(A Flash Fiction Writing Session from The Safe House)
Imagine you had to hide somewhere in a park. It’s night time. You have nowhere else to go. Where would you hide?
What would your last thoughts be before finally falling asleep?
As well as the map of the park, the stimulus for this session is Dylan Thomas’s poem, The Hunchback in the Park.
The poem is about a homeless man who uses the park on a daily basis to pass away his days and to sleep. He is a lonely man, rejected by everyone who uses the park because he is deformed and ugly. He is an outcast. The poem describes how the poet imagines his feelings of loneliness and rejection to be.
At the end of the poem, the hunchback settles down for the night. He is frightened and alone. There could be people in the park who are out to get him!
Have a look at this for more detail about the poem.
This is an exercise in getting into the mind of a particular character.
You should read the poem two or three times. Read it out loud. Get someone else to read it and you listen while you’re reading the words.
Try to work out all the different types of people the poet describes who come into the park.
Think about how the ‘Hunchback’ feels when he sees these people. What goes on inside his head as he tries to keep safe?
Think about what we know about the ‘Hunchback’ from what the poet tells us.
Think about what we don’t know about him.
How old is he?
How long has he been living in the park?
How did he end up there?
Has he got any friends, family, children?
What has happened to him?
Imagine what it must be like to have to keep out of sight from everyone for fear of what they might do to you.
How frightening that must be!
Imagine how difficult it would be to get to sleep, no matter how tired you were.
Write down the last thoughts of the ‘Hunchback’ as he finally drops off to sleep at night in the park.
Word count and process
This could, of course, be a single word!
But maybe you could extend your writing a bit further than that. A sentence? Twenty-five words? You could extend it into something longer. You could be quite dramatic and it could become more of an extended internal dramatic monologue. 250 words?
You, the writer, will decide.
It will be first person, of course. At least, it probably will.
When you have something down, take time to read what you have written, change words, add words, delete and edit.
Take a break. Come back to it later and do the same thing. You might feel like extending the piece a little bit. Do it! Write more!
Don’t forget to check your writing for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Does your writing always make sense?
Make sure you are happy for people to read your writing!
Here at The Safe House we will give you feedback to support you in what you are creating!