Year of the Novel with Sallie Muirden

In 2010 I completed the Year of the Novel course at the Victorian Writers Centre. I have been meaning to write about it for some time, but I seem to have struggled to come up with the correct approach. I’m not going to critique the course but here are a few personal thoughts.

Working with Sallie Muirden was great. Before I signed up for the course I had not read any of Sallie’s work although I was aware of her name and that her latest novel, A Woman of Saville had just been released. Over the course of the year I read all of her work and was in awe of it all. As I am writing historical fiction from a female perspective I learned a great deal just from reading her work. There were also similarities between artists, prostitutes and mute characters within her work and mine that I tried to use my time in class with her as productively as possible.

Each class was structured with a great combination of theory and workshopping. This allowed for participants to learn from the wealth of life experience within the room. The class was a wonderful mix and I enjoyed meeting likeminded people and sharing my work. For me it had been a long time since I had shared my creative work, but both Sallie and the other participants were wonderfully supportive.

My novel improved no end throughout the year and has spurred me on for a busy 2011. Writing a novel is a solitary and long haul but being able to share at least one year of it with others has been wonderful.

Note: The Victorian Writers Centre is running the Year of the Novel course again this year. Sallie also has a course running in the first half of 2011 in Northcote.

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