February Newsletter: Turn 2020 into the most satisfying year of your life

 In All About Writing, Newsletters

Turn 2020 into the most satisfying of your life

And a very happy, if belated New Year to you, too!

I love new years and the opportunity they afford us to start afresh with new projects, new determination and a tankful of refurbished energy.

But the new year doesn’t always coincide with the start of a new story. More frequently, we begin the year with a sigh, open the folder we optimistically named Novel/Screenplay 2019. Trouble is, it’s only 18742 words long and we’ve more or less forgotten where we’d got to…

Or who precisely the protagonist was…

Or where the story was heading…

Picking up a stale project after a gap of weeks or months or even years can be really difficult. You might have lost that initial impetus, but you’re still convinced there’s a story there. You might indeed (o joy!) be rather impressed by a passage, or a turn of phrase, or even with the whole underlying idea.

But the fizz has gone out of it.

 So what do you do?

It’s time to go back to basics – to the range of skills that underlie all creative writing. You need to consider your characters and ask whether you know enough about them. Do you, most importantly, know what your protagonist hungers for?

You need to interrogate your story: is it suffused with conflict – the tension between what your protagonist wants and who and what stands in the way of his getting it? Have you sufficiently considered the structure of your story? Does a simple chronological telling of the tale do justice to its inherent drama?

You need to look again at the point of view you’ve adopted. Is your point of view calculated to excite the maximum degree of suspense possible? Does it shed light on your character?

And so on. It might be inspiration that gives you the idea – but it’s definitely what we’ve taken to calling a “skillset” that enables you to transform inspiration into 85 000  (or 5 000) words of compelling narrative.

So, if you haven’t committed yourself yet to adding a range of sharp skills to your quiver, why not consider enrolling for one of the courses available through All About Writing?

Prime among them is our Online Creative Writing Course. Check it out now here. It will introduce you to, or cement in place, the complete range of practical skills that enable writers to turn good ideas into great manuscripts.

And it’s a way of turning this new year into one of the most satisfying, creative years in your life.

2020: A year of freebies

Every three months this year we’ll be releasing another freebie to join our catalogue of free writing resources. The first is a worksheet designed to help you get some fizz into that stale project of yours. Download it now and get your stalled writing project going again.

The next will be a crisp and practical guide for writers caught in the coils of writer’s block…

Each of the freebies coming up is designed to sharpen your writing tactics and strategies.

Last chance saloon for our December/January Writing Challenge

Today’s your last chance to respond to our December/January writing challenge. It was, you might remember, an invitation to play with Point of View in an unusual way – to see what effect it creates. We’re seeking flash fiction written from the second-person perspective. Write no more than 250 words. Paste your entry into the body of an email and send to pam@allaboutwritingcourses.com by midnight on 31 January 2020.

You’ve got 36 hours, people, so get weaving! (And remember, Point of View is one of those largely overlooked but vital dimensions of your writing.) Click here for some writing tips sure to help you along your way.

Upcoming courses

Our face-to-face Creative Writing Courses begin in Cape Town and Johannesburg on February 3. Johannesburg is full and there’s just one place available in Cape Town…. 

But plenty of opportunities to enrol for the Online Creative Writing Course which begins on the same day, but accepts new students right through February and March.

Our Screenwriting Crash Course kicks off on March 2. It’s a roller-coaster of a course in which two of the country’s leading screenwriters lead you through the intricacies, the technicalities and the excitement of writing for the big or the little screen. 

And you can enrol for our 30 Day Hike Through Writing Country whenever it suits you. It’s a demanding but rewarding self-guided course for which we send you notes at dawn and challenge you with a writing exercise every day for 30 days. For a small additional charge, we’ll give you fulsome notes on your final exercise. There’s nothing quite like the Hike to develop a really powerful writing practice.

And it’s worth bearing in mind that if you’ve already embarked on a writing project, and want feedback, that we’re happy to give you a full Literary Assessment of just 5 000 words of your story. For more details, have a look here.

Have a happy writing year

Richard, Jo-Anne and the all About Writing team

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