Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inspiration at a writing workshop

Spent yesterday afternoon getting some much-needed inspiration at a writing workshop presented by Hayden Trenholm and sponsored by the NorthWords Writers Festival. Hayden (who is a playwright, fiction writer and former Yellowknifer) discussed how to balance plot and character in genre fiction.

Plotting is not my favourite thing. I like inventing the characters, I like putting them in odd situations . . . and then my story drafts start to founder. Sometimes, after staring at a draft long enough, I can see the natural evolution of the story, and then all is well. But my pile of half-finished tales is a testament to the fact that my fictional universes don't reveal themselves as often as I would like.

So what to do? When you're stuck with your plot, how do you get it unstuck in a way that remains true to the characters? Hayden gave us a number of exercises to help us get back to the basics of our stories: you understand where your characters are coming from, you understand where they're headed.

So, time to get out the worksheets provided by Hayden, close my eyes, and pick a draft from that pile . . .

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