Happy Bonfire Night!
Many of us will be out this weekend dodging the rain, munching parkin and getting sparkler trails behind our eyes. As I’m typing I can hear the first few muffled rocket-thuds of the evening. If you’re staying in and keeping the cat/dog/budgie calm, you might like to try this exercise.
This Wordspark is a framework stimulus – it gives you a few parameters to work within, but endless scope for you to bring your own twist and interpretation.
These are the starting points:
1) A fire is being laid.
2) Three people are involved.
3) The task in hand doesn’t go as smoothly as it might.
4) The fire should flicker a hint of symbolic meaning.
So these are our parameters, but how might we interpret them? With number 1, the type of fire isn’t specified. So what could it be… a bonfire, a cooking fire, the firebox of a steam engine, an arson attack…or…? Remember that it can be fun to push past the scenario that first pops into a head – not always, but it can have pleasingly unexpected results.
With number 2, we know there are three people, but that’s it. We don’t know their age, sex, personality or how they happen to be working on this task together. Since our topic is fire, you might want to play around with the ‘Fire Triangle’ – the three components needed for fire: Fuel, Oxygen and Heat. Could our three characters represent those components in some way…? And if so, what would the flashpoint be?
This brings us to number 3: things not going as smoothly as they might. What will the problem or obstacle be? What might cause a flashpoint?
And last but not least – the fire is going to symbolise something beyond itself, and again, there are many ways you could interpret this. What could fire represent? Anger? Release? Lust? Safety? How overt you make the symbolism of the fire is up to you – certainly in the first draft it would be enough to just explore the possibilities and, with your Writer’s Radar open, feel for what it could respresent if you wanted to develop it.
Light the touch paper and off you go!
Copyright Mollie Baxter 2010
You are welcome to use these exercises in your writing group or class. I just ask that you acknowledge the source i.e. verbally and on the handout if you use one. I’d also love it if you would let me know how it went!
Do feel free to post any responses or extracts of writing that you have written, but bear in mind that I am unable to give any feedback in this forum. Please see details on my freelance teaching or one-to-one mentoring. Thanks for reading!