Bricolage – a prompt from David Swann

Dave Swann had lots of interesting things to say at the launch of Season of Bright Sorrow at the Flash Fiction Festival on January 8th. We’re very happy that he has agreed to run a half hour session on The Fibonacci method of writing at the March 26th festival day, showing how he used this in one of his stories. In the meantime, we are including some more of the prompts he kindly sent to us which inspired more stories in the novella.

Bricolage. (‘Do it yourself’, in French). Here, the writer works as a beachcomber, picking up fragments, like Mr Flook in my novella. (Jude says: Throughout Season of Bright Sorrow there are fascinating short list pieces showing what Mr Flook finds on Morecombe beach. Here’s the first piece below):

In the bag

One straw hat.
Two mermaid’s purses.
Sea-glass (blue).
Two lengths of barbed wire.
Copper coin or token (unidentifiable).
Many plastic bottles, many bags.
Child’s hair band.
Whelk shell (broken), plus egg-cases (attached).

So go out into the street and either collect or photograph, say, ten fragments that you come across (litter, pebbles, leaves, etc.) Then lay them out before you and write a flash, or a series of flashes, that use your ‘beachcombing’ as props in a narrative chain. On p.60 of Season of Bright Sorrow, you’ll find an Outsider Artist working as a bricoleur.

For another example, see Outsider Environments Europe: Willem van Genk, Busstation Arnhem/Arnhem bus station ( For those who are interested in finding out more, Jarvis Cocker made a brilliant series about Outsider Art.

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