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The Inspiring Writing Course

I have come back from the writing course, and it was totally amazing and completely different to what I first thought it would be like!

When I got there on Friday, I settled in and then we were off! We started by looking at how to structure a story (with an 8-point plan) and a technique called ‘vomit writing’. Basically, with that, you write down all of your ideas in notes and then look through them all and pick out the bits of the ‘vomit’ that go together, but you still keep the other ideas somewhere, just in case you want to add them in there or write a whole new story with them. It’s a cool idea and hopefully I will get the chance to try it.

The next day, we went on a bus journey to Dunster Castle to get ideas. The castle was very inspiring and old. It’s been there for HUNDREDS of years and there have been a lot of additions to it. It’s massive. The grounds were full of old things and a room called an oubliette. There the people threw prisoners into this dark room and forgot about them. We had to imagine that we were a prisoner in there. We imagined the sights, sounds and smells of it. It was all very atmospheric.

We kept walking around and went inside. The huge rooms and secret passages gave me many ideas and eventually I thought of a perfect idea, which I wrote down. If I can be bothered to type it up (I will get to it eventually), I will include the first five pages or so if you want. It was set in the English Civil War and about a Parliamentarian spy living in the castle (which is called Lovell Castle) to find out about a plot that the Royalists were planning. Then he sees a girl and immediately falls in love. Will he stay faithful to his Parliamentary duty? Or will he give that all up for love?

I went to the shop and bought some chocolate, fudge and a bow and arrow (take that, Katniss).

So when we got back, we started to write. I wrote about ten pages at first, and the ideas kept coming. If I ever got stuck, the rule was that you BLOW BUBBLES AND DON’T THINK. A lot of people went and blew bubbles.

The next day, we did a bit more writing and then presented our work to the parents. I hoped mine was good. Everyone else had really different and interesting ideas. Lauryn did the most hilarious story about a ghost who killed people in her life. My favourite line was: ‘They had to go.’ It was SO funny. But other people had great ideas too. My friend Grace did one called ‘We Were Born to Die’, one boy did a really interesting story about a war between elves and dwarves for a legendary castle. It was really good because it showed the devastation of war and had an interesting twist: it was a medieval fantasy but almost had a steampunky element because the dwarves had futuristic machines mixed in with old weapons like trebuchets and archers. It was great!

So now I’m back home. I’ve written 20 pages so far and I want to expand it into a full-length novel, but I’d have to put Tacita on hold. But trust me, I will ALWAYS love Tacita, but now I’m in 17th century England and I want to write this story. I have a feeling it’s going to be my best yet. I’ll put the first couple of paragraphs here.

In the broken country of England, anyone would do anything for the right price. As Civil War tore us in half, we had to choose a side. But who knew which was the right side?

I had chosen. My beliefs and faith in God led me to support Parliament. So why was I in a house, surrounded by supporters of Charles?

This question I dismissed from my mind. I knew why I was here. Not such an honest reason, but money is important to anyone of my class. I am easily bought.

And this is good? Goodness had been redefined in recent years. Nothing was truly good. War makes every man a sinner. Some more than others.

So, what do you think? Is it better than my previous work, therefore the course has been helpful? I hope it is.

By the way, chamomile tea really helps if your stomach feels bad. I learned that at the course. Experience.

And the Nazi game is really fun and scary.

Well, thanks! What do you think about the course? I was thinking of going on an action-themed one where you get to shoot rifles and do a high ropes course blindfolded.

And two tips for aspiring writers I want to share:

1: DO DOUBLE SPACING!! It makes it so much more professional.

2: Fear scenes are really good if one of the senses is impaired. (I read two pieces; one were no one could hear and one where no one could see) It makes it so much more tense.

Your SUPER SUPER SUPER writy blogger, Jaz

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4 comments on “The Inspiring Writing Course

  1. Good experience Jaz and interesting start to your novel.

    Good tip, too, about double spacing, but for another reason than the ‘professional look’. When you’re drafting (whether on paper or on a screen) it’s so much easier to add edit notes and potential changes.

  2. The writing course sounds great and what a brilliant idea to take you to a castle to soak up the atmosphere and inspire you. I find the English Civil War fascinating and love reading about it whether it’s fact or fiction. Thought you might like to hear this quote from Sir John Oglander who was a Royalist living in the Isle of Wight during the Civil War – “You would think it strange if I should tell you that there was a time in England when brothers killed brothers, cousins cousins, and friends their friends”.

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