We’ve all done those writing exercises with postcards, where you use the picture to provide stimulation for a story or a poem. Last week at my writers’ group we took a different angle on this well-worn activity.
Frances ran an interesting workshop which got us looking at the writing on the back of the card instead of the photo on the front. She provided us with a selection of postcards which were from and to people we didn’t know. Then she broke the activity down into 3 steps:
- Create a pen portrait of the sender of the card by analysing what he/she has written, the handwriting style and the picture they chose.
- Create a pen portrait of the recipient of the card by looking at what information the sender chose to tell them, the manner in which the recipient was addressed etc.
- Create a short scene of what might happen when the sender returns from holiday and meets up with the recipient.
I found this a difficult exercise but it certainly gets the brain cells working when the only clues to your main characters and their relationship with each other, are a few brief, scribbled words. So Frances, thanks for getting the old grey matter working!
In coming years it may get more and more difficult to use postcards as prompts. According to a piece in the Daily Mail, forty years ago one-third of Britons sent a card home from holiday but now only 3% of us pick up a pen whilst we’re on the beach. Instead we tweet, text and Facebook.
When I go away I like to cut all links with ‘reality’ and the fast pace of electronic communication so I send postcards. I like to receive them too – they brighten up my kitchen wall.
What about anyone else?