I've recently taken advantage of a couple of writing workshops in the Nottingham area so I thought I'd share my experiences with you.
Sue Moorcroft Writing Commercial Fiction
Thursday 20th October Waterstones Nottingham
Award winning novelist and short story writer Sue Moorcroft was in Nottingham for the launch of her latest novel The Christmas Promise which was to take place that evening. In the afternoon she took a group of us through the stages of getting a book published. She reminded us that in order to sell we had to entertain and that we must assess our readership in order to hook them to our story.
A particularly encouraging piece of information from Sue was that it is an advantage to have been published in magazines. Amongst other things it gives you publishing credits, you become accustomed to rejection and it gets you an audience.
She went on to talk about pitching, literary agents and attending literary festivals. She explained about what to put in a cover letter and then talked about building your internet platform i.e. website, Twitter etc.
A very worthwhile three hours.
Stephen Booth Crime Writing Workshop
Saturday 29th October Long Eaton
Award winning writer of the crime series featuring police detectives Diane Fry and Ben Cooper, Stephen Booth was booked by Erewash Writers for a whole day of creative writing.
Stephen taught us how important characters are to a story. He explained how it is the character that drives the plot – not the other way round. He gave us some examples of questions we might ask about our main character as a way of finding out what sort of person they are. e.g. What kind of car do they drive? What books do they read?
He told us that if we want to imagine how to commit a murder we must inhabit that person. He also covered point of view and story construction.
He related a few tales of how involved the fans of his books become with the characters and the comments they make either via e-mail or in person at book conventions.
Apparently there is a hierarchy of murder victims according to how sympathetic readers are to the characters. Top of list are cats, dogs and other animals. Readers get most upset if an animal is hurt or killed. Next come children followed by teenagers and then women. It appears that male murder victims do not evoke much sympathy from readers and so the author has to work very hard to arouse any feelings that they might feel for the unfortunate person.
It was also interesting to learn that he doesn't plan his novels.
Again, a very productive experience.
I recommend that you watch out for any writing events in your area. You can always learn something from successful authors.