Haiku poetry and flash fiction have become mainstays of our Young Writers’ Group workshops.  Whether working with regular participants or new faces, we never miss an opportunity to lay a useful foundation.

The overarching theme of this workshop was the idea of standing resolute, rather than repeating the theme of New Year resolutions, for which it is a little late in any case.

We began by setting our writers a series of prompts from which they were challenged to write haiku poems. Although there were a couple of instances of ‘How many syllables does that word have?’ the exercise went well overall.

I then introduced our writers to Ernest Hemingway’s most famous example of a story in just six words: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ We discussed what made this story compelling (or not) and then moved into creating our own six word stories, using the theme ‘It was the very first time.’

The element of intrigue that characterises the six-word story was present in the writers’ work from very early on, so we soon invited them to develop their ideas further into 50 and 100 word stories. Some said it was easier to write the 100-word versions than the six words.

In our penultimate exercise, we asked the writers to explore the notion of ‘the hill you want to die on’, and the idea of standing resolute within that expression. They were tasked with creating an opening paragraph or piece of flash fiction using this idea.

Finally, we introduced our participants to Maya Angelou’s famous poem ‘Still I Rise’. We’d planned several exercises using this poem as a springboard, but in the end we only had time for perhaps the most challenging. Participants used Angelou’s line ‘Still, like air, I’ll rise’ as inspiration for their haiku poems.

We look forward to the next Young Writers’ Group session taking place on Zoom on Saturday 26th March from 10:00am – 12:00pm. Booking information can be found here.

by Casey Bottono.