‘It was a great chance to work on my story,’ said participant Garry Winterton.
Using his knowledge of storytelling technique, A. R. Levett led the group through ten steps that allowed the participants to brainstorm some story ideas, locate the best one, and then begin to shape it through discovering the idea’s challenges, theme, protagonist, conflict, and character change.
Participants enjoyed the methodical approach to developing a story. ‘The structured flow helped me to think logically through the elements needed for a story,’ said Alia Bath.
Odile Pouliquen-Young agreed. ‘I enjoyed the logical and straightforward development of a story from basic principles.’
Throughout the session, A. R. Levett examined these techniques at work in existing stories. These examples from well-known narratives were welcomed by the participants. ‘Seeing how the theories related to existing works was very beneficial,’ said Anne Forbes.
Yet it was the ten writing exercises spread over 80 minutes of dedicated writing time, which allowed participants to apply these techniques to their stories and discover more about the potential of their ideas, that were the highlight of the workshop.
‘The most enjoyable part was a chance to work on my story,’ said Garry.
‘The exercises with good examples showed the way,’ added Odile.
Overall, participants came away satisfied with the workshop and pleased with what they had learned about the deeper ideas embedded in their story.
‘The workshop has helped me turn my rough character and idea into a more fully formed plot,’ said Alia. ‘In particular developing a theme, conflict, and thinking about the climax (moral choice).’
Anne concurred. ‘I found the “Developing a Potent Premise” workshop helped clarify my ideas for my novel. It has given me an idea of how to structure my planning.’
‘It was a great opportunity to flesh out (and focus in on) a story idea,’ added Garry. ‘“Developing" was the key word here, and I feel it was my skills as well as my premise that were developed.’
Developing a Potent Premise was just the first stage of these writers’ journey towards developing their novel into an organic story. In the second session, they begin to work on the techniques at a deeper level, starting with Generating Compelling Conflict. For more information on the course and each workshop, please see the Mapping Your Novel course information.