Inspired by my talk last weekend, and thinking about the close interaction between fact and fiction, here’s a prompt for you.
Take a key moment in history; so something that ‘literally’ stopped the world, not just your world, so let’s say, as is the case in my novel, the death of a president, maybe 911, Diana’s death, Elvis… ? and then write a short piece of ‘alternative history’ as if it never happened. So you will need to use fictitious characters perhaps or make it a memoir piece where the event affected you, but now let us see what happened if something else happened instead… So, for example, JFK Airport used to be called Idlewild and, in fact, this is the name of Mark Lawson’s alternative history novel, if Kennedy had not died as he did and make him the icon he is, would the airport still be called that? In fact, that is the case in this novel; Kennedy is still alive years later. Perhaps juxtapose what might have happened with what did happen, so some of you might even want to write two versions…? I will leave that to you! Allow your imaginations to run wild… and not be idle! See what I did there 🙂 Groan!
Happy Being YOU!
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So let’s dip into my Amazing Story Generator ahead of a similar exercise set for the writing group next week… ready for it?
Gifted with paranormal abilities…
a night watchman…
is initiated into a secret cult…
Well well… happy writing and if anyone has a go at this, why not write a flash piece of less than 500 words and send it over to me. I might just put it on here!
Have a great weekend everyone. I am off for a romantic getaway, only in Southend which is local, but it’s an old Victorian guesthouse and we have the luxury suite. Thanks to my romantic man ❤
What a talented lot my writing group are and they rose to the challenge last night with the opening chapter of a new Harry Potter with his son at Hogwarts, what happened after the final page of Fahrenheit 451, a new Dickens courtroom drama with some wonderfully Dickensian character names, a Game of Thrones new episode etc. I did also write a new scene from Time Traveler’s Wife although I didn’t have time to read it. It’s a great exercise in looking at how other writers write and then thinking about how to use characters you know and some you don’t. Of course, this is where fan fiction was born, but as a writing exercise looking at how other writers do it can have its benefits.
We also heard writers read other work and interestingly I read the opening of the first thing I had published Jigsaw and then the opening of the latest hot off the press story I wrote for the Costa. For me, as I tried to demonstrate, it is all about the voice.
This leads me to something else I was pondering, as you do. Mum and Dad have recently been reading offerings by Judy Finnigan after we met her this year. Both said they couldn’t help hear her voice and think about her because of the use of the first-person and that perhaps that’s a downfall if you know the writer. NO. I tried to explain that in the first person more than any other you are the character. When you read my novel and indeed any of my short stories, it isn’t me you should hear. Yes if you come to know my style then you will know there is a way I write, sure, that’s my author voice. But what you should hear is the character. Writers who write in their own voice are not challenging themselves, or at least that’s how I feel. I think what Dad said makes sense; it’s a skill that has to be learned. I will say no more on that.
So my challenge to you today is to write a short piece and think about voice. As inspiration think about Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads and monologues. See what you can capture in a short scene. Capturing character through strong voice will really give your work energy and take it to another level. Honest.
Oh and don’t forget to… be amazing today.
That is all.
You have woken up in someone else’s body, someone currently living or dead, real or fictional… and you have to live ONE day in their shoes. You know what they know… but have your soul and your conscience…. and your knowledge. But you can only change one thing and tell them one thing about the future.
Who are you, what day is it? And what do you do?
But what will the consequences be? Think carefully
I would be John F Kennedy, on November 21st 1963.
Got yours yet? Not plugged it for a while, so do check out my novel folks! Another five-star review yesterday!
We had the third successful meeting of the newly formed Canvey Writers last night and I was delighted once again to see about 20 people there. I also did a little teaching with the Story Arc, beneficial to new writers, but always useful for the more experienced to remind themselves of the principles.
Here’s a book challenge I set for this month for those who might want to read along at home. This month’s book (and one I have not read yet) is Room by Emma Donoghue. I am interested in how she handles the child narrator in an adult book.
And the writing prompt for this month is to write 500 words using a colour to create story and mood but not revealing until right at the end or not at all what the colour is. Will be interesting to see how this is handled. Last month’s prompt Yesterday I dialled 999 for the first time created some really different and original pieces.
So feel free to join in…
Have a great Tuesday!
Never be afraid.
As you learn to write and develop your skills, never be afraid to think differently.
Never be afraid to tread where others fear. The premise of the psychological thriller is taking our inner fears and building a plot around that; you’re in a shopping mall, your child was there one second, you rummage in your bag, look up, he’s gone. Buy into the fear by adding the second element: when they check CCTV footage there is no sign of the child. They try to convince you, you never arrived with a child. But you know you did.
Adding the second element is where you crank up your plot.
If you tend to use the same voice, write the same kind of story, write the same kind of character: write something this weekend that challenges all those old conventions.
Take inspiration from wherever it falls. The news is a great place to start. Imagine you are one of those people who is accepted to go to live on Mars, but you can never come home. How do you say goodbye? How do you leave people behind? Even if you have no family and that’s why you choose to go, how do you kiss your dog and know it’s the last time. What do you leave behind for others to show you were here?
Happy weekend everyone.
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