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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

01 February 2021

Posted by Tabby Hayward

TRADING PLACES

16 attending

This week we were looking at flash fiction to submit to the Quay Words Young Writers Competition at Exeter Custom House: https://exetercustomhouse.org.uk/young-writers/quay-words-young-writers-flash-fiction-competition/ 

The theme is trading places, but with plenty of flexibility about how you might want to interpret and respond to this theme.

We started with a quick warm-up - everyone had to put a random word into the chat and then we all picked three of those words to include in a six sentence story. Jake wrote an excellent piece about a new blue pizza creation,with toppings in the shape of a lighthouse (of course his three words were blue, pizza and lighthouse!) and Leo wrote a very atmospheric, fantastical piece about some sinister drunken men going into a dungeon to steal jewels and starting The Great Corn Revolution! (his words were dungeon, demise, and sunset).

Next, as the theme was so open, I gave the young writers a list of possible prompts/scenarios they might want to choose from to start their story off - they could also, of course, come up with their own interpretation of the theme, or combine/adapt the different prompts!

The prompts were:

PRINCE AND THE PAUPER

Two characters living in different times/worlds/parts of the world/from
different backgrounds swap places

FREAKY
FRIDAY
Two characters who live in a similar place but have very different
personalities/roles/lifestyles swap places

TO MARKET
Story is set somewhere where trading takes place – e.g. a shop, a shopping
centre, a car boot sale, an auction house, a market, ebay, depop, etc

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
A character trades something with magical/mystical consequences, opening up new
places/worlds – e.g. Jack and the magic beans

EVERYDAY TRADE OFFS
A trade takes place in an ordinary/everyday place – e.g. swapping sweets with a
sibling in the living room – with potentially dramatic consequences!

DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
A character trades something immaterial/abstract/magical – e.g. Doctor Faustus
selling his soul to the devil for a life of pleasure/wishes granted – where
does this leave the character?

A brilliant range of stories were shared, some finished (and even under the word limit! - particularly impressive for 14-18 year olds, as they only had up to 250 words, while 10-14 year olds had 500!) and some still developing, but all very varied and exciting, with lots of potential! 

We will be working on shaping, editing and developing these stories further in a future workshop before the deadline! Best of luck to everyone submitting!

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