PORT ELIOT FESTIVAL//WRITING TIPS

 
 
 

author. Bethan Taylor

 

Over the weekend, I managed to pick up a few tips and tricks from the writers and poets who did readings and talks over the weekend. These ideas have stuck with me, so I will introduce them to this blog, and share the wisdom on further.

  1. Alexandra Shulman, both novelist and editor of Vogue, put forward this idea of not taking your writing to work with you. Simultaneously do not take your work home to your writing time. This allows the two to be separate, and gives you the best chance of focusing wholly on both.
  2. Alexandra Shulman also suggested that when creating a character, you should leave labels out when defining their class, personality, or opinions. If you begin to base your characters on labels your reader will soon lose interest as they lose depth. Leaving these 'labels' out also gives your reader a chance to use their imagination.
  3. Alexandra also gave some tips to journalists. In the modern age, short form journalism is considered to be the most important type and so tends to be all young people can do. It is important as well to be able to compose long form journalism because limiting yourself in your desired career is never a good idea. 
  4. Alexandra started writing fiction rather late in her life because she did not believe she could. She says her only regret is not starting sooner. Therefore don't allow yourself don't miss out on opportunities because you don't believe you have the ability; always give things a try if you want to cor gem! (Bit of a life tip here as well as a writing tip, I think.)
  5. Lucy Wood reflects these beliefs further, as she was a short story writer. She decided not to let this limit her and tried writing in longer form. Don't decide you're not going to try things because you're not sure if you can't do them, you could miss out on some amazing opportunities. 
  6. This may sound obvious but Lucy also does not only take influence from fiction for here fictional writings. Allow anything to influence you. Let your fiction be inspired by poetry, prose, plays, or whatever else you enjoy. This allows your writing to become more abstract, and creates a stronger element of craftsmanship in your work.
  7. Lucy also revealed the characters often have a mind of their own. She advised to not expect your characters to do as you want them to. If your story is not going the way that you originally intended then don't worry. Allow characters to do as they want- to an extent! See where they take you. 
  8. Jonny Fuzzypunk is a poet, and also gave a few small suggestions during his reading of his work. He suggests not swearing a lot in your poetry (or creative writing in general) because it can make you less accessible. Find other ways to get your words across. 
  9. Jonny also suggested that as writers, we should face our repressed memories and write about them. This will save readers the horrors of doing it themselves, and will also create some pretty interesting poetry. The repressed mind of Fuzzypunk lead to some pretty funny and original poetry.
  10. And finally, what I've learned from the whole Port Eliot experience is that if anyone is inspired enough, and has researched enough, they can write. It does not necessarily mean that it will be perfect first time and it may take many attempts, but you'll get there eventually.