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Writing course: Writing Outside the Box Tracey Waddleton: A Workshop on Edgy Fiction

I had the good fortune to catch a fun and interesting workshop at the Irish Writers Centre ( earlier this week. It was a one-off workshop (normally run as 4-6 sessions) by Tracey Waddleton, a writer from Newfoundland (

The workshop comprised four different activities useful for fighting mental blocks or overcoming one's "inner editor". These included writing an embarrassing incident from the perspective of someone who doesn't like you (I got a bit lost in the voice of the person who doesn't like me on this one), a profanity-strewn manifesto, responding to a photo prompt, and a comedic take on someone inadvertently catching their neighbours in flagrante. Participants were encouraged to read their work out to the group (I dissolved in a fit of giggles while reading one rather puerile piece, and had to throw in the towel).

It was great fun to take part in such an interactive session, as well as a chance to network and meet other writers. It was interesting to note that people had quite different ideas of what edgy fiction was - one person felt it was about pushing one's own boundaries as a writer, whatever that might be. I personally think of edgy fiction as pushing the norms of one's sociocultural milieu, so couldn't help being somewhat amused at an initial warning to "stay in one's lane" in terms of who one represents in fiction. (If you start setting up rules in a class about edgy fiction, don't be surprised if people start to bend them!)

Although the workshop closed on a rather pessimistic note about the difficulty in getting published (and then trying to meet whatever goals you invent for yourself afterwards if you ever do manage to get published), this was an engaging, interactive workshop, that will appeal to writers who want to pick up some techniques for approaching their work in different ways.

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