Saturday, 4 June 2011

I survived!

Today my writers group held its very own all day workshop, and boy what a fun filled day it was for all concerned. Instead of employing a tutor to run the day, we decided to have a go ourselves. It was a good decision.

Three of us took up the gauntlet and ran a session each for the benefit of the group.  The morning began with our usual 'word of the week'  100 word challenge, set the previous week. This weeks word was 'stupid' and the writers did it justice, each having created a unique and different piece of flash fiction.

Afterwards, we went straight into Dan's hour, entitled 'A Shaggy Dog Story' which he explained involved creating a long-winded story, with extensive detail and narration, involving irrelevant incidents. Which results in a pointless, or off the wall punchline. Boy, was it challenging! I will put my hand up and say, I struggled.

Dan explained how to create the set up from a quotation, a saying, or a first line of a song, and showed us how to structure it into a story, and although a fail for me, my writing buddies embraced the exercise with vigour, and had us laughing with the hilarious stories and puns they created with ease.

Next up was Keith, who gave us an informative and full on hour, of creating a character. Supplying us with pictures, we selected our character, then he asked us a series of  questions, and we had to answer without really giving it too much thought. Afterwards, we wrote a few paragraphs which including some of our answers in a show, not tell way. Again, fun and intense. The read out gave us an incite into our characters lives.

We broke for a lively lunch, and then it was my turn. They say you should write about what you know - I say research what you want to know, and then write about it!

I did something different. I took my writing buddies on a tour of the area where we hold our regular meetings. With the help of an excellent downloadable audio tour, we set out with maps to be educated. Surprising facts emerged about the area and its past history. The people who had lived in the surrounding area. The buildings, and the industries all had their own stories.

Afterwards, we sat and wrote a variety of pieces. Articles, fiction and poetry emerged easily. Imaginations had been primed and set into motion. And then all too quickly it was over, and it was time to disband and go our separate ways.

We all agreed, it was a wonderful day. I urge you, if you run a writers group, take the plunge, organise your own day. You won't regret it. We will do it again, and sooner rather than later. It was fun. Watch this space.


  1. i enjoyed the day, but struggled with daniels excercise shaggy dog story keiths was interesting with charactors, yours was enjoy and have looked up about the church and buffulo bill, who did bring wild west show to leicester

  2. It was a good day. I certainly enjoyed all the sessions and the walk around Leicester was certainly informative. Buffalo Bill, burning chrches and fellow gibbons... Who'd have thunk it?

  3. An excellent day amongst friends that opened new doors for me.So important that we all constantly strive to refresh our writing and 'think outside the box'. Saturday did that for me. Looking forward to the next one.

  4. What a success the day turned out to be and equally as useful as could be expected by a published speaker.

  5. Sounds like a great idea - will see if I can get my own group to try something similar.

  6. Patsy, I thoroughly recommend it. I'm sure you'll have as much fun as we did.

    It does take a little planning and thought, but seriously its so worthwhile. I hope you are able to persuade your group.

  7. What a good idea to run your own workshop. I might pinch the idea!! Funny how your turn was about writing what you know. That's what I've written about on my latest blog!
    Glad all is going well. Will catch up again soon.
    Ange x @angebarton

  8. Ange,

    By all means pitch the idea, you'll have fun...x

  9. Hi Maria

    loved your posting and I love workshops. Just back recently for a Day Out with Leicester Writers' Club - as you say, great fun and so stimulating. We regularly do our own workshops now. Tho' I like your quick writing exercises too.

  10. Sounds like a great day. It's always interesting to hear what other groups get up to - especially when it's something like this that can be put together without great financial outlay.


I really appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment, and I try to reply to every one. Many thanks!

Planning Your Time - How Hard Can it Be?

Blue Skies Over Tenby - Maria A Smith  Planning your time is often much harder than you ever dreamt or expected it to be, and if you do...