Weekly highlight – writing workshop/talk

Writing masterclass by Jennifer Donnelly

My Highlight of the week was visiting the Bath and Cheltenham Literary Festivals. As well as doing our talk at both festivals, I think the best part was attending author Jennifer Donnelly’s talk.

I’d recently begun reading Jennifer’s series, the Waterfire Saga, and was desperate to attend her talk at Bath.  I actually bumped into her in the green room beforehand and was able to get a quick signing of my book. She also told me roughly what her talk was about, which made me even more excited. I curled up on a chair nearby, desperate to finish her last book before the talk began.

The room Jennifer was going to be speaking in was already filling up when we arrived, 15 minutes early. She arrived soon after and began with talking about how her book was inspired and how Disney approached her with the idea. She even showed us some pictures of the characters! Then she went on to the process of writing it. The format was really good though – she presented it as a series of tips that would help other people wanting to write a story.

The main things were:

  • Creating strong characters – having a clear picture of their appearance, their strengths and weaknesses, their background and just the things that make your character who they are
  • Develop their world – if you can’t smell, see or feel the world you’re writing about, then neither can your characters
  • Making sure you have developed a good plot before writing your story.
  • There’s no such thing as writer’s block – it only exists if you believe it does. It’s merely a difficult time you have to get through. Jennifer said that she goes to galleries or museums to seek inspiration for the next part of the story. It can come from the most unusual places as well!

Jennifer’s tips have really assisted me with my writing. I’m writing my own story and getting advice from a successful author always helps. Her advice on the stages of creating book was most welcome.

By Amy