Thursday, 28 February 2013

Epics starting here!

I had an Epic time at Nottingham Festival of Words this month, especially when I hosted my workshop, 'Your Epic Starts Here!' on Saturday.  The idea for a workshop came from a discussion at the YA and Children's writers group at Nottingham Writers Studio - how can you encourage creativity in younger writers?  Being inspiring during the workshop is just the start - the challenge is to keep it going afterwards...
Epics in waiting before 'Your Epic Starts Here!' begins.

Here's what I came up with - an Epic you can take away with you at the end of the workshop- well, the start of one, anyway...

After I talked for a short while about what I thought made an epic story, the writers in the group got on with creating their own ideas. 

Then it was time for the sharing bit...

...and here's the result! 
Note the change from 'In' to 'On' - love it!
Even with advance warning at the beginning (I didn't want anyone to give something away that was super-precious), the sharing part was a tricky bit - how many times have we guarded a character or a storyline like it was the crown jewels?  There was a very nervous two minutes where I thought it wouldn't happen - then one young writer shared (thank you!), and told us what the results were.  It was a lightbulb moment for everyone, which was fantastic to see - everyone wanted to share to make their Epic even more Epic! 

In one short hour, we'd made a clutch of Epics that simply did not exist anywhere before the workshop started - story magic!  The young writers seemed to really enjoy being able to take ownership of their own Epics, and change them to make them something that was theirs to take away, keep safe and develop into a bigger, longer story.

Will I see these Epics on the shelves in Waterstones Nottingham and beyond?  I hope so.  I saw whales being saved over lunchtime, disco kingdoms and exploding ice-cream - imagine what will appear in draft two...

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