Turn on the radio and take note of the first thing that is mentioned. Use it as the basis for either the start of a story or an entire story – whichever, it should be no more than 500 words. Imagine a character, someone who is central to what the story is about. Try to use clear, vivid language so that your reader can see the character. Use some of the characterisation techniques we have talked about so far.
The first thing I heard was an article about refugees and the response of French right-wing politicians to the Syrian refugee crisis. And so, this.
Continue reading “Start Writing Fiction: Exercise Four”
“Trying to picture the worst place for you to try to write can help you realise what your best venue might be
“Imagine two different venues for writing – one that seems most suited to you, and one that you would find bizarre or too difficult. Write a paragraph describing two writers at work, one in each of the venues”.
Continue reading “Start Writing Fiction: Exercise Three”
Review the notes you’ve collected in your notebook to find a character to develop further.
Pick a character. If you’ve collected, in your notebook, details about people you’ve spotted or spoken to during this week, pick one of these characters. Alternatively, you can pick one of the characters from the opening video.
Write a short character sketch – no more than 200 words – in which you concentrate on appearance and any particular mannerisms you noted.
You will come back to this later so save a copy on your computer or device. Continue reading “Start Writing Fiction: Exercise Two”
I’ve signed up for a ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course with FutureLearn and the Open University. I’m going to be posting my exercises here for posterity.
This is my effort for the first exercise.
Continue reading “Start Writing Fiction: Exercise One”
The three young cats flit from shadow to lengthening shadow as the day’s light fades. Two project an air of casual confidence while the third jumps at every noise and sudden movement, but all three of them are as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Continue reading “Initiation (A “The Secrets of Cats” story)”
As they enter the tunnel the turbulent flow forces Mark and the boy underwater and spins them end over end. He struggles to hold his breath and the lad’s hand, instinctively curling himself up to protect his head from underwater obstacles. What seems like minutes later the flow steadies and he thrashes to the surface, gratefully sucking in greedy lungfuls of dank air. After a moment he realises that the boy isn’t breathing.
Continue reading “One Boy And His Dog (Part Six)”
The toad’s laughter is echoed sycophantically by its smaller brethren and Mark grinds his teeth, his hands curling into fists. “What’s so funny about that?” he asks as the throbbing laughter starts to subside, kicking off another round of batrachian hilarity.
The toad clutches slick wet claws to its abdomen and its mouth gapes for a moment, the boy’s slimy face appearing for a brief moment between its lips. The toad gulps him back and then inflates its throat-sac in a series of pulses that leave it massively distended and almost transparent, giving Mark a good look inside. The boy’s eyes are wild with fear. “Help!” he calls, the sound of his voice strangely muted and distorted. He pounds the membrane with his fists, each blow making a deep bass-drum THUMM. Continue reading “One Boy And His Dog (Part Five)”
Mark has to work hard to extract himself from the chilly water, for the purple grass is slippery and he is freighted with wet clothing. Eventually he grabs big handfuls of the long grass and uses them to pull himself slowly up out of the water. The roots make a tearing sound like Velcro coming undone but hold out long enough for him to finally reach the riverbank. He collapses on his back to catch his breath, his palms tingling with a faint burn. When he looks they’re stained with purple streaks.
Continue reading “One Boy And His Dog (Part Four)”
Mark hits a slight bend and is launched into free-fall, a hoarse scream bursting from him as he flies. Then he’s down again with a thud that makes his coccyx throb and sliding on his rear, his passage eased by the layer of slug-slime that coats the bottom of the tunnel. It’s too dark to see so he closes his eyes; it makes him feel better, somehow.
Continue reading “One Boy and His Dog (Part 3)”
Mark wakes to find himself blind and deaf. He panics for a moment and then realises that his eyes and ears are gluey with drying slug-slime. His mouth is sealed too and he can only breathe through his left nostril. He tries to wipe his face but finds that his arm is stuck to the floor. He panics all over again and thrashes against the muck, panting through his nostril. At last his arm tears free and he digs his fingers into the mask of slime over his face and claws it away. He sucks in a huge breath of air and finds himself taking unexpected pleasure in the simple act of breathing. Continue reading “One Boy and his Dog (Part Two)”