As a writer, I am always inspired by a sense of place. Whether it be a gloomy city or a stunning hillside, a glass-strewn council estate or a majestic waterfall, something about my surroundings repeatedly triggers ideas.
Indeed, I view the theme as so important that is the basis for the two weekend writing workshops that I am running at my home in Dumfries and Galloway in July and August for individuals and writing group members (details at the end of this piece).
I do a lot of creative writing teaching and I always contend that, despite the many elements of fiction, it comes down to a triangle, three things that come together to make the story work right from the off – plot, people and place. Get them right and pace, economy of words, themes, emotions, the lot, fall into line.
Different writers would put a different thing at the top of the triangle, identifying it as most important. I know writers who would say it all starts with a strong idea which drives the narrative and everything else follows. They get the idea then search round for somewhere to set it.
Others would put characters at the top. I have worked with many writers who contend that their stories begin with a person, a character from whom everything flows.
I tend to start with the place, always the place, and the workshops we are running during the summer will look at how a stunning landscape can be harnessed to shape powerful stories.
The courses will run courses on July 6/7 and August 24/25, 2019. The cost is £95 per person, including catering, and you can find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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