I met up with Writers Connect for the first time in AAAAAGES on Sunday. The feedback group meets in Nexus Art Cafe on Dale St, and it's a really handy meetup for advice on fiction and poetry. We start the meeting with a writing exercise to warm the creative engines and get into the swing of writing. Last week we tried a new exercise.
We each started with a blank sheet of paper and a theme. Our theme was “football”. The person who suggested this idea (not me, obviously) was the only actual football fan at the table. Oh well. We each wrote for one minute exactly, then regardless of where we were up to we stopped writing on the dot. We then passed the sheet to the next person. We had a few moments to read what was already written, and then we had a fresh minute to continue the story where the previous person left off. This continued until we had contributed to each story.
Note: it helps if you use A4 paper and not a spiral-bound notebook, as with the latter different contributors use different sheets of paper and sides of paper. With A4 you're unlikely to get to the bottom of the page.
After writing we tried to read out the whole story, but other people's handwriting (usually mine) was hard to read for some of the group. We suspected in hindsight it would be easier to pass the sheets around in the same order in which we wrote on them as we read them out, so we would only read out what we ourselves had written.
Here's my finished story. I've emboldened alternate parts so you can see where the next writer took over the narrative:
Richard hates football. But once every four years, his bitter hatred of men kicking each other in the shin and crying about it subsided. At every World Cup, Richard joined in the charade, that England moment when Paul Gascoigne cried at the World Cup in the 90s changed football forever. The English women that hated football fell in love with football just because a Geordie man cried. The footballers never cry now. Maybe if they don't get enough money in their new contract or modelling deal that would push them to tears but not the actual game.
Richard never cried at football, just watched his friends sob. Didn't see the drama.
Football's an industry, it's actually got boring
Even though crowds and takings are soaring
Ditch Sky TV and your season pass
Live your life with a little more class
Richard used to sit there, next to his two friends, and close his eyes, and try to think of something more interesting, like cheese, or rivers, or sausages, or tadpoles, or in fact anything that
And there the timer ran out and the page had made its way back to the first person to write on it. So. A little haphazard, asking four non-football fans to write about football.
FYI- incorrect: in I'm a Celebrity:Get Me Out of Here a few weeks ago Newcastle / Westham midfielder Kieron Dyer cried.
There are five other stories like this that we produced during the exercise. I'll try and source them!
I'm tempted to try this again using sheets of A4 and a random topic that doesn't require much knowledge, like, I dunno, fruit. Or something. Carpets. Whatever.