Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Fitness Challenge


A group of friends decide to get fit.  But it poses all sorts of problems. Do they overcome these problems? Do they get fit? If they do, will they be able to maintain their new-found healthy ways?


Your characters

Will you have one central character or is there an opportunity to have the viewpoints of two or more characters?

For each character think about what their motivation is for this and what are the challenges. E.g. mother of the bride wants to get slimmer for the forthcoming wedding but she’s terrified of going to the gym. 

Identify their wants and needs and their hopes and fears.


Story line   

Where will you start the story? What will grab your reader’s intrust? Which challenges will your characters face? How will things come to a head? What will cause tension in the climax? How will it all resolve?



Is there room for humour in this piece? Could this be a cosy small town story? Is there a place for a darker side? Could one of your characters become addicted to exercise or fail miserably and achieve none of their goals? Even make things worse?



Before you start think very carefully about your reader.  Now write as if you’re speaking as a good mate to this person you’ve identified.      

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay 

Friday, 28 May 2021

Accidental hero


Your protagonist does something good without intending to.  S/he reckons that everybody would have done the same.  Now s/he carries the burden of that good deed.  How does it change them?


Note: you don’t need to write copious notes for what follows but you need to give each section some thought.  You can, of course, write copious notes.  


You protagonist

What do you know about this person physically? What do they look like? Which actor might play their part once your story is made into a film?

What is their age and background?

What are they like intellectually? Which were their good and bad subjects at school?  What are they good at now?  What is their line of work?  Which television programmes do they like? Which newspaper, if any, do they read? If they don’t read a newspaper how do they get their news?

What is their personality like? What is their greatest desire? What is their biggest fear?


The other characters

Who are they? Maybe think friend, enemy, mentor but give them as much thought as you give your main character.   



Where does this all take place?  When does it take place? Is it now or on the past or future? Your setting is as important as your characters.


Story line

What happens? Plane crash? Burning building? Someone drowning? A child falling from a moving train? Someone stopping a bank robbery? If these ideas are uninspiring, take a look at your local newspaper for some new ones.  

Maybe your protagonist “refuses the call” at first. What me? I don’t / can’t do that.  


Is the rest of the story about the heroic act and how your protagonist eventually comes to perform it or is it about the consequences of what they do?


Remember anyway:

Inciting incident

Growing complexities





Have fun!


Sunday, 9 May 2021

Animals in unusual places


The pandemic has caused some diminishment in human activity. This has caused animals to get closer to us:

  • Goats came down form the mountains in North Wales
  • Wild boar roamed the street in Barcelona
  • We’ve had a crane and a kestrel in out north Manchester garden
  • Many people have become more aware of nature in their garden and of bird song in particular

Here are some ideas of some things you might write in response to this:

·         Try writing form the animal’s point of view.   

·         Tell the story of a human encountering one of these animas- perhaps you have your own story to tell or you might figure out one that includes animals different from the ones mentioned above.

·         What about if the pandemic got worse and because society started breaking down the animals escaped from the zoo? Maybe you or your protagonist could befriend that animal. How does the friendship form? How does it grow?

·         Is this going to be part of the new normal? Are we going to live closer to animals? Is there some irony there as isn’t one theory about how the pandemic started that we were getting too close to another species?

·         Have you kept some sort of diary about the pandemic? Or could you create a fictionalised one that makes note of some changes in nature caused by the pandemic?

·         Tell the story of a human who rescues an animal or of an animal that rescues a human.

·         Does this give us the opportunity to rewild? Could you write an article about that? Or a story about someone who decides to make that happen.

·         Read up about your local wildlife centre and write an article about the wildlife in your area. Don’t just paraphrase what you read.  Go out there and look for yourself and then write your article from a personal point of view.

·         What is the most dramatic encounter you have ever had with an animal? Tell that story. 

Image by Igor Lukin from Pixabay 

Friday, 16 April 2021

Orchid Day


Orchids are extremely beautiful and unusual flowers. They grow in a different way from other flowers and they need a different sort of care from other plants. For instance, they do not have a usual root.

By the way, there are 25,000 documented types of orchid.

Do they have magical properties in your story?

Do their unusual qualities cause other unusual things to happen?

Is there any finance involved? Does this spark a story about rival orchid growers?  

How can you make use of the senses in writing about orchids? Maybe you should go and be in the presence of orchids in order to write about them.  

There are some very interesting orchids that look like other things: e.g. the owl orchid, the naked guy orchid and the monkey orchid. They also have the symmetry of a human face – this might be a part of their appeal.  

Vanilla comes from a type of orchid. The pearls of some orchids can be added to salads. However, what might happen if someone chose the wrong sort of orchid?

On the whole, orchids do not cause allergies.

Orchids can live forever with proper care.  Can they become family heirlooms? What happens to the person who kills off an orchid that has lasted for generations?  

Could a partner’s obsession with orchids cause a rift in a relationship?

It generally takes a lot of patience to grow an orchard. This could create a whole story arc.

Different orchids have different smells. These range from rotting flesh to chocolate.  Could this aid your detective in your cosy crime story?  


Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Fairies at a Christening


Do you remember what the good fairy said? “She won’t die but she’ll sleep for a hundred years.” She couldn’t completely reverse what the bad fairy had done but this helped.

Who are all of the fairies that arrive at a christening? What do they bring to the child? How does this work out in the subsequent life?

Take one of your characters: what are all of the influences on him / her?  The genes they were born with?  The way their parents were? What happened at school?  People they met in their life? Who was the most influential?

Or the fairies who were at their christening? What has been the greatest influence on your character?

Now write your story from the point of view of the fairy. Which gift did she bestow? How did this work out in the life of your protagonist? Does it counter or work with the other gifts? What does she watch him do? Does he interfere if things start to go wrong? Or does she let him be the master of his own life?

Have fun!   

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay