I wanted to do something different other than review books and tell you of the Australian Writers Centre (AWC) Creative Writing Stage 1 Course that I attended in January this year. I feel that doing writers courses for beginners (and even experienced writers needing a refresher course to keep them motivated) is a fantastic thing. I want to tell you why I love the AWC and why I will be signing up for many of their courses to come in the future.
- How to not let your characters sound like you; How to characterise your stars traits without overdoing it in your book
- Drilling in our minds the important of back story as you never know when you may need it in the story
- Finding out your characters main drives
- The importance of a characters unique voice
- The importance of naming your characters
- And most importantly, the inner/outer change of your character.
At the end of the day we were given a writing task to bring to class the next day. It was a creative writing assignment of 300 words on anything we wanted which incorporated what we learnt that day. Before this, we did another writing task and handed it over to the person beside us to develop further and so many people used this for their homework. What I found interesting about this particular writing task and then handing it over, was it highlighted how different our minds are. No matter how you write your story, no one will produce it the way that you do or have the same outlook. I found that everyone’s stories adapted and changed to something completely different from the initial persons few paragraphs. It was amazing to see.
On Sunday morning, we sat down and read out our homework tasks. Deciding to slide down a little way into my comfort zone I did a dark piece on mental illness and body image for women. I was proud of myself that it wasn’t fantasy. I read it out loud and the room was silent for a moment, until finally the boy across from me blurted that he loved it. I was relieved, for a second I thought that it was horrible, but then was given such praise by everyone and found that they all felt the darkness that I was trying to encapsulate. What I loved most was the different genres and stories that floated around the room!
We then moved onto structure and plot. I found that this is where people had the most trouble. I, however, was surprised because I don’t have trouble with structure (so far as I am aware- I guess we will see down the track). However, to ensure what I was doing was right I looked at my story once I got home and later made my inspiration board (click here to see). What I didn’t know was the different plot points there were to a story.
What I truly wanted to know out of the whole process, was how to edit my story and the avenues of publishing. The best advice Claire gave was not to edit as you go along and just write the whole thing, wait 6-8 weeks and revisit it again. Upon the second visit, you must read ONLY. Be impartial (as much as you can) and note down what you like/dislike, though DO NOT TOUCH IT. Then once you are done, touch it, kill it or bin it. She also said, that a book is only as good as the amount of times that you edited it and be prepared to edit a lot. She mentioned that she knows an author who edited his novel 12 times before looking to get it published!
I found the publishing section a little thin, but that is probably because they have a separate course just on getting published. However, it was enough to satisfy my humble dreams until I am actually ready to be published. Nevertheless, it was insightful and taught me many things I did not know about publishing.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at AWC and with Claire. Since then I have done one other course with them and I am desperate to do another soon! It’s my birthday soon, so fingers crossed my mum reads this (HINT, HINT, and HINT). What I loved most about it was getting together with other people who had a passion for writing. It’s something I have never been around before and it gave me the motivation (and the bravery) to start this blog. So, I say if you want to learn more about this craft, go to them as you will not find a better place!
Have any of you done any of their courses? What did you like about it? Any suggestions? I really want to do the fantasy course they have on in March!