The Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival was everything I hoped it would be, and nothing like I expected it to be.
The two master classes I attended were worth every cent. The fiction writing one reinforced many things I knew, and showed me lots of things I didn’t. Or should I say it showed me things I knew, but hadn’t acknowledged I knew—those vague snippets of information that sit in the subconscious and act without me realising. It’s good to have the out in the open, so to speak.
The travel writing class. Wow. Just wow. The class was taught by Tim Cope, who had spent two and a half years riding across Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan to the Danube. He gave a small grabs of the story as he explained how his editor helped him to shape his writing and give it focus and theme. I was impressed how Tim gave credit where it was due, sharing his (often harsh) critiques with us to help us grow in our writing. He never once implied writing beautifully had come naturally to him, and freely acknowledged the work of his editor in teaching him the craft. I now have so many ideas for my upcoming trip to the States. I can visualise a companion book to my two series; a story of discovering the places that are familiar to me because of my writing, and connecting my travel to the stories in my books.
One the real highlights was meeting Tigon, Tim Cope’s dog. He was given to Tim in Kazakhstan, and travels Australia with Tim whenever possible. Tigon slept for the first part of the class, and then woke so he could make the rounds of all the attendees, collecting pats and back scratches.
Probably the biggest thing I learned from the whole festival is to seize opportunities when they come along. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not big on doing writing classes, but if I hadn’t gone to the ones I did, I would have missed so much.
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