November 9th Workshop Recap – A Tribute to NaNoWriMo

November is famous for being National Novel Writing Month, a challenge between friends that expanded into the creation of worldwide communities where writers endeavour to write 50,000 words in 30 days. There are writing marathons, write-ins in cafés, and a lot of pep talks to keep everyone going.

Saturday, November 9th was a writing marathon for the brave and crazy souls who attempt NaNoWriMo. During our workshop, we did not try to write 50,000 words in one afternoon, but we did try to come up with a complete story.

1 – writing ideas: I had prepared bits of paper for three categories of essential building blocks: characters, time, and place. The age and sex of characters was predetermined (there was one boy/one girl, one teenage boy/girl, one man/woman, one old man/woman) but I had left some fields blank: what they want/what they fear/what they like/what they don’t like. Participants had to fill those in. They also had to choose a time and place. We had a range from “2 in the morning, mid-November”, in Saarbruecken” to “a shepherd’s cottage in the mountains, beginning of the 20th century”. The papers were then put at the center of the table and shuffled. Everyone had to pick a character, a time and a place, and so write a story based on somebody else’s suggestions.

Than we moved on to writing the story proper…

2 – Beginning: this was the exposition. At the end of the exposition, the character got what s/he wanted. Yes, this was not a bug. This was meant to be.

3 – Middle: …but getting what they want leads to their worst fear coming true (ah ah!). At the end of the middle section, the character was in the worse mess the writer could think of.

4 – End: now a resolution had to be found.

We all had a lot of fun with the prompts. The problem was not finding inspiration, but getting everyone to stop at the appointed time! In the end, each of us produced a full story.

19th October 2013 Writing Meetup: A Trip Down Memory Lane

The theme for this week’s workshop was “A Trip Down Memory Lane”: memories, real and invented.
During Exercise 1, participants were asked to write about a childhood memory that had some mystery attached to it. They each read it out. Then I paired the participants and asked participant B to develop an aspect of participant A’s story.
Exercise 2 was about making up a word from two opposite concepts, to describe someone or something you had mixed feelings about. Example: marvenoy, made from “marvel” and “annoy”, to describe somebody who fascinates and annoys you at the same time.
Exercise 3 was in 3 parts: 1) write a special memory; 2) write a trivial anecdote; 3) write about the common thread between the two.
4 people came, and the stories were really funny! It was nice to see what everyone came up with. The made-up words were great, since everyone could see exactly what they meant. I’ll post members’ writings if they give me their permission to do so.