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Monday, 2 May 2011

First Session Handout

Creative  Writing May 20011

Representing thoughts[1]

1        Thinking about, contemplating, worrying

A woman is at home worrying about her husband who has not returned home after having gone to visit his mistress and break off his relation with her.  This follows a heart to heart between husband and wife and a new understanding, and hopes of a renewal of trust between them.

She is at home waiting.   She obviously has thoughts.   First you need to think what she might be thinking.  Some will be recollections.  Some will be imaginings of ‘how it’s gone’, others might be fears,  second thoughts.  A different kind of thinking will be whether she should get in touch with him, or her.  But then that might send the wrong message.

So you have her at home waiting, thinking.  How are you going to represent these thoughts?   Try to avoid explicit backstory (explanations of what the situation is) by making the situation emerge from her present thoughts and allowing the reader to piece together what facts.    You have a number of stylistic options

     ·        First person narration of her thoughts in an explicit way
  • Third person narration of her thoughts and situation from a narrator who could also be a friend, who may have his/her own ‘take’ on the situation – pitying her,  sceptical of her trust,  impatient why she doesn’t send him packing and good riddance.
  • Phone conversations with a trusted friend expressing her worry
  • Filmic representation of her nervous actions,  things looked at, gestures, no narrative explication.
  • Stream of consciousness with lots of ‘voices’ crowding into her mind, some being herself, some the mistress, some her mother, some her husband.
  • Point of view of the husband driving as he imagines what she’s experiencing  (and leaving what he’s finally decided/done to the twist at the end of the story/poem/play)
  • A lecturer by a marriage guidance expert about this ‘case’, the expert not realising that the wife herself is in the audience.   She hasn't realised how far she's contributed to the estrangement of her husband.
  • A detective’s enquiry into her suicide, listening to phone recordings, looking through letters, interviewing witnesses

Write the opening of this story/poem/play using two different approaches

[1] This theme represents an ‘angle’ on the basic qualities of good writing.   Some of you will have done a course with me before.  I’m changing the immediate focus of the work, as I do each time, so as to approach the basics from a slightly different point of view, rather than simply repeating what’s been done before.  In the end the course is, as far as I can make it, open insofar as the type of writing you want to do,  at what level, and how far you want to follow suggestions for assignments at home

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