I was daunted. I've never taken part in a writing exercise in my life. I never show my work to anyone unless it's at submission stage. I never open up my ideas to anyone, toss things about, shake down my story line.
Perhaps I should. Do you?
One of the exercises that really had me rolling was this: Jim put a batch of different locations typed on slips on paper into a big colander. He put a batch of different characters into two empty fruit bowls. He then put a batch of different plot lines into another container. Then he barked: Get To It!
A group of writers stared at each other, some squirming, others already rising from their seats. You took one slip from each bowl and sat down for a matter of minutes - constructing a story sketch with your location, two characters and plot line. A recipe.
A field of bright strawberries
An only child
A compass error
What would you make of that? Or,
A reluctant bride
A gift is returned
Astonishing, isn't it? Fun. Crazy. Belittling. A cusp.
Oh dear! My way of writing short stories is so gluey compared to this - I have to have a springboard of a sort, a nexus to head towards, or a jarring first line. Not so much characters as shadows to work with. Movement and action, direction. Then I like to let something magical take place. I can't say I will get great stories out of these hats - but it is good to have one's thinking upended, no?
|F.Scott Fitzgerald by Carl van Vechten|
It all had this writer quite dumbstruck, enthused, keen to get back to work.
Have you ever been to writing workshop? And?