MasterClass: Find your character’s voice… through song!

Are you one of those people who loves to sing and write? Then you know that music taps into our deepest emotions – it’s a brilliant way to express yourself. Music is what many of us turn to in order to express joy, anger, a broken heart, or even frustration. So wouldn’t it seem the obvious way to help us access those characters we are writing about, the ones who just don’t want to reveal themselves? Perhaps you are writing a novel and the main character isn’t developing, or you can’t get a clear sense of who they really are – sounds crazy since you are the one who made them up in the first place – but writing deep, emotional characters that resonate with a reader can be difficult. Getting past the superficial characteristics and finding out what truly makes them tick takes work.

Write Now has made it our mission to occasionally  offer workshops that are outside of the box. Sure the basics are necessary and we will continue to offer those, but every once in awhile someone like Catrina Poor comes along and ‘voila’ we are standing outside the box  looking at a very common problem (evasive characters) and thinking, what would be a different approach? There are always benefits to uniting different genres of art – the results can be inspiring, insightful, and sometimes very practical.

In this particular workshop – which we are offering as a MasterClass because it will be intense, and you will come away with a very new approach – Catrina will teach you hands on, and with a lot of one to one attention, how to find your character’s authentic voice, using singing, song analysis, and basic performance techniques. She is highly professional and talented. You will not be disappointed!

For those of you who are considering this workshop but perhaps are feeling a bit apprehensive about singing in front of a group, rest assured, the environment will feel both creative and safe. The focus is not on your singing ability, but on your character. And you can always go home and practice what you’ve learned!

Classes will run for three Sunday afternoons – October 15, October 29, and November 12.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Reserve your space now! 

Open Mic monthly meeting – September 21st

Write Now is back after a lovely summer break. For the first time ever we offered a summer workshop, and a children’s workshop and we will definitely be doing both again! But for those of you who we didn’t see over the lazy hazy days of summer, we would like to welcome you to the first meeting of our new season. We are very excited to expand our open mic to include stand up comedians and songwriters so if you have some material you want to test out on a fantastic crowd, don’t hesitate!

Come along and meet other creative people, take the stage, or simply sit back and enjoy the performances.

This event is run in collaboration with Creative Cafe, Austria

With guest poet, Neil McCarthy

The open mic will be open for the following performances:

· poetry (max 5 minutes reading time)

· short story (max 2000 words)

· novel excerpt (max 1500 words)

· song (max 5 minutes)

· stand-up comedy (max 5 minutes)

The evening includes up to around 1,5 hours of performance with a break between.

Location: Café Korb, Brandstätte 9, 1010 Vienna ( 2 minute walk from Stephansplatz)

Date: Thursday 21st September

Time: 7.00pm to around 9.30pm

Cost: We kindly ask for between €5 and €10 contribution to cover the venue hire

For performers:

If you would like to perform on the night, please arrive at 6.45pm to put your name on the list. Please keep in mind the time / word count for performances.

We look forward to seeing you!

Two August Workshops with Kirstin Zhang!

Dear Writers, greetings from Canada.

Normally Write Now goes on a summer break but the amazing Kirstin Zhang wrote to me and said she would be in Vienna at the end of August. She proposed two wonderful workshops so I figured, why not, summer is an ideal time to get together and learn about the craft of writing. So be sure to mark August 19th on your calendar.

What’s especially exciting is that one of these workshops is for children – aged 9-12. This is our first children’s workshop and we can’t wait. Kirstin also works at the Steiner School in Edinburgh so we have no doubt that she will be a wonderful teacher to inspire this age group.

Both workshops will explore a sense of place in writing. As writers, we know it is essential to create a world on the pages that draws in the reader. Easier said than done, right? Through discussion and exercises Kirstin will unveil the mysteries of creating a world on the page.

Join us on Saturday August 19th at a lovely little workshop in the 18th district. You’ll be sure to come away with some tips and techniques, meet some like-minded writers, and afterwards you can take a stroll through the nearby Turkenschanz park or have a drink at the trendy Aumann Cafe.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me an email at kirsten.writenow@gmail.com

For more details on the workshops click here

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Time Change for May 5th Reading with Novelist Ardashir Vakil

Hi Everyone,

If you are planning to attend the book reading with Ardashir Vakil next Friday May 5th at the Cafe Korb, please note that the start time has changed to 9 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience but he’s flying in from London to Vienna late in the afternoon.

