Breakout Session: Valerie Parv and Jennie Adams

The Art of Layering your novel

This was an instructive workshop on how to add depth to your characters and therefore to your story.

I have been to workshops run by Valerie Parv before, and they are always really good value and worth attending.  In addition to her fifty novels, she has written more than 20 non-fiction books including a number on how to write.  She also runs an annual award where the prize is to be mentored by her for a year.  Valerie is a very generous person who gives back a lot of her time to helping aspiring writers develop their craft, and is also really nice, friendly and approachable.

I haven’t read any of Jennie Adams’ books but she has about a dozen published.  She also provided some valuable insights about writing and finding your own voice.  She also gave everyone a couple of her books, so I’ll get a chance to see what they are like.

All in all, it was a fun session – we used the nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb’ to create scenarios about who Mary was, who / what the lamb was, what the source of conflict was and so on.  Last time I did one of Valerie’s workshops we used the theme Cinerella to work on characterisation.

Her key words:  Don’t sell your story or your reader short.  You may have written 20 or 50 ‘first kiss’ moments, but for the characters in the story it is their first one and it should be treated as such.

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