Creative writing activity for individual writers

Finding them a Home

Objectives

to portray characters or personalities in an environment that you would not associate with them

to explore the comic potential or the poignancy of the characters in or interacting with such an environment

Organisation

indvidual writing

Materials

cards or slips of OHP-transparencies, two per particiant

Examples

Book II in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series, ‘They’ve got one hell of a band here’ by Stephen King and to an extent Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s ‘Die Physiker’

Notes

a) The genre here is entirely open and range from song/poem via narrative to dialogue

b) It may be useful for participants in connection with 5. to do part of the brainstorming in groups where all members may suggest further elements and details.

Instructions to the participants

Imagine a group of people who normally have a fair (or unfair) share of the lime light (e.g. university professors, opera singers, etc.). Try to focus on what is characteristic for them as a group.

Write on the card or OHP slip what group you’ve chosen. These are collected.

Imagine an institution, in which such people normally do not find themselves (e.g. a home of sorts). Write this down on the second card or slip, which is also collected.

When both the ‘groups’ and the ‘institutions’ are on display, choose one of each.

Brainstorm as many elements or activities typical for the group or the institution and describe how the group and individual members would behave in the institutional setting.

Write this up into a text, which can be a poem, a monologue/dialogue or a story.

Examples

Institutions or places for...

bowling alley, brothel, club, congress/conference, cruise ship, graveyard, mental home, monasterial retreat in Tibet, old folks’ home, rehearsal stage, school/ training college/university, staff room, trailer park, trenches

Types of people

actors, bank managers, boxers, cab drivers, cat burglars, clowns, dictators, dog lovers, film stars (e.g. action films), girl/boy band members, head waiters, jazz musicians, Mafia godfathers, mass murderers, poets, politicians, prostitutes, rock stars, soccer players, teachers



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