A Short Course in Creative Writing
Copyright Ruby Allure.
For my lovely students
who always astounded me
by the random stories
floating around their minds!
What do you want to write? That is the first place to start. It is a simple question; however, there are so many options and so many genres that making this decision is paramount before putting finger to keyboard. One of the best ways to determine precisely what you want to create is to make a mind map. To do this take a piece of paper and write the question ‘what do I want to write?’ From this little bubble make arrows and boxes, then once you have an arrangement of boxes decide what the priority is by creating a list. At number 1 write your top priority and list the other writings in order.
Another way to discover what you wish to create is to free write, which is where you simply write a statement and respond to it by writing as fast as you can without actually consciously thinking. The outcome is often quite a surprise.
With this in mind, I would use the following statement to enable the free-flow:
I want to write…. (this is your prompt) now write as fast as you can until you have nothing left.
Quite often students want to write lots of things and become caught up in all the potentials. They then write nothing because there are too many options. I call this the asteroid syndrome where all the ideas are floating around the students’ heads but they remain in space until one lands.
When you complete this prompt notice all the potential pieces that you wish to write then make a priority order in a list. Decide on the first project and then take action. When I say action – I mean begin. As obvious as it seems, to write one has to actually write. Writing is not walking around thinking about it, it is not doing the washing up, the cleaning or phoning a friend. Writing is sitting down and writing.
A few little things to consider about what you wish to write. Writing a memoir or a life story is the opportunity to step into yourself, reflect upon your life and share it with others. This type of writing is based on reality, the experienced, a history and a series of events that have been interpreted by the person whose life it is. Writing a memoir or personal life story is the prime opportunity to re-live, remember, re-experience and possibly even resolve life events. Through writing a memoir or life story not only are you sharing who you are and your experiences, you are enabling yourself a catharsis - a way in which to process events. Through writing your life story you will re-visit situations from a new perspective. You may even notice that you have changed in your approach and perception as you have matured.
Constructing a memoir will involve writing from reality. To gain clarity one may reference old journals, diaries or letters to remind the writer what has taken place. This style of writing is classed as writing from reality because it references actual events, real people and that which has actually taken place. Writing from reality is often known as non-fiction which covers: newspaper stories, editorials, personal accounts, journal articles, textbooks, legal documents and documentary.
Fiction, on the other hand, is imagined; however, it can be built from real life people, places and events. Fiction stories, although constructed from the imagination, are often written to suggest that the story is real. The author often writes the story by researching, imagining and referencing through research. Fiction covers poems, stories, plays, novels, film scripts and dramas.
In addition, fiction is commonly divided into three areas. This division comes from the general appearance of the text:
- Stories and novels are made up of prose usually which follow the usual paragraph structure. The story is then divided into chapters
- Poetry consists of lines of varying length. Sometimes there is rhyme, other times there is simply a rhythm within the construct.
- Plays/scripts consist of spoken lines, stage/television directions. The play is arranged in scenes and acts.
If you think about it, the difference ultimately comes from the mind – the imagined versus the remembered/experienced.
Some of the best advice that I have been given is to write about what you know. The question then becomes what do we really know? Where does reality stop and fiction begin – is there a blur? When we write fiction we often take aspects of what we know, our reality, and combine the realistic ingredients to create a story. There is a fine line between what we remember, our reality and using what we have experienced to generate fictions. With this in mind, have you noticed that you and a friend have different memories of the same event?
Try the following: Write a short piece or journal entry from memory using one of the following titles. Please choose an event or a situation where other people were involved.
· The Biggest Challenge I Overcame
· The Day My Life Changed
· What I Never Expected
· The Reason I Laughed So Hard
· My Most Inspiring Moment
· The Major Event!
Now I would like you to take your reality piece and consider the other people who were involved in the event. Considering who else was involved, step into their shoes and write the event from their point of view. What would they notice? How would they feel? How were they involved?
Now sit and imagine a random character, observe them and make a fiction story from the third person perspective.
· The Ultimate Challenge
· Life Changes
· The Most Unexpected Situation
· A Reason To Laugh
· A Moment Of Inspiration
· A Little Bit Awkward
· Their Major Event.
At this point you will notice that maybe one style of writing is easier. Now we are ready to consider style and voiceJ
LINK TO SOUNDCLOUD
LINK TO BUY ON AUDIBLE:
LINK TO PAPERBACK ON AMAZON.COM
A Short Course in Creative Writing
by Ms Ruby Allure
by Ms Ruby Allure