clhollandwriter: (Default)
I'm posting this a day late as I didn't get a chance yesterday - a Swanwick friend was visiting for one day only so I took the opportunity to spend time with her instead.

Tuesday's speaker Simon nelson was excellent. He went over five-act structure, and how turning points happen at the mid-point of the story. We also looked at the beginnings of TV shows Happy Valley and The 4 O'clock Club to illustrate pacy, grabby openings. I took more notes than for any other evening speaker, more than for some courses!

Wednesday saw the return of the regular run of courses, with our crime investigation turning from preservation of the scene and forensics, to the actual investigation. We took a closer look at the crime scene in the corner, and ran a mock press conference.

The short courses included a look at "wild words", song writing, and editing, and I took the final parts of the Writing as a Business course, which was unusually running as two short courses instead of as a specialist course. We looked at project and time management, something I desperately need to do better at.

In the usual one hour course slot we had a birthday celebration for the school, with a "school photo" (the first since 1956) and birthday cake. 

The evening speaker was Sophie Snell, storyteller, singer, and folkorist. She also has a psychological thriller out in November, based on fairy tales. Something else to add to my wishlist!

I stayed up late in the bar for the first time this week, chatting to my friend. Thursday is the final day, featuring the last of the four part courses, and a mystery instead of a speaker since they never reveal what's going into the farewell.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I skipped the speakers last night in favour of an early night, although those who went say it was excellent. Tuesday is generally a lighter day, although there was a change to the usual format this year as most of the one hour sessions have been moved to Tuesday slots to allow for celebratory events (Swanwick at 70 and a birthday party) during the 4pm slots on Monday and Wednesday.

First up this morning were Acting for Writers, Dear Della (a session with writing agony aunt Della Galton), Niche Publishing, Writing for the Under Eights, and the course I took, Promoting Your Work with resident crime writer Val Penny. While I knew about Twitter and Facebook pages, I came away with a list of Facebook groups to check out, and a list of dos and don'ts which included DO write more, and DO be proud of your work, two things I always struggle with.

The second session offered courses on Erotica, Mind Mapping, being a Writer in Residence, Reviewing, and an excellent course on New Fairy Tales. Tutor Elizabeth Hopkinson is an enthusiast and I left not only with websites and Facebook groups to check out, but also a huge list of books to add to my wishlist.

I went for a nap at this point as I was feeling unwell, but emerged for the tea dance (although to watch, not participate).

This evening's speaker is Simon Nelson of the BBC's Writersroom, to speak about TV drama. I may go if I feel up to it.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Yesterday's speaker AA Dhand was one of the best speakers I've seen at Swanwick, and told us of his journey from childhood cornershop to published author with a TV series in the works - via over a million words of failed drafts. It's always a mark of a successful speaker when you can hear their words repeated around the school the following day, and today was full of people telling each other to "change the narrative" or "fail early, fail often, fail forward".

First this morning was part two of the specialist courses. For those of us on the Making Crime Pay course this meant a not particularly after-breakfast-safe discussion of post mortems, and why you should never ask a pathologist how to kill someone and get away with it. 

Today's short courses were The Business of Writing, Creating Characters, Writing for Children, and Self Publishing. I did the business course, since it seemed like a useful thing to take (which it was). Unusually, this is actually a four-part course over two days instead of two hours over a single day. Parts three and four deal with setting up as a freelancer so I'm not sure whether or not I'll take those since I need to keep the day job.

This afternoon was Swanwick at 70, a celebration of how the school has changed over the years. The first ever programme, which includes a reminder to bring ration cards, can be seen on the website. It's changed immensely just over the eight years I've been attending, and some of the older delegates can be heard chatting about the long-gone swimming pool and Garden House, or the days when delegates shared rooms with each other - sometimes complete strangers.

This evening has a panel instead of a speaker, of Writing Magazine editor Jonathan Telfer, and prolific short story and novel writer Della Galton, hosted by frequent visitor and tutor Simon Hall. I may give this one a miss as I'm already flagging from classes and so much socialising, as well as waking up at 6am without the aid of either an alarm or my cats.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's that time of year again, and I'm back at Swanwick Writers' Summer School for its seventieth year. It's the longest running writing school in the UK. Getting here was surprisingly stress-free considering it involved a rail-replacement bus service, but still tiring.

Given the travel and full-on socialising that started while we waited at Derby station for our coach (which was late), I got to the end of dinner feeling tired and cranky. The evening speaker was Sue Moorcock, but I decided to spend the evening on a phone call home, and streaming Netflix in my pyjamas. Possibly the most important thing Swanwick's taught me over the years is the importance of self-care - which includes time to myself. Getting overtired can ruin my enjoyment of the rest of the week.

Today saw the start of specialist courses on poetry, crime writing, novel writing, short stories, and memoir. I opted for crime writing (even though I don't write crime), the first two sessions of which are looking at forensics and scene preservation. There's a mock crime scene in the corner, which I haven't had a chance to look at properly yet, so I hope to take some pictures tomorrow.

The short courses on offer today were a mini-film making course, sitcom, more poetry, and writing for competitions. I went to Secrets of Sitcom - something else I don't write. Well, I am here to learn! We went into the building blocks of what makes a sitcom, and in groups discussed our own concepts. It hasn't made me want to start writing sitcoms, but it did occur to me that if you take out the comedy you're basically left with a soap. I also thought about how well the format would - or wouldn't - translate into prose.

The hour long courses today were readings of the prize-winning competition stories, or preparation for the Page to Stage (drama) and Swanwick Standard (journalism) projects that run later in the week. I took the opportunity to have some me-time, something I try to build into every day as otherwise it gets a bit full on.

Tonight's speaker is Amit Dhand, who writes novels while working full time as a pharmacist. I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets it all done,

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