Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The growing world of blogging...

I feel a growing understanding among contemporary NZ writers for the need to develop an online presence. It’s taken a little while to develop but it is now. Our workshops at the Centre for Continuing Education are filling fast – showing this writing form and its wider implications for writers and social media is catching on among the storytelling community.
Blogging has several advantages for the writer:
  • It’s writing practice – developing succinctness, awareness of an audience and their needs and expectations, making sure to maximize effect  and impact while keeping the word count economical.
  • It’s a helpful device for becoming and remaining part of the community of writers and readers.
  • It’s visible – in a public forum, and therefore calls for writing discipline and the need to draft and re-draft.
  • It’s a way to get your name out there while you’re working on your magnum opus. I wish I’d had such a forum in the four years I spent working on my first novel.
  • It’s a way of developing e-literacy and keeping abreast of technological development.
  • It lets the writer also be a layout designer, a photo editor.
Blogging has come a long way from … this morning I mowed the lawn. It now has a role to play in writing of virtually any kind.
Find out more about our blogging and self-publishing courses at the Centre for Continuing Education (part of the University of Auckland).    Watch this space for more on the world of blogging…

Monday, July 18, 2011

Legacy Writing and Self Publishing workshops in Whangarei

The Story Bridge ran 2 days of Legacy Writing workshops in Whangarei last weekend. We had 36 places over the 4 workshops, including several people repeating seminars. Some took the Intro to Legacy Writing, then the Advanced the next day. Some took either of the Legacy workshops then the Self Publishing workshop on the Sunday afternoon.

Whangarei city library is a modern, glass walled building with great light and a real feeling of space and airiness.

Most of the attendees were from the Whangarei area.Some were well advanced into their writing projects, and a few were just starting out on theirs, so we had a great mix of students.

Participants learned how to approach their legacy/life story project as a writer would - using storytelling approaches to engage the reader in your story - including:

  • description using Show/Don't Tell
  • use of metaphor and motif
  • how to layout dialogue to ebb and flow and contain a sense of place and landscape
  • how to bring your dialogue scenes to life (to give the reader insight into the people in your legacy story - even though they never met them)
  • how to structure the narrative, including flashback technique to capture moments from the past in immediate time
  • how to think of your writing in terms of both the horizontal (plot and sequential event) and vertical axis (resonance, meaning, character insight)
Jocelyn's Self-Publishing workshop was an intensive introduction to the field, including comparisons with traditional and self-publishing options, and the whole process mapped out from finalizing the writing, to book production costings, print/e-book comparisons, down to writing your back-cover blurb and arranging book launches. 
    Many thanks go to Paula Urlich and her dedicated team at Whangarei Library for making us all welcome. 
    The next legacy writing workshop series will be in Auckland. Keep an eye on the homepage for further info.  

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    Continuing Education

    I just finished teaching a week's course on Writing the Novel at Auckland University Continuing Education. It was an intense week grappling with many of the elements of fiction writing in the context of a full length work.

    Jocelyn and I will be at Continuing Education running a one-day blogging workshop, August 27th. Have a look at the link and book a place.

    In our courses this year, starting in Whangarei this weekend, we'll be looking at working with writers to put a 'rolling' life story together, under the umbrella of Legacy Writing. The electronic media advances in the last few years have opened up all sorts of opportunities both for hosting and storing writing and for 'thinking outside the square' as to how you actually put your work together and which form suits which context.

    The blogging workshop is a great place to start to get familiar with this vibrant media form. It's one of the roads into the future, for writers.

    Click here to find out more about our self-publishing and blogging workshops.