Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mieke Zamora-Mackay's Character Workshop

By Dawn Byrne

After taking Mieke Zamora-Mackay’s popular outlining workshop, I was thrilled she volunteered to cover another writing topic. Saturday, May 28th, I headed over to the William G. Rohrer Memorial Library on MacArthur Blvd. in southern New Jersey’s Haddon Township for her workshop titled, “Crafting Characters That Touch Readers’ Hearts.” Like other writers I know, I’m constantly sharpening my writing tools and looking to improve my craft.

Even with the holiday weekend in swing, the conference room filled with members of the South Jersey Writers’ Group. I wasn’t surprised - Mieke knows her stuff. Mieke’s two brave teenaged children were available to Young Adult Fiction writers for interviews to assist with realistic dialogue and characterizations.

I appreciated the folder of hand-outs to take home. The huge notepad Mieke wrote on not only spoke to my love of old school materials, but was kinder on my eyes than any digital screen I’ve had to squint at from the front or back row.

One of the writing exercises was to create a character sketch from pictures Mieke handed out. Mine was of three young woman dressed fashionably, sitting on padded bleachers. I’ve done picture prompts before but, because of Mieke’s presentation, I notice nuances I hadn’t before when doing one. Kevin Stephany, who also used a photo visual, commented on the SJWG’s Meetup site. “I may have enough material to generate a story off of it.” Me too.

Surrounded by my writing and critique partners, along with new and other established members, artistic energy comingled as our group took in the presentation and utilized the quiet writing time. This always incites me to begin and sustain fresh ideas.

My selfish self is wondering if Mieke will present yet another workshop, and which topic she’ll choose.

If you'd like to participate in one-of-a-kind workshops like this, please look into the South Jersey Writers' Group for more members only events like this.

Special thanks for the photos taken by SJWG members Ewart Rouse and Dawn Byrne

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