Sunday, September 14, 2014

Charlie's Ramblings: Brisbane Writers Festival 2014 Part 2




Part 2

Friday 5th September
Friday was a toss up as to whether I was going to catch the train in or not.  I wanted to be able to do some people watching but when I looked at the prices of the train tickets, opposed to the cost of parking, I figured it would be just as easy for me to drive.


Creative Methods by Laini Taylor (Author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)
So the beginning of Creative Methods Laini had everyone introduce themselves and their hang up (if they had one) when it comes to writing.  Laini also mentioned that she was not a teacher but a writer, and this was all good since i was pretty excited to meet the face behind Karou's stories.

The other thing I liked about the Masterclass was that we got to hear some of Laini's troubles with her writing and how she got to where she was!

Once again the class was filled with many different people whose hangups ranged from not being able to finish stories to editing and getting published.

The question then popped up, "How do you write?"  There was mention of having a notebook for each story, whether you are a planner or a panther ("Pantser).

Everybody had their set style on how to do things.  Mine wasn't too different to one of the other guys who happened to complete his novel in NaNoWriMo which was pretty exciting.  At least with that you have a set amount of words that you need to achieve per day, and the end result hopefully is a novel.  Not to mention that it limits the editor in you going back and correcting things instead of writing.

Laini had wanted to write books for as far back as she could remember.  It was this thing that she was always wanted to do but never actually finished her first novel until she was 35.  I couldn't help but think, "Yes!  There's hope for me yet, since I've finished maybe one novel but have put this to the side because I need more practice."

So while she was procrastinating about writing she did a lot of other awesome things in between.  Editing other people's work and going to art school.  It never ceases to amaze me that that many writers are also very creative in other areas too.  It's crazy and cool!

We moved on to Processes.

It was then asked who in here writes a fast first draft and edits slowly.  It came up that Laini tended to edit as she went.

The big thing about processes are: Knowing your brain and getting it to do what you want it to do!

It's good to have goals.  That's one thing that NaNoWriMo teaches you.  To set and achieve goals every day and work towards the big goal, 50,000.  Also to keep going even when you want to go back and edit.

A good practice would be to keep an idea notebook and spend half an hour a day adding things into it.

One of the writing exercises was to write a list of "Things that light your mind on fire."  Come up with 50 - 100 things.  Good idea to stick at this for 30 minutes to let the mind get past the first ideas that pop up.  The list of things can be one word, paragraphs etc.  If anything jumps out at you for any reason go with it. Who knows what might come out of it.

Here were some that I had came up with on this exercise.  Just letting you know that this was the things that came up in my mind:

  • White noise
  • Bridges that move
  • Rain hitting tin roofs
  • Glitter/Sparkles
  • Talking Backpacks
We did some talking about the ideas that popped up then moved on to another exercise.  This time we had to think about "The kinds of stories you want to write".  Then write a list of book titles that would spark some interest, one of which I'm currently working on now.  Thanks to one of the other writers there, *Mia who helped me to iron out some crinkles and bounce ideas off.

That's one thing I absolutely recommend.  Have another writer or reader to bounce ideas off!  It makes fleshing out the story so much fun and give you ideas you otherwise may not have come up with straight away!

We then moved on to "Opening Lines".  We had to pick out of one of the titles and work on an opening line that would capture the reader.

Ideas + words = Create Magic.  

Laini also spoke of the Fictional Dream.  I'd never heard of the term but have been in that sort of state while reading a good book.

Fictional Dream is the state we enter into when we are absorbed in what we are reading.  The better the writing, the more fluid the dream.  Where the writing just disappears and just the story remains.  Where characters come alive and you put yourself into the scene.

To be able to create the fictional dream means you have nailed it.  I'd absolutely love to be talented with words and have this happen in my own writing.  

Laini also spoke about what plotting is, and that it is not set in stone.  If for instance your story is going off course to how you imagined but it seems to take the story to a better pathway, adjust your plot.  

Plotting is like standing outside a house but you're not going to know everything until you start writing the scene.


Free writing is the ultimate idea generator for me.  Thinking with your hand.  It's a wonderful way to come up with ideas.  I'm currently doing Sarah Selecky's Story Is A State of Mind and she is big on the Free writing too.  It is well worth it.

So that was wonderful three hours spent with some great writers and Laini Taylor.

I happened to google some brainstorming ideas that Laini had written about and came across the "Attic Notebook" which I really liked the sound of.

This is a freewriting exercise where you get a notebook and freewrite for about 30 minutes a day.  She explains that the key to doing this is not to reread what you have written,, just keep going without a glance backwards.  One you fill it with all sorts of writing, put aside for a month.  Then come back to it.  You will be amazed of the things that you have written and forgotten that you have.  I can't wait to try this!!

Hope you all enjoyed this.

Stay Tuned for Part 3 coming soon.

Charlie.

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