The writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

Reading on Screen

IMG_1085Last week I attended a three-day workshop at Bournemouth University to create a story told by means of digital video. The first day focused on using images and anecdotes to generate stories with a focus on the experience of reading, especially using kindles. However, as I don’t have a kindle the ‘Reading on Screen’ workshop allowed me to tell the story of my reading history, from a non-reading child to an adult reader with a passion for writing.

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Using iMovie to develop my digital story titled ‘Journey’.

Much of the following two days were spent in the computer suite, recording audio and video footage to develop and shape the material into a story. Using iMovie, I was able to intersect shots of still and moving images with speech and sound effects. The final product is far from perfect, but I learnt and enormous amount by being involved with the process. I have to thank the organisers for the professional support they offered in  bringing my story to the screen. When ‘Journey’ goes online, I’ll post a link to YouTube so that you can see the end result.

Further workshops will be held later in the year in Sheffield and Brighton. I look forward to attending the final dissemination of learning which will take place in Brighton in December. For further information about the project see the Reading on Screen Facebook group or the Reading on Screen project website.

 

 

 

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Women are funny creatures too

I attended a comedy writing workshop with Juno Theatre last month which was a really informative and enjoyable day. By working collaboratively,  Sarah Scally, Maria Pruden and I produced a 10-minute comedy. This has been accepted for presentation so I’m    delighted to announce that our script ‘Killer Ladybugs’ will appear as part of a Scratch Night at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis on Wednesday 17 May 2017. The programme comprises eight scripts written by women which will be  performed by local actors. Book your seat now at the Marine Theatre. The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets cost £6 (£5 for concessions).  I hope to see you there!

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Writers in the Alley, open mic

There is a friendly and talented group of writers who meet in Dorchester on the first Wednesday of each month. They are known as Writers in the Alley due to the venue, a room sometimes used for playing skittles at Goldie’s Bar, 36 High East Street. Regular meetings are held at 7pm for a 7:30 start. Members support each other by showing a positive interest in the writing shared. On Wednesday 5 April, the group is hosting a second open mic session, so if you’re in Dorchester this is well worth attending. Go along to hear some wonderful poetry and prose presented in a variety of forms or bring your own writing to read or perform. I attended an open mic held in the autumn and it was great to find a receptive audience for my poetry. You can find Writers in the Alley on Facebook or contact the organiser on suzie.suze1@gmail.com.

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I’m really disappointed  I won’t be able to attend this open mic as I’m away from home at the beginning of April. Luckily Writers in the Alley are planning to make the open mic session a regular event so I hope to be there next time.

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Writers’ Day in Bournemouth

Join me at a Writers’ Day where you’ll be able to network with other writers, find out more about writing in different genres and become part of a new Dorset Writers’ Network project to be launched in 2017.

Venue: Bournemouth Library, 22 The Triangle, Bournemouth, BH2 5RQ

Time:  10am – 4pm

Date:   Saturday 22 October 2016

I have enjoyed working alongside all the workshop leaders and can thoroughly recommend their input.

Finding your character’s voice in Young Adult fiction

Chantelle Atkins is a prolific writer of YA fiction who has extensive knowledge of the genre. If you’re interested in finding out how to develop the voice of teenage characters, this is the workshop for you.

Researching your historical fiction

For an erudite workshop, you can’t do better than this. The team combination of Frances Colville and Tom Colville brings together the best approaches in research and provides ideas for how to apply this knowledge in developing your writing.

The art of self publishing

If you’re looking for sound advice from someone with substantial experience in helping writers reach their audience through self publishing, look no further than joining this workshop delivered by Helen Baggott. Have all your questions about the journey to become an indie author answered.

Child characters in fiction

Extend your repertoire of techniques in writing about children in adult fiction. Child narrators, child protagonists and child characters, when framed creatively, can add new dimensions to your writing. Join this workshop delivered by me and learn about the strategies published authors use to achieve authentic child characters.

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Also available are one-to-one surgeries for feedback and advice on improving your writing.

I hope to see some of you in October.

 

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This Little World, an anthology by Dorset Writers

51DPQ9oOlwL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_You may remember back in January, I wrote a post about creative writing workshops which were held in rural locations around Dorset to promote creative writing. (You can read the post here.) The workshops were offered by steering group members of the Dorset Writers’ Network and encouraged participants to submit a 500 word story, based in Dorset, for inclusion in an anthology. This Little World is the result of hard work by all those involved.

The stories in this anthology are by writers from 11-70 years. Each story is a real gem of no more than 500 words in length which celebrates the diversity of the county. The anthology is available in paperback through Amazon, click here for details. An ebook of the anthology will follow.

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Using sayings from around the world as a prompt for public speaking

mag59Previously on this blog, I have written about my membership of a local public speaking group (you can read about the Casterbridge Speakers here). Last week, it was my turn to lead the table topics section of the agenda. Here members of the group are asked to give an impromptu talk on a non-specialist theme or topic for up to two-minutes. Some people love the challenge – others hate it. My role is to select topics in advance of the meeting which  allow speakers to share stories or offer opinions. According to Toastmasters International,  this role will  help to improve my organisational, time management and facilitation skills.

