Writers’ Workshop Zürich

Joanna Penn at the Zürich Writers’ Workshop

On 29 October 2012 I attended the Boot Camp of the Writers’ Workshop in the Volkshaus Zürich – a full day’s dose of useful tips for would-be authors. I’m not normally very good at paying attention in long meetings, but there I was captivated and I took copious notes.

The speakers were very competent (Why all ladies?) and gave us plenty of useful exercises to put their advice into practice (e.g. In 5 minutes, write about “underwear” in the style of a “serious newspaper”!)

It was also extremely stimulating to interact with intelligent, like-minded people in the coffee breaks and at the evening meal at Hiltl.

The program looked like this:

Session 1
Libby O’Loghlin persuaded us to ask 5 questions to help us get our story straight: Whose story? About? Central Dramatic Question (CDQ)? Why do we care? Prize/price?

Session 2
JJ Marsh of Nuance Words advised us on discovering our style and tone.

Session 3
Kelly Jarosz looked at the words that hit the page. What makes dynamic prose? What are some of the most common errors? The art of editing.

Session 4
Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn flew in from the UK to take us on a high-speed dash through some of the basics of publishing.

A very valuable side benefit of this event was the specific feedback I received from two of the teachers on a sample of my own writing (part of chapter 3 of Aquila) which I had submitted in advance. Thanks again, Libby and Kelly!


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