Tag Archives: Exercise

Writing Workshop – Week 5 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Dickhead by Tony Hoagland:

http://www.viewaskew.com/newboard/messages515/523.html

Create a colloquial, witty, but vulnerable older narrator who’s remembering a painful situation from when he was young. Although the situation is painful, he presents it with in a playful way, with a lot of humour (and again the love for language!). The overall tone is light-hearted. The voice is quite intimate, and speaks more directly to the reader (as compared to the Duncker piece).

To the guy who threw me the basketball that afternoon, while I was watching from the sidelines, I owe a debt of thanks. Finding my way on the basketball court helped me to find my way in this world, at a time when I was feeling lost.

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Writing Workshop – Week 4 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Duncker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

The other students were stomping and shouting loudly as they entered the classroom, and I tagged behind them slowly even though we were already late, not wanting to interrupt their boisterous behavior, fearing the possible repercussions. The fat one was called G’romm whose hobby was to smash things. The fatter one was called K’romm who loved nothing more than to bash things. And the fattest one was called Q’romm whose favorite activity was to trash things. Amidst all the smashing, bashing and trashing, you have yours truly who is dashing. And all this while our teacher Tom’s teeth were gnashing. He loathed tardiness, and he gave us all the evil eye, but he did not dare reproach us, as his physique was rather unimpressive, feeble even for an orc. He had nothing to fear from me obviously, but if the others were to fully unleash their barely suppressed violent tendencies and to come smashing, bashing and trashing towards him, we would be in immediate need of a replacement teacher, of which there is none.

Tom was not his real name. His real name was in fact T’Gromm Orkenstein III, and he hailed from a noble family of distinguished marauders, but he changed his name to Tom when he ventured out into the human world. Continue reading

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Writing Workshop – Week 4

This week’s exercise based on Betrayal by Patricia Duncker:

Think about a group or sub-culture the narrator belongs to. Put a couple of those people in one room and create a scene where some tension exists between the characters. However, the narrator is not part of the tension, and is mainly an observer. Focus on the use of language. The narrator obviously has a love for language and injects a lot of humour and colourful descriptions into the scenes.

Click here to read the story

This week’s assignment sure was a lot of fun. The exercise clearly brought out a lot of creativity from everyone. It’s amazing to see all the characters, scenes and settings everyone came up with, and it was fun to read them all.

More importantly, I also had a lot of fun writing my story and I allowed myself to indulge in my love for fantasy. At first I was afraid that it wouldn’t work out too well, but the others enjoyed the story. The only thing I should think about is how I should have the narrator connect more with the audience. Go a little deeper and bring in an element which the reader can relate to. For example, in the part about ‘reciting poetry’, I can work that out a little bit more to convey the feeling that the narrator feels like an outsider in this society (which he is!). Again I completely agree. That would make the story more interesting. But all in all it was pretty good.

I’m also particularly interested in the opinions of people who read a lot of fantasy. So for you fantasy lovers are there, and I know there are a few, let me know what you think!

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Making sense of the writing workshop exercises

I’m currently working on my third assignment for the writing workshop, and I’m starting to wonder what the best way is to approach these exercises, at least for me personally. There is the “correct” way, and that is to faithfully follow the guidelines of the exercise. There is certainly value to that approach, but isn’t it more meaningful to experiment a little bit with these exercises, to approach it from a slightly different way, with the added risk that I am not doing it the correct way? In my opinion it is. By approaching the exercise in a slightly different way and then “failing,” which happens quite often, and receiving feedback on why and how a particular piece has failed the exercise, provides me with more understanding than if I had done the exercise perfectly.

I don’t want to sound like the exercises are too restrictive, because they are not. They actually give you a lot of freedom to write what you want. And I don’t want to make it sound like my way is “better.” I’m not even sure if I am getting my meaning across, so maybe I should illustrate it with an example. Let’s revisit the previous assignment:

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Writing Workshop – Week 3

This week’s exercise based on Between Periods by Jim Daniels:

Describe a dramatic event during an otherwise ordinary day. Move back and forth between the drama and the ordinary events. The narrator does not explicitly describe his emotions, but it becomes evident from the way he describes the ordinary events.

As usual, the story will be below this post if you want to read it.

I was hoping this week I would be able to stick more to the assignment, but again I didn’t completely succeed in doing that. I was going for the effect of the narrator trying not to show his emotions, even though deep down he does feel them. The main problem was that I did not reveal enough of his real emotionsand the narrator comes off too much as being indifferent.

Next time I should try harder to stick to the assignment and not let my personality creep into the story too much. At least next week’s assignment should be fun, and seems like an ideal exercise to fully indulge in my imagination. Just go all out and see where it takes me, and hopefully I won’t stray too far from the assignment at the same time. Anyway, the mood of this exercise will be completely different than the other exercies so far. That’s a promise 🙂

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Writing Workshop – Week 1

So I had my first session of the writing workshop today. Despite my anxieties, I’m happy that I signed up for it. After this first session, I really have the feeling that it will improve my writing and my habits.

The basic idea of the workshop is actually very simple, and is based on the concept of the persona narrator. Continue reading

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