Autumn has arrived! Over the next few months, we’ll be giving our blog a boost with a new monthly post, where you’ll get the chance to try out some of our writing exercises and hear more about what we’ve debated in our meetings. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep updated.
Let’s kick off with some fresh new writing! During one of our September meetings, we tried out a quick writing exercise which I’ve titled ‘I Am’.
Ready to try it yourself? Grab your notepad and pen, and give yourself ten minutes on the clock. You can write as much or as little as you want. Ready, steady, go!
‘I Am’: September Writing Exercise
Complete the following sentences:
- I am your …
- I have come to tell you …
- You must …
Okay, take a breath and relax! How did you find that – easy or difficult? Did you surprise yourself with your imaginative response? Post your results in the comments. We’d love to hear how you got on!
At Lockerbie Writers, we do this sort of writing exercise regularly. The challenge is to produce on the spot with a strict time limit. It’s fantastic to watch the cogs going as everyone around the table tries to work out what to write … but everyone always ends up with something, and here’s the proof. Several members have been brave enough to share their writing exercises with you. They’ve had a chance to edit them after the meeting, but each piece remains close to the original exercise produced during those frantic ten minutes of scribbling. Enjoy!
‘I Am Your Worst Nightmare’
By Paula Nicolson
I am your worst nightmare. Yes, your pet gerbil. I have come to tell you to stop feeding me those cheap and out-of-date pumpkin seeds; I prefer the lot you got from Marks and Spencer. Oh, and stop dressing me up as Hunca Munca from that Beatrix Potter book; the other gerbils keep poking fun at me.
By Steph Newham
They shifted along the sides of the Foxhole as I dropped down, my boots sinking into the stinking mud floor of the trench.
“You all OK?” No one answered, a cigarette glowed bright as someone inhaled deeply, the strains of humming from further along the trench drowned the breathing of the men huddled near where I had landed.
“Right lads,” I squared up, thrust my chin out, said, “You can forget Pigeons, Gerry blew the lot, none left fit for service. I’m your messenger.” I forced a chuckle. ” Not as swift and full of sh*t you say, well listen on. I came to tell you it went t*ts up, we failed; that Luftwaffe raid you heard last night flattened the place …” I paused, tried to put a smile into my voice…”so we’re sunk”.
The stinking mud excreted gas into the silence. A match flared, sulpher got sucked in. I watched two glow worms nod to each other. “Yup, up the Swannee, sunk, no paddle lads. Bleeding sunk.”
“You all hearing me?” I demanded of the silence. my question answered by the creak of timbers as men shifted their positions. “It’s every man for himself.” I pictured the parachutes, pale jellyfish in a jet sea, heard the barrack of fire, shivered.
“Backups hanging from the bloody trees, you’re on your own boys.” I stared at the glowing tip of a fag, wished I’d got one, said, “So that’s it, you’re on your own, over you go, one at a time …”
With a searing roar the glow worms were sucked into the mud.
‘I Have Come To Tell You …’
By Angela Haigh
I still recall it as if it was yesterday, though in fact it happened back in 1994. The family had gone to visit my parents for a few days. It was the summer holidays and my youngest child, my son, had turned 10 three days ago.
I had taken our children swimming at the local pool – it had a wave machine and we had had great fun, but now we were back at my parent’s house. I was enjoying a cup of tea and a natter with Mum and Dad, while the three children, one by one, decided to spend some of their pocket money at the shop across the road.
The door bell rang – I assumed it was my husband who had gone elsewhere while we were swimming.
“Are you Andrew’s mum? I have come to tell you …..”
I interrupted: “Oh what’s he been doing now?” I asked in exasperation.
“No, you don’t understand. He’s just been run over. He was thrown into the air.”
I still recall it as if it was yesterday.
‘A Nice Holiday’
By Kerrie McKinnel
“Oh, good morning. I am your manager here at the hotel – are you enjoying your stay so far?
“I have come to tell you … well, the thing is, I know we guarantee secure parking in the hotel brochure, but … well. I think the best thing is to go and look for yourself.
“Oh, come now. I suppose you’re bound to feel a little nervous now I’ve said all that, but please, try not to worry. I’m sure it’s nothing a good welder can’t fix.”
If you enjoyed having a go at this writing exercise, please share your story in the comments.
Don’t forget to check back next month for another blog post from Lockerbie Writers. See you then!
About the Writers
Paula Nicolson is a scientist by day, but a writer by night. She loves creating poetry and making up stories for her daughter, and finds her inspiration from the Dumfries and Galloway countryside, contemporary art and her eccentric family history. Paula hopes her stories and poetry will bring a smile to your face and fire the imagination of children. Paula also writes a blog on life in Dumfries and Galloway which can be found at: www.facebook.com/deckywriting
Steph Newham took up writing when she retired from the NHS. She did a Cert in Creative Writing followed by an MA at Lancaster University. She is currently working on a collection of Short Stories as well as a historical novel. She is chairperson of Lockerbie Writers and a member of Powfoot Writers. She has had articles published in newspapers and short stories in an anthology and on-line e-zines. She enjoys running workshops and encouraging others to develop their writing skills.
Angela Haigh is a retired science teacher who worked in both Yorkshire and Cumbria. From being an avid reader, her writing interest developed and began more seriously from 2005. She had a daily blog running for a number of years with the News and Star, and joined an international online writing group together with a local one at Eskdalemuir. She has achieved some success with short stories in online writing competitions. Angela has so far completed two books of a trilogy, which developed simply from a personal writing challenge. She joined the Lockerbie group early in 2014.
Kerrie McKinnel is a writer and student of the University of Glasgow’s MLitt Creative Writing. In 2016, her writing has been published in magazines including Gutter and From Glasgow to Saturn. In March, one of her poems was awarded third place in the University of Glasgow’s Alastair Buchan Prize, and she recently compiled, edited and published Lockerbie Writers’ Anthology on behalf of her local writing group. Kerrie writes a blog about her experiences of writing and her upcoming publications, which can be found at: http://www.kerriemckinnel.wordpress.com