The event is free of charge and is sure to be an interesting evening, so do come along!

We still have one space left for his two-day workshop on Sat/Sun May 6/7,so if you are interested drop us a mail at office.writenow@gmail.com

Have a great weekend and hope to see you there

April 20th Monthly Meeting

Hi Everyone!

For our April monthly meeting we thought we would try something a little bit different. Instead of the usual open mic session we have decided to host an organization called Fear&Fail

Three participants will take to the stage and share their story of overcoming fear and failure, be it personal, or in business and what they learned from the experience.

Writers are constantly challenged by fears and fails of different types – fear of sharing their work, fear of not ever finishing their book, attempting a to write a book several times and just not getting to the end, fear of exposing themselves in the writing process…

Come out and listen to these brave storytellers and go away inspired!

More information about the participants will be available soon so stay tuned!

Start time is 7 pm at the Cafe Korb (downstairs). The storytelling should be done by 8:30 to be followed by socializing.

Door fee is €5 to cover the venue cost.

Regular open mic will return at the May meeting.

Indian Spring

Award-winning Indian author Ardashir Vakil is coming to Austria in May to host an exclusive networking/reading, following by a creative writing event. The title of the workshop: Writing for Life. A special offer price on the workshop ends on Friday.

As writers – especially in that first big work – we often choose to use our own life experiences and memories, drawing on deeply personal themes and details to enrich plot, create three-dimensional characters and build a body of material to work from. But how should we do this effectively, and make the most of those experiences to create really strong writing?

Now, in a creative writing weekend organised by writers’ group Write Now, the author Ardashir Vakil, who also lectures in creative writing in London, will be giving a free reading of a recent short story of his, following by a two-day workshop. Here’s what that weekend will look like…

On the evening of Friday 5 May, Vakil will read ‘Impromptu’, a piece he wrote in 2014 and which was published in the spring of that year in Raritan, a prestigious American literary journal. The piece has a very Viennese theme, and the reading will take place at the Arts Centre below the Cafe Korb in the Innenstadt, beginning at 9 p.m. The author will read for 35 minutes, after which participants will be invited to question Vakil, before enjoying a drink and networking event with the other writers, publishers, journalists and artists present. The reading and social opportunity will be free of charge.

Subsequently, on the mornings and early afternoons of Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 May, Vakil will host a workshop for twelve people, examining how to take one’s own life story, experience and memories, and work it into your writing to enrich plot and characters in novels and short stories. Vakil’s own best-selling novel, ‘Beach Boy’, is a coming-of-age story dealing with his own childhood in ‘60s and ‘70s Bombay, which won the Betty Trask Award.

The workshop will consist of writing exercises when all participants, including Vakil, will write for anything from 5 to 20 minutes. All participants will get a chance to read to the group and receive feedback from Vakil and their peers. Questions on issues such as plot, character, narrative technique and voice will be discussed throughout the workshop, and Vakil will make room to address any outstanding questions participants may wish to discuss during intervals in each session and lunch afterwards.

The workshop is being kept small, with twelve participants, to maximise direct interaction and close-in access to the host. Tickets for the workshop cost € 175 if booked by he end of this week, 31 March, and € 195 if booked after that date. The workshop will be held in the Arts Centre below the Cafe Korb, five minutes’ walk from Stephansdom.

If you think you might be interested in attending the workshop and networking event for free, or would like to book a place on the workshop, please contact Tim Martinz-Lywood by calling 0650 289 1150 or drop in at the Write Now website.

Write Now is a group dedicated to creating a platform for English-language writes in Vienna to network, exchange writing experiences and socialise with life minds. 

Writing from Life

Award winning novelist and creative writing lecturer at Goldsmiths, Ardu Vakil, based in Mumbai and London, is coming to do a workshop for us this May!

The workshop will be looking in particular at how to successfully draw from your personal life story and incorporate it into your writing. This may be in the form of memoir, using your life as inspiration, writing what you know, or simply boring details from life. 

As an introduction to Ardu Vakil and his thoughts on writing, here’s an interview I did with him over the phone earlier this week.

How old were you when you first started to write?

