Thursday, 30 August 2018

What I did in the holidays - Writing Prompt #8

It's that time of year when children all over Britain are getting ready to go back to school after the long 'hot' summer holidays. Our creative writing group is no different; excited members are probably packing pens and notebooks into their bags as we speak, eager to be writing and sharing their poems and stories once again... 😄

But for those of you who cannot wait until this evening, here's a few little exercises to get your teeth into. Write 250 words on any of the following:

1. What I did in the holidays ... and will never do again.
2. The parcel for my neighbour ... which I accidentally on purpose opened.
3. How I overcame boredom ... and ended up on national TV.
4. A day out with my metal detector ... and how it changed a life.
5. The surprise party ... and the even more surprising present.

Nobody was more surprised than Paddy,
when Sandra turned up in exactly the same outfit.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Write a premise - Writing Prompt #7

The premise is the foundation of your story, a short synopsis of the plot, a statement of intent. 

Your premise needs to contain three things:  the protagonist, the setting, and the crisis/conflict the protagonist is approaching. It should be the thing that makes other people want to read your story, so ideally will also contain an emotional hook. EG Charlie, the three-legged dog, needs to get home to his owner, but the river has flooded and Charlie cannot swim...

A premise is a useful thing to have BEFORE you write a story, because when you get lost (and you invariably will), it's a little reminder of where you started and where you wanted your story to go.

  • Just for fun, try writing 10 potential titles for books you’d like to write. 
  • Now, choose 3 of those titles and write a premise for each book. 
... and then Charlie learned to swim and lived happily ever after.



Friday, 6 July 2018

Meditation on my Emptiness

An emptiness waits for me in the light
For I have been so filled
This gift of emptiness reminds me
Not to hurry from the days of sharing and delight
Into the rote and rhythm of the every day.
I realise the emptiness is not empty
It overflows, with an abundance of memory and joy
It is an emptiness into which I can pour
The full vessel of my emotions
Love and loss,
Love and hope,
Love and beginning,
Love and ending,
Love and……
And then tomorrow, and tomorrow
Can come as they will come
And winds of change will blow
There will be highs and lows
But here, now, I will hold this precious emptiness
In the light
That is ever blessed and ever blessing.


Celia Cartwright © 6/7/18
South Lakes Writers

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Some thoughts about what constitutes a short story...

A short story...
  • Is a snapshot of a life – rather than the whole of it.
  • Should contain the same elements as a novel – characters, plot, story arc, conflict, character development and transformation – but be significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
  • Focuses on just one conflict
  • Will begin as close to the climax as possible; there’s no time for set-up. A novel can afford to take a more meandering path, but a short story must immediately drop the reader into the world of the story.
  • Will end as quickly, and efficiently as it started, often with a twist.
  • Has one point of view
  • Has two, (or three at most), main characters
  • Is set in one place
  • Covers a short period of time – a few hours to a few days.
  • Be anything up to 5000 words long 



What makes a good short story?
  • Interesting character(s)
  • Interesting events
  • Conflict
  • Resolution
  • An emotional response from the reader
  • Humour
  • A structure
  • A twist
  • Ease of language
  • A voice you want to listen to
  • Emotion
  • Originality

Flash fiction stories have no precise length constraints but don't typically exceed 1,000 words. 
Microfiction stories are sometimes defined as having fewer than 300 words
Drabble fiction – stories with fewer than 100 words
Nano fiction – fewer than 55 words
Twitter fiction, aka twitterature – 140 characters maximum

Friday, 1 June 2018

Write a letter ... Writing Prompt #6

Turns out, the wolf isn't the
bad boy he's cracked up to be.
Write a letter to a character from a fairy tale.

  • Think about who are you writing to, and why? 
  • Who are you? (IE the real you, or a character you?) 
  • What is the tone of your letter?

We did this exercise in class last night and had some amazing results. With very little exposition, it was clear who we were writing to, and who we (the authors) were. Even our first draft attempts at this revealed huge back stories we had no idea existed before, helping us understand both writer and recipient, and giving their stories a whole new edge.

Go on, have a go. It's just a bit of fun 😊

Follow up: Write a reply