I am currently completing a free online course called the future of storytelling which started last week and has provided some great insights into what makes an interesting story. I want to use the training to improve my own creative writing. You can click here to find out more if you are interested
Each week we are given a task to complete and I thought I would share this task here
Please think about which story you have read, seen, listened to, played or experienced has impressed you most in your life. … Which story can you still very well remember? Write down both, the summary of this story (what you remember of the story, not what Wikipedia says.. 🙂 and – on the other hand: – what made it so special to you that you can still remember it.
1. Retell this story by giving a short summary of what you can remember of it. (in less than 400 words)
BOOK: Suite Française by Irene Nemirovsky
This book is set during the Second World War as France fell to the Nazis and is written in two parts. In the first part we follow a number of different characters as they do their best to flee the Nazi invasion. Many of them are very wealthy and true to use their status and money as a means of getting to some place safe but it wasn’t always worth very much as resources became scarce and people fought to survive.
In the second part of the book we follow a village under occupation and are taken on each person’s personal journey, one character falling in love with her Nazi house guest, and just as you think they will all become friends a twist of fate sees the Nazis demonstrating exactly what they are capable of when given orders.
So expertly written you actually get a glimpse into what people went through during that time. The pain of separation from loved ones and not knowing what has happened to them, the lengths people went to in order to survive, and the inevitable distraught at being rounded up and taken away. We know what happened to those people who were taken away but of course at the time the author wrote the book many people had no idea of their fate. Unfortunately, the author died in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942 and it was over sixty years later that the book was found and published.
2. Think about (try to remember) and write down what fascinated you most about this story. What can you remember best? What impressed you most? … Its characters? The locations? The plot? The style and voice of the story? Or maybe even the surroundings of how this story was told, maybe by your parents, grandparents, or maybe in your first self-read book? Tell us the story OF the story so-to-speak. (less than 500 words)
This was actually my daughter’s book that I picked up when I had nothing to read one day and I couldn’t put it down. The author’s way of describing what was happening on a particular day was so well written that you could almost be there at that time.
The characters were a mixed bunch of those that were very wealthy, those who owned land and farms and then those who were poor and had very little. Each family had survival on their mind and sometimes I wanted to scream out at the injustice of those who had nothing compared to the wealthy. In the end though it didn’t matter how much you had, no amount of money would buy your way out of German hands, everyone had to do whatever they could to survive. Still, the wealthy kept their status in the eyes of their fellow countrymen so that at least was good enough to help them get food and shelter.
I loved the way that life went on around the war, and in spite of it, and people continued with their daily chores once occupation had been established. They were good to the Nazis and it seemed villagers and unwelcome guests may even become friends. Then came a few unexpected twists as it all fell apart but during those lovely friendly moments even love managed to blossom.
The whole book is just excellent and although I preferred the first section to the second they were both engaging and really helped me see what was happening to people during that time.
The future of storytelling
In the first week I have managed to learn a lot about plot, characters and how to write romance using the meet, lose and get formula. I have learnt what gets someone reading (or watching) a story and staying hooked on it until the end.
I am not sure if you are allowed to start now it has already begun but you can find out more here – and they have a range of free online courses available.