Saturday 1 December 2007

Workshop at Padgate High School, Warrington

I did enjoy this yesterday. This was part of the Masterclass series we offer from the University of Salford. I did a two hour gig with Year 13. I started off with a couple of warm-up sessions. The first was the “Angels / Gargoyles” exercise. This gets the students using language in perhaps a surprising way. They then moved on to do their own “opposite” word storm. Next was a mind-map of words and phrases about themselves, of which they then had to replace any one containing an ‘e’ with words or phrases without ‘e’. This gets rid of the clichés and stretches the imagination.
We then moved on to three ways of getting in to a story:
· The Stephen King method – take a scene and go from there. We examined that scene with our senses. This always leads to good writing in my opinion.
· Story theory – inciting incident, ratchet, crisis, climax, resolution – hints of golden segment
· Characters – hero, friend, enemy, mentor (who always steps out of the way at the right moment).
Finally, we did my character magic exercise – with fingers crossed behind my back again – and it did work. I actually worked with the teacher on that one.
I think they all enjoyed it. And you could have heard a pin drop whilst they wrote their little scene, having created their two characters. Lots of questions at the end. That felt good.
Yes, very satisfying.

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