Skip to main content

CREATIVE WRITING: Short Story Course - Caistor Arts & Heritage Centre


 
"I remember wanting to do something about that enormous-faced wristwatch she was wearing — perhaps suggest that she try wearing it around her waist."
J D Salinger - For Esme ~ With Love and Squalor
 
 
There is something magical about the short story form. I think it's that you can do pretty much anything with it, malleable within a nominal framework of a piece you can read in a single sitting - if you adopt Edgar Allan Poe's formula. It's also unlikely to make you a fortune - not that it ever did, which means by and large you write short stories because you want to, because it suits you, because you have something to say and the desire to get it said.
 
'The short story, I should point out, is perforce a labor of love in today's literary world; there's precious little economic incentive to write one...'
Lawrence Block, Manhattan Noir
 
 
Coming up with stories and angles for a new series of workshops for Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre, starting this Thursday evening, I had the task of working through a box file full of collected stories, dog-eared photocopies and well-read favourites. And that was before looking for new angles; I wanted to include something that could loosely be termed 'genre fiction' this time around. There are the 'moment in time' stories, the 'time condensed' stories - a life told in a thousand words; chance meetings and un-meetings; lives broken and redeemed. Idiot stories; stories that bend convention so far it disappears up its own metaphor. But what still gives me that thrill is the sense of possibility the short story offers.
 
 
'I have a three-by-five up there with this fragment of a sentence from a story by Chekhov: “…and suddenly everything became clear to him.” I find these words filled with wonder and possibility. I love their simple clarity, and the hint of revelation that’s implied.'
Raymond Carver - Principles of a story

It's fundamental for me, in designing a course, to offer the opportunity to examine the craft at work in the short story. For anyone who has written a little or nothing at all, or for the writer with some experience, exploring the skills needed to place the first words on a blank page with a deeper understanding of the 'how and why'  brings with it greater confidence. The course provides the tools and some well-practised tricks of the trade. From there it's up to you.
 
Short Story Writing: 28 Plough Hill, Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre, Thursday evenings 7pm-9pm - 13, 20, 27 September and 4, 11, 18 October. £60 for the 6-week course. Call 01472 851605 to book.
 
 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

LEGACY OF BRIT NOIR – BLOODY SCOTLAND POSTSCRIPT

I was lucky enough to join the exodus north to the glorious city of Stirling last weekend for the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival for the panel, The Legacy of Brit Noir. Joining novelists Cathi Unsworth and Harry Brett and ably directed and moderated by crime writer, Douglas Skelton, the conversation was free-flowing and the audience ready to engage with the discussion at Q&A time. All in all a fantastic weekend with some interesting and thought provoking debate, great scenery, a healthy dose of end of the pier entertainment, and a few beers with old and new friends.
For the most part, the Brit Noir panel covered ground we knew well: in brief, an attempt to define noir in the US and European tradition, how the genre in Britain emerges from an influx of European artists, writers and film makers in the 1930s and 40s and, similarly, blacklisted writers and film makers forced to leave the US in the 1950s. The noir sensibility, particularly of the film-makers, permeates Britis…
Life writing, memoir, autobiography. However you describe it, sometimes you just want to tell your story. Or to know how to make the most of the life story of someone you know. Writing nonfiction, particularly when you're so close to the subject, can be a daunting task. The idea behind these workshops, delivered in partnership with the Lil Drama Company at PAD Studios, is to demystify the writing process, to give participants the techniques and tools to enable them to approach their writing with confidence. In many ways, traditional history tends to focus on the momentous; but now, arguably more than ever, everyday life experiences of people are the places we go to hear the truth. I'd hope that over the three weeks of workshops participants can work towards finding their voice, bringing together memory and history to make sense of their own experiences, framing them on the page in a way that communicates and gives us all a greater understanding. For more info on this, Dave Wind…

PULP! THE CLASSICS - The Hound of the Baskervilles

You'll be familiar with the story - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's super sleuth Holmes goes down to the Moors in search of the legendary hound. The brilliantly inventive Moffatt and Gattiss BBC version notwithstanding, the story first found its way into the public imagination in serialised form in the Strand Magazine in 1901/02. It was the third of four Holmes novels written by Conan Doyle and stands the test of time as a great crime novel in its own right. 'Murder ... Mystery ... Walkies!' Now a re-published edition from Pulp! The Classics, an imprint of Oldcastle books, features a vivid retro pulp cover with artwork by David Mann, tongue in cheek taglines and  orange sprayed coloured page edges. Each book in the series re-prints the complete original text and The Hound of the Baskervilles is a great addition. Perfect for Holmes completists, crime fiction fans and  lovers of pulp art, it takes its place alongside The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Tess …