Thursday, March 20, 2014

Post Fishguard and Post-it Notes!

It doesn't seem possible that it's  now  nearly 3 weeks since I got back from Fishguard. This time on the 28th, I was just meeting up with my  group of students, ready for the weekend's intensive Advanced Romance Writing Course as organised by Writers' Holiday at the Fishguard Bay Hotel in Pembrokeshire.  And then it seemed that I blinked and the weekend was over, we were saying our goodbyes,  and heading home.

What's that they say about time flying when you're having fun?

Yes, I know it was supposed to be a writing course - and it was - but there's nothing to stop us having fun and learning at the same time.  Over the years, this course  - and the students - has evolved into something rather special., There's a lot of fun, laughter - discussions. . .   Chocolate is often evolved , some wine and more discussions - more laughter. And yes, we learn a lot (because as well as being the tutor I often learn a lot and get inspired to write as a result of those discussions)

Of course we also had cause for celebrations because Rachael Thomas who had been there last year as a student was this year celebrating the acceptance of her very first book - as a result of the So You Think You Can Write contest.

This year's group from Fishguard '14
And this year there were the post-it notes.

When I was planning out ways of making things clearer, driving home certain points, I wanted a system  that was not just words on a page - and the post-it /emotions lesson was the result.  It seemed to work well - if you want  to know more about that then Johganna Grassick did a great write-up over on Novelistas Ink  - with a picture of post-it notes!

But things didn't stop there - since I got back, I've had a  couple of emails from another member of the group - another Jo  - and she has taken the post-it note philosophy to heart. She wrote to tell me how she'd been working hard on what she now calls ' The Fishguard Aftermath, aka A Date With Post-it Notes'.  She even sent me a couple of photographs to illustrate how the post-it system can work - how it's worked for her to sort out the core emotions, the way those work their way through the story -  the things that change dramatically when love(see those heart shaped notes?)  or sex intervene and make things even more complicated.

It's a visual - and fun way  of making things clearer and helping you focus on what matters.

I'm not the only one to use sticky notes in this way -   Julie Cohen has a special blog on Post-It Plotting over on her web site - even  more colour, even more scheming  - and a great way to keep track of everyone/everything in the story.

As a result there has been rather a rush on post-it notes all over the country (and excuse - writers love a chance to buy more stationery). I know that the place I bought the notes for this year's Fishguard is currently out of stock! They must be wondering what hit them.

Anyway - what I want to say is a great big thank you to the fabulous group I had at Fishguard this year. I had so much fun and the discussions were great, the laughter  ditto - the critique session was fantastic (and the glass - or two - of wine went well too.)  I'm almost ashamed to say I'm not a great chocolate lover  - but the Babe Magnet was very happy to eat my share after the class.

I also want to send very special thanks to Anne and Gerry Hobbs who  - as always - organised this weekend with their usual warm, welcoming  efficiency, in spite of this February not being  the easiest of circumstances in which to cope.  I had a wonderful time and I'm so looking forward to the Writers' Holiday at Fishguard coming up in the summer.  The sea, the sun (hopefully), great company, more laughter - and maybe more post-it notes.

At the moment the  summer Writers' Holiday is fully booked up  and has been for some time. But if you're interested in my Advanced Romance Writing Course  for next February 2015  then (I can't believe I'm saying this but it's true) the time to get your booking in is now - before it fills up again.

One point - the Advanced course is just that - advanced - so if you're more interested in a basic course  - or would like to learn the basics and then book the advanced (I know someone who has booked for both only this week) or you just can't wait till February 2015 then I have other courses  coming up.  The details  should be appearing on my web site - on the Events Page  just as soon as my lovely web mistress can get them up there - but I'm also going to run a couple of blogs to let you know what's coming up so watch this space.

The first of these will be a weekend  course in May  with Relax and Write  creative writing weekends. That has basically been filled but I'm adding extra places  to fit people in if I can.  Details on the Events Page - or in my next blog.

I'll hope to see some of you somewhere soon at one of these courses -  and  I think I'd better go and buy some more post-it notes!


Sandra Schwab said...

Big congrats to your student for having her book accepted! How thrilling!!

It sounds as if you had a wonderful time at Fishguard, and I have to say that hotel looks fantastic!

Kate Walker said...

Thank you Sandra - it was a lovely thing to celebrate and Rachael deserved it so much after working so hard for years. The Fishguard Bay hotel is warm and welcoming - and the position is just wonderful. I love having the sea just outside so I can see it every morning when I wake up.


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