Last week I attended the first of five writing workshops I've signed up for.
The series is called "The Year of the Novel" The tutor/workshop leader is Nerida Newton, a published author, who has run these for the Queensland Writer's Centre over the past five years. A group of fifteen writers of varying experience (some with none!!) will meet every 8 weeks to discuss our projects and to receive some guidance from Nerida.
The goal: a full length first draft manuscript by the end of the year. I had enrolled in their "Year of the Memoir" but that got subsumed in the "Y of the Novel" due to low enrolments. After one day I'm confident that the same writing principles apply so, though I was a little reluctant to transfer, I feel conmfortable now.
I'm telling you this because it is dominating my time and satisfying my creative urges, to the extent that blogging is taking a bit of a back seat in my consciousness.
I will use this blog to report on progress (as well as have a bit of a play from time to time) by way of keeping in contact with people and as a bit of pressure to stay on track.
So what is my project?
Working Title: "Lorenzo's Laugh"
Briefly its my quest to uncover the mystery behind my family name. Without giving too much away it was triggered by the discovery that we don't carry the name which my great grandfather was registered under on his voyage from Italy to Australia.
Lucky for me there is a rich story of hope and dashed dreams; of a cunning French Marquis who sells poor Italians a trip to a non existent paradise in the Pacific.; of beautiful landscapes and untimely deaths. And then there's me.
The one thing I learnt from Nerida last week was that even a memoir needs a protagonist and an antagonist which means that unless I try to write a factual history of these events (which I am not interested in doing) I will be there in the story and I will need to be brave enough to be fairly self revealing to make people interested in my quest.
I wrote 2000 words today. Much more than I expected. I thought I would get stuck on page one but the story kept flowing. I expect it will emerge as a series of episodic accounts of varying aspects of the puzzle. My plan at this stage is to keep writing without too much concern for the final product. Let the juices run free and, fingers crossed, hope the story takes shape through the telling and through some judicious (and tough Ouch!) editing when the time comes.