Passing on Advice – Freewriting

I’m still figuring out what I want to do with this blog. There are two main goals.

One is to share advice re writing that I’ve picked up over the years, and to tip writers off to competitions and opportunities.

The other is to record my, ahem, rise to the topperiest toppest top of the writing profession : ) …. or maybe just to share the struggle.

As I haven’t won any awards today, nor suffered any significant setbacks, I’m going to blog on a tip that might help ‘springboard’ you into a short story, screen play or even novel : Freewriting.

‘Right now I’m sitting at my computer and the coffee cup is on the edge of my desk. It looks a little like an iceberg, as it is white and chipped and cold because the coffee has been in it since the morning as I didn’t do the washing up last night and the sink is full of plates and saucers. All those plates look surreal sitting unwashed in the sink like that. All at different angles like a Picasso painting with ketchup instead of paint dribbled over the plates. I wonder if Picasso got his ideas from waking up one morning and seeing his jumble of washing up in the sink I wonder if all the museums in the world actually have pictures of Picasso’s washing up and not his mistresses and Guernica and does that mean the joke is on us?’

The above freewrite might seem silly but it’s also an example of how freewriting could, potentially, inspire a proper piece of writing. This daft thought about Picasso’s washing up could easily be worked into a comedy radio play where a hung-over Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse wake up after a night out on the town and dare each other to paint a picture of the mess of washing up in the sink. Thus, the modern art movement is accidentally launched. Another possibility you could take from this freewrite is the concept that something generally considered ugly and in need of repair or attention (washing up) can lead to tremendous artistic inspiration – and this idea could form the kernel of a short story or a poem. Here, chose one of the prompts below and let it lead you into a three minute freewrite.

I wish I had said….

It was no use pretending….

A long time ago…

For the first time ever….

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About suehealy

Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre and associate lecturer in playwriting at the universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, Irish playwright Sue Healy’s Imaginationship has just finished a sell-out, extended run at the Finborough Theatre. Cow (2017) was staged at the Etcetera Theatre and Brazen (2016) ran at the King’s Head, funded by Arts Council England. Her work has been performed at the Criterion, Hackney Attic, Claremorris Festival (New Writing Award winner), Brighton Festival (the Sussex Playwrights’ Award Winner) and Sterts Theatre and has been developed by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Her nine radio-plays have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has won prizes for her prose including the Molly Keane and HISSAC Awards and the Escalator Prize. A UEA Creative Writing MA alumna, Sue spent eleven years in Budapest editing Hungary A.M. She is completing a Ph.D. in Theatre history. Sue also tutors Creative Writing at CityLit. View all posts by suehealy

2 responses to “Passing on Advice – Freewriting

  • 1storyeveryday

    You make a great point about freewriting – while sometimes it seems silly, we can pull such important things out of it, and same goes for the ideas swishing around in our heads!

    • suehealy

      Thanks. I find they really help fish out that little gem – sure, a lot of nonsense comes along too but when you get it all down on the page, you’ll soon see the nugget. Panning for gold. I appreciate your comment – and loved your site’s mission! ‘A story a day’ is a cool idea. I’ll be checking in…

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