October Open Mic

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Time to take to the stage…again!

An entertaining “open mic” evening is coming up this October in Vienna. Along with friends at Write Now, I’ll be hosting the evening. We’re all looking forward to the performances. It’s a unique opportunity for people to take the stage before a friendly and creative audience.

If you’d like to read out a poem, a short story, a novel excerpt, to sing a song, or just sit back and enjoy the performances, then you’re warmly welcome.

When: Monday 23rd October 2017, 7.00pm

Where: Cafe Korb, 1010 Vienna

Price: A small contribution (between 5-10 Euro) will be welcome to cover the venue hire.

You’ll find all the details on Meet Up here 

I look forward to meeting you on the night!

 

 

 

Open Mic in Vienna

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Time to take the stage!

An entertaining “open mic” evening is coming up this September in Vienna. Along with friends at Write Now, I’ll be hosting the evening. We’re all looking forward to the performances. It’s a unique opportunity for people to take the stage before a friendly and creative audience.

Guest Irish poet, Neil McCarthy will also be there on the night, inspiring everyone with some of his wonderful poetry.

If you’d like to read out a poem, a short story, a novel excerpt, to sing a song, or just sit back and enjoy the performances, then you’re warmly welcome.

When: Thursday 21st September 2017, 6.45pm

Where: Cafe Korb, 1010 Vienna

Price: A small contribution (between 5-10 Euro) will be welcome to cover the venue hire.

You’ll find all the details on Meet Up here 

I look forward to meeting you on the night!

 

 

 

Why creative writing is sunshine for the imagination

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The mind becomes light when focused upon the present. It’s as though the curtains are suddenly drawn back and sunlight streams in. Creative writing is a wonderful activity to engage the imagination. At the creative writing session last Friday evening at The Vienna Workshop Gallery, participants experienced this for themselves: In the space of a couple of hours they explored a variety of creative forms, even getting to write and sing a group song!

Thank you to Valeria MacKnight for supporting the creative writing workshop at her gallery. Thank you also to Liz Pereira, who kindly played the flute and helped with the group song. And of course a big thank you to all the people who participated.

I look forward to running the 4-week creative writing workshop commencing this Friday.

Creative Writing News!

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We love creative writing!

The autumn 2017 creative writing program is up! Check out the website for details. The new short story program is now 5 weeks (instead of 4) and includes three group sessions at The Praxis Wien. I’m also running a 4-week creative writing program at The Vienna Workshop Gallery. A creative writing program for young people (11 to 16 years) will also start later this year. And the popular Creative Cafe sessions will also return at Praxis Wien 5 in October.

Creative Writing “Schnuppertag”

If you think you might be interested in creative writing, but would like to have dabble in it before committing, why not come to the Creative Writing Schnuppertag:

Location:                     The Vienna Workshop Gallery

Laudongasse 9, 1080, Vienna

When:                           Friday 1st September 2017

Time:                         19:00 – 21:00 (16 + years)

Price:                             Free!

10.08.2017: The creative writing Schnuppertag is now full. 

I hope to see you at a creative writing workshop this autumn.

 

Painters have it easy

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I made the above assertion today at the closing session of the short story boot camp in Vienna. Being in the company of some very motivated writers (and not painters), no one took fierce objection to the observation or supportive argument:

A painter can immediately see their entire composition on their canvas. The writer’s canvas is the imagination, which can only be gleaned piecewise through their text.

Little wonder that many writers find it challenging to see the bigger picture, to observe their entire composition objectively. In the short story boot camp though, writers developed their compositions—from a few sketches (first drafts), to their final “masterpiece”. They neither got lost in the words nor forgot their grand design.

As the boot camp writing coach I had the pleasure of listening to the final stories. The reading session lasted over 2 hours and yet it felt like a few fleeting minutes. Every writer put in not only a great deal of time and effort, but also put their heart into their story.  Everyone, I am certain, gained confidence with their writing.

