We started our Creative Writing class in March 2016 and we were fortunate to have six writers join us in season one of Basics of Storytelling. This is a class which focuses on the foundational principles of story writing in both fiction and nonfiction. We created this class because we realised that most writers in Uganda, poets included, are working from pure instinct without the training that is afforded to writers of international calibre. Writers in Uganda need to know exactly how stories are constructed and how to get out of the erroneous thinking that great stories/novels etc happen by ‘magic’, so to speak.
If a writer is waiting for a ‘perfect’ story or thinks that he or she needs to have perfect conditions to write, then they are deluding themselves as concerns that being a ‘writer’ really means. Writing is a process that starts from the firm foundation of a strong idea which is researched and developed then it continues into the actual writing and rewriting until the story is fully developed to a professional standard. The rewriting stage includes giving the work to trusted readers and working closely with an editor. This cycle of writing is what professional writers go through and it is invaluable if a writer is to move from simply being a ‘writer’ to being a ‘good’ or even ‘great’ writer. Good writers know how to accept constructive criticism by looking at their work objectively and learning how to work closely with editors. They are also keen readers of the work of those who are considered masters of the craft. Without these elements, I am of the opinion that a writer is not serious about their craft.
It is our desire that the Basics of Storytelling class exposes students to good writing and affords them the opportunity to understand the process of writing as well as equipping them with the necessary literary techniques to improve their own work. We are so grateful to have successfully completed season one of Basics of Storytelling and for having the opportunity to start season two. We are thankful to those who participated in season one and we are grateful for the faith they put in us. We hope our first batch of students felt like they benefited greatly and that they are now fully equipped to be dedicated, thorough, and successful writers.
We shall continually post updates of how the course is going as well as many writing tips we are learning alongside the students work. Watch this space!