Workshop :: Full Steam Ahead!

Sorry for the short notice, but we have another exciting workshop happening tomorrow.

Sarah Grace and Rebecca Audra are running a workshop responding to the installation by Joanna Vasconcelos at Manchester Art Gallery. 

The workshop runs from 12-2pm, and we’ll be meeting in the main entrance of the gallery at 11:50 to start prompt from 12. 

Britannia hanging in the atrium.

Britannia hanging in the atrium.

You can find the event on facebook here.

Through the use of traditional Portuguese techniques and materials – crochet, lace, ceramics – she seeks to debunk the rigid pomposity of fine art, creating informal public art spaces. 
http://www.port-magazine.com/feature/time-machine-joana-vasconcelos/#&panel1-4 

The workshop is free, but we welcome donations for the workshop facilitators.

We hope to see some of you there! 

Making Found Poems at Nexus Art Café

 

The writing group met again on Sunday afternoon. Things have been quiet over the summer so I’ve been trying to come up with new exercises and games that will kick start everyone’s imagination.

For this exercise I cut up the words from September Tomatoes by Karina Borowicz. Everyone was given the mixed-up words from the poem and charged with creating their own poems/narratives from what they had.

Read more about the process, and find examples of my own found poems on my blog.

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Forming Words flash fiction submissions

formingwordslogo

I’d like to thank everyone who’s come along to our new workshops at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre so far.

We were invited to use their new events space for free for the duration of the Forming Words exhibition. Following the success of our CAKE.shortandsweet chapbooks, I’d like to put together another one specifically responding to Forming Words. Ideally, I’d like people who have visited the exhibition to take part, but if you’d like to submit, there are some images of the artwork below for you to browse.

Again, I’d like to keep the submissions below 500 words where possible and keep the focus on flash fiction. If you have a query or worry about a word count, just get in touch.

There won’t be any points for simply picking an item and describing it; we’ll be selecting stories that show us something unexpected, something that we didn’t see ourselves.

Email cake.shortandsweet@gmail.com with your submissions by the end of September 15th. Please put ‘Forming Words’ in the subject bar. There will be a limited amount of space in the book, so do get your stories in asap!

by Matthew Ryan

by Matthew Ryan

by Jonathan Boyd

by Jonathan Boyd

by Amanda & Matt Ceures

by Amanda & Matt Ceures

by Amanda & Matt Ceures

by Amanda & Matt Ceures

by Jonathan Boyd

by Jonathan Boyd

by Sophie Wiltshire

by Sophie Wiltshire

by Buddug Wyn Humphreys

by Buddug Wyn Humphreys

by Buddug Wyn Humphreys

by Buddug Wyn Humphreys

by Buddug Wyn Humphreys

by Buddug Wyn Humphreys

by Ingeborg Vandamme

by Ingeborg Vandamme

by Ingeborg Vandamme

by Ingeborg Vandamme

by Ingeborg Vandamme

by Ingeborg Vandamme

by Clare Hillerby

by Clare Hillerby

by Clare Hillerby

by Clare Hillerby

by Debbie Smyth

by Debbie Smyth

by Cecilia Levy

by Cecilia Levy

by Cecilia Levy

by Cecilia Levy

Nexus Art Cafe Online Workshop – Finding Inspiration

Today we’ll be having a go at some exercises to help you find inspiration in mundane objects and images, and get past that pesky writer’s block. Most importantly with these workshops, be happy with writing something bad. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as you write!

One – warm up

Go to the random verb generator. Grab yourself a word as a prompt, and try and work this into your story. Use it to drive your character’s motivation in a short scene. Write for five or ten minutes, until you reach a natural end point.

Two – visual stimulus

Select an image from this collection of abandoned theme park photos. Take a minute to close your eyes and imagine the place: its smells, sounds, atmosphere, weather etc. Then start to write about it for five – ten minutes.

Three – mixed bag prompts

Complete these comparative sentences with the first thing that comes into your head, however poetic or mundane it may be.

as solid as

as fluffy as

as far as

as sinister as

as cold as

as uncertain as

as delicate as

as red as

as curly as

as sharp as

ie. as red as a toddler throwing a tantrum; as delicate as snow

Once you’ve completed them, reassign the endings to a new beginning ie. as delicate as a toddler; as red as snow

You can change them up in any way you like; do it randomly if you like, to give yourself a better chance of stumbling randomly on some piece of genius!

