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! 

What really happened at our first writers’ retreat

By Paul Malone

 We held our first writers’ retreat last weekend at a farmhouse in Lower Austria. The weather was perfect: it rained! Extremely conducive for immersing oneself in writing and the good company of other writers.

There were fellow Australians, a couple of Canadians, a chap from London, one perfectly bilingual Austrian, a few of the cosmopolitan “I’ve lived everywhere” types. Check out our smiling faces.

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What did we write? Essays, novel chapters, short stories, for a start. Some of us wrote in the company of others in the farmhouse dining hall. Others wrote in the quietude of their rooms with a view…to all that fog. Atmospheric, slightly melancholic pieces were written, no doubt.

We ventured to the town of Weitra for the local cuisine: goulash and schnitzel, that sort of thing, at an old brewery. Some of us wandered into the forest to look at Czech totem poles signifying the Zodiac. Others soaked up the warmth in the steam room and infrared cabinet. One of us spent much of his time in bed being clobbered by a nasty cold.

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No this is isn’t where we slept!

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Hard at work…

We collaborated too: a short story called Istanbul. We came up with a framework for our story that included situation, character, objective, opponent, disaster. We drew names from a hat to determine the sequence of writers. Here were the rules:

  1. The story was to be written based on the framework
  2. Each writer had roughly 250 words before passing it on.
  3. There was no rewrite
  4. The story had to draw to its natural conclusion with the last writer

How did it go? Well, you can read for yourself. Istanbul (1st draft, no edits) is attached. It took a great deal of imagination and cooperation to complete the story. It was also fun. We read it out during our farewell lunch (see below). We all had a good laugh. Give it a read, let us know what you think:

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Farewell dinner!

I can’t speak for everyone as to what they took away with them from the retreat. I discovered new things: I’m trialing scrivener software (for writers) thanks to another retreater who explained Word really is for office documents. I received valuable group feedback on a short story. I have since revised the story and sent it off to one of my favorite publishers. I met some lovely people. I had a great time. I felt things opening up for me just a little more. It was exciting.

There will be another retreat in the winter (snowy and idyllic). I’m looking forward to it. I hope you might join us.

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By the way, if you’re looking for a farm stay, I can highly recommend Family Bruckner. Their farm is ideal for families as well as writers. There is a huge barn made into an indoor playground (no, we didn’t get time to go for a slide). Here is their link: