A few days ago, I attended a Creative Writing workshop, run by Deborah Winter (www.deborahwinter.co.uk), a prize-winning short-story writer.
Deborah has recently moved to the area from the south-west, where she established a loyal following for her classes, and nurtured her group’s talent to such a degree, that their collections were repeated winners of the David St John Charitable Trust anthology award. She is now hoping to emulate her success in Pembrokeshire.
Creative writing workshops come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This was a day course, billed as ‘suitable for all levels’. There were nine of us – which is a good number – but, as the majority were beginners, Deborah quite rightly tailored her teaching to their needs.
As a tutor, Deborah was friendly and considerate, putting us at our ease. She was enthusiastic and very encouraging, asking pertinent questions in order to ensure we all contributed, both orally and on paper. And that was her key aim – to get us writing. She did this with a variety of short exercises, wanting to provoke ideas and start us off. Soon, we were all scribbling away, but we were never under any pressure to read, or to keep to her brief, as ‘go where your imaginations take you!’ is what she believes in. She offered guidance if required, but was also happy to leave well alone. And, as promised in her ‘blurb’, there was a lot of laughter.
What did I, as a more experienced writer, gain from this workshop, in addition to an enjoyable day spent with like-minded company? The opening of a story… One of Deborah’s prompts was a list of phrases. The three words ‘I am falling’ resonated with my inner voice, and sparked off some sentences which could go somewhere. I’m not sure where, yet, or if they’ll ever arrive. But a good beginning is always welcome – essential, maybe, when it comes to short-stories, and I went away with an idea, which is just what Deborah was hoping for. And me, too!