In order to offer a non-threatening subject for a two-minute talk, I looked to issue 65 of Writing in Education  for ideas. There, an article by Robert Paul Weston used Japanese sayings as guidance for writers. This got me thinking about using sayings from around the world as a prompt for a two-minute talk. After a little internet searching, I came up with these prompts:

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From page to stage workshop and performance

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I’ve been attending workshop facilitation training with the Lit Up Writers’ Pool since the beginning of 2015. It’s provided a fascinating opportunity to share practice and receive training on working with a range of groups in a variety of settings. The participants are hugely talented and come from many different writing backgrounds including novelists, poets, playwrights, performance poets and more. Please find below information about an event that is being hosted by members of the Lit Up Writers’ Pool. There are workshops for adults and children aged 7-15 years and the opportunity to showcase your work at an event in the evening. Do go along – I’m sure it will be lots of fun.

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FROM PAGE TO STAGE

CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP

Write, develop and refine a poem, rap, story, song, short play and perform it in The Talent Showcase that same evening.

Price: £7-50

Where: At the Twisted Teapot, 16 Sea Road, BH5 1DB

When: 30th of May 2015 workshop from 13-30pm to 15-30pm and Talent Showcase from 18-30pm to 22-30pm

Also workshop for  7 to 15 years old

Write, develop and refine a poem, rap, story, song, short play and perform it in The Talent Showcase that same evening.

Price: £5

Where: At the Twisted Teapot, 16 Sea Road, BH5 1DB

When: 30th of May 2015 workshop from 13-30pm to 15-30pm and Talent Showcase from 18-30pm to 22-30pm

For further information contact: sistermym@yahoo.co.uk and Facebook Myriam Word Maker

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Lit Up with time, place and action in writing

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I have joined a course of CPD to support skills in creative writing workshop delivery and facilitation. The programme is organised by Lit Up! with 16 sessions offered by Simon McCormack. With two session already completed, I thought I’d share one of the activities I’ve developed.

Participants were asked to think about time, place and action in writing. Frequently, it is possible to combine two of these elements and Gun fight at the OK Corral was given as an example. The idea made me reflect on product placement as an effective way to:

  • give a timeframe for writing
  • provide an insight into the setting
  • allow readers to know more about the characters

Examples of product placements might include Pressure Cooker, Sherbet Lemons, Vim Scouring Powder.

I was reminded of the powerful effect of product placement when I reread the following extract from The Devil’s Music by Jane Rushbridge.

Janice brings a tray with tea in a teapot and four lemon puffs on a plate. The ritual of pouring – milk jug, strainer, sugar cubes and tongs, the teaspoon stirring – steadies you, but one bite of Lemon Puff and the nausea washes through you again. The teaspoon clatters down in the saucer and you ask Janice where you can go to powder your nose.

Although the story is set in 1958 (before I was born), I can taste those Lemon Puffs.

For the purpose of using this activity in a workshop, I would ask participants to list products that bring time and place to mind and use one or two as a prompt for story writing.

Anyone game to give this activity a go?

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Launch of Dorset’s Digital Stories with Natasha Solomons

The Dorset Writers’ Network is running a competition for local writers. The aim is to produce an e-book with stories up to 500 words each which reflect the diversity of the county. Workshops to support new writing are scheduled at rural locations during January and February. Further details can be found here.

To celebrate the launch of the competition, Natasha Solomons has been invited to talk about her books and her writing journey. She lives in Dorset and has written novels that are set in the county. Her first novel Mr Rosenblum’s List was shortlisted for the Galaxy National Book Awards, and tells the story of  an immigrant trying to settle in England after the Second World War.  The Novel in the Viola is based in the now abandoned Dorset village of Tyneham, and follows the lives  of service staff at Tyneford House. Natasha’s most recent novel is called The Gallery of Vanished Husbands which shares the experiences of Juliet Montague following the disappears of her husband.

This is a FREE event!

Saturday 24 January 2015 at 2:30pm

Dorchester Library and Learning Centre

Charles Street, Dorchester

Advance booking is required – please telephone 01305 224440

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Social Media for Writers with the Dorset Writers’ Network.

A new challenge for the new year – get to grips with social media!

Saturday 10th January 2015

10.30am  – 3.00pm

Winfrith Village Hall, Winfrith Newburgh, Dorset, DT2 8LR. Click here for location details and further information about the venue.

The morning session will give you the opportunity to explore how to use social media to promote your writing with Liz Gordon of brilliantfish. brilliantfish works with writers through all stages of the publishing process and uses their expertise to provide excellent support for writers entering the world of publication.

Lunch will be provided and there will be time for networking.

During the short afternoon session, the updated Dorset Writers’ Network website will be shared. Please have a look and contribute to the discussion about what your want from the site.

Cost £7.50 (including lunch)

Please book early as this is likely to be a popular session. Further details and a booking form is available from sue@dorsetwritersnetwork.co.uk

 

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