The 3rd Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio Writers Workshop was held last July 11-15, 2018 at the University Hotel at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. This year’s workshop focused on the novel / nobela, and I was blessed to have been chosen to be part of the 12 participating fellows.
Writing is like baring a part of your soul and putting it into paper in the form of words. You can never get the writer out of the words she puts down on the page, so it goes without saying that my anxiety levels shot up high at the thought of having my words read by no less than some of the finest authors of the Philippine literary scene. As if that wasn’t pressure enough, we were also going to spend an hour and a half of the workshop discussing nothing but my words.
But the nerves eventually all went away as I immersed myself in the experience of learning and basically just having fun with people who were just as, if not even more so, passionate about literature and creative writing as I am. We had lectures on craft and publishing, all providing much insight as to the ways and means of writing the novel. The panel workshop sessions wherein we discussed each other’s manuscripts brought forth allowed the sharing of opinions and ideas that gave a new take to the works-in-progress.
We talked about character development, the many ways of driving a narrative, setting a scene, and pushing forth a message. We talked about tone and voice and metaphors. We talked about world building and the power of imagination. We talked about the importance of research and how to translate it into a fictional story. I found myself very much blown away at the knowledge and talent around me.
It was truly an experience! Though, ironically enough, I didn’t get a single word of writing done during the 5-day event, I thoroughly enjoyed the stimulating discussions and was able to take home advice to help me improve my craft. (The free food certainly helped in completing the whole experience. As in. My stomach could not keep up with the immense amount of food.)
At the end of the day, what I’m most thankful for is gaining a place within a community of artists, all intent in using their God-given gift of words to express, to educate, and to inspire. Writing may be a solitary activity, but behind that single byline are so many people who shaped and influenced the writer to bring out the very best in her words. Being amongst fellow word weavers who were going through the same joys and pains of the life of a novelist is truly a gift. I think sepanx (separation anxiety) hit us not long after parting! Haha!
I end this entry as the Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio did her speeches during our welcoming ceremony as well as graduation: Write.
No other words. Just that.