Author Judith Allnatt was running a writing historical fiction workshop, held in the events room at the Nottingham branch of Waterstones. The events room actually has a name- the Alan Sillitoe Room.
(It's on the top floor and is large enough for a book launch/ talk if you ever have need of one.)
There was also a good supply of tea and coffee to keep us alert...
I must admit that I always find workshops a little scary, as well as worthwhile.
|Ready to workshop...|
The warm-up bit was fun as we were able to choose from a selection of postcards of shoes (from assorted time periods) and used that as a starting point for creating a character. It was ideal for me as so often visuals connect with the room of waiting characters in my sub-conscious. The pair of shoes I chose were from 1912.
There was one exercise I will definitely use again. My new character, how do they sleep, what is around them in their bedroom or room they sleep in? My character didn't have a first name at this point, but I was soon realising her circumstances were dire.
When you think about it, the place where you sleep is very telling, as are the objects around you, their neatness or an incongruous item or two.
I'd never thought about it that way before, but I will now.
By the time we reached the senses, I knew my character's name, and a better idea of the time setting- late Victorian rather than early 20th century.
(This was when a missing scene from my work in progress popped up and resolved one of my niggle points.)
Judith read an extract from her third and lately released in paperback, The Silk Factory, to provide an example of how the senses could be used.
We looked at published extracts and how they convey information without it being obvious, even if you don't know what event it may refer to- such as a national/world event.
With time running out there was a Q&A to finish.
Everyone seemed to leave inspired to continue writing their historical novels.
Personally, it was enjoyable, I learnt more, but it also reassured me that I'm doing the right things for the historical side of my romances.
Have you been to any workshops this year?
image courtesy of noppasinw & www.freedigitalphotos.net