From the Unthank School of Writing blog, Eilidh Horder of Riverstudios talks about the Online Fiction Workshop with Stephen Carver... For anyone considering the Unthank School Online Fiction Workshop, I unreservedly encourage you to do so. I originally signed up for the How to Write a Novel course, as I, well, wanted to learn how to… Continue reading Student Experiences: Priceless Advice
In writing a novel, it is not just your protagonist that embarks on a journey but you, walking alongside your fictional companion like a medieval hero and his chronicler. This is a long road so imagine it as you like; perhaps carrying a shield upon your back and a sword in your hand, hiking in the woods with your best friend, or maybe doggedly pushing a shopping cart with your kid through an apocalyptic wasteland armed only with a revolver and two shells.
It’s one of life’s truisms that reading widely and critically is essential if you're serious about writing. You don’t need a degree in literature to be a critical reader; a lot of it is good, old fashioned common sense, and you’ll have most likely been reading this way naturally for years already, so naturally in fact that you might not be aware that you’re doing it. The next stage, especially if you’re beginning to write your own fiction, is to focus much more consciously on the individual components of narrative structure, and to apply this knowledge to your own writing.
I recently wrote a piece about the on-going debate regarding whether or not ‘creative writing’ can be taught, being inspired by Cheryl Whittaker’s interview with my old friend Ashley Stokes. As this is a major part of my professional life, I was, of course, arguing that it could, while suggesting that the gainsayers tend to confuse the art with the craft.
When I consider the sheer volume of creative writing courses, masterclasses, retreats, manuscript assessment and ‘author solutions’ services currently available to aspiring authors (for example when I can’t sleep), I am often reminded of the rapid rise of Spiritualism in the 1850s, a process that the mathematician Augustus De Morgan likened to the spread of smallpox.
First off, let me just thank each and every one of you for such a positive and enthusiastic response to my post on ‘Top Ten Writing Mistakes.’ For a new blog the response was overwhelming – I think more people read this than all of my academic publications combined. It just goes to show what you can achieve if you distil your life’s work into ten bullet points. Point Number Nine (‘Bad Sex’) seemed to have touched a nerve, and I have more to say on the subject, but not today...