Sunday, 26 October 2014

Creative Writing Workshop

A few days ago, I attended a Creative Writing workshop, run by Deborah Winter (, a prize-winning short-story writer.

Creative-Writing-Workshop-St. David's-Pembrokeshire-Deborah-Winter

Deborah has recently moved to the area from the south-west, where she established a loyal following for her classes, and nurtured her group’s talent to such a degree, that their collections were repeated winners of the David St John Charitable Trust anthology award.  She is now hoping to emulate her success in Pembrokeshire.

Creative-Writing-Workshop-St. David's-Pembrokeshire-Deborah-Winter
Deborah Winter
Creative writing workshops come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  This was a day course, billed as ‘suitable for all levels’.  There were nine of us – which is a good number – but, as the majority were beginners, Deborah quite rightly tailored her teaching to their needs.

As a tutor, Deborah was friendly and considerate, putting us at our ease.  She was enthusiastic and very encouraging, asking pertinent questions in order to ensure we all contributed, both orally and on paper.  And that was her key aim – to get us writing.  She did this with a variety of short exercises, wanting to provoke ideas and start us off.  Soon, we were all scribbling away, but we were never under any pressure to read, or to keep to her brief, as ‘go where your imaginations take you!’ is what she believes in.   She offered guidance if required, but was also happy to leave well alone.  And, as promised in her ‘blurb’, there was a lot of laughter.

Creative-Writing-Workshop-St. David's-Pembrokeshire-Deborah-Winter

What did I, as a more experienced writer, gain from this workshop, in addition to an enjoyable day spent with like-minded company?   The opening of a story…  One of Deborah’s prompts was a list of phrases.  The three words ‘I am falling’ resonated with my inner voice, and sparked off some sentences which could go somewhere.  I’m not sure where, yet, or if they’ll ever arrive.  But a good beginning is always welcome – essential, maybe, when it comes to short-stories, and I went away with an idea, which is just what Deborah was hoping for.  And me, too!

Monday, 13 October 2014

News Eggstra!...Golden Egg Academy

Golden Egg Academy

Another piece of good news (the third in a row – well, I am a Welshwoman!) is that I’ve just heard I’ve become an Egg - a golden one at that!

Most of you won’t know what I’m talking about, and I’m sure there’ll be some who think I’ve finally cracked (sorry about the pun – I suspect there will be plenty more of these).   Anyway, what it means is that I’ve been successful in my application to the Golden Egg Academy (see their website, after submitting the synopsis and three consecutive chapters of my children’s novel ‘Dreaming Laura’ for consideration.   Naturally, I’m very eggscited about this.

The Academy was set up by Imogen Cooper, former head of fiction at The Chicken House.  It provides talks, workshops, and one-to-one editorial support.  Yes, there is a fee for these, but the ‘foot in the door’ it gives to the world of children’s publishing is invaluable, with its strong links to Chicken House and many other top companies.

Already, just knowing that my submission has been successful has given me confidence and encouragement.  Yes, I totally believe in this story, but sadly, as all unpublished writers know, that is not necessarily enough.  So, to have it judged as promising by an independent, reputable source, is a great boost.

Also, it’s making me focus on getting the story right, ready for the first workshop in a few weeks time.  Something to aim for is always useful for a writer – at least it is for me, personally.

I’ll be posting more about my experiences in the Academy in due course.  (With or without puns!)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Pancakes & Poems at Ffwrn, Fishguard

Spent yesterday evening at Ffwrn in Fishguard at a "Pancakes & Poems" night to celebrate National Poetry Day.

A general view
(Photo courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)

Poetry is not my chosen form of expression (though I do write a not-very-good poem every few years) but I’m always happy to indulge in pancakes (note to Ffwrn: bring back the caramel please).  Nonetheless it was a very interesting and enjoyable evening, so thanks to all concerned, in particular Marc Mordey and Mel Perry and compere Dominic Williams.  I was amazed by how many talented poets there are out there.

The evening certainly wasn’t short of readers!

Images of all poetry readers
(Photo courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)

Their contributions gave rise to some thoughts about the difference between the spoken word and the written – how something on the page which might need pause and contemplation does not necessarily translate well when read aloud to an audience.  Delivery can be everything!  Certainly when it came to “performance”, our host Rhodri stole the show with his rendition of an ancient Welsh poem.

The performance of the night at Ffwrn, Fishguard
(Photo courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)

In addition to the poetry, we had the pleasure of some fantastic music from the Welsh singer-songwriter Lowri Evans.

(Photo courtesy of dp-multimedia ©)

A good night was had by all.