Tuesday, February 8, 2011

fueling the imagination

It's another year and another novel writing course begins. It never ceases to amaze me that each course I teach fills with eager participants. I think I must have taught half of Melbourne by now.

I always start off each new course with an exercise in getting the imagination going. Last night it was the 'body in Flinders Lane' scenario and I got 16 different takes on how it got to be there. Some were wacky, others more down to earth but there were a couple of participants who simply couldn't come up with anything. It was the same when I asked the class what they planned to write about. There were a handful who didn't know.

That led us into discussion about where ideas come from. These participants had mostly come straight from work to the classroom. They had jobs, they'd studied, some had travelled. They knew stuff. I hope they'll be able to sort through their stuff for an idea for their book.

On the way home on the train I began to think about the stuff I know. I didn't write anything down - perhaps I should have - but I surprised myself. I think most writers would be the same. it is the stuff in our heads that helps us construct our plots and give life to our characters.

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