The March Young Writers’ workshop was another opportunity for those present to exercise their creativity in new ways. From exercises that extolled the virtues of the humble sandwich, and proposed several new and interesting flavour combinations to finding the dramatic in the everyday, there was something for everybody to get stuck into.

Some of the writing that emerged from this session was intensely personal, as though offering a window on a room that one shouldn’t enter. The visceral quality of these pieces only added to the sense that we are witnessing something significant at The Writers’ Block.

Although it was a small group, those who attended were focused and engaged with the exercises throughout, using the anything goes atmosphere of The Writers’ Block to its full potential.

We asked the young people to write about a dramatic moment in their lives, and embed a lie and a secret into their narratives, which we would then attempt to guess.

The resulting pieces were evocative and richly detailed. The young people immersed themselves in the task to great effect. As facilitators, we also make the most of the opportunity to try out working in new ways.

A group discussion followed about examples of the Hero’s Journey in some of our favourite books, ranging from Lord of the Rings to the Percy Jackson series. If there is no struggle, there is no story. The Hero’s Journey makes a narrative palatable, and gives us a sense of structure, defined most famously by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Using The Hero’s Journey as a backdrop creates a stronger foundation for our stories, and the young people seemed to understand this very well. Establishing the everyday world is important, but normal can be boring. Like everyone, our fictional heroes must grow and change.

Blog by writer and workshop leader, Casey Bottono

Photo taken by Neal McGaw of Bill Mitchell working practice exhibition – Ideas from the Attic 2018