Each of the writers involved with Basin will write a short blog post that reflects on the past weekend’s workshop. These posts act as a journal for the Basin project and will keep readers up-to-date on the production process. They also give readers a little taste of each writers’ style and voice. Reflecting on week one is novelist David O’Sullivan. David’s book is called The Bomber and he posts poems, short stories and other thoughts on his website . Below is David’s version of what went down at the first Basin writing workshop…
Waking early last Saturday morning, I eased myself into the drivers seat of my car and asked my phone the best road from The Rock to Cootamundra. After arguments over whether Cootamundra existed or not, I found the right route and made the journey. A group of seven writers, including myself, would spend the weekend with Vanessa Bates, a successful award winning playwright and Claire Harris our project producer to begin the writing of a new set of plays.
We started the day with team building exercises including some interesting name learning games. I can still remember going about the table and naming my fellow writers; Vanessa, John, Diana, Marty, Frida, Craig and Sulari. It was an effective technique. Among our group are novelists, film makers and theatre aficionados.
The play, we learned, is based on the word Basin. We began a discussion to try and formulate a meaning. We worked on many ideas, brainstorming and discussing such topics as fluidity, water, power, drowning, floating, collection, erosion and so forth. We then discussed characters and tried to give some background to these characters. What may have seemed to be annoying tasks at first led us all to make incredible discoveries about these characters. Gradually, like the dripping of rain on stone, we formed shapes and we formed fictional lives. Our characters, or the beginnings of these, came to life.
Early Sunday morning I made the same journey and we spent the day getting to know our characters better. We were asked to become our characters, think like them and even walk like them. Getting to know your story is important so you can present the truth through fiction. Vanessa was very competent in keeping the group on track and in helping us to create. (Writers, like lambs, if not guided will stray all about the place.)
By that afternoon, the members all wrote and then read a monologue by the character we invented. The results, witnessed by Mr. Scott Howie, were impressive. Everybody had reached the place with our work we had hoped to be and the beginnings of our Basin play was born.