I have struggled to find my voice in the historic fiction project I am working on, so I felt very fortunate to be chosen to take part. And even luckier when Lloyd and the class critiqued the first page of my work-in-progress. More than anything, it has given me the momentum to keep writing and a new plan of attack -- just what I needed.
Here are some tips the Mister Pip author passed on to the emerging and the established writers in the class today.
- 'Masterclass?' Lloyd says writers are 'forever the apprentice' who have to re-learn how to write with each new project.
- He says writing is like sitting on a bus; the person sitting next to us is either boring or engaging. What is it that determines that? Light and shade? A unique story? What makes it authentic?
- A writer needs to establish a 'contract' with the reader. When a 'break of faith' occurs -- either through the language, tone of voice, or getting some detail wrong -- then it tells us that something is not quite right.
- Find your own voice through writing what has never been written before. Give yourself permission to be nonsensical. Everything else will fall into place; don't worry.
- Don't necessarily write about what you know (as opposed to what other writers may say).
- Don't over explain yourself. It is the reader who 'completes' the literature.
- Do some 'limbering up exercises' before you start -- write about a word or a group of words by closing your eyes and listening to your voice.
- Be playful and see what happens -- you may be surprised.
|(Julianne Schulz, Kerri Harris and Lloyd Jones)|
Thanks to The Griffith Review, Arts Queensland, the Brisbane Writers Festival, the Queensland Writers Centre and Flying Arts for making the class possible.
I'm off to see if I can take that fourth paragraph and turn it into the start of an engaging, unique piece of literature.