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Playing at families

Many years ago I wrote a poem called ‘Playing at Families’ in which I imagined that my parents were tiny dolls that slept in matchboxes. It revealed a lot to me about my relationship with them. The writing of the poem brought me a new thought; this exercise uses a similar premise.

Pick an older family member that you know and love. They must be older. They don’t need to be living, they just need to be incredibly vivid and present in your mind’s eye. Turn them into a toy. If this person was a toy, which toy would they be? A yoyo? A train set? An empty dolls-house? A scrabble board with a few letters missing? You don’t necessarily have to know why you’ve picked this image, it can be a totally instinctive choice, you just need to commit to it once you’ve chosen it. Now ask yourself, how would you play with them? Don’t worry about explaining or decoding your poem, just think in imagery; tug on your thread of an idea and let it lead you into the poem… see where it goes….

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Flip the Scene

We’ve all got one in our distant past: the great love that got away because we were too…

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6 Tips on Writing Queer Fiction

If you’re describing a same sex relationship or one involving someone who is trans or intersex or in…

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Drawing your childhood memories

We all have child’s eye views – many in fact. Some might say we’re already a step ahead…

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Creating ‘Child Eye’s View’ when writing for young people

Young people don’t just come under the heading of one audience. There are so many different ages and…

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Exaggerate to accumulate

This is an exercise in what the comedian Stewart Lee calls “exaggerating for comic effect.” He was being…

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Drawing out the comedy

Somebody famously said that writing comedy is harder than writing drama because in comedy you have to do…

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What’s the worst that could happen?

Fiction is almost always about unexpected consequences. A character wants something, they take actions towards getting that thing,…

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Character – building, the art of psychometry

One way of creating character, and/or teasing out some psychological depth, is to find for them a resonant…

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Get them out of there

This is a suggestion for writers of fiction, particularly long fiction, who feel that their characters are not…

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Identify your characters’ multimedia voice

You might hate Twitter. Maybe it’s been years since you wrote a letter by hand. LinkedIn might be…

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Creating story out of character using conflict

Flick through a newspaper or magazine, and pick a photograph of a person that appeals to you. 5…

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