Freewriting from the Belfry

I haven’t actually done a post yet related to my other OU module – A215 Creative Writing – so I wanted to talk about one of the techniques that my BRB (Big Red Book) talks about in the first few chapters. On Wednesday I spent a good hour sat on a sofa in an old converted church that is now an indoor climbing centre freewriting from one of the prompts in the coursebook.

Freewriting is one of those techniques that is supposed to loosen up the writing muscles and encourage you to just write whatever thoughts jump into your head and not think about whether it’s necessarily good at that point. It could be used as a morning warm-up exercise before starting to write properly for the day or as a way of generating ideas to develop into stories later.

The BRB has several prompts for both these purposes, and encourages you to try doing freewrites just to see what comes out of it as well as coupling the freewrite with a clustering exercise (which makes even less sense to me) and using the ideas you produce from the cluster to focus your freewriting. I have yet to try the latter but hopefully I’ll have a few goes before the module starts officially.

So in my hour sat closer to a vaulted ceiling than I think I’ve ever been before I started with the prompt “That smell reminds me of…” and wrote just over 2 pages in my notebook (it’s only an A5 bound notebook but it has the Hogwarts crest on the front so it’s awesome). I picked that one because I was intrigued by the old musty smell that lingered in the upper section of the former church – what would that smell remind someone of?

My writing started off quite straightforward and the scenario was your average contemporary realistic one and then it eventually veered off towards aspirational fanfiction (Hogwarts notebook wants to make witches out of everyone :P).  For my own amusement that’s fine but I could probably do with leaving Hogwarts out of my freewrites and course activities since it will be considered as plagiarism.

I reckon I need to have a lot more practice with Freewriting and try to produce a range of ideas rather than plumping for what I normally like to write which is Fantasy (whether it be Historical, Urban, Portal or Epic High fantasy). This course is supposed to allow myself to improve and grow my writing skills and that is gonna invariably involve doing shit I don’t want to do *has nightmares about poetry*.

Now I need to go get on with some other writing today *coughmyowndamnbookcough* before going to a Lee Evans gig later tonight.


Ray 🙂

p.s. I don’t think there was a belfry in this old church. My post title is a lie. So is cake.


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