Writing workshop 3 – What’s next?


The third writing workshop was an opportunity to share progress, (or not), to play with words and to meet other scribblers and writers during National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo. We used a couple of writing prompts to get us into the flow. We met at our usual venue – Tavira library.

The fourth writing session will be Monday 23 November at 2:30 pm at Tavira Library. 

The writing prompts used were to help us relax into our creative process. Try them for yourself! Our aim was not to create well crafted prose, but to write quickly and then reflect and discuss.

1.  HUMOUR – 5-7 mins: Write some lines that contain humour – you do not have to turn into a comedian. Try to think/imagine an incident, a meeting,  any situation that gives rise to humour, any kind of humour – even humour after the event in l’esprit de l’escalier’ mode perhaps.

2.  DRAMATIC EVENT – 12 mins: Think about a dramatic event that might occur in your story or writing. Write down how the main character sets out to overcome any obstacles that follow on from such an event. For example, a character discovers that the office computer, which holds sensitive information, has been hacked. How did the character deal with this event and what happened next.

Whether to write mémoire or a novel has been a reoccurring theme throughout all the sessions, as some of us try to give life to our memories in the form of fictitious characters. Mary Jezzard asked, “how can you mix mémoire and imagination without invalidating the ‘truth’?”

Part of the answer seems to be in the development of strong characters.

Creating believable and compelling characters is part of the challenge for any writer. Sketching out the accomplishments, the motivations, the skills, the fears and more, of an enticing character can aid a writer to go beyond a bland outline.

David Corbett’s article “How to craft compelling characters” suggests one of the following elements is necessary, – driving need, desire, ambition or goal; a secret; a contradiction; and vulnerability.

Character Template
Character Template

I like character templates as they can be an aid in remembering small details that can be cross referenced when outlining scenes.

Here is an example of part of one such templates. It comes from a Cheat Sheet called Character Development by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, PH.D. that can be downloaded here. NaNoWriMo Character Cheat Sheet1

I haveBlue Eyes book cover not been as focused on writing this November.

Getting into the flow seemed easier in 2014. But with two weeks left of NaNoWriMo, my intention is to just write and write. My novel about Blue Eyes is making progress. I have even designed a book cover.

Getting into the mind of an environmentally aware cat has been fairly easy.  I have even taken a few walks to try and see what a cat would notice as it wanders and observes what must appear to be strange human behaviour. It has helped develop a stronger voice for my character “Blue Eyes.”

It is getting to be an epic tale involving British and Portuguese culture, the Romans and respect for water and the land. I have set her up with a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I just need to finish the book!

I have also been dipping into scenes within mémoire in the form of a novel. Yes, focus is needed!

The next workshop is 2:30 pm Monday 23 November at Tavira library. Bring along what you have written (in any language).

There may also be a Portuguese/English session for NanoWriMo writers on Saturday 28 November. The date and time will be confirmed as soon as possible.

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