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Reflections of a working writer and reader



A Writers’ Workshop

Today I ran a writers’ workshop at the Bagshaw Museum in Batley.

We spoke about Proust’s madeleine and how objects and sensations can help us retrieve experiences locked in memory. And we spoke about Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock and wondered how long it would take Brighton, the town, to recover from Greene’s vision of it.

The workshop was centred around the short story and I tried to impress the students with the importance of the opening. I told them that their best friend was the waste basket. I also asked them to imagine how many excellent novels and stories had been written and never read because of inadequate, sloppy, or just plain bad openings.

The most difficult thing for inexperienced writers to grasp is the importance of brevity. That it is much better to say not enough than it is to say too much.

2 Responses to “A Writers’ Workshop”

  1. skint writer says:

    It took me a long time to learn that it’s better not too say too much, you’ve got to leave some work for the readers to do, otherwise they get bored.

  2. john baker says:

    I learnt it as a reader first, having a fatal temptation at one time to pick up books by authors who wanted to describe every scrap of clothing their characters’ wore; the taste, smell and texture of every morsel of food; those excrutiating sex scenes where every sense organ in the body is set to ring and explode at the same instant.