Creative Writing workshop with Kate and Greg Mosse

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I’d been struggling with my writing for a while. I had tried NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and felt disparaged. To kick the mood I booked myself two a Guardian Masterclasses. The first was a Creative Writing Workshop presented by Kate Mosse and Greg Mosse.

Kate Mosse -The Storyteller is the bestselling author of the Languedoc Trilogy, The Taxidermists Daughter (and a series of other novels), as well as being co founder/chair of the board of the ‘Woman’s Prize for fiction’. Greg Mosse (Kate’s husband) is a creative writing teacher, editor, and writer.  They know what they’re talking about, I was in good hands.

guardian-2On Sunday December 13th 2015, it was a cold drizzling day, I arrived early to the Guardian offices, overlooking the canal near Kings Cross, promptly poured myself a complimentary tea and sat next to the only person wearing a Christmas jumper. We instantly hit it off (we’re both from Australia!)  and overall the workshop became one of my favourite writing experiences yet. Together we endured a lady who kept ‘mmming’ loudly in agreement/disagreement at everything (we weren’t sure), laughed at the hilarious interaction between Kate and Greg, and overall felt incredibly inspired.

There was a feeling of comfort and encouragement and we covered a lot of ground: Plot, action, suspense, voice, and character. It was a bit of a good cop/bad cop routine between the Mosses. Kate is all about inspiration, letting the story flow,  and Greg is about discipline, planning. I wrote pages of notes, there was a few brainstorms, a break for tea, and I felt incredibly privileged to be there

Below I have pulled out a few key points which I think are worth sharing and reminding myself about.

General advice

  1. Find your voice, and be proud of them. Work from the inside out
  2. Start thinking about he novel you want to write, not the writer you want to be
  3. Imagination is a muscle, you need to prepare it. Give yourself 10mins to exercise your imagination and invest time in yourself
  4. Novels we admire may not be novels we can write “Ulysses is not a good analogy for anyone in this room”
  5. Finish what you have written and change later
  6. Write a first draft, then a second, then throw it out and write the book it was meant to be.

Plot

  1. Plot is a story with a reason.
  2. Start in the middle of the story
  3. Visualise in dramatic sectons, you don’t have to wrestly with the entire plot at all times.

Character

  1. Every character in play has to think they’re the hero
  2. Establish the normal, so when the character reacts, it is proportion of who they are
  3. How many characters is too many? Rigorous redrafting, re reading and asking what purpose does he/she serve.
  4. Lead characters = Have names and Backstory
  5. Secondary characters= names but their backstory doesn’t mater
  6. Gob & Spit roles= chorus singer and not asking the reader to take any information about them
  7. The character you first meet might not be the right character for your story

POV

  1. Only viable if urgently engaged from the beginning to the end
  2. Don’t write in and out of heads- it confuses the reader and take away from plot and character

Research

  1. Can be really seductive. Kate needs to know everything about the world before she starts. Her research is everything to set her imagination free.

I recommend this course for people wanting to know more about the process of writing a novel, how to structure a novel, if you need advice on where to begin a novel, or just wanting to meet people and listen to two wonderful people.

Guardian Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation. https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-masterclasses

Disclaimer: Featured photos are saved from internet sources and are not the product of my own skills. All workshops/events are paid for by me and all reviews are mine from my own notes, opinions and experiences.

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