Archive for January, 2011

Words for Health

For centuries, creative writing has been accepted as beneficial to people with emotional problems. Aristotle described the cathartic effect of drama.  Shakespeare warned:  “Give sorrow words.  The grief that does not speak/ Whispers the o’er fraught heart and bids it break.” And twentieth century researchers began to seek an evidence base for this – hoping to establish a cornerstone for creative writing therapy.

However some of the findings have surprised even the already-converted. (more…)

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We all love stories. And story-telling is a uniquely human skill. It’s unlikely that a flock of birds, for example, would spend their time telling ‘sad stories of the death of kings’, as Shakespeare, a master story-teller, put it.  Unless of course, these birds are descendants of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. But then, that would be another story. You see how it goes.


Stories allow readers to understand other viewpoints in other worlds – ranging from other people’s minds to other people’s cultures.  There has been a growth, for example, in novels which explain a Muslim viewpoint – Sebastian Faulks’ A week in December or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Afghan author Khaled Hosseini. These novels are best sellers because people want to understand the Muslim point of view and these novels seem to help.


Readers achieve this understanding because they engage with the novel’s story.  Put simply, we as readers enter the dream world of the novel and we learn what that world and those people are all about. And, as writers, to engage them – to take them by the hand and across the threshold – we use plot and structure.


Writing game:

  1. Choose one of your favourite books
  2. Which character do you like best and why?
  3. What is the problem or conflict your hero/heroine has to deal with?
  4. What is the most important moment in the story for you?
  5. Are you happy or unhappy about the way the story ends?


If you repeat this with several novels, you’ll begin to understand why these are your favourites.


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A New Creative Writing Programme for 2011 – run by Lizzie Gates MA


February 5th Travel Writing

Come and practice the techniques of creative writing which will help you if you want to turn your holiday jottings into evocative memoir.


May 7th Memoir and Journaling

Have you or members of your family kept journals? Do you want to start?  This workshop will teach you: how to write, how to organise your materials, and what to do with the materials others have left you.

July 2nd Finding your voice

This workshop will help you find your own distinctive way of telling stories. We’ll look at the elements of word and phrase, content and theme which make up your individual voice as a writer.


September 24th Storytelling and Plot

How does plot serve story-telling? This workshop will help you become a good plotter and a memorable story-teller.

November 26th Characters

How do you make your characters interesting? This workshop will help you write characters that your readers will love or hate but certainly remember.


All workshops will take place at The Conservatory, 28 Park West, Heswall, Wirral CH60 9JF (10am – 12.30pm). Cost is £20 per participant. For further information, please contact Elizabeth on 0151 342 3877 or email elizabeth@lonelyfurrowcompany.com

These workshops are specially designed to trigger creativity for all levels of experience. So why not join us?


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