In our workshop in February we used the following prompt from Now Write:
1.Take a piece of paper and use the whole sheet to draw a map of a meaningful landscape from your childhood.
2. Mark the location of three significant incidents on the map.
3. Imagine yourself into those incidents and write a list of the sensory details you associate with your experiences.
4. Using the most evocative details on your list, start writing.
The photograph above shows the location that jumped into my mind – the Edinburgh tenement flats where I lived from when I was six until I was eight. I thought of two childhood incidents that would be interesting to write about. One took place on the street in the photograph, the second might have been there but I’m not sure. The third incident I just made up. We set the timer in the workshop and started writing.
This week the resulting story, Turning Corners, was shortlisted for the 2012 Mslexia Short Story Competition. Mslexia is a UK based women’s writing magazine and website and well worth a look.
Apart from the buzz of having my story do well in a big competition, what I love about this is that it came out of nowhere. The prompt literally made Turning Corners pop into my head. It didn’t happen all at once, but I had the character and her voice clear in my head before the workshop was over. Then I had to go away and finish writing. We critiqued it in the group and I made some key revisions. And now it’s wonderful to be able to put that title to this post. Our workshop works!!