Creative writing activity for group/workshop

Things Coming to a Head

Objectives:

to create two characters and a conflict between them in a dialogue

to present their conflict at a crucial moment

Organisation:

groups of four, a plenary group sitting in a circle

Material:

one large sheet of paper for each participant

Examples:

‘The Sexes’ by Dorothy Parker, the dialogue between Ms Havisham and Estella in Dickens’ Great Expectations, the dialogue between Yossarian and Doc Daneeka (in which Daneeka explains why he cannot ground Yossarian) in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, most scenes in Harold Pinter plays.

Instructions to the participants

Sit in a circle. On a piece of paper describe two characters who know each other. Pass the paper on.

For each of the two characters add a feature, a character flaw, that could present a problem in a conflict.

Underneath the note on the paper that you’ve just received, give a few details of a basic conflict these two characters might have. Pass the paper on.

Now add a situation in which this conflict surfaces. Pass the paper on.

Write a dialogue between the two characters in this situation.

Connect the dialogue with narrative passages.

Variation:

Describe the thoughts and reactions of one of the two characters, e.g. in the form of an interior monologue. Then pass the papers on without your monologue and tell your neighbour which character you’ve chosen

Now s/he writes the same type of text from the other person’s point of view.

Extension:

With both monologues the next participant could try to write a text about both characters and their relationship.




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