How do you write about a place you’ve never been to? How do you write about a time you’ve never lived in? Or how do you bring your writing to life? Come and hone your writing skills, and acquire new ones, with Susan Lee Kerr, local author, haiku poet and creative writing tutor. Susan, known to She Voices members, was born in West Virginia, raised in New York, and is now a dedicated Londoner. Her novel, The Extraordinary Dr Epstein, is the true life of an astonishing 19th century immigrant. As his great granddaughter, Susan drew on family tales, fact and imagination to tell the turbulent story that she draws upon in her workshop.
SHE VOICES WOMEN WRITERS welcomes newcomers to this workshop on Saturday morning 17th June 10.30 – 12.30 At Richmond Library, Little Green, Richmond Upon Thames TW9 1QL.
And I thank She Voices for this lovely opportunity!
Police to the rescue — when researching for my detective novel a great source turns up at the local Chiswick House Café. Community Police Team heard out my tale of an alternative therapist who finds a body in the woods in Chiswick — what happens next? Real police for the real deal from what they wear, what the skipper decides, is she under suspicion, to when CID comes in and how they’ll track that car. And the difference between harassment and anti-social behaviour. Doing their duty, Constable Aung (with me here) and Office Kingsmill wish to reassure the public that Chiswick is safe. But they also like a good story — so that’s two fans for my Julia Deogracias and A Body of Knowledge?
I can’t flow without facts. T doesn’t exist in a vacuum. She is not a name on a page. She is worried, scared, angry. And she is looking for her husband. Worse: she’s been lying about him. So I have to know where he was meant to be. Two hours on Google maps and Wikipedia: what are the minerals in Kazakstan (and how do you spell it?), where else would he go to get the muds and the plants for the spa, rare and exotic. Finally I get T back to her husband’s inbox scrolling through and finding Tashkent — and eeek it’s time for me to make dinner. For real I mean, not on the page.
I discover later that it will make things too easy if she can get at his emails, so decide that it’s all on his laptop which he’s taken with him. And she doesn’t know the passwords to his accounts. … Nyah-ha-ha (rubs hands and twirls moustache) I know another way that will reveal his intended locations, but T and reader will have to wait. NaNoWriMo Discovery Draft continues!
Strolling around in summerly bliss imbibing local sights. This stone sculpture I love, on someone’s lawn for all to see. At the moment I’m thinking it could be an image of inner creativity. Wish I knew the sculptor’s name. My new novel is set right here where I live; makes me hyper alert to my surroundings.
There’s going to be a whole mass of public creativity at a mingle of Local Authors at Waterstones W4 on Wednesday 14 September 7-9 pm. I’ve got to polish up a 1 minute wowzer for the occasion, and so do all the other local authors. It’s going to be a pitch-off! Or a pitch slam? It’s a kick-off to the Chiswick Book Festival featuring some local and many national authors. Click here for The Chiswick Calendar freebie local authors evening and here to connect with the book fest.
What a useful day! Police, forensics, pathologists, barristers, dna, footwear, fibres, spatter analysis… real life crimes and creatively imagined and solved ones — by Paula Hawkins of Girl on a Train, no less. There she is reading the end of her crime story with compere Peter Gutteridge — we took part in it throughout the day. It all happened at Northumbria University in Newcastle, a conference for writers and readers.
Put on by New Writers North, I was lucky to spot it in my NAWE newsletter a couple months back, so I even got the early bird rate. There were agents, editors and some one-to-one sessions available too. But I was there for facts and procedures, and came away with gold. Like the fibres that might be on my victim’s clothes. And that, yes, telecoms forensics can trace a received text back to source — but it will take longer if it’s in another country. And of course, I still have more questions, but I got a good lead for those from DC Holmes (first name was NOT Sherlock).
Researching — plus a long train ride each way — is a great aid to hatching and plotting. Do it! Then there’s the writing part…
What was it about my great grandfather that compelled me to write the novel of his true life? And why fiction instead of fact? Editor Bridget Osborne of The Chiswick Calendar persuades me to reveal the man and my method.
Writing from Life — Fascinating ancestor? Fantastic life experience? How do you tell the story? Decision paths, sources and insights into weaving together fact, memories and imagination. That’s the talk I’m prepping for a little group this week. Actually I’m making it a sort of show-and-tell. Wednesday 1st June 2016, 1 pm, Cambrian Community Centre, Richmond TW10 6SN. Free. As a writer, interesting to go back and select six artifacts from my research on The Extraordinary Dr Epstein to illustrate my points. They are: family photograph, maps (NYC 1850), images of places (NYC City Hall 1850), images of historical context (Battle of Lissa), images of objects (a lancet and a corset), archive material (an obit information form 1913).
Hmmm, the combination of lancet and corset might conjure up a dramatic story or poem in some fertile imaginations. Analyse that! Anyone in the neighborhood is welcome to drop by; tea’s provided too.