Dr Alex Lockwood (author of the nonfiction book The Pig in Thin Air, and the 2019 novel The Chernobyl Privileges, shortlisted for The Rubery Prize) has instigated the series, but will be mentoring and supporting me and one of the other participants to facilitate the group.
Of the 10 sessions in the programme, 5 will be spent looking at the Working Class Writer’s Plan (developed by North East writer Carmen Marcus, in conjunction with the Bookseller magazine) to help those taking part build a community of contacts, fellow writers and performers in the North East and beyond. The other 5 sessions will be devoted to other creative exercises.
Session 1 was an introduction to the group and the introductory session of the Writers' Plan - Where are you now?
As is traditional in these kinds of scenarios, (a group of relative strangers meet each other for the first time) we began with an icebreaker.
- The group stands round a table on which a bowl of water and a box of extra long matches have been placed
- One member of the group strikes a match from the box, and has to tell a story that lasts as long as the flame from the match
Some stories ended prematurely - Stories are valuable
Some stories prompted other stories - Stories are contagious
Exercise 1 - My Writing Family Tree
Create a map to illustrate your life journey with stories
Where did/do I encounter stories? e.g. books, radio, people, writing groups, television
Who told/tells you the stories? e.g. parents, friends, teachers
Who are you writing for?
What are your favourite books?
What do your favourite authors do that impresses you?
Exercise 3 - The Research Years
Column 1 - List of the jobs you've ever done
Column 2 - List a selection of the wondrous and strange experiences you've had
Column 3 - List your values