Can you become an award-winning writer?
There are some questions we’re always asked, like: Can anyone become a writer who wins awards or sells a million?
See how we usually answer this one.
Sure, some people are born with a talent. But no matter how much you’re born with, you can be better.
Writing is hard, especially when you’re struggling along by yourself. That’s why we developed our Creative Writing Course – to develop your natural talent and make your writing dreams come true.
If you’ve even considered writing – fiction or creative non-fiction – I’ve no doubt you will have faced one or two of these challenges:
You’ve paralysed yourself with the thought of the first word. Where on earth do you begin? And how? Should you know your story beforehand, or simply start writing?
Well, here are a couple of key pointers to get you going:
- It’s best to start by getting to know your characters. Spend real time on them – discover what makes them tick. It has the added advantage of suggesting a multitude of story ideas.
- Even if you don’t know every twist and turn of your story, be clear about where your characters start out, and where they’ll end up. It’s like setting out on a journey – you need to know your destination so you don’t get lost.
- Look carefully at the story you’re telling. Is it best to tell it chronologically? That can work, but sometimes it’s more compelling to start somewhere in the middle, or even near the end.
And if you’ve touched fingers to keyboard, there’ll have been a point that you felt stuck. Perhaps your fingers were telling you something? But what?
Here are a few key pointers to recognise what might have happened:
- Make certain you have enough tension to last the book. Put your characters through hell and make sure the stakes are high enough, or you’re going to feel bored and peter out.
- Every scene, no matter how artfully written, needs some literary conflict. If you’ve written a scene in which no-one wants or needs anything badly, you’ll feel bogged down. There’s nowhere to go from there.
- Every scene has to take the story forward. If it doesn’t, you’re going to wander off at a tangent and … you’ll feel lost.
If you’re not certain exactly what literary conflict is or how to raise your stakes … we can help. Even if you do have an idea, we can give you greater insight.
And who are we? I’m Dr Jo-Anne Richards*, author of five novels, and my partner’s Richard Beynon, award-winning screen and film writer and story consultant. We founded All About Writing ten years ago to pass on the secrets of creative writing that we’ve learned the hard way.
Join us online from 4 June for our vibrant Creative Writing Course, which will give you all the practical skills you need to begin – and carry you confidently through to the end.
The course is interactive and fun. Packed with links and video clips, it’s easy to follow. We give personal feedback on every module and we’ll meet you live online to discuss your issues and answer your questions.
We’re offering a mid-year special. Sign up now and you’ll get a full 20% off the normal price. Apply the coupon code aaw20 to your shopping cart.
*PhD in creative writing
And if you live in Cape Town, this course is also offered face to face in Newlands from 4 June. Join us on Monday nights for a light supper and a glass of wine (if you’re so inclined) – and share with us the joy of writing. Sign up today.