Last Friday I was lucky enough to go along to a MasterClass at the State Library and listen to a talk presented by Kate Forsyth.
After wrangling Mr Car into doing the school run for me, I headed into the city early morning and after finding out exactly where I need to be, I sat with a coffee and cake and wrote in my journal for 20 minutes. After a week of stress and rushing to and fro, I really relish those rare quiet times of being able to sit and be in the moment.
The Masterclass was on Researching Historical Fiction, as you can imagine there is so much to be garnered that we barely touched the surface in the full 3 hours we were there. I wrote so many pages of notes, notes that will need to be collated at some stage and I learnt much. It was really well worth the money spent to be able to attend.
We began the Masterclass by introducing ourselves to the group, telling them about what we are reading and what we are working on.
It was a great mix of people attending the workshop, and I was surprised at the number of people who are still at the dreaming and planning stage of writing their novels. A few published novelists and several real researches were amongst the group as well as a few sitting on finished manuscripts.
When it came my time to introduce myself I admitted to having broken ALL the rules by starting my story first then realising I actually REALLY need to RESEARCH! I was assured that there are no right or wrong ways. That it is perfectly acceptable to do my research now.
I also learnt that I am sitting at the mid point of my novel. I am having a mid book crisis. I had read the night before a wonderful blog post by Kate Forsyth on the saggy middle and her words spoke truth to me. Combined with her words during the class I have realised that my middle section, the part I'm currently stuck on is my turning point. It is indeed a dark and dreary place to be - but after some insight my mind is now ticking over of ways I can add light to this section - in the form of the characters strength (the old adage… absence makes the heart grow stronger) of life continuing on merrily through grief (as in the world doesn't stop just because you are grieving… life goes on)
Three pieces of advice that were mentioned during this class were
1. Writers Need Courage
2. Busy is NOT an excuse
3. Learn to Write BY Writing
I will repeat each of these as my mantra as I begin to write again slowly. A small amount of words each day. It doesn't matter if it is not GOOD writing, it will be writing and I think having sat on the fence with my manuscript for so long - not knowing which way to lean for fear of falling flat on my face. I need to regather my courage and walk forward. Not back.
After the work shop - I managed to get Kate to sign her book that I had only finished days earlier.
The library had a bookshop set up as part of the festival, so picked up a copy of her other book "Bitter Greens" as well as a copy of the "Grimms' Fairy Tales"