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01 July 2023

Posted by Robyn O'Mahony

Short Stories & Word Association

As we journey towards the end of summer term, we began our first session of July by asking our Junior and Young Writers what they might like to share at our end of term celebration. Having dived into scriptwriting, poetry, and short fiction, we decided there was plenty to choose from!

With our Junior Writers we kicked things off with some word association games, starting with the delicious prompt of chocolate. The group came up with lots of different language, from scrumptious and flavoursome to peaceful and energetic. It was great to see how many words the group could come up from such a simple prompt as, together, we continue to expand our vocabulary and find new ways to describe things. We then got up off our seats and raised our energy by throwing out words into the room that related to each other. Then, returning to the table, we quickly listed all the ones we could remember and used them as a launch pad for writing a short story. 

Using just a select choice of words, we thought about how we could shape a story around them. The end results were magic to read; fully realised ideas springing from such simple beginnings. We heard vivid scene-setting, focussed detail and thoughtful use of plot devises from exposition and narrative twists to cliff-hangers. 

We ended the session hearing of ‘a kaleidoscope of colour’, ‘hell-like havoc’ and worlds ‘deep within the cosmos’. 

After we said goodbye to our Junior community, we welcomed the Young Writers. We started the session off in a different way, asking them to write ‘And now I’m’ ten times in a row. We then asked them to respond to ten different prompts to create a micro poem. A stunner from this part of the session was, ‘And now I’m a thunderstorm brewing in a secluded ocean’. 

After our poems were shared, we travelled back to week one. We reminded ourselves of the writing we did on the world behind doors, but this time asked ourselves what happened before opening the door itself. We encouraged the group to begin with a word-map to help build their ideas, and consider the status quo of the setting before their character jumped into a new, unknown place.

This exercise linked in with Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, which we are excited to be seeing on Saturday 8th July with the group. We contemplated how stories weave in the past and present to create an intriguing narrative, something which Gaiman’s story does. 

As we closed the session we heard of ‘swirling storms’, the ‘icy air of oblivion’ and ‘isolated insolence’. Another full session with words flowing!

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