The Minster’s Western Front (Wikipedia)
I was in York at the weekend, attending a wonderful conference where I also delivered a workshop. Participants attending ‘Flash Fiction: keeping it short’ came from across the phases of education, all with an interest in developing writing for themselves and their students. I shared a range of prompts aimed to get those less experienced in writing flash started. These included:
- Looking at classified advertisements for inspiration
- Getting ideas for writing from Dulux colour cards (this prompt originates from Calum Kerr, Director of National Flash Fiction Day)
- Using pages from small, illustrated notebooks to focus the mind on purposeful word selection
- Drawing upon a photo to think about the story behind the image, from the photographer’s point of view
- Describing stereotypes from ‘Come Dine with Me’ to create characters you love to hate
- Self publishing mini books by folding and cutting a sheet of A4 paper
- Finding markets for your writing: a selection of websites and magazines that accept flash fiction.
I’d like to thank everyone that came to the workshop for engaging so readily in the tasks, for being willing to share the outcomes from the prompts and for the feedback provided.
Readings featured each day and it was delightful to hear Ian McMillan, Alan Bennett and Simon Armitage sharing their work. There was a wide choice of workshops including lecturers talking about their research and practical, interactive sessions. Coffee breaks and meal times offered the opportunity for networking. I especially enjoyed the workshop delivered by Jackie Zammit where she shared the strategy of using a teachers’ book group to discover texts that could engage learners in thinking deeply about themes such as diversity, identity and culture. For more information see the groups’ facebook page here. Another workshop that has kept me thinking was delivered by Elizabeth Forbes and dealt with the role of coaching as a way to support and develop the skills of writers.
Thank you very much to the organisers of NAWE for hosting such a splendid event. Joining the conference also gave me an opportunity to catch up with other NAWE members that I first met in Wales during a writing retreat. You can read more about that experience here.
Which conferences do you recommend?