Last year I was funded by Artslinks.ie, (http://www.artlinks.ie) an organisation that supports artists in the South-East of Ireland to attend a three-day workshop on Writing for a Teens with Siobhán Parkinson at Listowel Writer’s Week.
I gained a lot of insights that have helped to improve my writing and Siobhán was an excellent tutor. I highly recommend attending a workshop with her if you get the chance. http://www.siobhanparkinson.com
A number of Siobhán’s tips have stuck with me since attending.
Think about your audience.
Yourself: write what you would love to read.
Tip: don’t write what you know, know what you write! Research is key.
Action: open with action.
Background: fill in the characters/setting
Development: move the plot forward
Introduce information as you go along.
Readers like to work out what is happening. Reading is a creative act.
Character is story.
What does your character want?
Your story is the journey of your character moving towards what they want.
Open endings are good, but don’t leave your character in a muddle.
A new character
What biscuit would they be?
What’s their worst nightmare?
What do they want?
What gives them most pleasure?
Who would oppose them?
Tips on Dialogue.
It should be brief.
It should move the story forward.
Avoid cliche and unnecessary phrases.
It should tell us about character.
Break dialogue up with description.
It should be clear who is speaking.
It’s ok to use and repeat said. It’s not a word, it’s punctuation.
As well as learning a lot from Siobhán, Listowel was a fun place to hang out for a few days during the Writer’s Week. I met lots of other writers and enjoyed their company. It’s a small town so you can walk everywhere. There’s plenty of fine pubs, The Listowel Arms is the hub of the Festival, lots of events happen there and they serve good Guinness.
My favourite restaurant was Allo’s Bar, Bistro Restaurant & Townhouse. They served really top-notch Michelin star quality food and it has a really cool atmosphere. I spent many happy hours there. Find out more here: http://www.allosbarbistro-townhouse.com/Allos_Bar_Bistro_Townhouse/Restaurants-In-Kerry.html
If you’re thinking of attending Listowel Writer’s Week it’s well worth a visit. I hope to get back there again myself…
See http://writersweek.ie for more info.