... and some others which might be useful. As always, Writers' Workshop's Festival of Writing at York was a brilliant, bewildering long weekend, stuffed with workshops, talks, keynote speeches, book signings, and oceans of talking and drinking and eating and writing. As well as the mini-course on Self-Editing Your Novel that Debi Alper and I gave on Friday afternoon, I taught workshops on prose - Plain & Perfect, Rich & Rare - and on The Heart of Storytelling: three- and five-act structure. I sat on an industry panel about Historical Fiction, and I did lots of one-to-one Book Doctor sessions, and talked and listened more-or-less non-stop. It's mad, exhilarating, and exhausting. So, before I collapse in a heap, I'm posting all the links I can remember mentioning at one point or another during the weekend. As ever, if I mentioned a post that I haven't posted here, let me know in the comments and I'll try to dig it up. And if you're just back, and feeling completely boggled about how to tackle that moutain of new ideas and advice, click here for some suggestions.
First, the main Itch of Writing Tool Kit. And these are the ones I talk about all the time:
Plot vs. Story, including the link to Andrew Stanton's TED talk.
What is Voice, and why does it matter so much.
Past & Present Tense : the pros and cons of each, whether you're working with an internal or an external narrator
Free Indirect Style: what it is, how to use it, and why you should use it.
Long Sentences and why you should use them as well as short ones.
Variety isn't just the spice of your story, it's the life-blood and bones.
"Reimagining implies a measure of forgetting", and the rest of the Rose Tremain quote about how to turn inert data into live storytelling.
Crossing Genres - "historical crime"? "Thriller but really women's fiction"?. The pleasures and perils.
My character is quiet, put-upon, passive or depressed at the beginning of the novel, because his/her growth towards agency, self-assertion, healing is what the novel's about. How to make that unpromising start nonetheless compelling
Planning tools and "retrospective planning", and why you might only plan after you've written a draft or three.
Fortunately-Unfortunately: why plotting is sometimes just a matter of playing the game
and since academic writing kept on coming up, here are my twenty top tips for doing it well.