Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Arvon: What I Learnt

What I Learnt At Arvon

The most important thing I learnt was that writing is a craft and like any craft you get better at it by studying, by writing, by crafting.

There are no rules to writing is now my cliché about writing.This rule empowers me, though, as I now think of words simply as vehicles of expression to be shaped as I see fit.

In short: I believe I can write a novel, now, maybe even a damned good one.

Here are a few other things I learnt in particular (Should it be learnt or learned? I did not learn this!):

  • Notebooks encourage attention to detail. (Paying attention has benefits in many other aspects of life, too.)
  • It's useful for writers to answer such questions like: "what kind of a man would write about a writer writing about himself in his first novel, whilst trying to write his first novel?"
  • Plot or character - which comes first? Or are they two sides of the same coin? (What happens if the coin has three sides?)
  • A professional critique can save you a lot of time, so says Claire Sambrook
  • Outlines, timelines, family trees, character profiles (what's in the bag?) - all are structures used by writers. (Gabriel Garcia Marquez even included his family tree in his novel 100 Years of Solitude.)
  • Adjectives and adverbs. An adjective qualifies a noun and an adverb qualifies a verb. (I put this here, because I always forget.)
  • The understanding that writers (and other artistes for that matter) get consumed with their creation. I felt that consumption during the week, where I only wanted to write and sod the classes.
But, above all, I learnt that:

  • I can be a writer, a published author
So in conclusion dear reader, I didn't marry him (or her) but I haven't given up believing I can be a published writer of fiction. I've taken one step nearer...

Writing is a journey, not a destination. (A bit like life.)

Life is about doing, not reading about. (A bit like writing.)

Or, as Chris another student put it, "fiction is another way of discovering truth". However, I do feel there is a place for the odd meta character to contemplate his navel, as well as hers, along the way.

It's goodnight from me, and it's goodnight from him (Ronnie Corbett)

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