Larry Brook, trainer and MAI board member, led writer workshops in several Asian countries last year. He shares about his Indonesia workshop here:
We’re driving to Puncak in the Bogor Mountains outside of Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s time for the writer workshop organized by Robby Chandra of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
I worked with this same group of writers six months ago – we’re like old friends. Merry is a dynamic Javanese woman, the fourth pastor of a church of 7,000. Rinto, a city slicker and pastor from Jakarta, is mischievous and witty. Roy is suave. As I teach, he sits at his computer, typing in Indonesian, which reflects on the wall through an LCD projector.
As an experiment, I try a new Writing Map “Perfect 7 on 1” (Seven paragraphs on one subject). In this map, you write seven paragraphs on one concrete object (lizards, lipstick, etc.). Each paragraph has a unique function: Paragraph 1 is facts about the object. Paragraph 2 must expand on the final fact given in Paragraph 2. Paragraph 4 is a third-person narrative, Paragraph 5, first-person, etc.
These writers are gifted and because of previous training, quick to follow prescribed format. Still, they struggle with this new map. “Why does Paragraph 3 have to focus on history?” “Why can’t Paragraph 1 feature a first-person narrative instead of facts?” I explain that this map, like others, is precise – and I know it works.
The experiment is a success. Writers are a step closer to internalizing the formal function of each writing element in relation to the whole. My helper Saeby copies the articles from each laptop or I-Pad onto a memory stick, and we publish a booklet: Lipstick, Beards, Bananas and More: Articles by 17 Indonesian Christian Writers.
The bananas or mustaches, coffee, square shapes or water engage the reader – and because of format, each article leaves room for a striking Christian message.
>>Read Larry’s sample article, “My best friends are Lizards,” using this writing exercise.