Creative Writing Workshops

The editors at Cecile’s Writers are proud to present Creative Writing Workshops.

We offer our expertise and experience in writing, editing and publishing. We will encourage you to bring out the best in your work and go the distance.

We also offer workshops to companies as a fun activity to bring out your creativity and bond with your colleagues. We will show you how to be a better communicator and how valuable your creativity is to your work.

Cecile, Samir, Sofia & Vanessa

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15th Edition Cecile’s Writers Magazine: Family Knots

December is a time when the importance of family is emphasized.  Albeit most families may not be as picture perfect as depicted in movies or in adverts.  That’s the beauty of writing — authors are able to show that beauty lies in the intricacies and flaws of family bonds.

In the past four months, we received a lot of stories about familial relationships — the destruction they can cause and also the strength they can provide when reunited.  We have loved reading all the submissions and publishing our selection.

These stories and poems will offer some relaxing entertainment in these often-stressful festive weeks.  And perhaps an insight into your own intricate and wonderfully flawed family knots.

We wish you all the best this holiday season, whether you are enjoying it with your family or simply just trying to survive through it all.

Happy Holidays!

Cecile, Samir, Sofia & Vanessa

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XMAS Writing Prompts

by Daria Nepriakhina

The Xmas season is a joyful period, usually associated with love, happy memories and companionship. It is a boisterous time while we plan ahead for holiday requests, managing absences, and family reunions or parties. Afterwards, we usually have more time for the activities we have put aside during the working months and the build up to Xmas. Thus, it can be a great opportunity to get creative and have fun writing.

The act of writing gives us the chance to organize our thoughts. During a time as hectic as the holiday season, it is good to step back and think about one’s own reasons for celebrating—as well as to savor all of those special moments. We can write in the style of stream-of-consciousness, with few restrictions, or we can adopt more structure like a journal entry with length recommendations or suggestions for details to include. The main goal should be to lose our inhibitions and to write for the sake of writing. Once we get the hang of letting our thoughts flow, we can really enjoy it.

So if you are able, somehow, miraculously, to write during the Xmas holidays, then maybe these prompts can help:

  1. ‘Look!’ she said, laughing awkwardly and pointing to the mistletoe above their heads…

 

  1. I found myself trapped inside a snow globe…

 

  1. A nicely wrapped present shakes furiously under the Christmas tree…

***

Nesrin Nazlieva is a Psychology student at Erasmus University.  She decided to follow the example of her predecessors who, back in 1460, left the Karamanid beylik and immigrated to Bulgaria.  Instead of Bulgaria, however, she chose the Netherlands.  Her short story with a not so short title ‘The Story of a Wanderer Who Traveled the World in Search of His Hat’ earned her a second place in one of the most prestigious national literary contests in 2015.  When she is not glued to a book, she spends time working out in the garden, learning Spanish, and trying very hard not to be the worst player at Ludo.

 

Why I Read the Laureates

When I started studying creative writing ten years ago, the first teacher I met asked the class what we were reading at that moment and why? What was it inside those books that interested us? It was a good way of trying to get to know who we were, where we came from literarily speaking, and eventually, where we wanted to go. These questions led me to reckon that since childhood, I was mostly dedicated to reading every book available on my mother’s bookshelf; and later, as an adult, whatever newspapers recommended as good reads. No order, no compass, no signage. It was just the compulsive obsession of reading, like a traveller in the wild.

Since then, and because reading comes first and writing sparkles afterwards, I’ve been advised many times to read as much, and as broadly, as I can – as the best way known to learn the art of writing. Throughout my studies I learned techniques and I wrote a lot, of course, but what I’m most thankful for is the acute guidance to select authors and books I received during those years. So who and what to read among the millions of books and authors out there? That was, and still is, the question. I have now an endless list of preferences that thickens every year, but generally speaking, and beyond personal tastes and opinions, I will say one can find superb quality in any Literature Nobel Prize Laureate. Read More

Writing Is a Debt of Honour

I’m addicted to TED Talks on Youtube ­– a whole treasure of free, advanced level lectures. And the best part is the variety of subject matters available. Of course, searching TED Talks and writing generates a large number of hits, but I want to share the following one with you.

