Faber Session 8 – Guest Tutor Mick Jackson


Arrived in a foggy rainy London 😦 That’ll teach me to wear suede boots! Lol

So I arrived at class with wet feet where we went straight into a discussion/talk by Mick Jackson which was all about Pace & Style.

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A few of the things I took away from the session:

Style seems to be more important to reviewers and creative writing tutors.

style should develop naturally. Each writer has their own style.

Writing is like a game of tennis between the subconscious mind and the conscious mind.

Can you reproduce another writers style?

Pace is the speed of the narrative.

Adding back story can slow down the pace if not weaved into the story.

Attach little details to the stream of narrative. It shouldn’t stand out.

Reading your work aloud can pinpoint problems in pace, but it can also help you establish if you have a set style.

A fascinating session, and now, I’m sitting in a hotel room enjoying some chill out time πŸ˜‰ So if I’m quiet, you know why. I’ll catch up with you all tomorrow πŸ™‚

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Do you think you have a style? I think I can see a style developing within my work but I will definitely be reading my work out loud from now on πŸ˜‰

Faber Session 4 – The Psychology of Writing


Just got back from a cold, wet and dark Bloomsbury.

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I took shelter in the BM but eventually had to resort to getting the brolley out lol. Standing at the entrance watching the rain pour down I looked up….

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What a fabulous building The British Museum is….but I wonder how many people actually notice as they rush in and out, intent on seeing the Mummies or the Rosetta Stone πŸ˜‰

Anyway, where was I? Ahhhh, yes, tonight’s class πŸ™‚

Ok, tonight’s session was taken up with Psychology. Interesting stuff about our writing coming from the unconscious mind. We talked about motivation, guilt, support, endurance, confidence, fear and patience.

I guess the two that struck a cord with me most were “guilt” and “support” really, as they kind of go hand in hand IMO.

Support: I feel incredibly lucky that I have the support of my other half with my writing. Now, that maybe because he wants me to hurry up and write a best seller so he can give up work, but we won’t dwell on that πŸ˜‰ Seriously, does he have a choice? I guess so, he could sulk, make life difficult, moan at me….But perhaps he just knows that for a peaceful life he has to accept my writing time? I’m not the sort of girlie who will stop doing something I love because hubby don’t like it. But then again, he ain’t the kind of guy to stop me doing something I love. Give and take? Definitely! Mutual respect? Oh gawd yes! Our tutor was saying that most writers lack support. That’s sad 😦 And if that’s you…. (((((hugs))))) but, he then went on to say, that if that is you……BE TOUGH! DEFEND YOUR TERRITORY! πŸ™‚

Guilt: Ok, so I have support…..so why do i still feel guilty? Guilt if the washing piles up, guilt if I’ve not been shopping and not cooked dinner, guilt if the house is a mess (and beleive me, the house is a total mess at the moment)….But the major guilt for me is the fact that i don’t work, don’t bring any income into the house 😦 Our tutor talked about writing feeling “indulgent” and I knew exactly what he meant. I can kind of justify my writing time, but what I can’t justify is sitting and reading. How can I do that when I know we’re down to our last toilet roll and that hubby will be home soon hungry and tired? I hate it, I really do, and that’s why I don’t read other than when I go to bed and I’m exhausted, and then I don’t benefit from it anyway *deep sigh* 😦

I don’t know what the answer is. Tim (our tutor) says its one of those parts of writing that we have to get use to, deal with. And I’m trying, I really am….. Perhaps I’ll feel better when my writing actually brings in an income? πŸ˜‰

How’s support & guilt for you? Is it more relevant to female writers? Especially those with children? Would love to hear your views.

Faber Session 3 – Kidnapping A Character (or permission to stalk)


I never thought when I arrived at class this morning that I’d be asked to do some stalking lol

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The ground floor Faber hallway.

But that’s exactly what Tim asked us to do today. We had an hour and a half this morning to go out, find a character (somebody we found interesting), and follow them. We had to make notes on their clothing, the way they walked, talked (which meant if we had to resort to asking them directions so be it!), what they looked like…. Everything we could possibly observe about them, to build up a picture.

I found a guy in the British Museum who walked in a very distinctive way. I followed him and his family around the museum, out to a book shop, and then through the streets until he got into a taxi. I learnt his name, who the other members of the family were, plus got most of the physical details Tim was looking for.

When we got back to Faber everyone admitted they had initially been apprehensive about the task, but most of us had loved it. It was really good fun! One girl even got on a tube to follow her character! There’s dedication!

Tims advice had been “try not to get busted” ha ha ha! And there was me wearing a bight red coat! Lol. I’m sure my guy was thinking “why is that woman in the red coat everywhere I go?” πŸ˜‰

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My classroom

The afternoon was spent doing work on our characters, including pairing up and creating scenes where our characters met for the first time.

So I had a good day, which included Sushi from Wasabi mmmmmmmm πŸ™‚

Back home relaxing now….I’m shattered πŸ™‚

I just can’t wait to go stalking again πŸ™‚

Would you do it?

