Having run EnVision which was a 5 day mentoring opportunity for writers to polish their books under the guidance of an experienced author, I know how useful this opportunity can be. So I’m delighted to announce that the Gold Coast Writers Workshop Team have come up with a workshop series that will be very useful for emerging writers.
If you are planning to write a book, or have written your first draft this could be for you. I asked Kathy Stewart a few questions.
Q: What prompted you and the other Gold Coast Writers Workshop (GCWW) coordinators to establish the Novel Development Program in 2014 (NPD1 2014 )?
We felt there was a need for a focused novel development program. There are a lot of writers on the Gold Coast and at present they need to travel at least an hour north or south in order to learn more about writing. We feel our program offers great value for money, though, so are happy to take writers from other regions if they would like to participate.
Q: Who do you see most benefiting from this year long workshop experience and is it open to writers aiming at all age groups and genres? (Do the writers have to be over 18?)
The program is designed for beginning writers, or for more experienced writers who are trying a new genre. We would also welcome those who have previously self-published if they would like to apply. It’s open to writers across all fiction genres and is also open to those under 18.
Q: I see the GCWW coordinators will be overseeing the NDP1 2014 on-line discussion during the year and running 4 face-to-face sessions as well in April, June, August and October. What do you envisage happening during these sessions?
The face-to-face sessions will give the participants a chance to read part of their work to their fellow writers and receive feedback in a constructive and supportive environment. They will also have the chance to network and perhaps create a buddy system for future critiquing. These sessions will be run by experienced writers and/or professional editors so no harsh or damaging critiquing will be allowed. The focus will be on encouragement to produce the best work possible. We feel a particular strength of our program is that we have four experienced coordinators who are willing to give their time to make this program a success. Two are very experienced writers and two are writers and/or professional editors.
Q: There are 7 full day workshops run by experienced mentor and published author Louise Cusack. What should writers expect at these workshops?
The first two-day workshop will give participants the tools they need to start writing their novel. Subsequent workshops will be tailored to address specific areas, such as dialogue and characterisation, according to the needs of the participants. These sessions will evolve from issues that Louise, participants or coordinators identify emerging during the course.
Q: During the last NDP1 2014 session on November the 8th there will be an Industry Panel* with Louise Cusack, Alex Adsett (agent) and Jodi Cleghorn (editor), as well as a pitching session to the agent or editor. By this time the writers should have their manuscripts finished so they will be pitching the book they’ve worked on. This is a great opportunity. Gold Coast Writers Workshops have really been working hard on organising this. How does the group find the time to do their own writing as well as setting up this opportunity?
Ha, ha. With difficulty! But our motto is Workshops by Writers for Writers, and we’ve made it a policy that we must all remain focused on our goal to continue writing ourselves as well as provide great courses and workshops for others. We’re all working on projects of varying lengths and most of us enter competitions regularly as well.
Q: The cost, $625, is very reasonable for the on-line component with coordinators, four face-to-face sessions and seven workshops with Louise Cusack. How did you keep the cost so low?
The short answer is: Also with difficulty! The long answer is that we are all volunteers, we try to source reasonably priced venues, and are very dependent on getting sufficient numbers to cover costs. We are a not-for-profit so all funds are ploughed back into other ventures to provide great workshops for writers. The only place we don’t skimp is in paying our presenters. We make it a policy to pay ASA rates.
*Industry Panel subject to availability.