Bonfires, Sparklers and Spent Rockets

On 5th November 2016, I held my first creative writing workshop in conjunction with Lockerbie Writers. I was thrilled to welcome several members of the usual writers’ group, along with a handful of newcomers.

It was a busy morning, as I tried to squeeze as many writing exercises as possible into two hours! Exercises included use of fireworks-themed words and a photograph of a bonfire to prompt pieces of writing.

Thanks again to all of the participants, who enthusiastically attempted all of the exercises. There were some nerves when it came to reading out our work, but there was no need to worry as the quality of writing was superb. I’m already planning a second workshop for the spring. If you’d like more details, please get in touch!

06-11-10 04 Rockets.JPG

After the workshop, several participants continued working on their pieces. They have been brave enough to share their writing with you now. Enjoy!


Melodies of a Firework Night

By Paula Nicolson

Bonfire logs pip, pop and crack to form a rhythm and base.

Giggles and squabbles of children add a melody,

whilst the adults create the lyrics with nods and grins between friends.

The hotness of a mug of tea nestled in my gloved hands

with vocal huffs and puffs to cool it down.

This seems so small compared to the cascade of colours playing out above,

at this family firework night.



The Sunday after Bonfire Night

By David Paterson

On the Sunday after Bonfire night my sister and I would walk with children’s steps the cold braes to Kirk.

The night before, our minds were elevated and exploded. On Bonfire night, the town became family.

Collectively smudged in the smoke of  old burning pianos, grandads’ chairs and a thousand boxes of wind-up gramophone records, a fire that must have been seen on the Moon, a collective warm slap on each and every face.

In the Kirk on Sunday morning, where colour was forbidden and hidden, the cold grey slab slid back into its place.

Making our way home we’d gather fallen rockets and sniff them to our heart.



By Kerrie McKinnel

In this exercise, I had to use three specific words to form a story. My words were “bright”, “wood” and “night”. I enjoyed what I produced, and felt as if it could be the beginning of a longer piece.

After the hot excitement of the night before, the morning was bright and fresh. I knelt down next to the remains of the bonfire. The wood was cold, and crumbled like flour between my fingers.


If you enjoyed reading these pieces, please share your comments below or on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

Thank you again to all the writers who allowed me to reproduce their work here. Each writer holds the copyright to their own piece.


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:

David Paterson was an attendee at the creative writing workshop on 5th November 2016.

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:


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