Faber – Session 2 Creating Ideas/Planning


I arrived in Bloomsbury with plenty of time to go to the London Review Bookshop. I discovered last week that they have a cafe (oooooo), but as I started the diet (again) today, it was just a Latte and a writing session. The cakes looked amazing though, I have to say *pouts*

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A quick butchers around the shop (oh dear, how did that Philip Roth find its way into my bag?) and it was off to class πŸ™‚

Really enjoyed last nights session/class πŸ™‚ We talked about planning, our concerns (mine was/is endings lol) and we were sent away with the first piece of work (by a fellow student) that needs critiquing πŸ™‚ Ive got a date for mine now…. 26th November, which means I have to actually submit it the week before *gulp*

We talked about different methods people use to plan their novels. Tim is in favour of index cards, but also gave us some tips on what files he uses on his computer.

We did a couple of writing exercises (a quick synopsis and a descriptive piece) and some free writing. I was shocked that some of my fellow class members had never done free writing before.

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So in the way of homework this week i have to read and critique my fellow class mates work, read the 2 handouts, and do a bit of research on some of the books that came up in the discussions (fiction and writing guides).

Ok, but I bet what you really wanna know is what exactly I’ll be submitting?

Well, I spoke to a fellow student in the break who gave me a bit of advice (on whether to use a new novel or one I’ve got further on with) and then I collared Tim as we were packing up. And the news is….. Tim advised me to compromise lol (actually I had to twist his arm up his back because initially, he refused to comment saying that he couldn’t make that decision for me….but i persisted lol). The plan is to submit 5000 words, 1000 of those being a synopsis, of……But Not Forgotten, and let my class mates give me an opinion, on whether they think I should continue with it…scary huh? If they think its a no goer, as my second piece, submit The View Outside. I told him that But Not Forgotten is a mess, not finished and that I’ve lost heart. He said that all that can be sorted, and that after the critique, I’ll have a much better idea of where I’m going.

So I guess I’m feeling relieved πŸ™‚ But, still a little anxious. I’m going to change The View Outside into 3rd person, see how that feels and then quietly work on the synopsis for But Not Forgotten.

The question is…. Do I write the synopsis using the exact same messy plot that it has now? Orrrrrr come up with a new one?

I dunno, I don’t make things easy for myself do I? Lol

Faber – Introduction Session 1


Those of you who are on FaceBook will know what an awful time I’ve been having (and I’m still having) with my phone network since last Friday 😦 So the idea of travelling up to London with no phone and no map was not really a prospect I was looking forward to 😦 I jokingly say to people that if its going to happen, it’ll happen to me, and it usually does! Proven by the fact that hubby’s phone which is on the same network, same phone, same number apart from 1 different digit, is working fine!

I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked then when the moment i left the house it started to rain and when I got to the station i discovered that my train had been cancelled and that there wasn’t another one for an hour (I ended up taking a different route which cost me more money).

So I finally arrived in Bloomsbury, hungry, tired (I fell asleep on the train) and with frizzy hair! Lol

After a quick stop in Costa I made my way over to The British Museum, managing a trip to the loo and a peek at their wonderful jewellery collection in their shop, before being turfed out at closing time.

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I then made my way over to the London Review Bookshop where I have a 10% discount card for being a Faber student. Yes, ok, I did buy a book alright πŸ˜‰

Then it was time to ring that buzzer *queue dramatic intro music* The Faber building is stunning! From the outside a row of elegant Georgian town houses, but inside, modern, slick, and very very white. Our class is in the attic, on the 4th floor. I’m sure the view from the windows is stunning, but I was too engrossed in everything else to check. The class filled up quickly and there was lots of chair shuffling when Tim, our tutor arrived (we hadn’t left a seat for him lol).

I won’t bore you too much with the lesson, needless to say we had to go round introducing ourselves and saying what we wanted from the course. I said about my 2 novels and that I needed to be more focused. When he asked if I would be working on ‘But Not Forgotten’ I was a little bit chuffed, and couldn’t help wonder what he actually thought of it. I told him I wanted to start something new and he seemed to approve πŸ˜‰ He went on to say, to all of us, that we were there for a reason. That he had read every single submission, and that we had been chosen because he saw something promising in every one of our pieces. That was good to know πŸ˜‰

The rest of the lesson was taken up with writing exercises (I’ll share them at some stage), reading recommendations (books about writing) and a pep talk about sacrifice and commitment to being a writer. I think we all secretly squealed inside when he told us that a 3rd of the class from last year now had agents!

Homework for next weeks session is to read up about “planning” (a print out Tim gave us) and to read the other notes we were given. There will be a “peer critique” every week, where one students work is analysed *gulp* so I guess I better start working on my first piece. It has to be under 5,000 words so I’ll probably get cracking on the new novel…..exciting….and more about that tomorrow!

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Right, I spose I better get some sleep, but I’m buzzing! A great night! Can’t wait till next week now πŸ™‚

ps….I went for the red top πŸ˜‰