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Elizabeth Hawksley: Novel Writing Holiday in Fishguard

January 21, 2011

Fishguard Bay Hotel is the perfect venue for a novel writing weekend

On February 18th-20th I shall be in Fishguard to take six one hour workshops for the Winter Writers and Artists’ Workshop Weekend run by Anne and Gerry Hobbs. Shortly, first chapters and synopses from my prospective students will be thudding onto my doormat. Some of them will be from beginners, others from more experienced writers.

First, I must read the typescripts and then decide what workshops to do. My aims are to stimulate debate, both in the class and afterwards; to give them various technical pointers – for example, to include a number of hooks in the first chapter to draw the readers in; and to be helpful and encouraging. When the time comes to go home, I want them to feel that they have really learnt something.

I know how scary it can be to expose your writing to others, so I shall be keeping an eye on the group dynamic. Occasionally, one can get a member of the ‘awkward squad’ who needs firm handling if the atmosphere is to be as supportive and friendly as I’d like.

My guess is that the workshops will include Plot, the First Chapter, and Character but there are other possible topics. Writing an effective synopsis, for example, is notoriously difficult and they may need help with that. I shall also be available outside the classes to talk to anyone on a more personal level.

My Novel Workshop is one of five courses offered and they make for an interesting and lively mix of people. The weekend (nice hotel and good food) is as much about meeting other people who share your interests as it is about the workshops themselves, and Anne and Gerry are always very welcoming and helpful.

It’s a lot of hard work for both tutors and students but it’s also a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it. If you’re interested, you can book in here.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2011 9:39 am

    I will be very interested to hear how things go Elizabeth and good luck with the weekend. It sounds great. I will be running a week long course in Burgundy in September on Turning Memoir into Fiction and again, it will be a new group of people and I want them to have the best experience possible. This requires a lot of meticulous planning but also the flexibility to respond to individual needs and interest. There are a lot of balls to juggle in the air!

  2. Lorna permalink
    January 21, 2011 4:32 pm

    This series of workshops will be invaluable to writers both experienced and starting-out. I recall, when writing my novel, how it took me almost as long to write the synopsis and cover letter as it had taken to write the entire novel – boy, did I struggle!

  3. childrensauthor permalink
    January 22, 2011 8:40 am

    I agree, Miriam, it is a bit of a juggling act. The problem is, however much you plan, you don’t know what the students are actually like until you meet them! I hope you’ll blog about how your workshops went in due course.

    Thanks for your comment, Lorna. How I sympathize – I hate doing synopses, especially as they are quite as much of a Sales pitch as they are telling what happens in the story.


  4. Prem permalink
    January 23, 2011 12:38 pm

    It sounds fascinating. I wonder what the most unusual question is that you’ve been asked.

  5. childrensauthor permalink
    January 23, 2011 11:02 pm

    Good to hear from you, Prem. I remember an Italian student of mine asking me if her uncle in the Mafia could be her Unique Selling Point! I agreed that he was indeed an intriguing USP but suspected that advertizing the fact might be unwise!


  6. Nikki permalink
    February 4, 2011 8:55 pm

    I hope you enjoy the week Elizabeth ! I look forward to hearing how it went. On a teen writing course I did once, Malorie Blackman advised a student who was coyly reticent to ‘show’ her work, that at some point, ‘one needs to pee on the pot or get off’.
    Sound advice for coy wasting of time I thought….

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