next useful quote emerged - "Don't get knocked off your perch." You need to stay true to your writing and believe in it and then with a little persistence you will eventually find a publisher who totally gets what you are trying to say.
I am a Virgo and as such I tend to be a perfectionist and quite structured in my approach to everything in life, unfortunately this has a tendency to restrict my spontaneity and creativity and means I am highly self critical. Any technique that can get me thinking in a less structured way is very helpful, which is why I liked the next quote. We were putting together scenes which could go together to make up our novels and as usual I was thinking in a linear way and had produced a list. Someone else on the course had items dotted all over the page and as she rightly pointed out, "you can't make a patchwork quilt out of a list." The tutor, Sue Johnson, had earlier referred to a novel as being like a patchwork quilt, so this quote was particularly apt.
Maybe I'd better get back to writing those novels......
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