Twelve. In the school magazine. ‘One Night in the Life of Ardu Vakilovich’. I still have a copy somewhere.

Describe for us an early experience that taught you language had power.

My friend at school, Dilip used to ask me for help with writing love letters to a girl he had a crush on. It worked. She became his girlfriend on the strength of my flowery, purple prose.

When did you realise you could actually make a living as a writer?

In London, in 1994, after the publication of my first novel ‘Beach Boy’. It won a Betty Trask Award before it was even published. And I was contacted by the Wylie Agency to come and meet them with a view to representing me. The reality, of course, is that it is only a handful of published writers who can actually make a living solely from the income generated by sales of books.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Write as much as you can, be disciplined, force yourself to write sometimes even when you don’t want to, but don’t be judgemental and self-stricturing. Don’t keep worrying about whether something is brilliant or not.

How important is personal life experience for you? Is it the most potent tool aspiring writers have to work with?

Yes. In the beginning. You have to start, in my opinion, by making yourself and any of your experiences the stories you write. If you can’t bring your own stories alive, if you can’t make yourself an interesting character to readers, you are unlikely to be able to make up convincing, engaging situations and characters.

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

Returning every day to the work, despite being beset by anxieties and uncertainties.

Does writing energise or exhaust you, and how has it changed you over the years?

When something I have written, after months of the hard work of searching, composing and editing is finished, I read over a decent paragraph and feel a sense of wonder. It’s certainly a rare feeling.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

My friends and sometimes members of my family have read over my work and made helpful suggestions. Working with Creative Writing students at Goldsmiths has also been instructive and inspiring for me as a writer. Watching the growth of other people’s work and seeing what dedication to determination can achieve. Those last two are probably the most crucial aspects of writing, though they don’t guarantee success, they guarantee that you will finish the work you started.

Do you want each of your books to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’d like my stories and books to stand on their own. Each one is a separate entity. I do intend to write a sequel to Beach Boy, but in many ways, it will be a very different kind of book.

Who is your favourite author, and why?

I think Chekhov’s stories are always improvisatory, moving and alive.

I think all writers who have any ambition should read and reread ‘Anna Karenina’.

Recently, my favourite author has been Sadat Hasan Manto.

One of your most critically-acclaimed books has been Beach Boy, dealing with your youth in what was then Bombay. What did you edit out of this book?

A scene where I went for a swim in the sea outside my childhood home and I cried a lot; my salty tears mixing with the waves. It was untrue, lachrymose, and didn’t fit with the character in the book.

What has been the hardest scene you’ve ever had to write, and why so?

Writing is most hard when you feel you have to do it and you don’t want to. For example, I know what a train station in Bombay looks like, but to have to put it into words is a struggle. How to avoid clichés? What to leave in what to leave out? Who am I writing it for? Ultimately, I go back to the characters and the story. I’m not that interested in description for its own sake, a few lines maybe, if they are really beautiful.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The most important thing money buys for a writer is time, apart from laptops!

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

I am the first and foremost reader of my work. I am an exacting reader. I don’t like being experimented on by the writer, especially if that writer is me! Much of what I have written has been pushed to one side; my own slush pile if you like. I want to be moved and I want the character and situation to be alive on the page. If that happens, I’m satisfied, if not I start anew.

 

How long on average does it take for you to write a book?

How long is a piece of string question?

‘Beach Boy’ took two years, start to finish, but it depends on what you mean by the ‘start’.

Faulkner wrote ‘As I Lay Dying’ in 8 weeks. Harper Lee’s second novel took 30 years, but not sure this kind of info is helpful to any writer. A writer acquaintance said to me, she always knows how many hours a novel is going to take her start to finish. That’s a little weird. She’s written three or four short novels. (100 pages each)

What’s more important for you: characters or plot?

Definitely characters. Plot is empty without character who the reader cares about.

Early bird registration for this workshop will open on Wednesday March 1, 2017. Early bird tickets for the two-day workshop, running Saturday May 6 and Sunday May 7, will be €175. Registration after April 1st will be €195. Workshop details will be posted on the site on March 1st. This workshop is limited to 12 participants and tickets are expected to sell out fast, so please contact us at office.writenow@gmail.com to reserve a seat, or check back next week for more info!

