Tuesday, 25 April 2017
Write Away! #CreativeWriting #Event @leighrussell @helenography
Wow what an evening! Last night I had the privilege of organising a Creative Writing evening with author Helen Cox and Leigh Russell.
Helen (helencoxauthor or follow on Twitter @Helenography) is the author of 3 non fiction books and 2 fiction (Milkshakes and Heartbreak at the Starlight Diner). She has both self published and traditionally published - her fiction books are published by Harper Collins. Helen has taught in Secondary Schools and now coordinates the creative writing courses at City Lit which are very highly regarded within the industry.
Leigh (leighrussell.co.uk or follow on Twitter @LeighRussell) is a prolific crime writer with about 16 books in her back catalogue, most famous for her Geraldine Steel series of which there are about 11 books, as well as two other detective series. Leigh has sold over a million copies of her books as well as having plenty of experience of teaching creative writing courses and TEFL courses.
So as you can imagine, when it came to advice, top tips and ideas for starting out with creative writing, we were being led by the experts!
And what a lot of excellent advice they shared with us!
Helen started the evening of with an introduction to the basic structure of stories and explaining some of the most common ideas about how to plan a story arc. She used Beauty and the Beast to illustrate the 'three act structure' and then the group were asked to think of a comic moment in their past and structure it into 3 big moments. Helen showed us how we can take any event that has happened to us and shape it to having 3 key moments which, with embellishment, imagination and a bit of crafting, can become the beginnings of a story. She was full of top tips about how to develop this story idea and she also talked a lot about character and how choosing what to tell the audience about your character's story was the key to engaging, unputdownable writing.
Leigh then ran the second session and discussed character in more detail. She gave the group a few exercises to do which produced some great ideas for starting out. Leigh gave some really great advice for how to develop your characters and how to manipulate the reader with your writing. Good novels make you ask questions and Leigh talked about the balance between an idea - that might be impulsive - then the crafting and techniques you can employ to keep the drive and effectiveness in your writing authentic and real but at the same time interesting and exciting. She had lots of brilliant one liners that served as exceptional top tips for anyone who writes.
It was such an inspiring evening. Both Helen and Leigh imparted so much wisdom and insight in to creative writing and were full of such fantastic ideas about how to shape your ideas and the everyday into something more extraordinary. I'm sure everyone left the room fired up, enthusiastic and ready to go home and start the first lines of their bestseller straight away!
Leigh left us with her most important piece of advice for all writers from William Faulkner:
Thanks so much to everyone who came along last night. It was a lovely evening. Thanks again to Helen and Leigh for coming along and running the evening so brilliantly
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