Well, I hope that’s how it turned out for the five writers who braved my Write Your Own Short Story workshop last Saturday. It was all part of the Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival. The idea was to add writing to the line-up of arts on display throughout Cheddar last weekend. But I wasn’t sure anyone would come, and set up my big table in the library half expecting to have a quiet morning to myself.
I shouldn’t have worried. By a few minutes after ten, we had a table full of story writers. And what a wonderful bunch they turned out to be!
I warned everyone before we began that they would be doing all the work; my job was just to set tough writing tasks, and time-keep. We started with warm-ups to get us into settings and characterisation. As we shared these pieces of writing, it was obvious a range of writing styles was emerging. And creativity to spare. Then came the fiendish main task: using a structured worksheet, each writer had to produce an individual story outline, including setting, character, plot, conflict and theme. The sheets were cut up in categories, and mixed round. Then everyone drew out a new random outline, to be completed as a coherent story in not much time at all.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Not in Cheddar. Turns out to be a talented village, packed full of committed and creative residents. We ended up (more or less on time) listening to five complete original stories, all gripping, well-written and enjoyable.
Well done to Amanda, Sally, Trudi, Dalveen and Suzanne! I hope you enjoyed the workshop as much as I did. And please do keep writing.