Embark on a writing adventure in 2017

 In 2017, Adventure, Creative Writing Courses, Mentoring, News, Newsletters, Tips for Writers, Writing Challenge, Writing Competitions

Writing is an adventure. This means that we confront any given writing project (any given morning, any given page) with a mixture of steely resolve – and abject fear.

To set out to write a book is like contemplating the Pacific Ocean, or Mount Everest, or the Sahara Desert. We know there’ll be challenges that will seem insurmountable. We know there will be crises that we’ll only barely survive.

But we also know there’ll be moments of sheer exhilaration, of pride, of a sense of quiet achievement. We know we’ll pause at times and regard a perfectly balanced phrase, or sentence, or paragraph we’ve just written and mutter, incredulously, “Did I write that!”

So think of 2017 as an opportunity to begin an adventure. And think of Allaboutwriting as your personal sherpa, there to do some of the heavy lifting, but never, not for a moment, taking any of the credit for your accomplishment.

We’ll be there to help polish your skills of creative writing, or to urge you through one of our writing workouts, or to hold your hand on our mentoring programme while you cross the many crevasses lying between you and the summit.

Fiona Coward started her adventure a year ago. “You pointed me in the right direction,” she told us recently, “gave me a shove and off I went.”

We recognize that every adventure is fraught with danger – which is why we’re never more than an email or a Skype call away, with advice, support and encouragement.

Vincent Pienaar, one of our mentees, put it like this: “The difference between a publisher and Allaboutwriting is the publisher tells you what is wrong with your manuscript, and then rejects it. Richard and Jo-Anne tell you what’s wrong with your submission then help you fix it.”

So why not make 2017 a year you’ll never forget – and give yourself, or someone you know who is equally passionate about writing – a gift which doesn’t run out, break or fit badly, a ticket to a creative adventure that’ll change your lives and last forever.

And then send us pictures of you writing adventurously. 2017 is the tenth year of Allaboutwriting’s adventure, so we’ll kick it off with pictures of me writing furiously on the back of our narrowboat, Patience, on a curve of the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire; and of Jo-Anne in Knysna, hammering away at her keyboard while wild horses browse contemplatively in the background.

Have a happy festive season – and a gloriously creative new year.

Hoorah for Vincent, Gail and Tracy!

Great news from three of the participants on our Mentoring Programme:

Gail Gilbride whose book, Under the African Sun, has just been published by Cactus Rain Publishing in the US, will launch it at Exclusives in Cavendish on January 25 at 6pm. Capetonians, please join Gail to celebrate her achievement.

From Vincent Pienaar comes the news that he has signed a publishing deal with Penguin. His book will be published in both English and Afrikaans in 2018.

And Tracy Todd who ran a very successful crowdfunding campaign for her memoir Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon is launching her book on 23 February at Exclusive Books in Mbombela.

And the winner of the November writing challenge is…

A lovely harvest of holiday entries for last month’s challenge. It was, if you remember, to write a scene in which someone who has betrayed their partner, has the enormity of their crime brought forcefully home to them.

What’s remarkable is that many of the writers we’ve singled out for praise are new to the Allaboutwriting community. Well done, all of you – and congratulations also to all those who entered the challenge, new and seasoned. To writers, the journey is the destination, remember…

And the winner is… Tanya Püth, for her subtle and surprising piece. She left it unnamed, but I’ll call it The Schumann Resonance for reasons that’ll become obvious when you read it. What’s less obvious is what “the Schumann Resonance” is – but I’ll leave you to google it.

Alexa van Tonder gets the silver medal (we especially liked the ending of your tale), and John West the bronze for his perfectly pitched dialogue.

Mentions to Emmanuel Nwafor for his story, which stands out not so much for the story as for the quite wonderful voice and the array of completely convincing details; to Rhoda Isaacs for the clear simplicity of the emotions that underpin her story; Liz Kirsten for the stunning reveal at the end of hers; and Florence Onyanga for the conundrum that so compromises her perspective character.

The prize is, as always, a R300 voucher to an independent bookstore of Tanya’s choice. Click here to read the winning entries.

The December Writing Challenge

In November, Allaboutwriting held a Short Story weekend in McGregor in the Western Cape at which a dozen writers, plus a few more who joined us online, set out to write a short story to publishable standards.

We’ll be publishing this collection as an anthology in the first few months of the new year.

Our challenge to you is to write a short story of your own. We can give you a nudge (if you need one) with a series of “prompts” or story seeds. You might, alternatively, choose to write a story entirely of your own devising.

We undertake to publish all the stories that merit it in our anthology, which will be available online on Amazon, and in hardcopy. And the writer of the story that we adjudge the most accomplished will get a free ride on our ten day rollercoaster Writing Workout starting 22 January.

Click here for a more detailed explanation, and access to the prompts.

The monster on your screen

Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

– Winston Churchill

Have yourself a ball over the holiday period – with the prospect that you can become a published author in 2017!

Richard

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