- Classes are fun, playful and friendly.
- Innovation is permitted.
- Everyone's contribution is positively evaluated, providing an instant sense of achievement.
- Ideas are shared not hoarded.
- Evaluations encourage innovation.
I'll expand on each of these so you can see how you'd benefit by attending!
- The exercises are silly, surreal and quick. Write whatever occurs to you in 10 minutes, rather than sabotaging your creativity with procrastination or pressuring yourself to create a masterpiece.
- There is no homework.
- Each class stands alone, they are not part of a Very Serious Syllabus.
By indulging them, i.e. respecting their individuality. Some creative tutors I have met over the years are more interested in cloning themselves than encouraging everyone's voice. Pffff! Whenever I set an exercise I invite people to write at a tangent if that seems more interesting to them. Sometimes sanctioned rebellion takes practice - particularly for those who were educated when there was A Right Answer To Everything, who have to allow themselves to step free of this. This is where my feedback helps.
Imaginative Writing is all about spontaneous creativity. That means there's no expectation for it to be polished: the class celebrates initial ideas. I am relentlessly curious about other people's stories and scenarios and I love hearing them. I want people to be happy in my class so I always give a personal, positive response to their work. It saddens me to hear about snobby or egotistical writing groups that discourage creative resilience. The atmosphere in Imaginative Writing is full of jollity and respect. Yay!
I love the concept of writing. Often, I love the thought of it more than actually achieving it. This is common. But plenty of people push past this, write some amazing stuff and then... keep it jealously to themselves. Nooooooooooooo!
I used to be paranoid about people stealing my Masterpiece Ideas, and have overprotective ideas about posting myself a first draft etc.
However, the more workshops I ran, the more enthused I was about everyone's individuality. Rather than hide my ideas, I shared them as the basis for the class. They always returned enriched by other writer's lives and imaginations. No one ever took my idea in the direction I would have done.
I extended this principle into one of the most popular aspects of the class, the final exercise, Fan Fiction. 'Write a piece inspired by a word/ idea/ principle that someone else has shared.' Everyone has the chance to feel rewarded someone finds their phrase/ setting/ idea irresistible and wants to play with it themselves. It's useful to know what people find memorable. Readers intuitively speculate about aspects of stories so it's great to acknowledge this and wholeheartedly include it.
Every session, everyone writes down what they think. This is super useful to check my perceptions against participants' views, and monitor which exercises help people most.
Hurray! I'm always keen to welcome new peeps to my classes and I think it helps to understand how Imaginative Writing differs from other writing groups.
I would love to share your creativity for an autumn of vibrancy at Whole Foods Market, Cheltenham (free Taster sesh Mon 2nd Sept, 7.30pm) - please click the Imaginative Writing link to book your place through Paypal. If you'd like to try the course online instead, Contact Me and we will both be delighted! Happy booking!