DAY 1: To Begin, to arrive, to settle in, to make space.
- Where you are with your writing?
- What kind of writer are you? Where is your writing muscle? Where are you stiff?
- Identify key areas you want to focus on during the week;
- Identify a story or stories you’d like to write;
- What are the elements of ‘story?’
- Work out who your writing is for (your market) and identify the elements of the genre or story you’re telling;
- Identify and challenge internal resistance;
- Learning the process – how does writing ‘work’? The difference between the muse, the music, the mystery and the muscle;
- The 24 essential questions you must answer when writing a book.
DAY 2: To Animate
- Today we will look at an introduction on how to write character: how do I create characters that are engaging, conflicted and richly conceived? (Even if you’re writing memoir/non-fiction);
- Who are the people in your head and why should anyone care about them?
- What are the four elements of revealing character so that readers will care about them?
- ‘Story comes through character’ – characters need obstacles, crises, conflict – what crisis or pressure do your characters face?
- What are your characters’ backstories? What do you still need to know before you can write about your characters?
- We will explore the secrets of constructing memorable, engaging sympathetic characters who generate story;
- We will look at the two key elements of dialogue and action and explore how to write believable dialogue that helps pace the action;
- We will look at how revealing personality helps drive the plot through character;
- What is ‘point of view’ and how does it affect your story? (first, second and third – and when to use them).
DAY 3: To Construct
- Today we will examine how the arrangement of story elements creates story flow, pace & tension (theme, plot, structure, pace, symbols, setting);
- How does the setting or time-frame affect your narrative momentum and the significance and echoes of place and time in your story?
- We will locate the drama/conflict in your story so that you are clear about what is driving the narrative;
- We will find the turning points (the keys to character transformation);
- We will explore the difference between plot and structure;
- You will learn to think about what the best structure is for the story you are telling;
- We will talk about the secrets of building tension or suspense, and how one structures the revelations that move your story forward;
- We will look at how to create an outline or scaffold of your story as well as a time-line;
- What are the techniques that build pace and tension?
DAY 4: To Own
- Stripping away cliché to get real and authentic;
- How do you find your signature style?
- What makes your story unique?
- What is voice? What is your voice?
- What work do you still need to do to refine/find your voice?
- Are you showing or telling (and what is the difference anyway?)
DAY 5: To Finish
- Today I will introduce you to the editing and rewriting process and we will look at how to use silence, spaces and subtext to create narrative depth;
- We will look at how to declutter our writing and bring back a startling simplicity;
- What is the role of research in the writing process?
- Beginning to think ahead about your market, manuscript assessments, the road towards finding readers;
- We will look at what a writing platform is and how you can go about starting to create one now;
- We will look at the road ahead – how to create good writing practice, how to commit to the process, stay on track and set goals.
And then we will celebrate!