During the latest Lit Up professional development training for facilitators, activities to develop autobiographical prose and poetry were presented. Participants responded to the very structured tasks in a deeply imaginative way and this impressed me so much, that I thought I’d share the activities here. To create a 10-line poem, respond to the prompts in the centre column by recording your ideas in the third column.
||Your given name
||List 4 of your traits
||Complete the line
||Daughter of/Son of…
||Who would like…
Another idea uses free writing where every sentence begins with the words I am… Have a go with these activities and let me know how you get on!
The Dorset Writer’s Network have secured Arts Council funding to launch a new project with the aim of publishing an ebook which celebrates the diversity of the county. I recently delivered a workshop to support entry and you can read about this here. To have your writing considered for inclusion in the ebook, you are invited to join a competition. Stories must be no longer than 500 words and set in Dorset. Anyone can enter the competition (information for adults appears below) and a further category for 11-16 year olds will be made available shortly. Entrants can live or work anywhere in the country but the story must take place in Dorset (including Poole and Bournemouth). The full rules for the competition appear below.
I do hope you’ll take the opportunity to submit a piece of short fiction. Good luck!
In preparation for a time when I might be asked to give book talks, interviews, masterclasses and the rest, I decided to improve my public speaking skills. I was inspired to do this following a recent workshop I delivered for the Dorset Writers’ Network as part of the in the mood programme offered at Dorchester Library. Also at the event were members from the Casterbridge Speakers who did a very good pitch and encouraged me to attend one of their sessions. A couple of months later, I’m now a member of the group and promoting this to you!
The group is part of Toastmaster International based in America and meetings are run along very strict lines. In the past, this would have put me off joining, but I can see the benefit of having a very structured agenda now that I’m used to it.
So, do you wish you could lose the nerves, capture attention and inspire your audience? Join Casterbridge Speakers to find out more! Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at the Wessex Royale Hotel in High West Street Dorchester, from 7.15pm – 9.30pm. If you’d like more information about the group, click here. For further information about other groups around the country take a look at the Toastmasters website and click on the ‘find a club’ tab.
Happy public speaking!
As part of the Dorset Digital Stories project, a series of workshops will be held in January and February 2015 at rural locations throughout the county. The idea is to encourage local writers to submit a story up to 500 words for inclusion in a new e-book. All stories will be set in Dorset so that the anthology reflects the diversity of Dorset: from the human perspective to the sense of place.
I will be delivering a workshop on Friday 16 January 2015 from 10-12 at Cerne Abbas Village Hall DT2 7GY. Everyone is welcome! To book a place please email firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with me through the contact page on this blog.
For details of other workshops please click here.
Now in my second year of MPhil studies in creative writing, I face each residency with less trepidation. Last weekend was extremely positive. My creative writing supervisor, Stephen Knight, gave an analogy to the present state of my manuscript. Like a self-assembly chair, all I need to do is tighten it with an allen key. Feedback from my peers includes praise for the sex scenes (very worried about those) and agreement that the structure works (alternating narratives including the viewpoint of the main character as a ten-year-old and at 23). Phrases like ‘page-turner’ were even used!
So, with this encouragement, I press on.
I was delighted to have a story included in ‘The Best of CafeLit 2012′. The Shallows is a short story based on the experience of losing my son on a beach in France when he was three-years-old. Although the story ends well the ‘what if’ became the starting point for work on my novel Trying to be Brave. I’m so very pleased The Shallows found a safe home in an excellent print anthology. It is available for purchase from Amazon, click here for details.
While I’ve been hard at work on my novel, I haven’t made any submissions for publication so it was a total surprise when I found I had a piece of flash fiction included in the latest CafeLit publication. (A submission during 2013 was accepted, this time a piece of short fiction about a plumber and a baby.)
You can find purchase details for The Best of CafeLit 3 here.