In 2005 I did two things that changed my life. I started going to a drop-in creative writing class run by Edinburgh Council and I joined Edinburgh Writers’ Club. As well as meeting lots of lovely people I discovered a whole new world of writing prompts and exercises.
Although I’ve subsequently (and with no little thanks to both these organsiations) had a novel, four magazine serials, and around seventy short stories published, I still go to both the class and EWC and it’s still a thrill to get a great writing prompt to respond to.
So when it came to writing a fifth People’s Friend serial I decided to move from my previous locations in rural Scotland* and set it in a writing group in a fictional town in the north of England (in my mind, it’s near Alnwick).
In my writing class there can be up to eighteen people and more than that at an EWC meeting but of course I couldn’t have that many in a story.
So it was fun to think of a reason why the class would be small (it’s migrated to Jess’s house when funding is withdrawn from it being held in a library) and to dream up the attendees, Tina, Madeleine, Clarissa and Neil, and decide on their varying reasons for joining, and of course their lives when they’re not being ‘Saturday Scribblers’.
I’ve found in real life that everyone responds differently to a writing prompt and personalities emerge so that turned out to be a good way for the characters (or some of them anyway … ) to find out more about each other.
I was delighted with the illustration (see above) for the first instalment (in issue dated 17 April) and (I have a subscription so get an early copy) here’s a sneak preview of the second.
* my first four serials are now available on Kindle; the first three are in a ‘boxset’ Kindle edition and in large-print library editions: