Tuesday 21st February 2006 by C. Freeman
If you want the low-down on crafting great stories then Brooke Weston's creative writing sessions are an inspiration. Headed up by tutor Stephanie Gonda, the weekly meetings offer an insight into aspects of the writer's arcane art and provide practical activities to hone students' skills.
A recent session was devoted to the art of film scripts and, as the students had been on a group visit to see King Kong, there was a lively debate about heroes, villains, plot twists and the conventions of story telling in books as opposed to cinematic action on the big screen.
However, whether discussing films, books, plays or other forms of writing the students all agree that is is passion for the subject that provides the most impetus and creates pacy, punchy prose.
The group, which runs after school on Tuesdays in the English department, is open to all, and its aim is to get students thinking about their own use of language and have the confidence to experiment, finding their own story-writing styles.
Stephanie said: 'This group has fantastic talent and great enthusiasm for their writing, but other students shouldn't be put off joining us because everyone can learn to be a better writer, it's an art that authors continue to hone and perfect all their lives. We have fun in these sessions and everyone gets a chance to join in and have their say.'
As a practical exercise to test their powers of description, the students had to draw a simple shape and describe it so their partners could replicate the same pattern. Simple… except that the students were sitting back to back so there was no cheating!
These sessions provide lively debate, fun exercises and practical projects so that students can express themselves fully in a variety of contexts and understand the intricacies and idiosycracies of language.