Sunday, 25 April 2010

Arbitrary Stories

All stories are what you, the writer, make of them. If you give the bare bones of a story to different writers, they will choose different elements to add, different voices to work with, different styles, different tones, different settings, different everything! The same story can be compelling or dull, depending on how you tell it.

With an arbitrary short story, you get supplied with the bare bones of a plot to which you then add the details. I love doing this in large groups and seeing all the variations that emerge from the different imaginations. Here's one we did in class last week...

Read 1, and write a paragraph. Then read 2, and write another paragraph following that direction, then 3 and so on.

1. Someone is on their way somewhere.
2. A form of transport goes by - they get on.
3. They see someone - describe this person.
4. They find something in their pocket.
5. It makes them remember something.
6. They reach their destination.
7. They change their mind about what to do next.

All story telling is about going from A to B to C to D, what matters is how we write the journey.


Jo Scapens said...

I loved this exercise - thanks, Sarah.

Sarah Duncan said...

Glad you enjoyed it, I always think it's a good one to just relax into the story as you don't have to worry about what happens next.

There was a lovely range of stories from this exercise in class last week, some sad, some clever and some funny - including one that featured Daddy Bear scalping a local farmer!