Monday, 10 June 2013

Creative non-fiction with Stuart Kelly

Variations on a cowardly lion?
Stuart Kelly gave a class in creative non-fiction last Friday (June 7th) to a room in Castle Douglas full of eager former journalists, copy-writers and poets. Stuart  - who paid tribute yesterday on BBC TV Scotland to Ian Banks - has written two well received books himself, on Walter Scott and Lost Books. Kelly's 'Scott-Land' explains how Walter Scott invented the myth of modern Scotland as well as inspiring half of Europe's writers and many an opera. As an exercise, Kelly recommended looking at the story of - say - the Wizard of Oz, and trying out different ways of starting the narrative. He split us into pairs and together we had to come up with ideas. My partner and I suggested starting the story with the birth of the cowardly Lion and explaining how he came to be so fearful in the first place. We then suggested that in our new story the Cowardly Lion may turn out to be related to Disney's Lion King, Simba - in other words a potential spin-off or miscegeny between two fictional stories. It's the way you tell 'em!

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