I’ve started going again to creative writing classes with Anne Aylor. A couple of years ago I went to a few of her classes while writing The Banker. What I liked about her classes that as well as tutorials there are plenty of writing practice sessions on a given theme. Usually 3 or 4 students would read their work and the rest of us would comment. So in a couple of hours you get to listen to several different writing styles.
The first topic was getting started writing your novel. I won’t attempt to summarize all we covered, just some of the points made.
Write little but often. Just 250 words a day will result in 81,000 at the end of a year (70,000 words is regarded as the minimum for a full-length novel).
Immerse yourself in your characters and their worlds. Think about what clothes they own , what shoes they might wear for a night on the town.
You don’t have to start at the beginning; the writing need not be linear. Start where your ideas are flowing.
Always have a writer’s notebook, preferably bound, to hand.
A few quotes from the class:
A good writer finds it difficult to write. – Thomas Mann
Stop when you get to an interesting place. – Ernest Hemingway
Write first, think later. – Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s a good source for quotes, he not only wrote prolifically but he had a lot to say about the writing process. I’ve come across another version of that last quote:
Write drunk, edit sober.