Four – extrapolating meaning

Once you’ve finished switching up your comparative sentence, pick one or two that are particularly odd, or speak to you in some way. Base a story or poem around these prompts and write for fifteen – twenty minutes. If you get stuck or finish, try choosing another one and starting again.

Five – character through belongings

Choose an object you can see around you. Pick at random if you like. Make up a history for that object; think about what kind of person would own it, where they got it, what kind of memories they associate with it. Decide how old the character is, what kind of person they are, etc. Think of/write down as much detail as you can, then start writing a story about this character, which may or may not involve the object. Fifteen – twenty minutes.

As before, do let us know how you get on with these exercises, and please feel free to post any resulting work in the comments!

CAKE.shortandsweet @ Mancstercon this weekend!

That’s right, there’s a brand new indie comics convention taking place in Manchester this weekend, and we’re going to be part of it.

As many of you know, we’ve been working on some short story pamphlets which will be sold at the con to raise money to support CAKE. Editor Sarah Grace Logan will be selling these along with a pamphlet of her own work, and an e-book will be made available soon.

The part you’re really interested in, however, is that we’ll be selling homemade cakes and other baked goods on our stall!

Like these irresistible butterhorns. Mm.

Like these irresistible butterhorns. Mm.

We’re also part of Sunday’s programme and will be delivering a writing workshop in the afternoon. This is in place of our usual meeting at Nexus.

So, just to be clear: the writing group will not meet at Nexus this Sunday, but at Madlab. This will require you to get an entry pass for the convention, but it only costs £3 on the day, and CAKE.writers will get a free cake from our stall as a thank you for coming! If you want to come for the whole weekend, £5 gets you a weekend pass, including entry to the pre-party on Friday night.

madlabmap

Check out the map here.

New Writing Workshop @ MCDC

From this Friday August 2nd, I’ll be running a creative writing workshop to tie in with the Forming Words exhibition currently being held at Manchester Craft & Design Centre.

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s latest exhibition, Forming Words, showcases a selection of contemporary craft objects which have been inspired and informed by text. Each work in this exhibition was specially commissioned by Flow Gallery, London, and responds to a piece of writing of the artist’s choice, from poetry to a letter to lyrics. MCDC is the exhibition’s first touring venue outside London.

The exhibition features 17 international artists from the UK, Ireland, USA, the Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden. Each artist has approached the theme differently, resulting in a thought provoking exhibition showcasing the inspiration that text can provide.  It showcases a variety of disciplines including jewellery, ceramics and enamel.

Forming Words will be open at Manchester Craft and Design Centre on Saturday 13 July 2013 – Saturday 9 November 2013

The workshop will run 11-1 every other Friday for a couple of months (I’ll update when I know exactly how long it’ll run for!). Take a look at the Facebook event page to find out more.

You don’t need to bring anything except paper and something to write with. People sometimes bring laptops or tablets to my workshops; this is okay, but I do often end up making people do things that can only be done with paper!

The workshops will respond to the exhibition, and look at a range of different creative writing skills and techniques. The focus will be on short stories and longer fiction, but poetry and script writers are encouraged to join in. There will be no pressure to read work out, and inexperienced/new writers are very welcome.

Forming Words at Manchester Craft & Design Centre

From the first Friday in August, I’ll be running a writing workshop at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre, based in the Northern Quarter. They are hosting the Forming Words exhibition, and have invited CAKE to use their new events space throughout the course of the exhibition.

MCDC is having a free launch event this Saturday, between 2 – 5pm. There’s going to be live music, plus food and drink served in the café (which I can confirm is all delicious), and of course a first look at the exhibition. If anyone is free, it would be lovely to have a CAKE contingent there!

I’ll post more later about the workshops, which will begin on Friday 2nd August and will run from roughly 10am – 12pm. 

For now, here’s a little more about the exhibition itself:

Manchester Craft & Design Centre’s latest exhibition, Forming Words, showcases a selection of contemporary craft objects which have been inspired and informed by text. Each work in this exhibition was specially commissioned by Flow Gallery, London, and responds to a piece of writing of the artist’s choice, from poetry to a letter to lyrics. MCDC is the exhibition’s first touring venue outside London.

