In a flush of Twitter inspired enthusiasm, @redgirob, @bryngoodman and I have come up with a crazy idea. What if we put together a crowd sourced, not for profit eBook detailing the various uses, applications and examples to which my idea of Slow Writing has been put?
Hang on, I hear you cry, what bleedin’ ‘eck’s Slow Writing?
Where’ve you been? For any cave dwellers, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve written several posts about it:
Slow Writing: how slowing down can improve your writing
Black space: improving writing by increasing lexical density
The art of beautifully crafted sentences
A new twist on Slow Writing
Revisiting Slow Writing – how slowing writing might speed up thinking
But if you can’t be bothered to wade through that lot, this sums it up:
I first came up with the idea when teaching an intervention class of Year 11 C/D borderline boys in about 2008. Broadly speaking they were willing, but no matter what I tried the writing they produced was leaden, plodding stuff. I gave them all kinds of outlandish and creative prompts which they would dead bat and produce yet another dreary yawnfest. Needless to say, we were all getting a bit irritated with each other. Out of sheer frustration I decide to give them explicit instructions on how to write a text sentence by sentence.
Sort of like this:
- Your first sentence must starting with a present participle (that’s a verb ending in ‘ing’)
- Your second sentence must contain only three words.
- Your third sentence must contain a semi-colon
- Your fourth sentence must be a rhetorical question
- Your fifth sentence will start with an adverb
- Your sixth sentence will be 22 words exactly.
And so on. Much to my surprise they loved it. I remember one boy saying, “Bloody hell! This is the first time I’ve written anything that isn’t rubbish!” and asking if he could take it home to show his mum.
Also David Riley produced a web-based Slow Writing app as part of his Triptico suite of teaching tools
Since first writing about it in 2011, many many wonderful teacher have used, adapted and experimented with the idea, and we thought it might be a nice idea to collate it all in one handy guide.
After a very hasty discussion we think the best option is to put ideas from both primary and secondary teachers into one volume, but that may well depend on the interest we get. @redgirob will be collating primary submissions and Chris Curtis (@xris31) will be looking after secondary contributions – if you’d like to get involved, please register your interest here. The plan is to charge a nominal (?) price and give the proceeds to a charity on which we have yet to decide (Feel free to suggest appropriate organisations and good causes.)
This is an exciting opportunity to see your name in print and generally do good things!