Let The Fiction Begin!
The BBC Studio Writers Group had its first meeting on January 17, 2012. We had a great reception considering that snow loomed large that week. The first members of the group were: Tina, Karen, Clark, Sarah, Nick, Doug, Leslie, Elaine and led by Ruth Perlman.
The week before Ruth handed out copies of a short story “The Musical Brain,” by Cesar Aira, from The New Yorker December 5, 2011, that we were to read in order to have a common point to start our discussion of writing fiction. Some of the points we covered were: what jumps out or what we noticed, last sentences, change of tone or the epiphany and what elevates the story to a different plane.
In our first meeting we introduced ourselves. Ruth handed out:
Suggestions for Commenting Shared Writing
“The heart of Fiction Workshop is the reading and discussion of each other’s writing. Because our work is individual and meaningful, there are protocols we use when approaching a colleague’s story.
1. Things that jump out. We begin by pointing out the things we notice in the work. It could be an interesting word choice, an evocative description, a hilarious situation, a tender moment, etc.
2. Things we wonder about. These should be questions brought up by the work itself. Helpful questions might reflect something that you’d like to know more about, or curiosity about where the writer is going with an idea. They can also help pinpoint places where you are confused or not sure of what the author is trying to say.”
We also received— Suggestions for Receiving Comments on Your Writing
“The key to getting the greatest benefit from your colleagues’ comments is to LISTEN. It is not necessary to explain your intention; the point is for you to see where your intention may not be coming across. Please note that comments are only that; it is up to you whether or not you incorporate any suggestions or proposals into your work!”
Ruth then gave us a writing assignment that we started that night. We were to write a story based on the opening lines “When I was thirteen I desperately wanted… .” The story would be 2-3 pages. We started writing the last 10 minutes of the hour and a few of us read aloud what we had written. We were then told by Ruth that we were now writers. This statement alone gave us all hope about our ability to write some fiction, to “let go of the truth and go somewhere else.”