Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Margaret Graham talks sense (again)

When I attended the Winchester Writers' Conference a couple of years ago, apart from getting lost on campus frequently (on foot and in car - my fault, Sarah!), I signed up to Margaret Graham's courses. Her talks seemed the most relevant (about story arcs) but I hadn't heard her speak before. But I would certainly recommend her! Though she'd obviously given the talks before, I thought her most direct and plausible. Sometimes people say things that I immediately understand, and she's one of them. She was also astute, particularly when we had to read out some of the pieces we'd written (gulp!) She told me to slow down the pace, which I have certainly kept in mind ever since. btw, I'd written the beginnings of a thriller-type story, since I couldn't think of anything else given the theme we'd been presented with.

Anyhow, she mentioned that she was helping to run a competition, the Yeovil Prize, and encouraged us to enter. I must admit, I didn't get myself together in time for the deadline earlier this year, but I checked out the website to see who won. Once again, she said something which struck a note, when commenting on some of the submissions:

In a few cases there was [also] a tendency to create a predictable plot, and to present the plot with a predictable 'voice' or style. It takes time (almost an apprenticeship) to learn or to delve into the creative imagination, and get in touch with your own unique way of looking at the world and situations and then to SHOW this in a three-dimensional scene

And that is very much how I view my work at present. She knows, you know ;-)

Anyway, the Yeovil Prize is running again next year, so why not have a go? I may even trot LOTR out, if I'm feeling masochistic enough (and after I've made a few revisions).


At 9:22 pm BST, Blogger Sarah Cuthbertson said...

You're dead right about Margaret Graham -- at Winchester, she had terrific insights and quickly got to the nub of our respective difficulties when we read out our pieces in the class. She cetainly broke down my initial resistance.


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