The weather was kind to us for the July Young Writers’ Group session, the last before the summer break. After a brief reflection on the last month, during which the writers shared what they had been doing creatively, we took full advantage.
Full of fresh inspiration from Bridget Holding’s workshop at the Penzance Literary Festival, I invited the writers to step outside for the first part of the session, and get in touch with their five senses.
We began by examining the limits of our vision, commenting on what we could see around us in the courtyard area to the rear of The Writers’ Block. We could hear a theatre company rehearsing in the building next to us. Challenged to spend fifteen minutes writing a piece that included information from all five senses, the young people did brilliantly.
Each participant seemed to find their own angle for the exercise, which was just what we had desired. Fellow facilitator Max had been watching Stranger Things, so the next exercise found us writing descriptions of monsters, drawn from our own imagination.
After having written, we read our descriptions out to the rest of the group, who then had to draw what we’d dreamed up.
Visual art has never been my strong point, and everybody commented on the obvious similarity between my drawings – every single one looked more like a lizard than a recognisable monster.
Max’s second exercise borrowed from fan fiction, and we had fun meshing together two established worlds. The world of Harry Potter was a popular choice, converging with anime, young adult fiction or fantasy, depending on whose perspective you picked.
The final exercise of the session found us laying down a narrative framework for a new story. Several of the young people used this exercise to their advantage in developing already existing projects.
At students’ request, we have many exciting things in the pipeline. I am particularly looking forward to incorporating some lyric-writing into future workshops.
We look forward to welcoming our writers back in September, along with any newcomers that might join us.
Blog by writer and workshop leader, Casey Bottono