Sunday, 22 March 2009

Planning forward

I had an unusual and wonderful class experience this week, turning up to my group of experienced writers with NOTHING PLANNED. That's because the agenda was: what next?

This is the NIAMO (Novel-in-a-Month) class which ended before Christmas. Nine participants wrote a total of 215,545 words (every word counts!). We are hooked on this addictive practice. A fascinating session of sharing and discussing our aftermaths, self-crits (not toooo harsh) and hopes.

When I floated the idea of a gentle reading out session the response was uncomfortable silence; I do not disagree... there is a wrong time to read out and get feedback (workshopping). Mid-precious-flow is the wrong time.

We want to continue that writing flow... but finding 30 days this time of year is hard. Mutual solution: monthly 'sustenance' sessions of the NIAMO 15-minute group writing experience to get us through to a full 5-week course in the autumn. We couldn't end without writing however -- one 15-minute bash provided the flow-feeling-fix.

Breaktime, folks! Have a good Easter holiday, I'll be back to this blog weekly about 20th April -- as I find out if my Hero's Journey/Writer's Journey class has made its numbers and will run.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Stuckness Prompts - part 2

And here's the other half of the '8 Days a Week' which I began last week; see the explanation there:

  • Your character takes a dislike to someone.
  • Dinner last night.
  • Your character tells a lie.
  • Write into your created world something that happened in your own life this week.
  • Your character chooses something that reveals something new about himself/herself.
  • Your character assesses how she/he looks.

Yes, I know I said the other half. So there should only be four prompts -- consider this your lucky day: a bonus!

This week my deadline pressure is an essay for the Jung course I am taking; working title, 'Jung and the Hope of Art'.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Stuckness Prompts

Lo and behold, following my blog appeal late last week, Moira reached me! [hi, Moira] So I was able to supply her the promised Stuckness Prompts from the 26 Nov blog entry. Still doing penance for having missed those comments, I continue with stuckness this week, so nobody has to ask -- here it is in the blog.

I created '8 Days a Week' for my class who were deep into their own pieces. The writers were in completely individual worlds and stages of their work in hand, and by the 'rules' of novel-in-a-month method should have been writing every day. They should have overcome the blank page freeze syndrome for themselves, as part of the experience, but I softened and provided this emergency escape. The report back from the writers proved this a worthy invention.

It is an envelope for each writer containing 8 slips of paper -- each envelope bearing the student-writer's name. Each slip has a starting phrase or situation, very simple and sketchy to allow for the variables in their work -- I printed out the sheet of them and cut into slips. Each writer got the same slips... but might have drawn them out in any order, and NOT every day. Instructions: to be used Only for Stuckness.

  • The phone rings.
    (If yours is a period world, then There’s a banging at the door.)
  • Your character is bothered by a dream he/she had last night.
  • Everytime it rained she…
    (Everytime it rains he…)
  • Something reminds your character of her/his mother.

Cheat! I will supply the other four next week. Because right now I have to continue my task as editor of the British Haiku Society quarterly newsletter, the brief. Eeeek, on deadline.