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Closing the Page…

A big round of applause last night, as Chiew-Siah Tei concluded the fourth and final part of her excellent writing course (which has taken us from basic principles through to sophisticated theorising about the mechanics of novel and story writing).

Chiew’s concluding class covered plotting and narrative structure; we were introduced to some fascinating concepts, such as ‘The Freitag Pyramid’ which charts plot progress through:

1. Situation
2. Complication
3. Climax
4. Denouement
5. Resolution

Some concepts were startlingly simple, such as how ‘causality’ marks the key difference between a story and a plot.

We found ourselves analysing our own various manuscripts in our heads, to see retrospectively how well they conformed to Chiew’s 10 Key Questions. Do your characters begin passive and move towards pro-active action, and do each of your stories’ climaxes radically alter the reader’s starting assumptions? The question is your ending inevitable and surprising? was particularly interesting – it is tempting to believe that the best endings have both qualities, at once.

Much for reflection. And if any of our regulars missed last night due to personal commitments, then please do get in touch so that Chiew can furnish you with photocopied notes to help in your studies. Chiew’s book, The Little Hut of Leaping Fishes, has been translated into several European language – it proves to be an apotheosis of the lessons given over the course of this workshop series.

Chiew will return to present and organise further SWC events, so as ever – watch this space.

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