Kathleen and I recently conducted a three-hour workshop at the New South Wales State Library as part of the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival. It was the third sold out workshop we’ve run at the event.
Our goal in the session was to give participants an introduction to fiction writing.
It’s relatively easy for aspiring writers to understand the theory of what makes for good writing and a good story.
It is much harder to put the theory into practice. That is the art and craft that takes time to master.
For the Writers’ Festival we had three broad goals for the session:
1. Give participants an introduction to the key tools enabling writers to tap into the power of their imagination, the true source of creative power. It’s the key ingredient that makes people want to read what you have written because when you write from that space you find your authentic voice.
When participants in our groups put this into practice, they are delighted at what a difference it makes to the quality of their writing and the response they get from readers.
As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.”
2. Give a broad overview of the dynamics of how classic story structure works.
A classic story is one that has readers wanting to know what happens next while taking a main character on an emotional and spiritual journey of change.
Such stories have the power to move, entertain and inspire readers at a deep level.
As Robert McKee, says, “You might have the insights of Buddha, but if you canʼt tell a story, your ideas will be as dry as dust. Craft is the sum total of all means used to draw the audience into deep involvement, to hold that involvement and ultimately reward it with a moving and meaningful experience.”
We believe that this is the highest purpose of fiction.
3, Writing a novel or screenplay is a daunting task. In order to write a compelling story that works along classic lines, you need a process.
Writing is very much an art and a craft.
To quote Dara Marks, PhD and author of INSIDE STORY: The Power of the Transformational Arc:
“The method for getting to the emotional heart of a story is not a divine secret bestowed only on the anointed. All writers have a well of valuable feelings and insights; it’s just a question of knowing how to tap into them.
Even though this was the third workshop we’d conducted at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, this was the first time we’ve presented this particular process and we were thrilled at the response.
This is some of the feedback we received from participants:
1. “Thank you Roland and Kathleen for a truly memorable class – the highlight of my writing themed week. I certainly plan to do one of your courses and have been busy recommending you to fellow writers.”
2. “Thanks so much to Roland and Kathleen for such an inspiring and enjoyable afternoon.”
3. “Great workshop – exactly what I was hoping for. A wonderful, positive atmosphere to make sure you keep putting the pen to the paper.”
4. “It was awesome! Thanks guys for making learning an absolute pleasure.”
At the Writers’ Festival we gave participants a taste of what we did in our courses at The Writers’ Studio, which can be done both live and online.
They are suitable for professional writers, complete beginners and anyone in between. We specialise in helping people write novels and screenplays.