Learning by Teaching

I've been running a number of sessions about writing over the last month and I've really been enjoying them. Not only do I get to meet some wonderful people who are starting their writing life, but I also get a chance to review what I have learnt.

My first session was filling in for a friend and she said the group wanted to know about plotting. Well I'm not much of a plotter, but I have picked up a lot about plotting over the years and have stacks of notes from conferences and workshops I've attended. I read through some of the information I had collected, and had a couple of aha moments when I read things that were pertinent to my current story.

My next session with the same group was about characters and about writing sex scenes. It's always a bit of a laugh to talk about sex and we had a good discussion about what to do and what not to do. It was a good chance for me to review what I had learnt and improve a scene in my current manuscript!

For the other group, I helped them with getting started, and put a call out to my author friends for software and tools they use to help them. The answers I received were quite fascinating ​and there were one or two tools I hadn't heard of before. They've gone on my to-check-out list.

Tonight is my final teaching session for a while, and I'll be talking characterisation.​ There was a stage a few years ago when I was struggling with characterisation and after asking for help I discovered a number of really useful tools including Cherry Adair's character sheets which can be found in her Writers' Bible. I just love it and tonight I'm going to put my students to work to come up with our own character sheets. I really believe it's the way to come up with unique and interesting characters.

Preparing for these sessions has been a wonderful opportunity for me to review the information I have gathered over the years and to write down all the things I have learnt. I was quite surprised at how much there was!​