Last night was the second Write Club, run by Ellen de Vries and myself. Write Club is a flash fiction writing event (no, definitely not a workshop) which sprang from Brighton's Write Club networking group. The night has the following rules:
- The night is divided into rounds. Each round has a prompt image and a time limit of 15, 10, 5 or 2 minutes.
- Everyone writes a story or poem 'inspired' by the image
- Everyone then takes a turn reading what they've written, whether they're happy with it or not.
- There is no formal critique of the pieces.
- Nobody is allowed to apologise or pre-empt their work – what you've stands or fall on its own merits.
(We work very hard at not making Fight Club references, as shown by my restraint in the list above. But last night did feel a little reminiscent of the movie, with 18 of us in the basement of the Skiff after hours. Word of mouth had brought in more people than last time, some of whom I didn't know personally. For what it's worth, I see Ellen as the Tyler Durden figure).
I felt more nervous this time because of the larger group. I wanted everyone to leave feeling they'd had a worthwhile evening. And it was, of course, guaranteed that I'd have a projector glitch half-way through the night. Even so, I think people enjoyed the evening and the approach we've taken.
I don't know if it was my nerves, but I was less happy in general with the work I produced this time. I found it harder to come up with ideas, facing a blank sheet three minutes through one of the five-minute rounds. Even though Ellen and I choose the pictures, we don't manage to prepare ideas in advance and the prompts end up being as hard for us as everyone else.
Despite feeling less sure about my work, there were two pieces from last night that I'd like to do more with which, I guess, is good going (and better than last time). But the main thing was that I had a fun evening. I heard some amusing, interesting and thought-provoking stories, some of which seemed well-formed despite the short time available.
Ellen and I are still tinkering with the format. Some ideas and prompts have worked well in the last two sessions, other things not so well, but I'm very excited about the third Write Club session, which will be coming soon…
If you want to play along at home, the pictures we chose (CC-licensed photos from flickr tagged with Brighton) were:
- Ghosts on the shore (10 minute round)
- chickens (5 minute round)
- Pac-Man Drinking (2 minute round)
- Fish and chips (15 minute round)
- movie still #6 (5 minute round)
- The Head (2 minute round)
Thanks to everyone who came, and thank you to the Skiff for providing a fantastic venue