Blog Archive

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Omega Group Summer 2016

Overall Voice       


Think of a person under the pressure of some emotion.   This is to give overall atmosphere and tone of voice to the whole piece you are going to write.  It could be a short speech, poem, story, letter, prayer.

Decide what the speaker is upset about, scare of, worried about, pleased about, etc.   Describe the situation as he or she sees it, but make the language match the feeling.  Don’t just describe or narrate ‘what happened’ or ‘what’s wrong’,  express it through the person’s feelings.   The speaker could be you, a memory.  But you might find it more useful to adopt a role,  imagine yourself into a character’s character and attitudes, and make him/her speak as if you were an actor but writing.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Hiding from Danger

A child being chased by a weirdo in the woods

A wife hiding from a drunk husband
A husband hiding from a drunk wife

Hiding a secret to avoid being caught and sacked, or hurt.

Hiding from invading soldiers

Friday, 22 January 2016

January 22 2016

Discovering something
about a Loved One

An obvious way of doing this would be to go in for some ‘guilty secret’, but of course it the secret could be something they’d kept out of modesty, or because of the pain talking about it causes them.   Or it could be just talking to someone and finding the joy of intimacy with them, confiding things, being trusted with their thoughts.

Suppose you found that your mother had once worked as a trapeze artist in the circus?    Or your father had a medal for bravery?   Or at last you’ve found someone whom you can tell about a really terribly embarrassing experience in your youth?

Sometimes we find out things about loved ones after they are dead, perhaps going through their things.  We might find some simple thing like a cheap present you bought for them one day the seaside, but kept ‘for ever’.  

There are awful things too, of course, a letter from a friend, never sent, but confessing  they had never really loved you, but stayed out of ‘friendship’ or duty.    You could build a story out of this, going through the celebration of an anniversary/funeral,  friends, speeches, gifts, and then this discovery right at the end.

Monday, 18 January 2016


Spring 2016

This terms' work is on Hiding, Finding, Discovering.  We take these literally but also metaphorically.  We find an old wedding ring in the mud even when we were not looking for it. We search for a lost wedding ring very deliberately and never find it, but we discover something.

We hiding ourselves.  We find ourselves,  or somebody else.    A story always has something hiding in it.  And then the author leaves us to discover what it is at the end.   A poem has a truth which we find as we write it.  

Think of this them, a young child exploring a garden or a wood.  They have never seen a stag beetle before, or an earth worm, or a mole hill, let alone a mole.    All these things are as new to the child as they must have seemed to Adam and Eve.   One of the skills in writing is to make what seems ordinary no longer ordinary.  To make it suddenly fascinating and strange.

Child Discovering the Garden

Write what it’s like for a child to discover things in the garden or some other  outdoor place.
You need to describe the strangeness of what the child finds, becauset o him/her it’s  as if they’ve just be created

This is an exercise in observation, noticing, and hence



Thursday, 1 October 2015


A scapegoat is someone who is blamed for something which is not his/her fault.   People offload their own guilt or responsibility onto him/her.  The scapegoat excluded,  punished, even killed.   

A scapegoat is usually the victim of prejudice of some kind.

There may be a scapegoat in a family:  it’s her fault we lost all our money.  Or it may be in the team:  he let them score that goal.   Or, more seriously, people may blame all their problems on a teacher or parent, or politician.   

The scapegoat may be political.  We all remember the way Hitler blamed ‘the Jews’ for all his country’s problems.   Or it may be ‘immigrants’ or ‘benefit scroungers’, and so on,  or the people of a country ‘we’ are at war with.  

Or scapegoats may be social.   Women are often blamed for declines in moral standards.     It’s possible that sometimes the people blamed may actually be the guilty ones, but we wouldn’t call them ‘scapegoats’ in that case.    Or would we?

Or scapegoats may be religious.   Jesus was a scapegoat.    In some countries being of the ‘wrong’ religion is dangerous.   People think you are sly, sneaky, disloyal, and so on.   


In this you need to work on the tone of voice of the speaker.   Write a ‘talking heads’ piece from the point of view either of the scapegoat victim, or the prejudiced person.  The voice should not be your own.  Try to ‘act’ the smug prejudiced person talking, or the unhappy scapegoat complaining.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Image result for not belonging
    On not belonging

We’ve all had the experience of not belonging.  This may be temporary as when by mistake we find ourselves in a party run by the BNP.   We are surrounded by people who think totally differently from ourselves, and may be nervous about expressing our dislike.   Or we may not belong in a more permanent way.  For some reasons we may not, or no longer, belong to our family, friends, schoolmates.  We may feel unhappy about this, or we may feel superior and glad.  Or our not belonging may simple be that we are strangers, in a foreign 
country perhaps.

 Not belonging makes us notice things.  It’s sometimes said that writers need to put themselves into the position of strangers, even when they’re not,  so that they can see the ordinary and everyday in a fresh way.

This exercise is on not belonging.   Write something in which the speaker doesn’t belonging in some way, and try to show how this comes out in what happens to them, or what they do.   

Image result for not belonging        Image result for not belonging    Image result for not belonging

Saturday, 11 July 2015

   Short Course   
  Write a Whole  
                    The Short Course starts next week, 17 July, 10 am to 14.30pm.    Breaks for coffee, lunch, tea                                                                                                        
                               We’ll try to finish one piece each in the three weeks.  You’ll have some time to discuss your      idea,with me,  and to do some writing.     It can be a story, a poem,  a play.  

On the first session 
we’ll work on ideas and basic form and doing the
opening. Homework will be doing a first draft

Second session 
will be discussion the first draft and writing a second draft Homework will be doing a final draft

Third session 
will be discussing and editing the final draft and preparing for printing.