On Tuesday, 17th February, Wilma Ferguson gave us a wide-reaching overview of some aspects of good writing: a good title, age-appropriate names, choice of viewpoint. Wilma also stressed the importance of a winning beginning and of the four Cs - conflict, contact, contrast and colour to give depth and interest to what we write.
We were also reminded that it enriches our writing if we make good use of the five senses, if we keep in mind the kind of emotion we wish to evoke in the reader, and if our main character undergoes a change e.g. in attitude, opinion or outlook.
However, from the outset, we were not allowed to forget that this was a workshop and Wilma soon had us hard at work. One exercise helped us to focus on the winning beginning. We had examples of the beginning of a novel, a short story and an article and had to rewrite one of them to improve these vital opening lines. In another exercise we had to choose one of three situations and write about it using at least one of the five senses. We also wrote a passage from a story about a headmaster retiring (thankfully) after 15 years at the same school. We were to include part of his retirement speech and write from his point of view.
Time whizzed by as we were challenged, wrote and then shared our results. Our thanks to Wilma were, unlike those of the retiring teacher, warm and sincere, as we had learned a lot, been kept busy and had also had good fun.
Wilma even gave us all farewell presents in the form of a paint company colour leaflet and a current copy of Writers’ Forum, the magazine from which Wilma had chosen tips and writing exercises and adapted them to the needs of Erskine Writers. Thank you, Wilma, for a great afternoon!