Presentation on theme: "Writing Short Stories An Introductory Workshop February 11 2105."— Presentation transcript:
Writing Short Stories An Introductory Workshop February
Introductions Each participant – Name, department – What makes you want to write? John Rutter – Current PhD student EHU English - short stories – Like everyone else – a background in other things
Agenda Introductions & Objectives Reading short stories – a few examples Top Tips – how to get started Writing exercise – emotions and objects Feedback and comments Competition Rules & what next
Objectives for today To introduce ourselves To be introduced to short stories To provide guidelines for writing a short story To practice writing a story To clarify rules for the competition
Reading Short Stories – Some Greats Anton Chekhov – Misery James Joyce – Eveline Franz Kafka – The Metamorphosis Katherine Mansfield – The Fly Ernest Hemingway – Hills Like White Elephants Flannery O’Connor – A Good man is Hard to Find JD Salinger – A Perfect day for Bananafish William Trevor – The Ballroom of Romance Raymond Carver – Cathedral
Reading Short Stories – Contemporary Recommended authors Rodge Glass (EHU) Ailsa Cox (EHU) Carys Bray (EHU) Helen Simpson Anneliese Mackintosh Hilary Mantel David Constantine Zoe Lambert John McGregor John Burnside Rachel Trezise Kevin Barry Miranda July Michel Faber Wells Tower Denis Johnson Ethan Coen Alice Munro Margaret Atwood Publishers and anthologies Unthank - Unthology 1,2,3,4,5,6, (7) Granta – various anthologies (UK) McSweeney – new writers (USA) Comma Press – Biopunk – science link – various other anthologies Salt – annual winners of Scott Prize Freight – several new writers
Top Tips (not rules) 1.NARRATIVE Have a beginning a middle and an end. First and last paragraphs are critical. 2.PLOT The plot arc can be simple in a short story. Start just before the key incident. Often one event only. 3.CHARACTER It is widely accepted that short stories are about the lost and lonely, “submerged populations.” 4.MOTIVE What motivates people? Sex or money. Stories are about what someone wants/needs/ lacks. 5.CONFLICT What stops the protagonist getting what they want? What could go wrong? Conflict = emotion. 6.POINT OF VIEW Be consistent. Who is holding the camera? Show how others react not just the viewpoint of the protagonist. 7.SO WHAT? Write something you would read. The contract with the writer is that the reader expects to be told something. 8.QUESTIONS WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHY Like all journalism use these as prompts. 9.SHOW DON’T TELL Action is usually better than exposition. Avoid saying what people feel. What does anger, sadness, look like? 10.DIALOGUE Make it sound real. Short. Read it aloud. Dialogue must reveal character or plot. Avoid “As you know, Bob.” 11.DESCRIPTION Don’t overdo it. Use concrete and specific details. Unusual images can be very effective. Use all the senses. 12.THERE ARE NO RULES Characters in stories can do anything. They can fly, be invisible, time travel. One impossibility is best. 13.HOOKS (often start) Show some action first. Make the reader a promise. Ask a question. 14.TWISTS (often end) The Oh My God! Can be external or internal (modern.) 15.OWNERSHIP Write what you know. Better still write something only you could have written. (Acknowledgment: Half of this list comes from a lecture by Professor George Green at Lancaster University)
Writing exercise Choose an object from those provided Choose an emotion form those written down Write two words on the page - Magnet - Grief Start writing! Don’t stop for 15 minutes / 1 page Feedback – What did that feel like? – One or two read out a paragraph or outline Morning pages – an exercise to get you started
Writing exercise – an example Lust Anger Sadness Disappointment Despair Grief Loneliness Ambition Love Guilt Disgust Regret
Rules & Entry Instructions One entry per author Any theme or subject is allowed Tip: There are no taboos / no go areas. Avoid clichés. 1,000 words max (not 1,050) in English (practice editing) Type using standard formatting – Any standard font size 12, one space at the end of sentences – Double spaced, indent paragraphs except first – ‘Use this convention for speech,’ he said. Separate front page: story title, name, , word count Submit to by 5pm Wed 18 Read the rules and follow them
What next? Read at least one or two short stories – Look out for epiphanies - realisations Think about what matters to me Start writing! Edit, Edit, Edit Submit Any questions Information is on the web page
A Final thought…
Writing Short Stories Free Workshop 11 February 12 noon Location Staff from all departments and disciples are welcome As part of the Developing Potential project we are running a short story competition with a prize of Kindle for the writer of the best story. We have arranged a short workshop to get you started. The workshop will introduce the short story and a few of the great writers of short stories. You will join in a fun writing exercise to get the creative juices flowing and be asked to think about what you want to write about and why. You’ll be a given some “Top Tips” on how to write short stories and common mistakes from an experienced practitioner. Resources will be made available to you including examples of classic short stories that are available to read for free, links to web sites and the rules of the competition.
John Rutter Biog John has a background in business and has been a management consultant for many years. He also teaches English to speakers of other languages. He completed a creative writing MA at Lancaster University and is now a year away (he hopes!) from the end of his PhD on short stories at Edge Hill University. He is an active member of three creative writing groups and has been one of the organisers of The Word writers’ festival in Lancashire in 2012,13 and 14. He regularly reviews short stories for Fiction Feedback, judged the Chorley Writers National Short story competition 2013 and was Guest Editor of Lancashire Writing Hub. His short stories have been published in Unthology 5 and Unthology 7 printed by Unthank Books, Synaesthesia Magazine, Five Stop Story (twice), 330 Words, and five times in the Lancashire Evening Post. His academic paper Introducing Dark Energy in the Short Story was presented at The International Conference on the Short Story in 2014.