The exhibition features 17 international artists from the UK, Ireland, USA, the Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden. Each artist has approached the theme differently, resulting in a thought provoking exhibition showcasing the inspiration that text can provide. It showcases a variety of disciplines including jewellery, ceramics and enamel. 

Forming Words will be open at Manchester Craft and Design Centre on Saturday 13 July 2013 – Saturday 9 November 2013

CAKE. short story submissions

I’m going along to an indie comics convention in Manchester the first weekend of August, and have been asked if I’d like to sell some books there. You can read more about Mancstercon here, and of course do come along if you’re in the area! It just costs £3 for the whole weekend. It’s at Madlab in the Northern Quarter. 

I’d like to put together a short story pamphlet of work by CAKE authors to try and sell at the  con (with money going towards printing the monthly issues again).

The only catch is that I need stories by the end of the weekend. If you would like to submit a story, please email it to cake.shortandsweet@gmail.com by midnight on Sunday*. Submissions should be 500 words or less.

If you want to submit something you’ve already written for the Wednesday Write-in, that’s fine, and I’m very happy if you want to edit it before submitting.

I’m also hoping to move the writing group over to Madlab for the weekend so we can get involved with the talks and festivities there, and meet some new people. I’m currently chatting to the organisers, so I’ll get back to you nearer the time about whether or not we’ll be there.

 

Any questions, just let me know!

 

*that’s just midnight wherever you are – I’ll check them on Monday morning 🙂

Writers’ Circle 2013

We had our first meeting of the new year yesterday. We decided to try out a game we’ve done before, but with some slight changes this time. I’m sure some of you have played Consequences before, we played something similar but with differing levels of structure.

To begin with everyone wrote down a theme, then passed their paper to the next person in the circle. This person wrote a line then we passed round again, until all four of us had written a line, ending with the person who picked the theme. They then had the joy of reading it out!

This is always a fascinating exercise: without being able to see what someone else has written before, it’s incredible how closely the narratives sometimes follow on. And sometimes, of course, they make no sense at all.

 

Treble

“And now class we’re going to sing the three time stable. Who wants to start?”

The choir lifted their voices for the first notes of ‘This little piggy went to market’.

Glorious music could be heard throughout the land and travellers came from far abroad to hear it.

Despite it all, they felt calmed as the music swarmed them, shutting out all possibility of interference, closing off the world and leaving only them.

 

Carnage

“It may be all to play for but the team are already three members down and the survivors are looking tired. It’s all up to man-of-the-match Kayleigh to bring her team to victory.”

Blood flowed from a cut, streaming down into eyes and mouth, choking and nauseous.

The blood and guts of the dead rabbit, a small sad bundle that he saw from the corner of his eye as the car sped past.

Rubble lay strewn about from collapsed buildings, interspersed with the burnt out wrecks of cars.

 

Forge

She practised the signature so often her hand traced it on her pillow as she slept.

The blistering hot furnaces burning eternally, the crackling of flame filling the air combined with the clang of metal on metal.

The smith’s hammer dropped and clattered, a dull ring through his skin, flesh, bones, shaking him to the core. He stared into the fires and waited for the blade.

But it was all consumed in the splashing metal of an overturned crucible.

 

Rainbows

Light rain falling from an almost cloudless skky patters lightly on the leaves of a lone oak tree.

She groaned as she covered her eyes against the hideous sight; her one and only weakness, how would she pursue them now?

“Double, or even triple rainbows are possible, with the right set of circumstances,” a passing stranger remarked.

The rainbow teddy bear danced a wild dance around the baby’s head, flourishing a drumstick towards the downy scalp.

 

This is one of my favourite parts of the Wednesday Write-in every week: watching how differently people interpret the prompts, how they lace them together. What made this exercise particularly interesting was how we avoided using specifics, how we wrote around each other’s stories. Some of us were careful not to tread too heavily, while at other times we deliberately stomped all over it so as to change the direction of a potential story, without knowing where it was already headed.

Thanks to Becca, Jon and Alastair for coming along, hope to see you all at the Wednesday Write-in this week!

CAKE on Sunday

Thanks to those who braved the icy temperatures today to join us in Nexus Art Café for some writing and cake pops!

We had a lot of fun today and some of us even got some NaNoWriMo written. Jon has written up a quick rundown of what we did and posted the lovely stories he wrote at the meeting. You can read them on his blog here.

We also released a preview of our upcoming short story collection, which you can download and read here!

download the .pdf to read!