I attended two fabulous workshops today. In the morning Kristen was taking us through the four 'what ifs' of writing a good short story.
. what if there is a challenge to the status quo
. what if there is an alternate narrator or narrative
.what if there is a challenge to the character
.what if there is a dilemma or surprise
she expanded on all these and had us writing short responses to prompts
There was also a brief discussion on magic realism
Sherryl Clark(no apparent relationship)spoke on writing a good synopsis and analysing what exactly my novel is about. This was far more difficult than I imagined although my experience has been that I struggle with writing them. Sherryl had us really working hard on breaking down the story to its basic elements. then had us colour coding two pages of work. the first page we coloured each of nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives and then underlines metaphors and similes and had a look at the balance in our word choices. are we using too many adverbs for example. are there not enough verbs to keep the action moving?
The second page was colouring first and second sentences in alternate colours to see how our sentence length varied or not as the case may be. Sherryl spoke of the importance of varying sentence length to keep our 'sentence rhythm' interesting for the reader.
we had a vegetarian lunch of soups and toast with fruit on the side. I saved the pumpkin soup from certain death thank goodness for my ex chef nose.
An interesting thing occurred today. I found myself introducing me as an ex chef rather than as a writer. for a year now I have been practicing the 'I am a writer' introduction but today I felt out of kilter and my 'fraud' syndrome kicked in. There are women here who are doctors and lecturers and quite a few of them are published and i felt totally like I should have stayed at home and stuck my head under a pillow. I read a short story I had written to a solid wall of silence. Not one reaction whatsoever. So I immediately went into "I am a terrible writer, it must have been really bad, I should go work on a pig farm and feed my paper to pigs."
Over lunch I read it to Veronica and she did not react straight away either but said she wasn't surprised no one reacted because the story was quite powerful and left no where to go for the listener because of where it ended. On a cliff hanger because I had stopped when told to.
I need to not react in the negative. I need to embrace the belief that my skills are growing and I am a good writer becoming a better writer.
All the others are downstairs having poetry readings but I felt a little off side so I came up to write my blog. We had dinner across the bridge at the SanRemo Hotel and needed an extra table added for our extra numbers but the hotel did not oblige, they sent out some woman who snapped at us that she had 30 seats for 30 bookings and we could get over ourselves so I left with a poorly digested meal in my stomach to make way for other people and a feeling of disgust at the stupidity of an establishment that reduced their potential income by making patrons disgruntled. If I had been made welcome to stay by the woman being polite and even apologising for the inconvenience and a decent explanation that they were fully booked with no spares, I may have stayed for several drinks, desert and coffee but I went to the other end of the island instead and my money stayed in my pocket as did that of my companion and a high portion of the other people in our group. Many of whom have returned with complaints about the food. Instead of 36 happy customers... for want of a chair their patronage was lost.
Never mind. Now I have time to write more of my novel and a better synopsis. :)