Geologist helps Spalding writers learn their craft

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A writer who studies for a degree to ensure a plausible storyline is a thorough one.

It’s what novelist Helen Claire Gould did, taking a degree in geology as part of her research for her sci-fi book Floodtide.

But, as Helen admits, she took almost 40 years to write the novel, so many of her life experiences also shaped the book that eventually emerged.

The author is now sharing much of her experience of writing and becoming published with other aspiring writers in Spalding and Market Deeping.

Helen is running a workshop, Story-Telling for Writers 1, at Spalding Library on Saturday, December 10.

In it, she will discuss subjects such as stories that are plot or character-driven, working from a plan, shaping the tale – and using time effectively.

It’s a follow-up to previous writers’ workshops she has run at the library, the most successful being Getting Started, but Helen has also run a workshop on dialogue.

On Monday, she will be repeating the Getting Started workshop at The Deepings Library.

Previously she also taught geology and creative writing classes at Pinchbeck Adult Education Centre and at the Deepings School.

Helen may also be known to people in Spalding from the talks she has given at Ayscoughfee Hall, such as the one on meteorites earlier this year, another spin-off from her studies in geology.

Helen describes her book as “science fiction with a big dollop of fantasy” with two main characters becoming telepathically linked – one was a geologist, so naturally Helen had to study the subject to make the character as authentic as possible.

Helen published the book first as an e-book and then in paperback, both self-published, something else Helen feels strongly about.

She says: “People have assumed in the past that if you are self-published it must be rubbish because you won’t have had it properly edited or proofread. I edited and proofread it myself because obviously I could do that.”

It’s remarkable that Helen did develop the skills to do those things because she didn’t learn to read until she was seven, and aged 50, having struggled to learn much of her life, finally got a diagnosis of ‘dyslexia-type’ problems.

The diagnosis came after a career spent proofreading and writing courses for a retail training role, so the dyslexia didn’t hold her back.

The Spalding workshop costs £5, payable in advance – book a place in person or on 01522 782010.

The Deepings Library workshop is free, but people need to book a place on 01778 346528.

Floodtide costs £9.99 from Bookmark, Spalding.