Blog Archive

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Work for Week Four
      economy and pace
What follows are very general ‘rules’ which of course can be broken but which you should be able to follow when you wish.  Very often people ‘overwrite’ without realising they’re doing so.   By ‘overwriting’ we may saying more than is necessary and thus reducing the impact of what we’re saying.   We do, in the group, write with economy and pace most of the time, but it’s always worth honing the skill.

(1)                READING/LISTENING
           As people read their pieces during the session, concentrate on making notes of any passages 
           in which the writer could have been
(a)     more economical    (b)  more concrete


(a)   Write/rewrite a passage in which you make things happen with the minimum use of adjectives and adverbs, and the minimum of ‘telling’.  You might focus on showing people’s feelings  or situation or character by describing the physical – gestures, movements.  You might suggest their thoughts through what they notice, mentioning images which may have a symbolic meaning.  Think of the technique of the film director.

(b)   Write a passage in which we get a person’s mood by the objective physical things and aspects of people they notice in a room, say or a garden, or school playground.   You might, for example, describe a woman watching children coming out of school, holding Mums’ hands, chattering, getting into cars, and so on, picking out the details of a scratch or a funny nose or whatever, and then reveal at the beginning or end of the passage (even story) that the woman’s own child is not there to be met, but is in some way under threat – dangerously ill, kidnapped,  to be taken  from her. . .
If you mention the circumstance at the beginning that can be used to generate a special significance to all she is watching.   If you mention it at the end, it comes as a kind of clinching ‘twist’.   However you mention it try to avoid simply having her think it.  Embed it in something, the words of a letter, say; an unwanted but well meant expression of sympathy from another Mum.   And the unwantedness too is expressed in a gesture, a moving away, an unexpected rudeness,  not ‘she felt….’.    Of course there’s scope for imagery,  the broken toy a child is dragging around, for example.   

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