Monday, July 18, 2011

Legacy Writing and Self Publishing workshops in Whangarei

The Story Bridge ran 2 days of Legacy Writing workshops in Whangarei last weekend. We had around 30 attendees over the 4 workshops, including several people repeating seminars. Some took the Intro to Legacy Writing, then the Advanced the next day. Some took either of the Legacy workshops then the Self Publishing workshop on the Sunday afternoon.

Whangarei city library is a modern, glass walled building with great light and a real feeling of space and airiness and had a real feel of community. Reminds us of the centrality of libraries in communities, especially in the smaller centres. Trisha and I headed out to Whangarei heads the afternoon before the workshop. Man, it was cold but, I think the term is 'bracing.' Beaches are awesome in any season, in any weather, with the earth showing you her different faces, different voices.

Most of the attendees at the workshop were from the Whangarei area.Some were well advanced into their writing projects, and a few were just starting out on theirs, so we had a great mix of students.

Participants learned how to approach their legacy/life story project as a writer would - using storytelling approaches to engage the reader in your story - including:

  • description using Show/Don't Tell
  • use of metaphor and motif
  • how to layout dialogue to ebb and flow and contain a sense of place and landscape
  • how to bring your dialogue scenes to life (to give the reader insight into the people in your legacy story - even though they never met them)
  • how to structure the narrative, including flashback technique to capture moments from the past in immediate time
  • how to think of your writing in terms of both the horizontal (plot and sequential event) and vertical axis (resonance, meaning, character insight)
Jocelyn's Self-Publishing workshop was an intensive introduction to the field, including comparisons with traditional and self-publishing options, and the whole process mapped out from finalizing the writing, to book production costings, print/e-book comparisons, down to writing your back-cover blurb and arranging book launches.

Many thanks go to Paula Urlich and her dedicated team at Whangarei Library for making us all welcome. 

The next legacy writing workshop series will be in Auckland, likely early next year. Will keep you posted.

Jocelyn and I are running a couple of workshops at Auckland University Continuing Education in August, on self-publishing and blogging (aimed at writers looking to develop an online presence). Here's a link to more info.

While we were at Whangarei Library we checked out the model of the proposed Hundertwasser Whangarei art centre. Frederick Hundertwasser is intrinsically linked with the north, and this would be a great addition to the region's public buildings.

I love Hundertwasser's playful pragmatism. A grass slope leading up to the roof of a building is a classic of the guy. Reminds me of all the unused roofs in Auckland City. When I look out from my office at AUT and see all the great spaces just left for air conditioning exhaust towers and roof tilings. We need more green, grass, trees. Even if it's seven floors up.


  1. who do i go to,to publish a book???

    1. Hi Faye
      thanks for your question. A good place to start if you're interested in independent publishing is an organisation run by James George and Jocelyn Watkin who ran the workshop mentioned above. You can find out more about them and what they offer by going to their blogsite: