Gala Showcase: Distracted
The writers seemed a little distracted from the theme of distraction, but the evening was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Akala, John Boyne, Marcus Zusak, Clementine Ford, Tina Makereti and Chris Tse, and to be entertained by MC Michele A'Court. None of the writers really addressed 'guarding creative space amid today's digital noise', but instead spoke on their own passions and obsessions, which was just as interesting.
Point of view: workshop with Paula Morris
In this workshop we learnt how to choose and use a point of view to dramatic advantage. Here are some rough notes:
- Whatever form you use (poetry, short stories, novels) - you have to know the constraints and work within them. Likewise, point of view is a constraint
- If you switch point of view during a story, make sure you're doing it for a good dramatic reason
- What is your point of view character's state of mind? In their description of the world around them, what words can you use to convey this state of mind?
- Reading suggestions: Bleak House, Remains of the Day, Bright Lights Big City, and the stories of Junot Diaz, Alice Munro and Lori Moore
- Writing is not simply self-expression - it is made.
Short, Shorter, Shortest
With Paula Morris, Iona Winter and Michael Harlow. Chaired by Maxine Alterio.
This was a delightful event. Below, some no doubt very poorly-summarised notes:
- Prose is trying to get somewhere - poetry is like dancing
- Poetry is full of quick surprises, discovery
- Writers ransack the memory and recover what's forgotten
- Janet Frame said she read all of her sentences aloud
- There's a truth to the imagination
- We are never in complete control of our material
- You write to discover what you don't know
- Reading and writing are complementary activities
- If you get stuck worrying about ideas you'll miss out on all the music (the music is in the words / language)
- Sometimes when I get stuck I take the last line of a poem and put it up the top. It makes you realise what's important
- You can hide a lot of things in a piece of flash fiction. There's always some kind of hook
- A memory will sometimes reference something that's happening in the present
- Lori Moore said that writing a short story is like having a short, passionate affair. A novel is like a marriage
- If you are writing short stories you should buy (or borrow from the library) collections of short stories
I have already read Iona's wonderful book 'Then the Wind Came'. I picked up a copy of Paula's 'False River' at the festival, and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it.
A huge thank you to the festival team for organising such a wonderful series of events for Dunedin writers and readers.