Chenél Pieterse-Boyle completed the Short Story Writing Course at SA Writers’ College. Her writing successes since then have been nothing short of inspirational.
1. What writing successes have you had since completing your course?
After completing the Short Story Course, I used the information I gained for both my English and Afrikaans writing.
- I was a finalist for the GHA writing competition (2008) as well as ATKV Woordwoekelaars (2008 & 2009).
- Two of my short stories were published in Vrouekeur.
- In 2010 I was the winner of the Short Story Category (Kortverhaal Kategorie) ATKV Woordwoekelaars 2010.
- I was also a finalist in 2010 for the Sanlam Groot Roman Kompetisie.
- I’ve published over 70 poems in different poetry books between 2009 and 2011.
- My first romance novel was published this year, Liefde per Ooreenkoms (Malan Media).
2. How did you feel the first time you wrote a piece that was published?
It felt amazing to finally get my story out there. For me writing is a labour of love and I appreciate receiving feedback from readers of my work. Both good and bad feedback spurs me on to do better.
3. What tip(s) would you give other aspirant writers in terms of finding ideas, the writing process, and staying motivated?
My greatest challenge is just sitting down to write. So I’d say the most important thing is to just start writing.
Finding ideas is the easy part- they are all around you. I like to listen to conversations of people in a restaurant and one of my favourite triggers to start a story is to choose a random sentence in a magazine and see where the story leads me. Sometimes I ask one of my friends to give me a title for my next story.
During my writing process I need a starting sentence and I always know how I’d like the story to end. Between the start and the end I just let the creativity go in its own direction. You can always change sections that need improvement when rewriting your first draft. The most difficult part for me is knowing when the story is just right, as I sometimes keep fiddling to get it perfect. Thus, I save 2 or 3 versions of it and occasionally decide one of the previous versions was better than the final result.
On staying motivated, I always have stories running through my head like race cars on a track. I find that writing a synopsis immediately after the idea pops into my head works best. If I don’t have time to write the story now, I will write it at a later stage because I have the essence already captured. Again, getting your bum on the seat is the key.
4. How did the writing course improve your writing?
I learned basic skills that I overlooked before. As an avid reader I thought it would be easy to write a story. After the course I realized that the reader cannot see what I see in my mind, thus I had to paint the pictures as well as I could.
5. What was the single most important lesson you walked away with from the course?
Every word counts. Especially if you’ve got a word limit and have a lot to say. For example, when you have to cram a whole paragraph into one descriptive sentence you really need to think imaginatively.
Die Basiese Kreatiewe Skryfkursus
‘n Inleidende SA Writers’ College kursus vir aspirantskrywers van kortverhale, romans, memoires en boeke vir kinders
Elke kunsvorm, van kook tot skilder tot houtwerk, het basiese vaardighede wat die beginner moet bemeester voordat hy of sy self ‘n unieke werk kan skep. Hierdie aanlynkursus fokus op die basiese vaardighede van kreatiewe skryf: dialoog, aksie en beskrywing.
Studente leer hoe om hierdie elemente in hul werk te inkorporeer, hoe om atmosfeer en spanning te skep en om tonele te skryf wat geloofwaardig klink. Studente voltooi veertig skryfoefeninge in die vier maande en kan stap-vir-stap ondersteuning, leiding en kundige raad verwag.
Skryf ‘n roman kursus
Skryf ‘n kinderboek
- Waaraan jy moet dink as jy ‘n suksesvolle kinderboek wil skryf
- Hoe om ‘n storielyn te skep
- Belangrike skryftegnieke
- Kennis oor perspektief, karateriseering en dialoog
- Die regte uitgewer te identifiseer vir jou storie
- Die etiket van voorleggings
- Hoe om ‘n dekbrief te skryf