The Seagull Foundation for the Arts and ‘Write Here Write Now’ organized two short story-writing workshops for school students on 21-22 and 27-28 August, 2006 at the Seagull Bookstore. Conducted by Liz Wimberly and Darcy Courteau, graduates in Fictional Writing from the Arizona State University, about 35-40 students from different city schools, including Calcutta International School, the Cambridge School, The Heritage School, Future Foundation and La Martiniere for Girls, participated in the workshops.
The first day of the workshop introduced the participants to the basics of story writing, after which Liz and Darcy moved on to discussing the creating of characters, situations and conflicts. The participants put their heads together to create a pair of fictional characters through whom the instructors demonstrated these processes. This was followed by an exercise in which each participant selected one image of war (part of the ‘Borders Crossing’ photography collection) exhibited around the bookstore and came up with a fictional monologue inspired by it. Finally, the participants sat down to create their own set of characters and develop a storyline. The day concluded with distribution of copies of the short story ‘Sweet Feed’ by well- known author Melissa Pritchard, who was also the instructors’ course coordinator at the Arizona State University.
Day two started with us discussing the short story format, as Liz and Darcy explained to us through concrete examples the use of imagery and metaphor to express abstract concepts like happiness and love. This was followed story sharing session where the participants read out the stories written by them. Afterwards, the participants were divided into groups of three, in order to develop their stories further with mutual feedback. These collaborative efforts, one from each group, was finally read out as Liz and Darcy discussed how each story was enriched by taking into account other people’s points of view. The workshop was concluded with the hope that each participant would continue to grow as a writer until finally the best of their works will eventually find their way into the PeaceWorks anthology of student prose and with ‘Write Here Write Now’.
— Monidipa Mondal