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Creative writing year7


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Creative writing year7

  1. 1. CREATIVE WRITING What is it to you? 1
  2. 2. Muscle Memory • Creative Writing has two parts • The creativity • The writing • Both these muscles have to be exercised. Just like going to the gym to exercise your physical muscles. • How do you exercise creativity? • Look inside • Look outside • Do different things • Take risk 2
  3. 3. Don’t Think. Anything self-conscious is lousy. Ray Bradbury. What does that mean? • Try to do something that your inner-conscious registers and feels. • Learn to love the process like Elizabeth Gilbert said. Don’t worry about results. • Do it because you want to do it. You want to do it right. You want to do it differently. • Trust your instinct. And put in the work. So how do you do this? 1. Put your pen on paper. Start the clock and write. Don’t think about what you write. 2. Do this every day at least for 5 minutes. Write whatever comes. If nothing comes, write that – “I can’t think of anything to write” and keep writing and something will happen. 3
  4. 4. Let’s flex our creative muscles • Write 5 sentences with repetitive synonyms. For example – A boy, lad, young man leapt off a hill, a mountain, a crest. • Describe the following without using adjectives or adverbs. For example – The river meandered like a ribbon that the princess wore. A forest A giraffe Your friend A post-box The Shard or The Gherkin 4
  5. 5. Let’s flex our creative muscles some more • On my way to the _____________________, I saw a _____________________ that _________________ me. I _____________ at the ______ ______________ until I could no longer _________________. • The church was hidden behind a __________________. Its tall spires were ________________ under the ___________. From its windows, a ______________ looked out and said, “_________________________”. 5
  6. 6. Writing is a muscle memory too! • Try different types of writing. Write on a computer, write on a notebook with pens, with pencils, with crayons. Write on paper, write on cardboard and type on a mobile phone. Write on small notebooks and big posters. • As you do it, Observe what you feel. • What makes you go faster? • Which method keeps up with the speed of your thinking? • What changes in your content when you change the material? • What restricts your words when you use one writing instrument vs the other? 6
  7. 7. What is learning to write? • Reading is the first step towards learning to write. If you don’t read different things, you won’t know how different things are done. • Practice makes it habitual. Practice might never bring perfection – because I’m not sure we are working towards perfection. But practice will hone the skill. • Keep practicing every day. If you want to be a writer, write everyday. Doctors have to go to the hospital and treat patients every day. Teachers have to teach everyday. So writers too have to write everyday. Even if all the stuff they write is not for others. • Practice every skill – learn to do different things. Exercise your writing, challenge it and keep it sharp. 7
  8. 8. How do you practice everyday? • You can do writing exercises – there are 1000s of places where you can find them. Here are some interesting ones. 1. Pick a noun from the dictionary. And use it in the most ridiculous way you can. Here are some words to start you off. 1. Peacock 2. Strawberries 3. Funeral 2. Now combine the noun with a verb and put them in an unlikely sentence. Here are some verbs to start you off 1. Plead 2. Believe 3. Scowl 8
  9. 9. Practicing everyday • Open a book. Read the first sentence of the first chapter. Now that’s your first sentence. Write a story, a passage, an essay, maybe even a poem. Here are some famous first lines you could borrow. • All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four. • The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. L.P.Hartley – The Go-Between 9
  10. 10. What should you practice? Choices Character When and Where Circumstances Can you think of interesting characters others want to read about? Can you make trouble for your character? What does he want and why can’t he get it? When is this all happening? In the near past, distant past? Or future? Where is this happening? In sub-Saharan Africa? In London? In a tower-block? What choices will the character make? Will he be brave? Will he give up? Why should the reader care? 10
  11. 11. Characters – how do you study them? • First think of a character and write a sentence about him/her/it. Why is this character interesting for someone? • Then describe the character physically – in 2 sentences. Aliens or man or woman or tall or short? Does it matter to the story? • Then describe their quirks – do they pick their nose in public? Does he/she eat with mouth open? Is he/she elegant, wears white gloves and carries an umbrella? What stands out? • Now describe an object in their bag and why they are carrying it. 11
  12. 12. Circumstances! • Know what your character wants and make it really really really hard for him/her to get it. • If a character is rich, getting a taxi won’t be a difficult circumstance. • If a character is blind, walking in the dark is not a difficulty. • Take the character you built in the previous section and write 5 difficult circumstances for them. • Write 5 things that would make them smile. • Write 5 people who might make their life difficult. • Write about 5 places or things that upset your character. • Write 5 memories from the past for this character that make them happy. 12
  13. 13. Time and Place • You need to set the story somewhere in some time. • Knowing whether you are setting it in 2014 or 1914 makes a big difference to the things you can do in the story. For example, if the story is set in 1914, mobile phones and text messages can’t be used. Unless of course your story is set in a magical place and you have setup the universe. • Whether a story is happening in Africa or the UK changes what happens in the story. • Be true to the place and time you have chosen. • Make the characters ring true to the time and place you have chosen. • Even if set in contemporary London, make sure you don’t put the character on Northern Line to go to Heathrow Airport. 13
  14. 14. Choices – we are the product of our own choices. • So are our characters. Every character has to make a choice and that choice has to match the characteristics you have portrayed. • If a character is selfish, when things turn difficult, he should think about himself, not the universe. • Be consistent. • Give difficult choices. • Do you want peach or strawberry milkshake is not a hero’s choice. It is just a menu. • The choice between giving up something dear to you or saving someone. • The choice between telling the truth and going to jail or hiding away. • The story will be filled with small and big choices. The small choices will move the story along. The big choices will make the story take a turn you can’t turn back from. 14
  15. 15. Let’s Practice the Character Pyramid • Pick a character you created earlier and define the time and place where he/she is. • Describe the time and place in detail. • Give them some seriously difficult choices. • Which one would your character pick and why? Choices Character When and Where Circumstances 15
  16. 16. Some useful books you can read…. • Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg • Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott • Invisible Ink – Brian McDonald • Poem Crazy – Susan G Woolridge 16