Have you ever felt your world has just been given a big nudge, resulting in you seeing everything slightly differently? My last minute, can I afford it? do I need this? decision to attend the 2016 Spring Masterclass. with Fiona McIntosh, South Australian author of, among others, The Lavender Keeper, French Promise, The Perfumer’s Secret.
Held in the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Gardens 19 budding writers gathered as strangers and left five days later inspired, committed and so much wiser. Writing is a lonely business and although I love, indeed, at times, crave, my time alone at the keyboard, meeting others who are dedicated to their craft is a very nurturing experience.
Fiona’s energy and passion for writing and for supporting others through to publication, left no room for slouchers. I learned how to write an engaging opening, to keep building the story in each chapter,to create realistic characters with a signature quirk. I honed my synopsis ready for pitching to a publisher and developed a non-negotiable writing schedule. But curiously the biggest take home message for me was the sad but painfully true fact that no-one really cares about my novel: my job is to make them care through my writing.
Meeting the publisher, from Allen and Unwin no less, and getting a chance to do a three minute pitch to her was a nerve wracking but wonderful opportunity. The process forced me to really hone in on what my novel is actually about and why someone would want to start and keep reading it. I am now making small but significant changes to the plot to ensure I stay true to the story (not “wander into the marshland” as Fiona, quoting Bryce Courtney,
Will I get published? Who knows? It is a competitive and it seems unpredictable industry but at least now I will have given it my very best shot.
Love to hear from you via the Comments section. Tell me about your experiences of course, writing or otherwise. What has worked best for you? What helped you sustain what you learned?
Jennifer is a writer of short stories, novels and a family history.