Friday, April 20, 2012

Summary of recent sessions

Creative Writing 2012
The last nine weeks have been very successful. I have thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and the high attendance levels and enthusiasm suggest that everyone else has enjoyed them too. Thank you everyone for being such a super group. What have we achieved? Read on:
Summary of sessions 1 – 8/9
In recent sessions we have analysed an anecdotal story and tried our hand at writing in that style. Part of what you can do with this type of story is intrigue and leave background and/or final outcome to the reader´s imagination.
In week two we looked at the potential for misunderstanding and the need for clarity but also how you could use misunderstanding as a basis for a story.
Continuing the theme of clarity we looked at positives and negatives. We observed that what one person sees as a negative might be a positive to someone else. In the written exercise we tried to focus on giving an impression from the start about whether the story and/or the main character was positive or negative. We wanted to understand the character and how s/he would view events, not just have a sequence of events, which can read like a 'list'.
We continued to focus on openings to begin session four and found that the style of the opening sentences was crucial in that when asked to continue other people's stories we had little difficulty in continuing in the same style. The style had been set in those vital first sentences, obviously something to bear in mind when we begin a new piece of work.
We then had a complete change of style and instead of stories we looked at writing for the purpose of informing through articles about the island, suitable for publication on the internet. Some of the finished articles were quite subjective but everyone found that they knew enough about some aspect of the island to write informatively and everyone learned something new, always a bonus!
In session six we explored vocabulary and figurative writing briefly before choosing to write something based on our observations and anecdotes. It was noticeable that members concentrated on extended and elaborated language following the discussion.
Week seven was all about choosing which person in which to write. Normally we write in the first or third person but it is a good exercise to try writing in the second person and makes you focus on the person and the tense of the piece.
Finally we looked at writing from a theme. A story should be about something! Characters are a good starting point but they are by no means the only ones. Taking an idea or some concept that you are interested in can result in an excellent story, or poem, because you are writing about something on which you have opinions. Your level of interest in the topic should illuminate the text.

Throughout the term I have reminded you that there are writing competitions which you might like to enter. I encourage you to consider entering because having deadlines and criteria helps to discipline your writing but if you are just doing it for fun and are not interested in competitions or publication please ignore me and enjoy your writing.

Term two will run for ten weeks, provisionally from 11 May 2012 to 13 July 2012. Please keep an eye on the blog and your e mails for confirmation.

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