Sunday, 2 August 2015

Workshop Series:  Plot & Development with Helen Hagemann, Friday 7th August 1-3pm at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Utilising Lawrence Block's "Writing the Novel" and other references, this is the first in a series of workshops to help writers understand the narrative arc of the novel / short story. 
   Helen aims to take writers through the many steps as a guide from the initial outline to the final stage.

Workshop 1 will look at "What Exactly is Plot?" This week we will look at graphs, including storyboarding, brainstorming and a writing exercise.


Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print

Block includes 'deciding which novel to write', developing plot ideas, and developing characters, with examples of how he has approached each.  "Ideas", he believes, arise in the mind "when the conditions are right," and then he gives concrete examples of how to make conditions right: read the kind of things you want to write, pay attention, remember what you're looking for.  Decidedly the best chapter in the book is "developing plot ideas" and his anecdotes resonate. His emphasis on individual patterns in writing continues throughout the book.  The chapter on 'outlining' states near the beginning, "There is no right way to do this -- or, more correctly, there is no wrong way.  Whatever works best for the particular writer on the particular book is demonstrably the right way." Block goes on to say, "If you feel comfortable beginning your book without an outline - or  even without a firm idea where's it's going - by all means go ahead. If you feel more confident of your ability to finish a book with an outline in front of you, by all means construct and employ one.  As you go along, you'll learn what works best for the particular writer you turn out to be.  Other good advice comes in his chapter on "Getting It Written."  Concern yourself with the work of the day.  Don't worry about what comes next, or whether you'll be able to sort out tomorrow's problems.  If nothing seems to come out right, write it anyway; you can throw it out later. This book is a fun read and can be useful for someone looking for specific pointers on process, alternative methods of working, or just glimpses of how one author thinks about writing. 

Please note: Apart from references such as a review (paraphrased) by Erin Hartshorn, acknowledgement must also be attributed to the OOTA Prose writers who have suggested these workshops!

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