Turn on the radio and take note of the first thing that is mentioned. Use it as the basis for either the start of a story or an entire story – whichever, it should be no more than 500 words. Imagine a character, someone who is central to what the story is about. Try to use clear, vivid language so that your reader can see the character. Use some of the characterisation techniques we have talked about so far.
The first thing I heard was an article about refugees and the response of French right-wing politicians to the Syrian refugee crisis. And so, this.
“Trying to picture the worst place for you to try to write can help you realise what your best venue might be
“Imagine two different venues for writing – one that seems most suited to you, and one that you would find bizarre or too difficult. Write a paragraph describing two writers at work, one in each of the venues”.
Review the notes you’ve collected in your notebook to find a character to develop further.
Pick a character. If you’ve collected, in your notebook, details about people you’ve spotted or spoken to during this week, pick one of these characters. Alternatively, you can pick one of the characters from the opening video.
Write a short character sketch – no more than 200 words – in which you concentrate on appearance and any particular mannerisms you noted.
You will come back to this later so save a copy on your computer or device. Read more…
I’ve signed up for a ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course with FutureLearn and the Open University. I’m going to be posting my exercises here for posterity.
This is my effort for the first exercise.
The three young cats flit from shadow to lengthening shadow as the day’s light fades. Two project an air of casual confidence while the third jumps at every noise and sudden movement, but all three of them are as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
As they enter the tunnel the turbulent flow forces Mark and the boy underwater and spins them end over end. He struggles to hold his breath and the lad’s hand, instinctively curling himself up to protect his head from underwater obstacles. What seems like minutes later the flow steadies and he thrashes to the surface, gratefully sucking in greedy lungfuls of dank air. After a moment he realises that the boy isn’t breathing.
The toad’s laughter is echoed sycophantically by its smaller brethren and Mark grinds his teeth, his hands curling into fists. “What’s so funny about that?” he asks as the throbbing laughter starts to subside, kicking off another round of batrachian hilarity.
The toad clutches slick wet claws to its abdomen and its mouth gapes for a moment, the boy’s slimy face appearing for a brief moment between its lips. The toad gulps him back and then inflates its throat-sac in a series of pulses that leave it massively distended and almost transparent, giving Mark a good look inside. The boy’s eyes are wild with fear. “Help!” he calls, the sound of his voice strangely muted and distorted. He pounds the membrane with his fists, each blow making a deep bass-drum THUMM. Read more…