Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Look Again

Over the next few weeks the Dorset Writers Network will be running a series of short story writing workshops in various rural locations across Dorset. These are leading up to the launch of Dorset Writers Network e-book competition for short stories of 500 words or less set within the county.
One of the main things we will be discussing in these workshops is sense of place. All the stories are to be set in Dorset, and so sense of place will be a major component of any work produced. In fact capturing a good sense of place is essential in any story. The reader needs to feel grounded and be part of that setting. Place can become a character in its own right.
But what of Dorset? What sense of place does the county conjure up for you? Is everything quite what it seems?

Do you imagine a sea front, golden sand and donkey rides, children eating ice cream and splashing in the sea, easy laughter and sunshine?

Look again.

A homeless person shivering under a sleeping bag in a bus shelter. Desperate. Alone.

Perhaps you see a pretty harbour, yachts with jolly flags and trawlers sporting bunches of pink buoys? Sitting eating chips and watching children fishing for crabs?

Look again.

An empty mooring with floral tributes. Memories of fishermen who did not return. The sea is not kind.

Maybe you see pretty cottages by a stream, honeysuckle and thatch, kingfishers darting over the water?

Look again,

Sandbags in front of the doors that were still not enough to hold out the floods. Boarded up windows, garden a tangle of weeds.

Or do you see green fields and grazing cattle, swathes of poppies beneath the summer sun, clouds of butterflies along the footpath?

Look again.

Crops flattened by a storm and rotting in the field. Another farm up for auction.

Look again. What do you see?

For details of Workshops and to see if there is one close to where you live check out the Dorset Writers Network website, and do join us for the launch of the e-book competition at Dorchester library on 24th January.