On the 8th of October my TY class travelled to the Fighting Words workshop in Glencree, Wicklow. This workshop was about learning writing techniques and ways of coming up with ideas for whatever you’re writing, i.e. short story, novel etc.
When we arrived at the premises, we were a little bit late as we went to their old premises by mistake, but we still had enough time to complete the exercises planned.
First of all one of the people running the workshop (named Seán) invited two students up to the front of the class to exchange dialogue and he typed it onto a word document. It was just a normal conversation, but it was a technique used to more easily start writing. So, we had the barebones of a conversation, then we began to add more writing around the dialogue as a group by taking suggestions from different students. And I was assigned the role of typing these sentences onto the document. Soon we had a small opening line, a description of the setting and the characters and when we finished, we had the start of a story.
Following that we changed room and we had to write the beginning of a story either using the beginning we came up with as group or a totally new one. I wrote an original passage based in a cyberpunk setting about an assassin robot called “Sentience” which I will put at the end of this article.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the day overall (apart from the little detour we took but that wasn’t anybody’s fault), I learned an interesting new technique to start a story that I wouldn’t have even considered doing before this workshop, that I may use in the future. I had fun coming up with and writing a new story as well, which Seán read to the rest of the class along with a couple other stories. And he said he enjoyed it which was pleasing to hear.
Overall this was a really enjoyable experience that I would be happy to do again.
Here’s the opening I wrote:
A huge crashing came from two storeys below followed by gunfire and screaming from the security guards. Magistrate Goma sighed.
“So, they’re finally coming to kill me,” he whispered to the empty air of his office.
The old, balding man sat himself down in his chair behind his desk and poured a glass of brandy from the bottle that had sat on his desk for the whole of his long, sixty-year career, took a sip and waited for his inevitable death.
The security guards outside his office shouted and opened fire but Goma knew it was fruitless and sure enough he heard both of them die. One gunned down and the other thrown out the fiftieth storey window.
The doors slammed open an in walked an Automated Recall Taskforce bot, this one’s serial number: A.R.T-19362. The Magistrate sat calmly as the bot strode swiftly up. It was dented and full of bullet holes. One of its legs was sparking, clearly broken in some way. The guards had done damage but not enough.
The bot grabbed Goma and lifted a robotic arm extending its blade from it. But before the robot could deal the killing blow, the Magistrate asked one final question.
“Because you harmed the A.R.T’s production by imprisoning Holt, causing massive losses,” replied the A.R.T unit robotically.
“No,” the Magistrate said, “Why do you do this?”
The unit paused and, for the first time in its life it had a conscious thought.
The robot was having a hard time computing this.
“But I know that I must complete the mission.”
The arm came down and the blade slid right through the Magistrate’s chest and heart.
A.R.T-19362 pulled his blade out turned around and left Goma to die, his mission complete. But the unit did not return to the A.R.T’s HQ as it should’ve. It had to figure something out, something very important, why was it thinking?
By Craig Moore
Category: Transition Year