Writer Anne Lamott shares 12 truths she learned from life and writing. I enjoyed most parts of the lecture, but lessons 6 and 7 are specifically about writing (at around 6m 40s if you want to skip ahead):

I found what she says about writing motivating. How it is a debt of honour, and how it writing can fill the Swiss-cheesy holes in you (and not publication). How the most important things about writing are bird-by-bird and god-awful first drafts (watch it to understand).

As an aside, I also have a barrier when writing ‘badly’ about people I know. Even in a fictionalized setting I feel guilty. Her comment helps: “If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

Vanessa Deij

 

Down the Rabbit Hole – The Works of Jorge Luis Borges

 

By Paul Morris


When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.

I was first introduced to Borges’s works shortly after reading Gabriel García Márquez, Isabel Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, Pablo Neruda, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Luis Sepúlveda and Arturo Pérez-Reverte. I was somewhat familiar to the versatility of the Hispanic and Latino-American prose, so I had grasped that Jorge Luis Borges would not be an easy read.

His worldwide fame is primarily due to his short stories and literary essays. His short story collections The Universal History of Iniquity, Fables, The Aleph, and The Sand Book strike with a sparkling laconism. The major metaphors are mirror and dream. According to him, sleep is the oldest artistic activity of people, and when we dream, we are the Creator, the play, the spectator and the author.

Unlike most writers whose work is based on their own alloy of experience and culture, the main source of inspiration for Jorge Luis Borges were books. Proof of this is his collection, The Universal History of Iniquity, composed of the retold stories of actual villains, bandits, and crimes drawn from documentary stories that Borges had turned into literature with a lot of artistic imagination, talent and magnificent style. He himself says that he “has been spoiled with forging and misinterpreting foreign stories” when creating a single story. Despite the fact that he published his first work of prose in 1935, Borges remained a poet. Though clairvoyant, his tongue is laconic, with carefully chosen, often meaningful and highly expressive words. The stories are tight, subordinate to a rhythm that allows only the necessary, and eliminates everything unnecessary. The narrative is intense and engages the reader with characters, both fascinating and repulsive, with the cinematic visuals of the descriptions and the overflowing between the real and the invented. Read More

Writing Prompt: The Importance of Plot

by Finn Gross Maurer

When discussing how important plot is in a piece of fiction, I think it’s important to think about what happens when you ask a person what they’re reading. Take a second and imagine it. You pose the question. They reply with a title. Now stop, and think about what your next question is? More likely than not, it’s: “Oh what’s that about?”

In writing, plot equals structure, and structure happens to be crucial. Plot is not the only means of providing structure, but it’s certainly the most common, and arguably the most reliable. This is because plot provides the roadmap of where you’re going as a writer, and where you’re taking the reader. It’s point A and B and everything in between. Yet its importance as a structural element is largely contextual, depending on the kind of work you’re producing, and how much you can comfortably ask of your reader in terms of their time and attention. Read More

Opinion: Why Not All Creative Writing Courses Are Interesting

Photo by Alexis Brown

Creative writing is not new. It used to be a requirement of every student’s education for around 400 years, especially in the English-speaking world. In the nineteenth century, literary education was either weakened, or completely dropped from elementary and secondary education. Later on, colleges picked up all of literary education but creative writing. Creative writing was then missing for about a 100 years or so, but in the past 40 years, it has returned. Nowadays, there is a lot of controversy on the issue – some claim that creative writing courses are necessary and beneficial; while others claim that they are useless. I, myself, have participated in such a course, so I will share my experience and viewpoint. Keep in mind, however, that I might be biased because my judgment is based purely on one creative writing course.

As a devoted reader and not so devoted writer, I was curious about creative writing courses. When I heard from a friend, who is a poet, that he attends a creative writing course, I decided to join him. The course was held by one of the most prominent writers in my country. He had won many awards for literary fiction and poetry, and his books have been translated into English, German, French, and Hungarian. The course was for free and the only requirement was to be dedicated and hard working since it was an intense course. Read More