Sunday 23 February

A couple of exercises in showing and telling this week.

This is a very famous exercise in descriptive writing, or showing not telling, devised by the American novelist and teacher John Gardner. It appears in his book The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers (1991):
Describe a barn as seen by a man whose son has just been killed in a war. Do not mention the son, or war, or death. Do not mention the man who does the seeing.
It is quite difficult. It’s an exercise in entering someone else’s mind. I think you are allowed to say “A man approached a barn” or “A man went into a barn”. There are quite a few attempts at doing it online. 
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This one is more straightforward: 
Take this sentence and write three ways of showing it without saying it: 
She was unhappy. 

Sunday 9 February 2020

Next week we’ll do the second half of the notebook exercise. Make some notes this week or bring some you have made before. The notes can be anything you like or think might be useful. All our notebooks will be different. 


Then I want you to make something based on one or more notebook entries: story, prose piece, dramatic scene, poem. 


When you come, bring the finished work and the notebook item(s) that gave rise to it. 


Cutting and pasting into notebooks is allowed but only if you use scissors. 😉