By Kerrie McKinnel
This is the second in a series of special blog posts in the run-up to the publication and launch of our first book, Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology: Stories and Poems from Annandale and Eskdale.
Here, Kerrie reflects on the inspiration behind her short story, ‘Night’, which features in the book.
“I run until I’m sure he isn’t following in the car, and then stop, hands on knees, panting. Darkness surrounds me. The rain is invisible against the black sky but I can feel the cold drops tingling on my skin.
(Extract from: Kerrie McKinnel, ‘Night’ in Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology: Stories and Poems from Annandale and Eskdale (2016, Publication details to be announced), pp.41-43.)
What on earth do I know about rivers? That was my first thought when Lockerbie Writers decided that the prompt for the next meeting would be ‘The River Annan’. I had a fortnight to produce 300 words on it, but really, what did I know except that they were wet and cold?
Brainstorming a fortnight later (having, of course, left it until the night before to write something), I thought of all the times I’d walked along the banks of the River Annan. I’m lucky enough to live near it; in winter, when the trees are bare, I can see the river from my kitchen window. There had to be something I could write about. It was past 9pm, the house silent except for the November rain battering on the windows. If only it was summer and I could walk down to the river for inspiration, I thought with a smile, knowing I’d be drenched before I’d stepped off the doorstep.
And then, it came to me – the image of a woman slipping and sliding her way down the river bank, not caring about the dark or the rain because … well, you’ll just have to read the story and find out.
This is what I love about prompts. At Lockerbie Writers, we choose one at the end of each meeting, and most of them get a few laughs or raised eyebrows as everyone wonders what on earth they’ll find to write about – but the truth is, everybody can find a link to their own knowledge if they daydream about a topic for long enough. Often it’s the most obscure of prompts which produce the best writing.
‘Night’ can be read in full in Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology: Stories and Poems from Annandale and Eskdale, due to be released in April 2016. For publication and launch updates, please subscribe to this blog, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
About The Author
Kerrie McKinnel is a writer and student of the University of Glasgow’s MLitt Creative Writing. In 2015, her writing was included in two anthologies, and her poem, The Enchanted Forest, featured in a sound installation during the Dumfries Christmas Lights Switch-on. Her fiction is inspired by beaches and forests, dog-walking and chocolate, and the occasional fleeting memory of what life used to be like before board books and toddler tantrums.
Kerrie lives in rural south-west Scotland with her husband and son. She recently completed the first draft of her debut novel.
Kerrie writes a blog about her experiences of writing and her upcoming publications, which can be found at: http://www.kerriemckinnel.wordpress.com