Archive for October 11, 2017

How do you learn to write?

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Kate Jack

I started writing when I was about fourteen. I’d always been good at writing essays at school and very much enjoyed it. I made stories up in my head too and this graduated into putting my day dreams down on paper, to feed my ever growing imagination.

However, apart from the essays, I had no formal education in writing fiction. Yes, I read, and even gleaned bits of other writers’ techniques, as a result, but I was mostly self-taught when it came to composing my own work. As a result I had no writing style, but a mish-mash of words, which resulted in some pretty bizarre results. My writing was, and still is, to a certain extent, instinctual. 

Now with some writers, instinct is enough, but most of us need a guiding hand. With that in mind, I joined a writers’ workshop. As a means of meeting other writers and gaining new friends, it was great. However, most of its members were hobbyists, which is okay, but for someone who wanted genuine feedback on how to improve their technique, or fresh ideas, instead of a mutual appreciation society, it was somewhat disappointing.

I then moved onto a writing group, which was much smaller and consisted of serious writers, and fared much better. The feedback was ruthless, the praise hard earned, but genuine. I learned about the overuse of adverbs, gerunds, and the use of naturalistic dialogue. This encouraged me to do an MA course in writing at John Moores University, in Liverpool, which enabled me to obtain a more “formal” education in the techniques of writing.

Even after that, I still had an awful lot to learn and assimilated more writing knowledge as I wrote my books, learning as I went along. I’m still learning and suspect, as far as writing is concerned, will continue to accrue knowledge as trends, genres and techniques continue to develop and evolve.



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