The Journey of a Story

Four years ago, I had a story idea, and then last year, BAM, it wrote itself! Yes, that’s a lot of brewing time…

It was inspired by a comment from my Creative Writing tutor about his name, Wayne. Eventually, this idea created a ‘spark’ with another idea – someone I noticed in our local skate park. I wrote it for an OU assignment. It needed unusually little editing. I showed it to Mum, having lost trust in my own judgement, and she was shocked when she couldn’t find much wrong with it either. We both wondered if that meant it was too ‘basic’ for MA level. It didn’t help when a fellow-student described the story as ‘good, but a bit lightweight?’ – a comment that has become a bit of an inside joke. (It’s all a question of taste. ‘Wayne’s Name’ is no action thriller, that’s for sure!)

The best stories don’t always Continue reading

Inspired by Those Horse Stories

When I was little and attempting to write something, gazing thoughtfully at a notebook, Grandma asked where I get my ideas from. I replied, ‘From books.’

She laughed.

Yeah…that wasn’t the right response, apparently! I hadn’t communicated effectively. She thought I meant specific ideas; I meant inspiration.

Books inspire me. Stories inspire me – prose, plays, films, verbal storytelling etc. All of it.

At the time when Grandma asked me that question, I was working my way through a box of books leant to me by a family friend – all stories about horses. I devoured them. I was obsessed with the idea of horses generally, even though I had never ridden one and tended to be too scared to even Continue reading

These Are a Few of My Favourite Words

I love words. That won’t surprise anyone, so let’s move on.

Here is a list of some of my favourites, in no particular order. Some I like because of their meanings (‘petrichor’: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather), and with others it’s the way they sound, or how they feel when spoken (guzzle, guzzle, guzzle).

Do you have any favourite words? Do you like them because of their meanings or their sound/feel? Or is it a combination?




Zephyr Continue reading

The Joy of Pointless Activities

I now have quiz apps on my phone. I’ve always enjoyed quizzing but have tried not to do it too often because it’s so addictive! The apps reminded me how much I love learning geography trivia – in particular, capital cities and flags.

Next thing I knew, I had bought a book about flags, and flash cards. It took me a few days to learn the flags of all the countries in the world (well, mostly). It’s fun to discover the meaning behind them, when and why they came into use, and that leads on to Continue reading

I Just Did Something Entirely Pointless

Tuesday 4.9.18

I wrote out my favourite short story by hand. ‘That Colour’ by Jon McGregor, from his collection This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You.

Yellow, lined paper. Feeling the beautiful words come out of my biro.

I used to do this all the time, writing out parts of my favourite books in perfect handwriting, imagining creating their stories, imagining if I copied them down I would be Enid Blyton.

And then I Continue reading

When She Wrote on a Whim…

Mon 23rd Oct: My MA Forum Moderator posted about an opportunity for young people: Electric Read’s Young Writers’ Fiction Anthology 2017. They feature twenty-five of ‘the best young writers in Britain’. I saw that it was a free, email-entry competition, and within five minutes I had submitted a story – the final assignment of my degree Creative Writing module.

I told no one; not even Mum, who I would normally consult and call on for editing advice! I’d only entered one short story competition previously, and didn’t get anywhere – the judge’s comments showed that they weren’t interested in realist fiction. I had no expectations this time.

Tue 14th Nov: I was Continue reading

Stop Being So Certain!

I’m tempted to trust people who don’t claim to know it all. I’m not encouraging people to be vague, or lack confidence, or sit on the fence, but isn’t there sometimes wisdom in uncertainty? How many creative activities and social issues are less certain than people pretend?

I’ve been reading a book called On Writing by A.L. Kennedy, which contains blogs and articles. One of the things that has struck me, aside from her often dark humour about the writing/publishing world, is her reluctance to tell young writers what to do. She does give advice, and is perfectly qualified to do so, but she seems to encourage distrust of her advice and everyone else’s. She suggests. It’s beautifully refreshing.

I love reading ‘how-to-write’ books. I have discovered several that have been incredibly helpful to me as a developing writer, and yet some make me nervous: the ones that lay down the law. They are professional, well-conceived, ‘true’ (or at least contain plausible information), heavily researched, backed by ‘names’ and titles and degrees…They scare the life out of me because they contain more than a sprinkling of ‘my way or the highway’. Last time I checked, Continue reading

My Weird Habits – Part 2

It turns out that I have enough weird habits for a blog-post sequel – no surprise!

Eating strange food – I have been told in the past that some of the things I eat are weird, or even disgusting. I will often eat a tin of tuna on its own, mixed with mayonnaise and ketchup. I used to eat tins of sweetcorn on a regular basis, and still have bowls of cold baked beans with mayonnaise (yes, I love mayonnaise – it should have its own paragraph). There might be an element of laziness in this theme of cold tinned food, but I actually like it as well.

Standing up before I’ve uncrossed my legs – This is a recently-developed weird habit. If I’m sitting down at the computer with my legs crossed (I know I shouldn’t) I have started to uncross them only after I stand up, leaving me precariously balanced on one leg for a moment. I don’t recommend it – I’ve nearly landed on my face a couple of times! Continue reading