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Decades of starting a piece of fiction and as many decades often getting into a mess some 70,000 words in I feel I am eating humble pie by ‘doing a course’. You do and can learn by doing, but it helps to have guidance.
Fig 1. The Story Tree, by Wend Greenalgh, my tutor for the rest of May.
I quickly saw how this could unlock many stories; I have some dozen partly written and sometimes completed novels and screenplays – written over 26 years. Few see the light of day. Some were sent out. All had the same problem; plot heavy. That I had figured out, ‘the story arc’, but there is little appeal if it is all bridge-like arc with little to attract you to the key character(s) that will hold your attention.
My issue now is how to start again, and where and what to start with?
Escape from Alien Zoo
Angel of the North
The Time Telescope
The Contents of my Brain
The Little Duke
Or perhaps, as it was short and worked ‘Listening In’ … I wrote, directed and produced this as a short film (16mm) and sold the end result to Channel 4 where it was shown and featured in a few transmissions in 1996-2000. It also went to a few film festivals.
When you have given up large chunks of your life to writing you can understand why I feel nervous about setting out on this journey again; once started I will commit over a few years; I just don’t want to run myself into another dead-end.
The Writing Fiction course I have started is a most modest start and undertaking. A few hours each Thursday evening in Brighton for the month of May. But as I feel know, far more than decades ago, everything and anything can be taught. It doesn’t come by osmosis unless you have a writer parent or grandparent you learn from as a child.