Storyarts six week on-line writing workshop.  Page 2

Opening sequence

Images and the journal

    In the Chicago workshop these sequences are known as "warmups" and are done with real-time coaching from the director.

     In the on-line workshop, obviously,  the basic telling sequences must be written and submitted  to  the director by email with all the delay and possibilty for confusion this implies.  If all goes well, you will receive a reply. If not, it may not be your fault.

     Keep in mind, we are learning on this end too.

     In this workshop the word "images" simply refers to short tellings or fragments, or should not be confused with literary description.

     "Journal" in this context means the writer's notebook, a concept closer to an artist's sketch book than a diary.  All of the exercises and sequences I will be presenting to you can (and should be) done as entries in your journal, not just once but as often as you please.

        Our first sequence will be physical images, beginning with physical objects.    I will give a series of prompts.  You will respond in writing.

    Prompt one.  An object that can be picked up and held in your hands.

    How to do it.  Chose the object, in this case a specific object, nothing fancy, just look around, maybe that cup you are drinking from, maybe that pencil you just sharpened.  Okay, we're not going to use those objects.  Too easy, I say, because they are in the room with you.  Now look into your memory, some other room, some other time, yesterday maybe, your brother's house, maybe, the office, the schoolroom.  Now find an object you can pick up with your hands, and this time let's write it..

    How to write it.  The written "image" should not be a mere answer to my prompt.  It should be a message you are sending out to these invisible people on the other end of the line.  Don't try to impress anybody.  That won't work.  Do try to be clear.  Tell us what we need to know in order to share your image.  Keep it short.  Write in full sentences.  Do not play "Guess what I am writing about" with the reader.  Get right to that object.  No games.

     What to avoid.  Do not use living creatures or parts of them as objects.  No, no, no, I do not want to see your sister's nose.   At least not yet.  Do not use multiples as objects.  Eggs.  Playing cards. One egg, okay. One playing card, okay. Multiples we will save for later.  Do not use substances as objects.  Water.  Snow.  Sand. Substances we will save for later.   Do not get funny.  No jokes, please.  Give yourself about three minutes.  Then quit while you are ahead.

    Now read your work.

    What to expect.  Not much.  This first exercise was given simply to establish the format in which we will work.  Now turn to our next page for the "image" exercises you will submit.


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