Ways into Writing
Malvern Civic Society is running its annual Schools Literary Competition again, and this time it's to write about a place in Malvern you'd like to visit. For full details follow this link. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Scrawl Crawl – on your daily lockdown walk, take photographs of 5 places along your route. They can be quirky, attractive, unpleasant, close-up or distant – as long as they are in Malvern and are interesting to you. (NB If you don’t live in Malvern, you can do this exercise as a warm-up, and follow up with an internet ‘scrawl crawl’ on places in Malvern in Google images.) You can either do the next bit in situ or back at home. Spend time in one of the places or looking at one of the pictures. Now use the 5 senses to make lists of details: sight, smell, taste, touch, sound. Never be afraid to embellish – remember: ‘A good storyteller, like a good joke-teller, embellishes the truth to make it more real.’ (Eva Salzman) In other words, you can offer details that weren’t originally there.
2. Beginnings – pick another photograph and describe in as much detail as you can for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about whether you’re writing in poetry or prose. Write continuously. Elaborate beyond all reason, covering anything and everything: colour, texture, size, etc. Now and again, something might remind you of an association/memory – a simile? – but always return to the object itself. Which sections feel like poetry? Which parts feel like prose? Which lines are the most vivid, and why and how?
3. The Imagination Bag Game (adapted from George Szirtes) – Select a different photograph of a Malvern place. Write as follows:
1. 2 lines describing it
2. a question
3. a personal memory or association triggered by it
4. a potential title for the photograph
5. the first sentence of a story about/around it
6. the last sentence of same
7. a line of a potential poem about or around it, from anywhere in the poem. Say if it is from the beginning, middle or end.
Now write a poem using some or all of the above ideas, bearing in mind that you may have to edit them, or move them around. You don’t have to write the poem in your voice; perhaps you want to write in a different character’s voice – someone in the past, perhaps, or in the voice of someone in the picture?
4. Killer lines – Read through what you’ve produced so far. The first line doesn’t have to be the first line. ‘The back door may be the best way into the house.’ Which lines stand out to you as interesting or odd or surprising? Which have humour? Are any lines questions od direct address to the reader? All of these are good for first lines. A first line should grab attention and stop the reader in their tracks. Try these killer first lines and see if you can continue them: I wonder if the ground has anything to say. (Carol Ann Duffy) The fields are on fire. (Mine) What about the grass? (Mary Oliver)
5. The Editing Game – Now that you have chosen your possible first line, it’s time to edit even more. You have a word limit of 300. Try this for making those count as much as possible: Write for 5 minutes on one of your photograph prompts without stopping. Cross out 50% of everything you've written. Repeat!
Hopefully, these should give you plenty of ideas for getting started on your Malvern Civic Society Literary Competition entry - Good luck!
#Malvern #Competition #Writingprompts #scrawlcrawl #dailywalk #lockdown
From Goldfish Boy to The Boy in the Tower to Rear Window, some of the best stories and films have been from the perspective of looking through a window. And all great diaries are windows into extraordinary events and into the lives of the writer, their own special viewpoint. So where better to begin your diary than by looking out of the window?
Sometimes it can be difficult to write about your own thoughts and feelings, especially if you are feeling anxious. This Window exercise is great for getting into diary writing because you write from the ‘outside in’. In other words, you focus on what’s outside of you and your powers of observation first. And if any thoughts and feelings start creeping in, that’s all good!
1. Sit in front of a window. Open it a little if you like. Make sure that you are comfortable and have something to write with.
2. First, clear your head of all of those jostling thoughts. Sitting cross-legged is good for this, or on a chair. Close your eyes and breathe in for 4. Now hold that breath for 4. Then breathe out for 4. Repeat this five times. You should feel calmer, and feel your breathing becoming nice and deep.
3. Write down 5 sounds that you can hear, inside or out. Then list the things that you associate with those sounds, for example, the distant TV could remind you of visiting your nan as a child.
4. You are going to describe what you can see out of the window. Let your eyes wander. What do they settle on? Spend 10 minutes writing what you see. You might do a character sketch of a person, or describe that building in detail.
5. Now go back and make sure that you have been specific. Instead of ‘estate agent’s board’, write Philip, Laney & Jolly; instead of ‘motor-home’, Fiat Sundance. Use the exact names for birds, shrubs, trees, colours, cars, shops. If you don’t know them, look them up. Writers need lists of words like artists need colours.
If you enjoyed this, you might like the #inkwellwriters #competition ‘Through the Window.’ Win a goodie bag of books plus some writers’ treats by checking out Inkwell Writers.
There's an awesome chance to take part in Kathryn Evans' shared Corona diary here, where there are plenty of fab tips and prompts from lots of authors to get you started.
And, if you're interested in ways of keeping the stress levels down, try these brilliant, calming yoga classes by Adriene. There are ones for creativity, specially aimed at writers!
Here is a YouTube link to my window diary video
#inkwellwriters #coronadiary #yogabyadriene #window #writingprompts #writein #scbwi