With Halloween a couple of days away, I’ve been exploring my horror film collection. Some of my favourite stories are about witches and vampires, werewolves and demons. I love a good fright.
Try writing a horror story of your own. Use one of the subjects above and have fun. Keep it to 1000 words and see where it takes you.
I’ve been thinking about how we take things for granted. For one thing, the ability to see the world around us. I closed my eye and leaned back in the sofa. I could hear the bell on my cat’s collar. I could smell pizza baking in the oven. The news was on TV and I felt warm wrapped in the quilt my friend Tiffany made for me. If I stretch my legs out, I can feel the edge of the oak coffee table with the tips of my toes.
Try closing your eyes. Write what you feel, sense, hear…be as vivid as you can.
It rained today. As I walked through the park, I remembered a time many years ago when I passed people having a picnic in the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and it began to rain. It didn’t start as a light drizzle, there was no warning. It came, like an uninvited guest to ruin the day. People scrambled around, gathering their things, protecting their food and their portable stereo (yes, it was an old handheld stereo), making their way out the park gate as fast as their converse all stars could carry them.
As I saw them leave, I found a grassy spot beneath a tree and got soaked. I lifted my head to the heavens and closed my eyes, feeling a cold water run down my cheeks and down the back of my neck. In minutes, my clothes were sticking to me and the rain in my eyes made it hard for my contact lenses to focus. It was nice to look at the world through a blur.
I wonder what this group of people were talking about and what they were eating before the rain forced them out. Part of me wishes I had been with them and convinced them to stay. There was something soothing in watching the damp world shimmering around me and I really wishes I had a little glass of their rose with me.
Write about a picnic. Write about one you’ve experienced or make something up about a picnic disrupted by rain. What if the people choose to stay – what happens?
We tend to write what we know. Isn’t that what all creative writing teachers tell their students? I know mine did. Even that is difficult, since we’re often afraid that what we write might be misinterpreted by those we know, or that people will assume what we write is in some way autobiographical. One thing all writers need is imagination and guts. We need to write and not be afraid of what others will think. We need to have faith that the stories we’re telling will inspire imagination in others and what we had in our head when we wrote finds its way into the hearts and mind of others.
Try writing about something you know nothing about. Write about a profession, a place, a person or anything of which you have little or no knowledge. Once you’re written your story, check a few facts if you need to and see if what you wrote make sense or is plausible.
Try another experiment, write about a time in history outside of your own lifetime. Make up the people, the scenery, the customs and clothing. Make it a real time in human history, but use only what little you know from reading, TV and most importantly, your imagination. See what comes out.
So, after an hour and a half session at the gym with a tyrannical personal trainer (he’s worth every penny), I came home, made a light dinner and decided to have an early night. I also thought a little tiny glass of red wine would be a good idea. Wrong….
I now sit with my iPad, a glass of wine, the cat and “Demolition Man” . Oh dear. Have you every had a couple of drinks and sat down to write? Not that I’m advocating drinking and writing, but have you every tried to write when you’re a bit tipsy? It can yield funny or embarrassing results.
Write a story about a drunk individual who pours their heart out on paper when they’ve had a few too many, then have someone find their writings in the morning. What are the results?
Have fun, I’m having more more wee dram.
It has been a while since I’ve written anything here and for that, I apologise. It has been a busy month, between moving house and moving cities, it takes time to find a routine and get one’s bearings. So, after over a month of inactivity (on the blog), here I am.
Today I’d like to discuss change, not just how it affects you, but how the decisions you make affect the lives of others. My decision to move has affected my friends, my family, work colleagues, my cat. It’s a lot of pressure, but you need to follow your instincts and my instincts were telling me that whatever the risk, I needed to do it. I need to take a chance and roll the dice on my future, divert from the plan, no matter how scary.
Write about a significant change in your life. How did it affect the people around you? As alternative, write about a character that moves house and finds something they forgot they had in their cardboard boxes. If you’re still stuck, write a list of all of the major decisions you’ve made in your life (moving house, picking a university, meeting someone unexpected, quitting your job) and pick one. Once you have, write about some of the ripples it caused.