Change is an essential ingredient to narrative. Earlier this month, the Young Writers Group took inspiration from pivotal moments in their lives to inspire new short fiction. The changes discussed were wide ranging, from hair cuts to moving house.
Using these experiences, participants crafted a 50-word story that hinged on a change for a character.
Our second exercise took inspiration from the recent Channel 4 television programme The School That Tried to End Racism. Participants were invited to reflect on a time where they felt like an outsider, and use this as inspiration for a monologue. Then they wrote another monologue detailing what they would say to help somebody who felt like an outsider.
The writers’ lockdown experiences provided inspiration for the third exercise, where they wrote freely for five minutes, and then experimented with changing the point of view and perspective of their pieces. Negative sentiments became positive, and positive sentiments became negative, in preparation for writing about two characters seeing the same thing from different perspectives.
Our third exercise was craft based. One of the most difficult things about writing is creating believable dialogue. The writers rose to the challenge of constructing a scene featuring a conversation between two characters. Although we invited them to read the characters’ names each time the speaker changed, their skill in creating distinctive voices soon meant that this was no longer necessary.
One participant skilfully wove a conversation between two lovers, and it gradually became apparent through the dialogue that all was not as it might seem. He later revealed that one of the speakers was in fact a ghost, instructing his girlfriend to move on and find a way to live without him. The poignant piece remains a highlight of this particular workshop.
We look forward to continuing with our online workshops this Autumn following a summer break – look out for new dates!