At the class this month we discussed some questions on writing. Should we plan out our stories, or just start writing? Both approaches are valid. There are terms used for the approaches – planners or pantsers. The meaning of planners is obvious. Pantsers are those who write “by the seat of their pants”. In other words, they have a vague idea and just start writing. The story takes its own path – it does not abide by any rules set down by the author. But this can happen to planners as well.
Another topic discussed was the practice of some authors to move around in time. This can only work if very well written. If not well written it can be either distracting or totally unreadable.
Often you can add just one letter to the start or end of a word to create a new word. Our challenge this month involved looking at a series of such pairs. For example, using the clues “You find lots of these in a book / Knights wield them” you find the answers “words/swords”.
For our written work to share with the class there were three prompts:
- Mind the gap
- Appearances are often deceiving
- The sound of shattering glass
Of the stories this month, the shattering glass seemed to be the most popular topic, although all were used. We had a romance writer being hacked by a wicked “ghost”, turning her books into pornography by subtly changing a letter or word. One of the shattering glass stories was a kangaroo entering an empty house; another was breaking of a “fine-cut, expensive, and satisfyingly heavy, Scotch glass”. There was even one using the “mind the gap” prompt that showed how many ways and places the term has been used. Another month of interesting and creative writing.
As well as the creative stories, we had a couple of pieces on writing. One was the use of body parts as idioms – ‘my brain hurts’, ‘apple of one’s eye’ and so on. The other was around how many people who write are loath to call themselves writers because they are unpublished. Actors, artists and musicians for example are proud to claim their skills, so why are writers not recognised in the same way as amateurs in the other arts.
The topics for our 11 July class are:
- The caravan slowed to a cumbersome stop
- She sat on the tram, unable to make eye contact
- I ran away from home when I was ten
And we are always ready to welcome new storytellers to the class.