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Sunday, 20 May 2012

Phoenix Writers - A Day of Writing

I spent yesterday at a workshop for writers. Let me explain - it was a whole day devoted to writing - yes folks - a whole day actually writing! A  luxury for me. Organised and run by member's of Phoenix Writers, the Saturday group I regularly attend in Leicester.


We arrived just after 10am, queued up for coffee and tea, and ordered our lunches for later, then it was full steam ahead. Little did I realise at the time, how hard we would all be working.

The only brief the attendees had been given beforehand was that the workshop would be centred around 'The Village Fete' where something had happened to prevent the event going ahead.

We started with an excellent session hosted by Keith, he put us through our paces with characterisation. Allowing us each to choose a picture of the person we would become for rest of the day, and providing a list of questions to answer quickly, without too much thought. We settled down to write about our chosen character, breathing life into them, we learnt what they did, what motivated them, as well as their physical and emotional attributes. Even down to which 'red top' they read! It was good fun, and led us towards break. A welcome cup of tea in my case!

After a brief interlude we were back to business, the next session was led by Maya, and myself. We worked together to provide ideas for the writers to find the jumping off point into their stories. Armed with their characters they embraced the task we had set for them.

Each writer was asked to scribble down a secret on a slip of paper, they were then shuffled and handed back out  with an object, and instructions. We wrote for twenty-five minutes, then read all the pieces aloud to each other. The time went very quickly, the story starts were hugely entertaining and everyone managed to come up with scenarios, giving their characters serious problems to overcome.


Maya and I survived! We ploughed through until lunch, with little time to spare at the end of our session. Oddly, we were worried about finishing too early.

Lunch was relaxed, time to have a natter about all things writerly (there's that made-up word again) as well as things outside the magic realm of writing.

Before we knew it the time had whizzed by, and once more we were back in the 'board room' to continue our afternoon. This time fellow writer Amy, took the challenge, and gave us an entertaining hour on how to produce good dialogue.

Split into groups of three or four, we became our characters, locked outside the village hall, all with our own motivation for getting into the building, and overcoming our problem. There was rather a lot of hilarity in my group. The men had cast themselves as women, one a nun, need I say more, other than, how we got in the hall was a hoot involving a crochet hook! Each group read their effort out as a script, this worked really well, and reminded us how to produce sharp dialogue.

The last session  was led by our Chair, Daniel, who had kept us in check all day. He informed us, this was our chance to edit our stories ready for a read out, and a vote for 'best' story of the day. I found myself in a group with Maya, and Mark, and between us we edited, and slightly changed - who am I kidding - we ripped apart Maya's story and came up with a final first draft. Maya was a real sport, not at all precious about her 'baby' and it paid off because she came first jointly with Keith.


Everyone applauded, our day had come to an end. Time had whizzed by very fast, we'd been challenged and pushed, and some of us had worked outside our comfort zone - which is never a bad thing.

The day was organised by Krys, who worked behind the scenes to ensure things went ahead. The workshop leaders were Keith, Maya and myself, Amy, and Daniel, who was also our Chair for the day.  Good work people!

The attendees were members of The Phoenix Writers Group and we meet weekly at Phoenix Square where the guys and girls did us proud on Saturday. Thank you!

The day was a fun event, and more importantly, it was a coming together of writers, and we did it ourselves. Its our third one to date. If you run a group, why not have a go yourselves? Or perhaps you already have, and can give me some tips and ideas for the next one?
























16 comments:

  1. Yes, a great day! Enjoyed the chairing (you're all so obedient... up to a point!). Got lots of ideas and plenty of scribbling done. Roll on the next one!

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  2. Sounds like you had a fun day of writing! Thanks for sharing your day with us :)

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    1. Sharing the workload made it a very enjoyable day for everyone.

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  3. I love those sort of days. There's something very powerful about a room full of writers.

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    1. I totally agree, there was lots of positive energy flowing...

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  4. What a great day! So glad that it went well...

    Jo
    In Which We Start Anew

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  5. It was a brilliant day and thank you for taking my story apart. You and Mark took it to a level I did not expect, in a positive way. I agree roll on the next one.

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    1. It was fun, I think we all enjoyed the challenge.

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  6. Stormin day. Intense, challenging, writing under pressure and fun. Everyone threw themselves into it and took something away at the end. Some good laughs too and decent ale.

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    1. Yes...all of those things, and trust you to mention the ale!

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  7. Sounds great. Wish I knew about your group when I lived in Leicester.

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    1. Hello Lesley, we haven't been going too long, only about eighteen months I believe. Thank you for visiting the blog...

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  8. Sounds like it was an awesome day-as expected. Those exercises sound great and I can well imagine the humour that would have come out of it. Hopefully I'll be able to make the next one. :-)

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    1. It will be good to see you at the next one! There were some very funny moments...I can't possibly say any more.

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