Saturday, 30 April 2011

Ahh Memories ... Writing Exercise Number 2 ... The Photograph ...

Memories are one of the easiest ways for new writers to get writing. Unless of course you already have that number 1 best-selling idea, plenty of time, an agent and a publisher waiting in his/her office for your call.

Choose an old photo. Don't take too long in the process or your thoughts will begin to form, muddling up memories of events and images.

Choose a quiet place and look at the photo for a few minutes. [You can take your tea, wine, beer, chocolate or fruit with you]

When you're ready, write for 5 minutes or so on each of these:

In First Person:
When it was - Where you were - Who you were with - What you were doing – How you felt.

For instance:- 'The photo is from one summer when I was five. I was visiting my grandmother. I sat on my bike for hours, outside her front door. I was happy there in my own little world ...'

Then write in Third Person:
Who was he/she? Where was he/she? - Who was he/she with? - What was he/she doing? - Why was he/she doing ........? - How did he/she feel?

For instance:- 'The girl was sitting on her bike. She was called Jennifer. She was visiting her grandmother. She had gone outside to play but she was alone. She felt lonely...’

Writing from two different points of view usually shows the distance from the writer to the reader. Do you feel closer to the writer when reading the First Person example?

Later, you can use the excercise to develop a story line or just practice which point of view is easier to write ...

Usually the first person point of view does make you feel closer to the character but this exercise seems to have caused a conflict. Was the girl happy or not? The conflict could be used to create tension …

'I sat on my bike for what seemed hours. Outside my grandma's house. Number three six four. I’ll never forget that number. Three Six Four Church Road. I couldn't ride it. The frame was too big. So I just sat there. For hours. Knowing everyone walking by could see me. They could see my new dress mother had just finished sewing that morning. It wasn't that the hem had come down or anything like that. She hadn’t just repaired it. She’d made it from scratch. From tiny bits of peach coloured fabric spread on the floor and with no pattern to cut around either. She was always doing that. For me. I’d been so happy, sat there, revelling in it, spreading out the gathered skirt and hoping, just hoping no-one could hear the screaming from inside the house ...'

Enjoy, Gillian

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