the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Lit Up with time, place and action in writing

on January 17, 2015



I have joined a course of CPD to support skills in creative writing workshop delivery and facilitation. The programme is organised by Lit Up! with 16 sessions offered by Simon McCormack. With two session already completed, I thought I’d share one of the activities I’ve developed.

Participants were asked to think about time, place and action in writing. Frequently, it is possible to combine two of these elements and Gun fight at the OK Corral was given as an example. The idea made me reflect on product placement as an effective way to:

  • give a timeframe for writing
  • provide an insight into the setting
  • allow readers to know more about the characters

Examples of product placements might include Pressure Cooker, Sherbet Lemons, Vim Scouring Powder.

I was reminded of the powerful effect of product placement when I reread the following extract from The Devil’s Music by Jane Rushbridge.

Janice brings a tray with tea in a teapot and four lemon puffs on a plate. The ritual of pouring – milk jug, strainer, sugar cubes and tongs, the teaspoon stirring – steadies you, but one bite of Lemon Puff and the nausea washes through you again. The teaspoon clatters down in the saucer and you ask Janice where you can go to powder your nose.

Although the story is set in 1958 (before I was born), I can taste those Lemon Puffs.

For the purpose of using this activity in a workshop, I would ask participants to list products that bring time and place to mind and use one or two as a prompt for story writing.

Anyone game to give this activity a go?

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