The L’Ouverture Storytellers Project: Writing the Novel 2019

…be open to your brilliance

Dr. Margaret Mariella Consuela Brito, Chief Executive Officer
Marantha, Bank Hall Main Road, St. Michael, Barbados.
(246)287-8154 /

Course Director: Dr. Margaret Brito


To enable the participants to begin a creative writing project
To enable participants to hone and craft a writing project to the point of publication
To develop participants’ knowledge of a range of literary and investigative techniques relevant to the creative writing project
To enable participants to engage in meaningful and relevant critique and revision of a creative writing project.

“Drama is like real life with the dull bits cut out.” Alfred Hitchcock.

Each participant is invited to speak for one minute on their work in progress, indicating the purpose for writing the piece and their intended audience, as well as what they consider to be important aspects of the work.

At the end of each presentation, I will give them an overview of my assessment of their work, the specific areas in their work I plan to address in the workshop and how I plan to address them.

When this introductory session is finished, I will provide an overview of the elements of a novel, as broken-down below:

The Germ of an Idea
Planning the Novel
Working Arrangements

Definition of Theme

Definition of Plot
The difference between Theme and Plot

Where do characters come from
How are they developed

Point of View
The many places from which to see

Where action takes place

Using Formal Standard English, Nation Language and Dialect in prose fiction

Style, Mood, Pace
Creating realistic speech.

The Mechanics of improvement
Editing a piece of Prose fiction

“A writer should speak from the genuine center of his soul.” Arthur Miller.

Workshopping of the participants’ works-in-progress, with the participants themselves fully engaged in the critique.

Writing Exercises

If a participant feels they want to engage in further writing, whether during the workshop or on their own, the following exercises will be very useful.

Character Sketch
Select any interest character you may know – the odd people, the eccentrics, the recluses. In your journal, start describing their physical appearance and then begin to give them a past. As you write, let your imagination create backgrounds for these people that are different from your own and yet always informed , however, subtly, by your own personal remembrances of things past. Incorporate into their histories images and impressions you experienced in your own lifetime, how it felt to walk on a sandy beach in bare feet; the sadness that fell over you as you watched someone you love walk away, etc.

Developing Dialogue.
Imagine two male characters. Dramatize them in a scene in which they discuss life and the issues that confront men.

Create a scene between any two acquaintances. Both are very angry. They throw things, they shout. Try to convey all this with as few uses as possible of such terms as shouted, hollered, said angrily, hissed, snarled etc. Try to indicate the speaker without recourse to the word “said”.

Select a news item from the paper – a strike, a natural disaster etc. Describe it, first as an observer close by and them as a participant in the action.

Describe a restaurant or bar near your home by incorporating it into a scene involving two lovers. Or describe an inebriated individual sitting on a bar stool, or how sleepy it is on an early Sunday afternoon.

Reading Stimuli

The following literary works, most of which have been written by Caribbean authors, suggest a number of ways in which professional writers employ the writing conventions discussed in the workshop. Some are highly experimental, and participants are encouraged to experiment widely as well.

Austin Tom Clarke Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack Chapter 1

Sylvia Wynter The Hills of Hebron

Michael Thelwel The Harder they Come pp 16-19

Point of View
Wilson Harris The Far Journey of Oudin pp 123 – 127

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Alice Walker, The Colour Purple
Earl Lovelace, The Wine of Astonishment
Xian Cartier, Muse Echo Blues
Kamau Brathwaite, Barabajan Poems
Conversations with Nathaniel Mackey
History of the Voice
Toni Morrison Paradise.
Nalo Hopkinson Skin Folk

CLR James Minty Alley

Earl Lovelace The Wine of Astonishment.