Monday 8 September 2014

Emerging Writers' Festival Adelaide 2014

This weekend just gone, I attended the Emerging Writers' Festival here in Adelaide. It was the first time this festival had come to Adelaide, and I hoped to pick up some useful tips for my writing as I near the end of the second draft on my novel.

On Saturday, I spent the day in Bowden at the one-day Masterclass. The day kicked off with a looking at the role editors played and how to approach them to submit work. This was followed by a look at freelance writing, and then a discussion on performance writing. After lunch, the masterclass resumed with a panel looking at writing memoirs, blogs, commentary etc., followed by a look at the rise of digital/online publishing.

The whole day was very interesting, but my favourite session was definitely the one on writing for performance, featuring Jane Howard, Phillip Kavanagh and Ben Brooker. Although I don't write plays or scripts myself, I've often wondered if I should since I create my stories in a very visual way. Many of my first drafts are dialogue heavy, and I picture the scenes being acted out as I write them. Something to consider for the future perhaps....

On Sunday, I attended the afternoon DIY Day at the SA Writers' Centre in Adelaide's CBD. I had great fun during the three hours I was there. The workshop started with a session on Improvised Prose led by Tracey Korsten. This was so much fun and really made me long to act again. I used to do amateur performance and singing in England, but have not really continued that since moving to Australia. It might be time to remedy that and see what groups are around. Watch this space.

Then there was a discussion on YA writing, followed by an extremely funny session on writing for graphic novels/comics. This final session was, again, very interactive as we all contributed to the creation of a two-page illustrated story. I do not read comics much myself (I only watch the films based on them!), but I found this session very illuminating and wonderfully entertaining. Stewart Cook, Mike Cooper and Ben Rosenthal were all brilliant and the session was wonderfully chaired by Amy Maynard.

Also during the afternoon session, I had the first page of my novel-in-progress read by two people. I find it hard to share my stories before they are finished, and prior to yesterday's session only my husband knew the full storyline and had read any of the novel. I was thrilled that both readers had very positive things to say about my work. Neither had any criticisms and one stated she liked the 'voice' of the narrative and the natural flow of the prose. This, of course, has made me deliriously happy and more keen than ever to get back to work and get the piece finished. I should complete the second draft in the next week and then I will do a third and final draft before looking at where to submit. Keep your fingers crossed for me, one and all!

All in all, this festival was a great experience and I hope they will return to Adelaide again next year with more great content. Now I have a lot of publications to look up online, and plenty of new people to follow on Twitter. So I'd better end there and go look them all up at once!

Thanks to all the organisers and the panel members for making this such a memorable event.

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