Breathing Lightly writing workshop

On March 1st, I will be running a writing workshop with Rebecca Audra Smith focusing on ‘The Body’. At the moment I am working too much to resurrect CAKE.writers at Nexus Art Café (though if others still want to go, you’re more than welcome to use the space!), but we plan to do workshops every couple of months throughout 2014.

breathinglightlyflier

From the facebook event page:

This full day of workshops is aimed at prose and poetry writers, and will focus on exploring themes surrounding The Body. You will take part in a range of different writing exercises, including introspective/meditative work and group tasks! The workshops will be led by writers Sarah Grace Logan and Rebecca Audra Smith.

Please reserve a ticket via eventbrite, and then let us know if you wish to pay via paypal, or on the door (£15/ concession £12)

10am
Arrivals, icebreakers and introductions

10:30 – 12:45 Out of Body
A workshop exploring out of body experiences, using close reading and freewriting to encourage you to reach in new directions.

12:45 – 1:30 Lunch/Writing Time
We will provide free tea, coffee and homemade cake for the breaks, but please bring along something to nibble on for lunch.

1:30 – 3:30 Sense and Sensation
In this workshop we will encourage you to consider sensation and touch in your writing, and explore the idea of words as physical beings.

3:30 – 4:30 Feedback/Writing Time
A chance to share something that you’ve written in the workshops and get feedback from the group. We will also leave you with a workbook of writing exercises to take away.

The workshop costs £15 for the whole day, and includes drinks and amazing homemade cake. There is a concessionary rate of £12 for students, unwaged and workshop leaders. The cost is primarily to cover room hire, refreshments and photocopying.

If you have any questions please let me know. You can reserve a space through eventbrite and pay on the door, in advance via paypal. Just get in touch 🙂

breathinglightlysq

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.

2013-10-20 13.48.58 2013-10-20 17.29.50 2013-10-20 16.22.05 2013-10-20 16.02.07 2013-10-20 15.54.31 2013-10-20 15.46.31 2013-10-20 13.51.24 2013-10-20 13.49.51 2013-10-20 13.49.41 2013-10-20 13.49.14

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

Forming Words Online Workshop – Sensory Descriptions

Hello,

For anyone who’d like to attend the Forming Words workshop today but can’t make it, here’s a summary of some of the exercises we’ll be doing so you can have a go at home. Today I’ve focused on sensory descriptions, so the emphasis is on the way you describe things, but do try to work in as much character and plot as you like as well.

Please feel free to share any work in the comments below, and we’ll assume you’re happy to receive comments/constructive criticism!

One – warm up

Go to the random word generator and click until you find a word you like, or that inspires something. Start writing with this word as your base, or try and work it into a sentence. Write for five(ish) minutes.

Two – sensory input

Inspiration: the scent of jasmine. Five – ten minutes.

Three – building a scene

Read this paragraph, then close your eyes and spend a couple of minutes picturing it before you start writing. When you’re ready, spend ten – fifteen minutes exploring this place.

Imagine yourself as a character. You’ve been sent to someone’s home – only you know why, and who sent you. What kind of home is it? It might not be a house. Walk in the door, if there is one. What can you see? Hear? Smell? What is it like underfoot? Why are you here? You call out – what do you say, and who answers?

Four – finding phrasing

Focus on the sensation of being wet. Write down as many words as you can that you associate with wetness.

Now, write for five – ten minutes without using any of those words. Try to stay away from the obvious word choices (wet, damp, soaked, water) and force yourself to find alternate phrasing.

Five – exhibition response

Here’s an image from the Forming Words exhibition. Take as long as you like to study the image, then spend five – ten minutes writing a piece inspired by it. If you get stuck, just write something completely different.

blossomThat’s it for today, let us know how you get on!

 

CAKE @ MCDC workshops

Manchester_Craft_and_Design_Centre_021

Our first two workshops at the Manchester Craft & Design Centre have gone really well. It was lovely to see some new faces, and to have a different space to work in and respond to.

At our first group, we experimented with writing short poems inspired by our names. Each poem had to start with ‘In my name…’, with the writer then going on to describe what they found there.

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As an example, I used one that I wrote a few months ago at a writing workshop led by poet Mandy Coe:

SARAH
In my name is a country house
with peacocks on the lawn.
A river meets the fishing lake
where swans swim up and down.
The peacocks cry ‘Eeeyah-eeeyah!’,
the swans say not a word;
While from the house the people watch
the many kinds of birds.

If you have five minutes, I really recommend giving this exercise a try. It’s great fun and a good warm-up for your imagination. When I tried it again at the first MCDC workshop I came out with something totally different:

SARAH
In my name a sail flaps loose,

rigging hands, sullen from crosstrees.
Ankles dangling; capital punishment
in His Majesty’s Navy.

I have to say, execution isn’t something I normally find in myself, but some of my favourite books are Patrick O’Brian’s series set during the Napoleonic Wars. I’ve never channelled it before, but I suppose it felt like speaking to me on that day! If you do try it, please post your results in the comments.

Piece by &made.

Piece by &made.

We also spent some time in both workshops looking at the Forming Words exhibition, discussing the pieces, and responding to individual artworks. It’s been a really interesting experience to have so much stimulus so close at hand when running the writing exercises.

There are two free workshops left, on Friday 30th August and Friday 13th September. We’d love to see you there if you can make it. If enough people come along, we’d like to put together a book of the work created by the group in response to the exhibition.

Also, if you’re free tomorrow, head along to MCDC for their special Bank Holiday weekend event!

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.writers celebrate, literary style

If you have some time on Sunday 18th November and you’re lucky enough to be located in or near Manchester, you should come and join us for a special bumper Writers’ Circle meeting.

We’re going to celebrate both NaNoWriMo and National Short Story Week in style with some workshops, some friendly discussion about our writing, and some free cake!

We also have another exciting announcement coming in the next few days, which you’ll be able to hear much more about at the meet up.

You can find out more and RSVP here on the facebook event page. Or download the flyer here.

CAKE.writers meet from 1 – 3 pm every first and third Sunday at Nexus Art Café on Dale Street in the Northern Quarter.