May 2017 short story boot camp

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With the May 2017 short story boot camp kicking off in Vienna tomorrow, one particular short story competition presents itself as a potential target market for participants’ boot camp stories. Perhaps you might be interested in the Berlin Writing Prize too. With the competition titled “Home is Elsewhere” many European expats and immigrants with an English language background will be interested. If you’re interested, here are the details:

The 2017 Berlin Writing Prize

More news on the short story boot camp to follow soon!

 

January 2017 Short Story Boot Camp Ends

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Last weekend the four-week short story boot camp in Vienna came to an end. As the coach, I had the pleasure of sitting back and listening to some marvelous stories. Everyone put in a big effort over a month to get their stories out. During the kick-off session, people got to know one another; I discussed the writing program, and we dived in—moving from ideas into stories.

In the first two weeks of the boot camp, each participant wrote two separate short story drafts. They “pitched” their stories and received feedback from their buddies (on a rotating system). In the third week they took the plunge—choosing the stronger story draft to revise. As the coach, I appraised their revision (along with their buddies). And in the final week they narrowed their revision and edited.

Along with the final readings on Sunday, we discussed getting published—every writer’s dream. Although it is early days yet, I am confident I will soon post news of their publication success.

Enough from the coach though…What did some of the participants have to say about the boot camp? Find out here

How to write a group story

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Community Teamwork Together Group Team Motivation

At the January short story boot camp kick-off session in Vienna, a group of motivated writers developed a humorous team story, starting out with nothing more than their chosen title (Creative Sneezing*) and a few literary constraints. Through group discussion, characters came to life, their situation became clear, a setting drew into focus. In no time each person was able to write their own take of the story opening.

Although there were many minds behind the inception of the one story, the creative process was essentially the same as that undertaken by an individual:

A story might be explored within such boundaries or constraints as mentioned above, perhaps starting with a character or a feeling or a situation—with whatever inspired the writing. The writer fields questions to the imagination (Who is this story about?) and writes a response (Charlie, whose every sneezes brings a revelation!).

This exploration may progress through writing the story itself—allowing ideas to coalesce along the way, or through taking notes at the outset until the story feels pinned down. I suggest the second method can save considerable time. This is not to advocate knowing everything  about  the story at the beginning (a strongly plotted story); rather, to establish the basis from which a memorable story might evolve.

More on the January boot camp and the team of talented writers to follow!

If you missed out on the January short story boot camp but would like to participate next time, please check out the short story boot camp page for more details. Next boot camp in Vienna: May 2017. I’d love to see you there!

* Many thanks to Petra for coming up with the story title as part of her creative writing exercises in preparation for the boot camp