Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Life Listing Exercise

Back to school! Start of the new year! Got to plan a wonderful series of creative writing classes. Try starting with an exercise that works wonders for both timid newbies and experienced writers and also can lead to further inspiration and production.

This is a particularly good way to get students into their own private store of writing sparks.  In two stages, the process stirs, then stirs again, allowing the writer to discover more to say than he or she thought possible.

Stage 1.  List six objects you remember from childhood.  (Someone will ask, I usually say under the age of ten).  Give 5 minutes for this; if some get only to three or four that’s fine. 

Stage 2.  Sit back, study the list.  Choose one to write on, the one that speaks to you most at this moment.  Another time it might be another one, but right now, choose one and start writing.  You might want to bubble first, or maybe it’s ready to come flowing out, just write.  A paragraph is fine, more if you want to.  Allow 10, 15 or even 20 minutes for this.

What’s the point?  These can be left as riffs only, or they can be a springboard to evocative short stories, poems or plays.  Students are often amazed at the excellence of their own and their classmates’ pieces.

From the Stimulus section, Life Listing is exercise 7 in paperback and 8 in ebook versions of Creative Writing; the Matirx/the Quick Matrix. Beyond that there are other exercises not in either book here in this blogsite. Just scroll to the Labels list and call up Exercises. Happy teaching -- and writing -- see you later in the year.

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Special half-price reduction, on Amazon, click here. Paperback only for UK distribution.
 Quick Matrix ebook is £2.99 available everywhere.

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