Lucy and Todd

Archive for the ‘Atelier Work’ Category

Letter to an aspiring writer

In Atelier Work, Our Students Vouch for Us on October 4, 2018 at 12:44 pm

I’ve never encountered a book on creative writing that I thought was any good. Full stop. The time you can waste reading such things is much better spent in reading fiction, which you have to do a lot of. And in order to feel good it has to be methodical, to an extent.

 

Pick an author in whom you are interested and read everything he or she wrote, in chronological order. Observe the methods and take notes.

 

Take notes on everything, come to that, and be sure you always have a pen in your hand.

 

Make an effort to read fiction that you would not ordinarily encounter – run around in the library and put your hand out at random.

 

Make an effort to familiarize yourself with non-English fiction – after the French grabbed off the novel from the British, it went through staggering transformations in Germany, Japan, and South America. One needs to know that.

 

Read poetry (for freedom) and drama (for dialogue).

 

Whatever you read that you like, copy it out, by hand, large portions of it. A paragraph that does something for you, a chapter. Much can be learned in this way. I have known writers who copied out whole novels and learned at least one technique that way – of course they had to make the process their own after that.

 

There are three books that come to mind that offer an approach both to reading and writing, from a usefully oblique angle, and these I have used in teaching. They are:

 

The ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound

I Wanted to Write a Poem by William Carlos Williams

Six Nonlectures by ee cummings

 

As far as looking for a creative writing program at a college or university goes, I don’t recommend it. Almost all of these are lazily taught and depend on ‘workshops’, which means that you get a lot of useless, uninformed opinion on your work. If, however, you are interested in a particular writer, and you can find out if that writer is teaching somewhere, that may be different, if you can get enough ‘contact time’. At MA level, look not for ‘taught’ MAs but programmes where you write and work with the tutors one-to-one. They’re rare.

 

TMcE

 

 

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WRITER’S RETREATS IN EDINBURGH   

We offer structured writer’s retreats in central Edinburgh, offering peace and solitude in a very pleasant, quiet B & B.

Come and talk to us about an ongoing project. Or use the opportunity exclusively as time and space to work on your own. Editing is really a form of companionship, and we can tailor our editorial input to your particular needs.

Costs will be separately itemized, and will include accommodation, and any editorial meetings you decide you need.

This might best suit a writer who wants peace in which to finish a large project, or a chance to talk over a substantial piece of work in depth, in person.

Contact us at fictionatelier@gmail.com for more information.

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Edinburgh Festival, August 2013

In Atelier Work on April 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Workshops are for jerks. What you need is an editor.

Writing fiction is not a competition, a trial, or a confrontation; it’s a delicate process that thrives on a sensitive and personal response.  What every writer needs is expert and confidential feedback.  Our approach is one on one, working with writers at their own pace.

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Many thanks to everyone who attended our afternoon salons last August at The French Fancies. Many thanks to The French Fancies too!

We will be happy to meet writers during the Festival this year too (2013), for an initial FREE consultation. Just let us know a time that suits you, and join us for a short consultation about your fiction project.

Send your work ahead of time or bring it with you (we will look at up to 20 pages without charge) – or just come and talk about what you’re writing or think you might like to write.

Email: fictionatelier@gmail.com

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The ‘atelier’ model

In Atelier Work on September 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

We protect the right, of both student and teacher, to write.  We are in this together!  Our cause: the preservation of literature.

The Fiction Atelier is based on the art studio model, in which artist and student work together, the student benefiting from acquaintance with a practising artist who has decades of experience in the craft and an ongoing involvement in it. In the Fiction Atelier, there is time to talk about books in general, and the tricks of the trade, as well as line-editing and commenting on specific pieces of work. Our aim is to challenge students, and to expand their approach to writing.

Many Creative Writing courses are taught by writers who have had to sacrifice their own literary enterpises in order to teach.  Such demands can leave a teacher stale, resentful and despairing.  This is what we avoid at the Fiction Atelier.  We feel we can offer students more real help by coming fresh to the task, direct from daily work on our own fiction.  The student is thus welcomed into an energetic atmosphere of mutual literary effort.