The closing boot camp session closely follows the last creative writing session (last weekend) for spring. The creative writing session was just plain fun! We wrote a group song (and sang it), explored poetry, speculative fiction, and some flash fiction. All of this in the space of a couple of hours! I think everyone was positively “buzzing” with creative energy at the end.

Over the summer break I’ll be preparing new material for creative writing and short story programs for the fall. The information should be up around the end of July. If you’re in Vienna then, I hope to see you there.

Until then, enjoy your summer!

The importance of title

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moon

A title,

like the moon,

casts its subtle light,

gently swaying the story’s tide.

***

Without title is writing in the dark.

With wrong title is writing in the fog.

With right title is writing in the clear moonlight.


So I told a couple of participants in the January short story in Vienna. What do you think?

Would  F. Scott Fitzgerald have written a different story with a title such as “Good Ole Gatsby”?

How about “My Travel Tales” by Jack Kerouac? Or “Black Horse” by Anna Sewell?

Did these authors write their stories and arrive at the title later?  I wonder.

Outer world / Inner world–an original approach to writing immersive scenes

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No doubt you’ve been drilled on the writer’s axiom: Show, don’t tell. And I’m sure you’re well-versed on how to write richly immersive scenes using the palette of senses. But I bet you’ve never heard of the “Outer world / Inner world” approach to writing scenes. Or if you have, then it’s because you discussed it with me—the originator!

The outer world / inner world approach to writing a scene is included in the creative writing exercises I hand out in the writing boot camps. I thought it’s time to share the secret with you:

The Outer World / Inner World Approach

outer-inner

POV focus

In the above “Outer World / Inner World” diagram, a shift in focus within the same point of view (POV) is shown. On the left hand side of the diagram the narrative is focused on the outer world (the inner world is peripheral). As the narrative progresses the focus makes a transition to the inner world (the outer world becomes peripheral).

The outer world (sensory)

The outer world is sensory—felt through the senses relating to sight, sound, hearing, touch, and taste. With an outer world focus, the narrative unfolds in the form of a scene from the chosen POV. The scene is immersive (using the varied senses).

 Inner world (mental)

The inner world contains perceptions, mental feelings, dispositions, thoughts, memories, intentions, states of mind, consciousness. In this inner world the POV character seeks to make sense of their situation. In a story (and in life in a far less coherent way), the POV character seeks happiness / a release from suffering through the pursuit of any one or all of three desires: to have, to become, to be freed from. In short, the POV character is motivated to overcome something.

Transition

Transitions are triggered by feelings arising from a “significant” event in the POV character’s outer- or inner world. The POV perceives something significant in either world, drawing them in. These transitions might also be considered the story’s silver thread weaving these worlds together.

A transition that is not triggered by feeling will have an incidental feel about it—the author groping about in the dark or attempting to adhere to a preconceived plot.

Story magic

A story may unfold in a sequence of these “outer world / inner world” events. The reader becomes immersed in both worlds, enjoying each transition because it is underlain by feeling, and because the reader attains a pleasing sense that there is no real boundary between the outer and inner world—both are dependent on the other. In this way too, the boundary between the reader the story on the page disappears—this is the magic of a story.

Example

(Outer): Manu steered the stolen motorbike through the rain and silty puddles along the road’s narrow shoulder. He passed gridlocked vehicles idling, trucks belching out fumes. The motorbike’s rumbling motor was warm comfort against the insides of his legs while the rest of him shivered. (Transition): He caught glimpses of impatient motorists, stuck, angry, cursing him it seemed, in their steel cocoons as he motored past. (Inner) To hell with them! His lips tightened as he thought about the wad of stolen money and gun in his backpack. He thought of Rita—how she would be waiting for him at the hotel. (Transition) Tonight, he decided, opening up the motorbike’s throttle, couldn’t come fast enough.

 Now it’s your turn!

Now you have the outer world / inner world approach and an example, why not give it a try for yourself. I wish every success!