Friday, 17 June 2022

Your writing comes true

Creation, God Finger, Clouds, Light

Write about this occurring   - and hope it doesn’t happen while you’re writing this time! Maybe you’re writing about a storm and it starts thundering and pouring with rain outside.  Maybe someone who is just like one of your characters moves into your neighbourhood.  Or maybe your crime novel helps solve an actual case.  

Writers are good sleuths anyway

We know how to observe. We watch people all the time. We can’t help ourselves.  We look for the stories behind what we see.  Why is that young woman crying as she talks to the older man sitting opposite her? How did the old woman sleeping in the doorway of the local supermarket become homeless? How did the local car dealer build up his business?  

Write what you knew in order to find out what you don’t know  

So, for instance, you’re writing about a certain time in history and you know about some of the foods they ate but not about others. What would go with those products? How come they have those and not others we know? Work this all out form you own knowledge of how the world works.

Some near futures

Look at something that is happening now and project it forward. Covid and Monkey Pox may be here to stay. How does that affect day to day lives? Can they be the centres of a story? Climate change can’t be avoided.  How do we adapt the way we live? Can we resolve or reverse it?  The cyber world carries on growing. How will we interact with artificial intelligence?

You are god

We create our worlds. They must have an inner logic but as long as that is there, anything goes. You make the rules. How far can you push your imagination? And a little uncanny: “In the beginning was the Word ….”

Go, write your world and maybe you’ll make it happen.  

Monday, 6 June 2022

The To Do List


Checklist, Clipboard, Pen, Paper

You character is obsessed with to do lists.  They even write down things they have done so that they can cross them off.  This gets them into trouble one day. What is the list about? Do they get many of the things on it done? What happens as a consequence of completing or not completing the list?

Idea for a character

Can you create a character by showing your reader what is on their to do list and how they go about completing each task?

Do they rebel against their list and destroy it when it gets too much?

Or does writing a to do list in fact help them in the end?

You and your to do list

As a writer do you keep a to do list? What’s on it at the moment? Do you use any special software for controlling it? Could you write an article about the business side of writing that includes this element? Maybe you could write a blog post about this or submit it to a writing magazine?  

Script idea

Could the items on a to do list create the scenes in some sort of script? How could you insert dramatic tension into doing this?    

Coping with to do lists?

How about ordering your list in terms of what is interesting useful, fun, important and urgent?

Monday, 23 May 2022

The Story of the Shoes


Shoe, Old, Abandoned, Frayed, Used

You take a walk in the spring along a dried-up river bed in a hot country.  You see hundreds of abandoned shoes, sometimes in pairs sometimes not.  What’s the explanation? How do you find out? Who do you meet in the process?

Article ideas

Find out why people abandon shoes. Can you explore the benefits and dangers of walking without shoes? Or discuss the type of shoes for walking along a dry river bed?

Poetry ideas

Find a picture of some abandoned shoes and write an ode to them. Write verses to the people who abandoned the shoes. Write about the shoes themselves. Think of the colours, textures, and shapes.

Script ideas

Perhaps a two-hander of two people walking a river-bed (radio play?). One of your characters abandons their shoes. Why?  What is the relationship between the two people? Are they changed by the end?

Story ideas

Your characters come across the shoes and form their own ideas about what’s happened.  They ask various other people and get many different explanations. They finally find out the truth which is surprising. How does this change them?  How do they grow?             

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Urban disaster


Fireman, Firefighter, Rubble, 9 11, Disaster

Something major goes wrong where you live that makes you have to leave home in the middle of the night. Perhaps there is a flood, an explosion or a major fire. What is the evacuation like? Who do you meet? When and how are you allowed back to your homes?  What happens in the aftermath?

Article ideas

Start off  the most significant issue and report it with a bit of colour – use the senses, perhaps capture the drama, talk about the people

Now report any verifiable facts.

Add some quotes from experts.

Discuss any moral dilemma.

Come back with some more colour.

Poetry ideas

Work with the senses, describe the physical event,  can you capture the emotions?

Script ideas

Perhaps write a script from a rescuer’s point of view. Is there a sub plot? Is this incident part of something bigger and does the incident uncover this.

Fiction ideas

What does your protagonist learn through the incident? Do they grow? Could you consider writing this story form the point of view of a child? Or would you consider a dramatic monologue?     

Monday, 18 April 2022

Mystery thief

 Cat, Sweet Tooth, Milk Thief, Coffee

Some strange things get stolen – for example, the apples from your tree, bulbs from the garden or milk from your doorstep. You set a trap for the thief – and are very surprised when you find out who it is. Can you come to some sort of arrangement to stop this continuing?

Article ideas

What about when the blue tits first started pecking at the milk bottle tops? Or how to outwit the canniest of squirrels who help themselves to what’s on the bird feeder? Or what about a bit of memoir about the time the lads went scrumping and got into trouble?

Poetry ideas

Could you write something about the thieving magpie? Maybe a poem for a child? What about a story in rhyming couplets, again for children, about a petty thief who gets their comeuppance?

Script ideas

Perhaps a three-hander? The theft causes a rift between the two people who are affected? Catching the thief brings them back together. Or perhaps a two-hander when the thief and the one who has been robbed confront each other? Could you use a bigger cast, something along the lines of An Inspector Calls?

Story ideas

What’s the first thing that happens? Who notices the theft? What do you know about them? How does the situation escalate? Which clues does your protagonist get? Do they finally confront the thief? What happens? How has your protagonist changed as a result of what has happened?     


Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Novel protagonist

 Book, Novel, Read, Reader, Student, Painting, Surreal

Here’s a ready-made story for you.

You are reading a novel and suddenly you find that it could be your story. As you read on the protagonist becomes more and more like you.  You try to find out if this is just a coincidence or if this is deliberate.  You try to track down the writer.  Do you find them? What has happened?  What happens next?

Points to ponder

Who is “you”? Who is the person reading? What are they like physically, intellectually and emotionally? What are their current needs? Why are they reading this particular book at the moment?

The book

What sort of story is it? How does this begin to affect the reader? What about the writer?

How your story develops

When does your protagonist realise there is a similarity between them and the protagonist of the novel they are reading?  How do they fell as they begin to realise?

What makes them decide to do something about it?

How do the first steps go? How many obstacles do they have to overcome in order to meet with the author?

Do they meet the author? Is the author also like them or completely different?

Is there an explanation?

How does the relationship continue?

What has your protagonist learnt about themselves?  

Have fun!