creativity workshop: writing interests

Merrilee Faber from Not Enough Words is running a free three month Creativity Workshop for writers who want to stretch themselves and explore new avenues.

Being a big fan of self-reflection, I was very much tempted to take part, but given my already existing commitments (Above Ground and DarkSight), I’ve decided to sit this one out and join in on the fun if and when I can.

The first part of the workshop is to identify what areas of writing you would like to improve on. Merrilee has led the discussion by posting her own issues and interests, and her post intrigued me enough to want to do the same.

These are some areas of writing that I would like to explore a little further, in no particular order:

• Realistic genres

I think nearly everything I’ve written would fall into the broad speculative genre category, tending towards fantasy and/or light science fiction. Most include some element of magic or of the supernatural. It would be interesting to challenge myself and write something “real” — a story without these speculative elements.

• First person

As a young teen I used to write loads in first person — then came the stunning realization that everything I was writing was (badly written) wish fulfilment and I left first person behind me. I always feel it sounds silly or ‘unprofessional’ when I write it, even though I enjoy reading stories in first person. I should really get over this block and experiment more.

• Protagonists who are not like me

I started writing a long list of issues, and then realized half could be combined using the above sentence. It sounds bad, I know, but I don’t mean my protagonists are me — character-wise they’re often quite different — but there are certain aspects I pick without even thinking about it.

» Most of my protagonists are women. I’ve written the occasional short story from a male point of view, but the longer pieces which I put my heart and soul into have a female main character.

» Most of my characters are between the ages of 20 – 35. Characters outside that range tend to play much smaller roles in my stories — it would be interesting to have either a very young or very old main character.

» Lastly, my characters are ordinary people facing extraordinary events, with none of this “chosen one” business. I’ve never written from the point of view of a hero. Likewise, I’ve never written from the point of view of a villain. I can’t believe it. Of course, none of my stories have a clear-cut “bad guy” but still! Definitely something to explore.

That’s all I can think of for now. Who knows — maybe I’ll manage to churn out a couple #fridayflash pieces in my attempts to explore the issues I’ve listed above.

Is there anything you’d like to explore more in your writing?

If you want to join in on the Creativity Workshop, sign ups are free and close April 30th. Learn more here.

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About A.M. Harte

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the post-apocalyptic Above Ground and the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.
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8 Responses to creativity workshop: writing interests

  1. Isa says:

    I think you should definitely give the first one a shot ^O^ I loooovvveee writing magical realism, but as soon as I started working on something that absolutely couldn’t have any paranormal/surrealism elements to it I realized that I really used strange/philosophical as a crutch for dealing with writer’s block. When I didn’t know what to write I would just make something strange happen or worse wax philosophically for pages. It was really difficult to break those habits in order to write something real, but I feel like it definitely made me a stronger writer

    I’d like to go even further out of my comfort zone in the future and see what happens. I have this strange idea moving around in my head about a world with too many super heros :D Something less manga inspired in construction, more traditional pulp comic.

    • a.m.harte says:

      You? Wax philosophically? I can’t imagine it…. :-) I also think it would be good to experiment — because after all you don’t want the magic to be the basis of your plot. I think it’s an easy way to avoid characterization (something I’m weak at) and you don’t become a better writer by avoiding things you’re bad at!

  2. Merrilee says:

    There are some interesting issues to explore there, Anna. Good luck! :)

  3. J.C says:

    First person is really fun to explore – I find you get a different kind of story when working with it, and I think I like the intimacy with the character that usually happens.

    I so hear you on the ‘writing characters that aren’t like me’ thing, I’m looking forward to exploring that one throughout the workshop :-)

    Good luck!

    • a.m.harte says:

      I guess I worry my first person sounds “immature” or something. I am giving it a try now actually with a little side story for Above Ground so we’ll see how that goes!

      The characters thing looks like it’ll be the most fun to explore though.

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