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Becoming a better writer

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29th January 2019

I love to write. There's something magical about the process of typing words as they form in my mind.

As a child I adored stories. I read them, listened to them, wrote them and pretty much lived them. It's still a huge thrill to me to be able to adapt to a storyteller's mindset and just imagine characters and plot.

As a budding writer I've written and in some cases illustrated a number of books for young children. I had a stab at a first chapter book for 6+ children. I've also written a creepy, interactive tale for similar aged children who could enjoy wandering around my home town looking for evidence of monsters! All great fun.

Something I've never done is self-published a piece of writing aimed at an older audience.

The Young Adult (YA) audience fascinates me. I've read a great deal of YA over the years and the differences between novels pitched at YA and those pitched at older readers are few. In many cases the subject matter is equally as challenging, threatening or disturbing. The angle is perhaps different and the viewpoints are somewhat narrower. For example; the narrative may be expressed in the first person. "I walked alone" rather than "John walked alone".

As 2018 drew to a close I decided on a few things that I'd like to achieve in 2019. One of them was to become a much better writer. I want to understand prose in more detail and become more confident with my characters and their situations. I want to write more engaging dialogue and present more tension and conflict.

To a degree this perhaps means reading more - a more varied reading list; different genres and authors. Kindle is my friend here. But it also means learning more or researching more. It means understanding the discipline of writing.

So I looked around for a course where I could enjoy some time away from the hubub of life and be amongst other writers.

It turns out I'm extremely fortunate to have a course pretty much on my doorstep in the Shropshire countryside that caters for YA writers. I really could not believe my luck. The course is 5 days (Monday evening to Saturday) and hosted by the renowned Arvon charity.

I'm so thrilled at the opportunity to spend a week with fellow writers in the company of published professionals. The skills and discipline that I will come away with will be valuable and I hope will propel me forwards into where I aspire to be within the world of literature.

(photo copyright Sarah Mason Photography)

Photo of MarkWritten by Mark