Every now and then I feel the need for a workshop. It's just the kick up the pants to get me inspired again when I'm feeling jaded...pushes me to move forward. On Saturday I went to the Moving on masterclass with Clarie Scobie in lovely, and actually sunny and warm, Ballarat. (big thanks to other half who managed to coincide visiting friends and his bees with this particular day and was a willing chauffeur)

I really got a lot out of this workshop...mostly because it was something I really wanted to know more about.

I want to write the story of the Rickshaw Run that my husband and I did last year (wow, was it really only last year? It feels like it was a lifetime ago) and hoped this class would give me the tools to make it into something not only interesting but publishable.

Claire gave us titles of books to read, authors to peruse...she gave us writing exercises and feedback...pages of notes and encouragement.

Once again we were told to write -  we first must read.

So true....yet so many want-to-be writers refuse this first and basic step. You must read, then break it down and figure out what makes this book work. Or in some cases, what makes it not work.

I did love the idea to be reading two books at once. One that you absolutely love. You aspire to write something half as marvel over sentence structure and wonder how this author manages to give such great descriptions without sounding boring. You turn page after page, wanting more.

Then you have another book. One that is a load of wonder how this ever managed to get published. You skip pages and even chapters,  and you mourn the death of trees in the process of this publication.

One of the most important things I learnt was that travel memoir is so similar to fiction writing.

You must avoid the boring 'I went here and saw that, then I caught the number 84 bus and went there and saw that, or I tried to but it was a Monday, and it's closed on a Monday'

Use story telling techniques like dialogue, plot and character development.

It was a great day. Not only with a very good teacher, would recommend doing any of Claire's classes, but also really interesting and knowledgable group of fellow writers.  (Regional writing workshops are excellent value for money and it's good for a change of scenery)

I left inspired...reinforced with the idea that my adventure is something worth telling about.

So for me, it's back to my notes....and here's hoping something worth while comes out of it all.



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