What are some of the techniques you employ as a writer to ensure mood, atmosphere and voice come through in your work?
Atmosphere is so important in a novel! I really want my readers to feel as if they are inside my story, and that means paying attention to the mood of the scene as well as the pattern of action. I pay a lot of attention to the sound and rhythm of my words as well as their meaning. It’s all about the sensory experience and the emotional resonance – everything must be seen through the character’s eyes and their understanding of events, so that the reader sees through their eyes too.
What advice would you give to an emerging writer regarding the construction of voice in a work of fiction?
Creating voice is one of the great challenges of fiction writing. When I teach it in one of my workshops, I tell my students to constantly ask themselves – who is speaking in this scene? Whose voice does the reader hear? Does it ring true for who they are?
Last year, you told Books+Publishing “I may never have achieved my lifelong dream of being a published writer without Writing NSW”. What value do you think Writing NSW (and other writers’ centres) holds for emerging writers within the community?
Oh I think writers’ centres are so important! They create a chance to learn, to connect and communicate, to share ideas and knowledge, and build a sense of community among writers, who spend so much time alone. I encourage anyone who loves to write to join! Even if writing is not to be your career, it is still a place where you can meet kindred spirits and explore something you love to do.
Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel aged seven and has now sold more than a million books worldwide. Her most recent book, Beauty in Thorns, is a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty set amongst the passions and scandals of the Pre-Raphaelites. Other novels for adults include Bitter Greens, which won the 2015 American Library Association award for Best Historical Fiction; and The Wild Girl, which was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013. Kate’s fantasy series for children The Impossible Quest has been optioned for a film. Named one of Australia’s Favourite 15 Novelists, Kate has a BA in literature, a MA in creative writing and a doctorate in fairy tale studies, and is also an accredited master storyteller. You can read more about her at kateforsyth.com.au
Join Kate Forsyth for her online course on Editing Your Manuscript for Mood, Atmosphere and Voice, 25 August to 31 August.
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