 

Poetry and Story Workshop

Award winning poet Alice Miller is back for yet another workshop with Write Now! Why do we keep bringing her back? Because she is an amazing teacher, poet and all round nice person. As we are exploring storytelling through our workshops and events this year, Alice has delightfully created a workshop that does just that, and much more. Don’t miss the opportunity to work with Alice and come out with some polished poems that tell a story…

Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Alice…

Poetry and Story

This is the bridge where at dusk they hear voices

In this class we’ll look at how different poets touch, brush against, and embrace story, through narrative devices, line, voice, or music — not only in a single poem, but also in a poetic series, or over the course of an entire book. The classes will be divided into two — the first part being an informal lecture and discussion, and the second part being a workshop of your own work. Limited to 10 participants.

Instructor: Alice Miller

Location: vienna poetry school

Every Friday for four weeks, 10 February, 2017 to 3 March

18:30pm – 20:30pm

Fee: €185

Workshop Registration Form

Get Ready for 2017!

Writers! Write Now is back in action after a bit of an organizational break. We apologize for being quiet for so long, but we were busy getting things ready for 2017.

Join us on ThursdayJanuary 19, 2017, 19:00 at the Cafe Korb (downstairs) for the return of our monthly meetings. This will be the new location for our monthly meetings and many of our events. It’s cosy, with lots of seating, a small stage for the Open Mic hour of our meetings, and it is perfect for readings and all the exciting things we have planned.

Just a teaser of what’s to come! 2017 is going to be all about Storytelling. Everyone has a story to tell. The question is, how to tell it? Through our events and workshops we will introduce you to various methods and forms of expression from poetry to improv acting, to flash fiction, travel memoir, writing your own experiences into your novel and short stories, to traditional verbal storytelling.

What’s Your Story? This is our tagline for 2017!

So keep your eye on the website, and send us your email address (office.writenow@gmail.com) so we can keep you up to date.

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to some of our newest instructors, posting information about some super fun events, and announcing a writing retreat in Edinburgh!

Til then, keep writing! And don’t forget to mark your calendar for January 19th.

Never forget who you are – and never forget where you are

People from England, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Philippines, Nigeria and Scotland who ended up in Vienna talk about exactly what it’s like.

As part of this year’s Wir sind Wien festival, Write Now has organised eight readings by migrants to Vienna, describing their experiences and cultural journeys since arriving in the city. The readings will be held next Friday, June 10th at the Ankerbrotfabrik, Absberggasse 27, 1100 Wien.

How does it feel to migrate? How does it change your attitude to your new home, and the place you left? How do you retain an identity while becoming part of somewhere totally new? Do you need to, or should you just mix in? How do things like the job you do, the colour of your skin or your religion, get in the way?

Migration has changed hugely compared to movement from Africa, the Caribbean, the Subcontinent and Turkey into the big European economies in the 1950s and ‘60s. In many countries, such as the UK, two or three generations down the line, with people from all over the world having grown up in the same classrooms and workplaces, many of the questions have been answered, and the population at large feels that generally, the country is the stronger for having absorbed new people from around the world.

In many countries, though, it’s far less simple. As people continue to set out across the Mediterranean, how do those already in Europe and its new arrivals need to adapt to one another’s needs avoid to losing an entire generation of people to radicalism at both extremes?

As the literary partner of the Wir sind Wien event in the city’s 10th District, Favoriten, Write Now has brought together a group of eight ordinary people, from a range of different jobs and origins, to talk about their experiences of starting life elsewhere in the world and eventually landing up in Vienna, and where they really view as home.

The writers are a great mix: they started out in England, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, the Philippines, Nigeria and Scotland. They will read their respective pieces to the crowd at Magda’s Kantine, a café at the Ankerbrotfabrik arts centre site; there will be no stage, and the atmosphere will be informal; people will read their work, then open things up to the audience for questions. The readings will happen in two groups of four people, one at 4.00 pm and one at 6.30 pm. Other events (music, an artists’ initiative, etc.) will be held in the course of the afternoon.

The talks will also be backdropped by an exhibition of art by a Syrian refugee who contacted Write Now with his paintings. Highly professional, hauntingly memorable stuff. The talks will be humorous and insightful, there’s a performance by the superar orchestra, art happenings on the site and more – so come along on 10 June for a great afternoon!