Workshops – a scary prospect for a teacher

This coming week my writers and I are switching from writing classes to writing workshops. Scary. For me, at least. I’m not going to be quite as in control of events as I like!

Recently, I’ve attended a few book festivals. In the past, book festivals were mainly people talking at the audience but they have now graduated into well-structured interviews which are generally far more enlightening. Patrick Gale and Nina Stibbe having a chat in front of the audience at the North Cornwall Book Festival this weekend was like being allowed into someone’s cosy front room and listening in to secret matters! Wonderful. The audience learns so much about the authors, their characters, plot and the writing process.

The analogy is that be it interviews or workshops, the switch in direction removes control from the tutor, the Didact and places the onus to learn on the writers.

Workshops are active learning for participants and work better when groups are small as ours are at the moment. Each week we will tackle a different aspect of our writing, and so writers can feedback to the group, or to me, for constructive critique. Peer review is priceless.

This coming week we are looking at planning our writing which will be useful even for those halfway through their novel because there are one or two things which may be new to you!

Remember that writing is a craft, so practising improves your skill. Writing advice is useful, but writing practice is essential.

Helen Rappaport at Appledore Book Festival

This week, we will focus on characters and endings and just ‘getting on with it’. How exciting!

£10 per week. Dawn is there for 1-1 advice on Monday 9.30-11.30, and groups 10-12 on Tues/Thurs. Attend one or all sessions. Venue: Wharf Studio.


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