How to overcome The Curse of the Blank Page – creative writing workshop by Tanya Landman

exetreme-twitter-thumbBy Kira Taylor @kirataylor15

We all have it. When that vast, rectangular expanse sits before us, complete and utter mind blank. There are a thousand stories in your head, but you just can’t tease them out of your fingers.

Today Tanya Landman armed us against The Curse of The Blank Page.

It was a brilliant workshop and Tanya is a really engaging speaker. It was great fun to learn about techniques to start a story. It was encouraging to join with other young writers and work on stories that were our own.

As a story starter, Tanya asked us to imagine something very ordinary: a trip to the shops, a lesson, sitting, watching the T.V. It’s not often that you’re actively encouraged to daydream, else I would have been top of every primary school class, but we were encouraged to let our minds wander as she talked.

In our drastically normal situations, something drastically not normal had to happen, whether it was a car crash, an explosion or something more emotionally devastating. Whatever it was, we fainted and, when we woke up, our story began.child-01

She took us through a series of questions, helping us to explore our surroundings, our senses and our emotions regarding whatever just happened. It’s amazing how just twelve questions can paint the entire picture of a scene – sights, smells and all.

We moved on to another symptom of The Blank Page – hating planning. But Tanya helped us make this fun, as we plotted a murder mystery. To make it quicker, we were each asked to select a celebrity, who would become the victim and there was a varying response of names.

From there, we had to decide who would murder them in this over-the-top, Agatunicorn-01ha Christie setting. What were the suspects’ MMOs? – Means, Motive and Opportunity.

It was loads of fun. It’s always great to be encouraged to write. Not a blank page in sight by the end.



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