Sunday, 17 October 2010

Music to Words

Congratulations again on your great attempts at Task 1. A totally different approach to prose fiction this week.

Sometimes, when it is difficult to find the MUSE, a writer needs to seek a specific source of inspiration in order to unblock the creative process and get the ideas flowing again. That inspiration might come from something visual - a photo, a painting, a piece of architecture, for example; it might come from a memory - accidentally triggered or deliberately recalled; it might even come from some other sort of sensual trigger - a smell, perhaps, or even a particular taste.

But, this week, I would like us to explore how we can use music to provide the inspiration for a piece of creative writing. I would like you to follow these instructions very carefully indeed:
  1. Find somewhere quiet and, if possible, dark (or, at the very least, close or cover your eyes)
  2. Listen to each of the pieces I have emailed you all today in turn ONCE
  3. Now listen to each of them a second time, but with your eyes open and pen and paper in your hands
  4. While you listen, you should try to describe, in rough notes, what you 'see' in your mind when you hear it. Do you picture a particular place? Is something happening? Who exactly is involved?
  5. Now choose which of the pieces of music provided you with the most vivid and interesting pictures. Which one gave you material which would be easiest to turn into the beginning of a short story?
  6. Once you have selected your piece of music, listen to it several times more, making notes all the time until you have lots of material with which to work.
  7. Now use those notes to write the first few paragraphs of a short story, inspired by the music you have chosen.
As with any creative writing task, I am looking for:
  • how ORIGINAL it is (so avoid cliche, melodrama or, indeed, anything derivative)
  • how ENGAGING it is (from the outset and throughout, using tension and hooks to keep us enthralled)
  • how ADEPT it is (i.e. how cleverly and deliberately and diversely does it use the tools of language and punctuation of which you need to become master - from unusual syntax to fresh metaphor)
  • how CREATIVE it is (e.g. you do not have to take the piece of music LITERALLY, just let it set fire to your imagination, or act as a catalyst to the chemicals of the right side of your brain)
You should write between 250-400 words.

Good luck!

The deadline is midnight on Sunday 24th October.

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