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Creative Writing inspired by The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club Orion 2008 Franca Piergallini © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
How to get started 1.Keep a journal to fill with thoughts, ideas, hopes and plans; 2.Collect interesting quotes you hear © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Writing short stories Decide: where to set it When it is set and who are the main characters (do not overcrowd the story with too many characters ) © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Writing short stories: the basics Before you begin, you must know the end; How do you begin? You open with the action and introduce the main characters (they should have a strong and memorable personality) How much dialogue? Enough to move the story on. What kind of a time frame? For example over a period of two years © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Change Is important when telling a story. At the start, you should try to catch people at some interesting juncture in their lives, for example a choice to be made, or at the start or the end of love © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Eight steps to a short story 1 1.Identify your obsessions- what interests you most? 2.Characters: you will have a central character whose perspective shapes the narrative 3.Focus: a story needs a goal, a target, a climate. A point at which the characters’ lives are changed forever 4.First draft: put down everything you have to tell on to the page as fast as you can: you have the bones of the story © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Eight steps to a short story 2 5. Research: find out more about your characters and their world, to enrich your narrative. 6. Produce a polished draft: good stories are not written: they are rewritten. 7. Editing: tighten your story, cut a lot, because less is more. 8. Final draft: make another set of revisions, which will produce an excellent story © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Murder, mystery and suspense How do you create suspense? By preventing one set of characters from knowing what’s happening, so they are heading happily into some kind of danger we readers know BUT the characters don’t. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
How do you do a surprise ending? 1 Agatha Christie began each thriller with the chapter on the suspects’ alibis, then she arranged for one of the alibis to be broken and that would be the murderer. She worked out personality and motives later. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
How do you do a surprise ending? 2 False alarms: a creaking door could be a cat coming in, not an axe murderer; a flapping window could be a trapped crow, not a serial killer making an entrance. And then, when we are calm again and breathing easy, here they come. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Attention to detail You need to get details right: Choose a specialist area, for example the world of spies and make sure you get it right. Bring in your own area of expertise: if you have a witty style, write a humorous thriller, or a woman’s thriller or a travel thriller © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Important quotes 1 E.M. Forster: “The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died and then the queen died of grief is a plot. The queen died and no one knew why until they discovered that it was of grief, is a mystery, a form capable of high development” © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Important quotes 2 “To which I would add, the queen died and everyone thought it was of grief until they discovered the puncture wound in her throat. That is a murder mystery and it too is capable of high development.” Julie Parsons (thriller writer) © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
The most important thing to remember Use your imagination: Plots come from hard work, they don’t develop by themselves. They need to be thought about, struggled over, worked on. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Thrillers deal with the really big subjects: death, violence, cruelty, good and evil All the motives for murder come under the letter “L”: love, lust, lucre and loathing. The most dangerous emotion of all is not hatred, but love. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
The importance of language _ Learn to express yourself more fully _Release the vocabulary that you have inside you. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
Less is more A writer’s job is essentially the skilled manipulation of words. The use of language can establish character, describe the atmosphere, drive a narrative forward or impose a point of view. The way you say something is as important as what you say. © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
A final remark on the importance of criticism W.H. Auden : “ A real writer needs approval of his work by others in order to be reassured that the vision of life he believes he has had is a true vision and not a self-delusion, but he can only be reassured by those judgement he respects” © Nuova Secondaria – La Scuola Editrice SPA – Tutti i diritti riservati
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