We’re excited to offer a variety of workshops at Continuum this year, covering topics from writing to nerdy dancing. Here they are in alphabetical order (please note that the schedule is not yet finalised and all timeslots are subject to change):
From the Inside Out – Building characters with personality
Presented by: Aiki Flinthart
Timeslot: Friday – 8:30pm – 9:30pm
Many authors create characters beginning with appearance, name, and major past trauma – externals. This workshop will help them create richer characters, from the inside, out. Beginning with an understanding of the basic personality types (using an easy, 4-personality profiling system), attendees understand how these combine, conflict and complement each other; what motivates them; how they handle stress; how they express love.
How external factors modify the personalities – family life/values/expectations, cultural values/norms/influences, past trauma, character age. Finishing with externals – personal ticks, appearance, habits. And how all of these can be used to drive narratives and conflicts.
Sign up: https://goo.gl/forms/fAGiLVs5pFclVJ1k2
Learn Crochet – You Too Can Make Stuff During Panels!
Presented by: Kathryn Anderson
Cost: $10 (to cover materials)
Timeslot: Friday – 6pm – 8pm
Need something to do with your hands during long panels? Learn to crochet! Kathryn will introduce you to the basics, and provide a set of crochet hooks and two balls of yarn.
The Mechanics of Short Speculative Fiction
Presented by: Cat Sparks
Timeslot: Saturday – 10am – 12pm
Crafting short stories is a specific skill that focuses on issues of language and structure. A good short story is transformative. A snapshot of the human condition, its concise suggestiveness engenders passion and can linger with you long after you have stopped reading.
This workshop aims to examine the elements required in creating a publishable short speculative fiction story, from opening hook through to closing sentence. We will examine story vs plot; inspiration; story structure; believable characters; strong beginnings, middle and ends; point-of-view; setting; conflict, and theme; tips on making every sentence count; paying markets; critique groups; how much revision is too much; cover letters and submission etiquette; rejection and how to deal with it.
Trial by Dice
Presented by: Rachel Holkner
Think you’re a whizz with a board game? Ever tried making one? In this workshop you’ll be designing a brand new tabletop game using a cornucopia of mystery objects. This friendly contest will have you using your creativity, your expertise in game-play strategies and years of experience in fooling around with toys. Your team of four will have to cooperate well enough to come up with rules, instructions, board, everything, and in just 30 minutes! Sign up individually, teams will be arranged on the day.
Visual Storytelling: The art and science of writing comics
Presented by: Jason Franks
Timeslot: Sunday – 10am – 12pm
Comics is the art of telling stories using a combination of words and pictures. Writing comics is a challenge, even for writers experienced in other media: you don’t have to be able to draw, but you do have to understand how to talk about art and how to sequence it into a narrative. In this two hour workshop, Jason Franks, writer of The Sixsmiths and Left Hand Path, will teach you all the tools and techniques you need to get started in turning your story idea a script that you can give to any comics artist.
What Writers Must Do To Write Professional Fiction
Presented by: Jack Dann
Timeslot: Saturday – 2pm – 4:30pm
Believe it or not, there is a secret to writing professional fiction; and it involves learning a bit of ancient cartography. (cartis = map and graph = write.)
This 2½ hour intensive with Nebula, World Fantasy, and Shirley Jackson Award winner Jack Dann is a results-oriented workshop that can change the way you approach the craft of writing. It offers participants a hands-on, step-by-step writing strategy and a unique opportunity to broaden their working understanding of speculative fiction with a writer of international renown.
This workshop will cover how to overcome the three(+) basic hurdles to writing saleable fiction It will also cover technical and thematic aspects of historical and fantastic fiction, including science fiction, fantasy, horror, and magical realism. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about writing in the various genres (and the history of the genres); the essentials of writing cutting edge fiction and the nature of creativity; the workings of the Australian, British and American markets; the new e-commerce paradigms; how to get an agent (if necessary) and how to submit a manuscript. But most importantly, participants will learn how to overcome the basic mistakes that frustrate the inexperienced writer. They will also discover “the writer’s best friends”!
All participants will be given handouts, including “The Keys to the Kingdom”, which Jack wrote for Writers Digest, an updated “Books For Writers: An Essential List”, and a fistful of other “essential” material that Jack has found helpful for writers.
Writing Other Cultures
Presented by: Gillian Polack
Timeslot: Sunday – 2pm – 5pm
This workshop is all about writing cultures and people from them into your fiction. What makes a culture? How do we see ourselves? How do we depict ourselves? How do we depict other people? Where do issues such as respect, appropriation, research and understanding come in and how should we handle them? This workshop will be useful for writers who use current or historic cultures in their fiction as well as for writers who are working with invented cultures.
The first section of this workshop looks at terms people use to describe culture, how they influence writing and writers, and the role of ethics. We will especially look at current uses of ‘appropriation’, ‘borrowing’ and similar words, both in their US and Australian meanings. The remainder of the workshop teaches methods analysing and of describing cultures. How do we learn about cultures and how does this affect our writing? How do we draw characters so that they work within their own culture rather than from within ours? What aspects of culture help us understand a specific culture well enough to write about it convincingly and respectfully? What specific aspects of a culture help most with communicating that culture to readers?