I’m a huge fan of Astrid’s work and her workshops so it was an easy decision to make to book her Write with Spice workshop on Sunday 18 August at SA Writers’ Centre.
Astrid has an aura about her. She is warm, disarming, engaging and a wealth of knowledge! She gives practical advice to writers of all stages of their career and, well that’s what we’re all after isn’t it?
Having attended one of Astrid’s workshops on writing erotica a few years ago, and being a reader of her work, I know how spicy her writing can get so I was excited to sink my teeth into whatever she had planned!
However, I was startled when she walked around to each participant, named them and said, ‘You are forbidden to ever write again.’
Shocked as we were, we pretty quickly realised Astrid was lighting the fire in our bellies; you know, the one that makes us write into the wee hours of the morning because we need to purge the story swimming around inside us.
We were to be a passionate pen, not just hold it and let the letters dance out of it. Astrid took us through a series of exercises and strategies to allow our writing, characters and inspiration come alive.
I was inspired from start to finish and I didn’t even win the door prize – an adorable Astrid touch at each workshop!
She asked us what our secret fear is. Could we describe it if we had to? Can we say the same about our characters’ fears?
‘Characters sell your book,’ she told us. ‘And action and pace.’
My fire is burning in my belly after Write With Spice and I’ve since picked up my passionate pen and am using the five senses to evoke emotion in my writing and breathe life into my characters as I rewrite a work that I know was falling flat.
Other participants agreed that having an opportunity to write freely in the workshop (in a genre we have never written in, no less) and not be forced to read it aloud was liberating and a helpful strategy to get us out of our comfort zones.
I’m looking forward to seeing Astrid again at Clare Writers’ Festival in November and also drinking a lot of wine which I’ve heard is mandatory in the region!
This post was reposted with permission from Libby’s blog. Libby Parker is a Journalist, Writer, Teacher and Theatre Director. Formally of Canberra, she lives in Adelaide and runs acting and writing workshops for young people; spending all of her spare time caring for a high maintenance cat/diva.