Next Writers' Corner is on the 3rd Wednesday as the 4th is ANZAC Day and the Library is closed. At our last Writers' Corner I raised the possibility of us doing a "writing course" using Carmel Bird's book 'Dear Writer...revisited...' Originally published in 1988 while this edition is 2013. A quote by the author from the intro -
'When it comes down to it, the principal thing a writer has to do is write, to sit down at the desk and make up stories. You can actually guess and glean for yourself all the info about the so-called world of writing; you can work out how to present a manuscript to a publisher, if you want to. You can pick up some ideas from books such as this one. In classes and at festivals I have sometimes felt that students and members of the audience were hoping to be given the secret to a magic formula that was supposed to be in the possession of the tutor or speaker. The secret is that there is no magic formula.
Writing students have sometimes told me they wish for a book that will not only provide advice about skills, but will somehow urge and inspire the reader to write and continue to write. I hope that 'Dear Writer' will fulfill the students' wishes and answer the needs of both new and experienced writers.'
Leading Edge Books can get 'Dear Writer...revisited...' in for us. Retails for $25 but they will do them for $20 if we order more than 2 copies. I will definitely be getting a copy and am wondering if BRW should purchase a copy. Thoughts anyone? If you want to participate in this exercise I would strongly recommend getting yourself a copy so you can read and reread the entirety of each letter we are working through. I will include a few quotes, but it won't be as good.
For those of you who'd prefer a digital copy, this link may be helpful https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dear-writer-revisited
Letter 1 - So you want to be Agatha Christie
I suggest you spend a few minutes recalling your early life. Remember the people, the food, the toys, garden, sounds, smells. Is there an incident that stands out in your memory of this time? You could continue to think quietly about the distant past and then start to write an account of an incident.
'This is the first exercise I give the students who come to classes to study the writing of fiction. It is a simple enough exercise, you would think. But some people find it difficult...a sure approach, a fair beginning, to the creation of fiction can be made through an exploration of the life of the writer. The memory of early life is only the beginning, only an important first exercise in your development as a writer of fiction.'
Another excellent exercise that never fails is to begin by writing: 'Let me tell you something about my mother.'
'The memory and the imagination most be at work. No amount of straight recollection will ultimately make powerful fiction. Graham Swift has explained it this way:
Deep down of course, everything a writer writes must be of and from that writer's self. But for God's sake write about what you don't know! For how else will you bring your imagination into play?'
Happy Easter all, hope you manage to squeeze some writing in over the break
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