Scottish Book Conference

On Saturday the 12th of November the Scottish Book Trust had a young writers conference in Edinburgh.  The lead speaker was David Almond the author of Skellig, who did a very inspirational speech and my favourite part of the speech was about editing and he described it as having a sword saying with the parts you don’t want, “Cut it, Stab it, Kill it and throw it in the bin”.

After David’s speech we each went our separate ways to our first workshops.  I was with Elspeth Murray and the workshop took place out in the garden. In this workshop we wrote several sentences about what we had seen, heard, and object, and piece of clothing and then we had to make up a powerful sentence in five words onto small, colourful cards.  It was a lot of fun and then all the different sentences were mixed up and random given to each of the four groups.  One group made a poem with the cards and dangled it from the bench, another wrote their poem on a blackboard, the other wrote it on a suitcase and my group had the wackiest idea for our poem.  To write it on the stairs into the building.  It was fun but very hard and we got very strange looks from the other writers as they had no clue what we were doing.  Elspeth was impressed with our poem.

In the afternoon we were both in the workshop with Gillian Phillips and we worked on getting to know our characters.  We asked ourselves some silly questions like favourite book and what they would do if they came across a wounded animal.  We then went on to describing scenes, we each picked a picture that was on the projector and had to write our character in it and how they would react.  I enjoyed this part of the workshop very much as writing description in detail about surroundings is my favourite part of writing.

There was also a performance from Words Per Minute which brings together musicians and writer to entertain.  There was live music and writers would have ten minutes to read some of their books.  The two representatives each read a short story and it was amazing.  Their tone completely changed to their characters attitudes, taking on the roles extremely well and the whole performance was brilliant.

The Conference as a whole was amazing and very inspiring.  It helped me to improve my technique at writing and also to motivate myself.

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