Drabble or Novel – the pain is the same.

Thanks to Debs and Kath for their contributions to this months blog; it’s their strong imagery that set me pondering: when we write we are using our own, very personal peculiar imaginary ideas and images. But every person who reads our writing will interpret the words in their own individual way.  So, the intended meaning is ours alone, but once let loose a single story may fragment into many versions, each a shade different, dependent on the life experiences and mind-set of its reader.

 An awesome thought: that the story, which we have shaped to convey our personal message, can and does kaleidoscope out of our control to be taken into the mental meshes of unknown readers.  It does not remain one story, it becomes many; our readers’ stories.

 To launch a piece of work – be it novel, poem, or drabble – is a brave move. It can be painful putting your work out into the world for others to judge. But once released we have given it away to make its own way as best it can – time to move onto the next one, time to continue the hard work of writing.

 I still feel sick when I send a piece of fiction on its journey. I hope in time this will pass. Now I’m wondering how others feel. Have any of you found ways to overcome this fear, or do you still struggle?  Meanwhile I hope you enjoy these two gruesome drabbles.

Rag Doll

Elizabeth’s vision adjusts to the sunlight filtering through gaps in the timbered roof.

How many years has she been locked away? One Hundred? It seems so, from the date on a piece of yellowed newspaper lining the mouse’s nest.

Six blind pinkies, tails writhing, wait for mother’s return. She lies still, trapped in the jaws of a wooden contraption.

Elizabeth is also trapped; fingers grasp her neck, the back of her dress cut open. Straw is removed, a hand slips inside.  A child-like voice speaks for the doll, say’s

“I never knew I had bones, until you found me.

Kath J Rennie



The squeaking rattle of the gurney’s wheel was my first indication that something was wrong. The second was the whir of the drill. I wasn’t asleep, I could hear and feel everything! Why didn’t they know! why didn’t one of those newfangled machines warn them of my consciousness!

As the surgical light bled through my eyelids, turning their backs into a glowing map of veins, I begged for mercy – prayed someone would hear me, prayed they’d notice a twitch. An irregularity. The tear nestling at the crease of my eye. Anything! Anything, but that pain, that stench of cauterised flesh.

Deborah Redding

July’s prompt is ‘COCOA’  the same as for our next group meeting. Please get your submissions to me by 28th July.  Anyone outside the group can send their drabbles to me at steph25@talktalk.net, subject Drabbles.

Hello Drabblers!

Hello Drabblers! Steph here, attempting to slip into Kerrie’s slot until she is ready to step off the baby production line and return to wordsmithing. Congratulations to all who sent Drabbles for May. A surprisingly diverse selection, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you’re all going to do with my first prompt.

You can’t explain much in a Drabble (a 100 word story) so be prepared to let the reader work hard; you need to establish that reader/writer collaboration at the outset. Many writers find it easier to write more than they need in order to discover where the story starts. Others prefer to dive right into the heart of the story. Either way, with only 100 words available, some paring back seems inevitable. Enjoy!

 So here’s Junes prompt  to be sent to me by 28th June  – ‘I never knew I had bones until…’


Castle Loch Writing Workshop

On Wednesday 31 May 2017, Lockerbie Writers were lucky enough to visit Castle Loch once again – but this time, we opened up the invite to writers everywhere! The event was fully booked, and excitement levels were high amongst our little writing group as we prepared for the big day.

On arriving at Lochfield Cottage, the weather was perfect: sunshine (but not TOO hot!), and the cottage surrounded by the beautiful scenery that we remembered from our event there in 2016 (click here for more details).

The day began with several writing exercises designed to help loosen everyone up and get those creative juices flowing. Writing exercises were delivered by Lockerbie Writers’ members Steph Newham and Kerrie McKinnel, whilst Darren Flint of Castle Loch provided an interesting and informative talk on the area’s history and geography.

Castle Loch provided an interesting and welcoming venue, perfect for our group of twenty, and with so many opportunities to spend time outside. For more information on Castle Loch, click here.

After a delicious lunch provided by Pink Flamingo Vintage Tea Room, the group headed outside to enjoy the sunshine. Darren spoke about the local wildlife and then led a guided walk into the woods to help inspire our writers for their afternoon session, while some participants chose to remain at the cottage and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Afterwards, it was back to the cottage to brainstorm about what we’d just experienced. The focus was on the use of every sense to paint as full a picture as possible – smells, sounds and textures were all noted. The group then settled down to one final writing exercise inspired by everything they’d seen and heard during the day.


The workshop finished in high spirits as everyone headed for home feeling proud of what they’d achieved, and having enjoyed the rousing discussions and supportive feedback provided by other writers. It had been a varied group with many participants who were happy to read out their work as we went along, which made for a fascinating experience for all of us.

Participants were invited to edit and polish any of the work which had come out of the workshop, to be sent to lockerbiewriters@hotmail.com by 30 June 2017. This work will be compiled and displayed on this blog page, and at the cottage at Castle Loch. Watch this space!

Thanks again to everyone who attended. It was a fantastic day, and we can’t wait to start planning the next one!

Children’s Short Story Competition


Deadline: Sunday 27 August 2017

Do you know a child aged 5 to 13 years old who likes to write?

Here’s the challenge – in 500 words, can they make up a story inspired by Lochmaben’s Castle Loch?

We have some fantastic prizes on offer kindly donated by Waterstone’s and Tesco, with winners and runner-ups in two age categories. In addition, to celebrate the very first children’s writing competition to be run by Lockerbie Writers, the group are funding a trophy for the overall winner. Our hope is to make this an annual event and to have the trophy passed on through generations of young and aspiring writers.

What are you waiting for? The only limit is your imagination …

Full details including entry form – http://www.castleloch.org.uk/


Writing Challenge Results – May 2017

Last month, Lockerbie Writers gave you another photograph prompt, and once again you rose to the challenge! I’m delighted to be able to share some of the best entries with you now.

Enjoy – and if you like them, please remember to share!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say an enormous THANK YOU to everyone who has been inspired by the writing challenges over the last three months, whether or not you got around to writing something and sending it in. The idea has been to connect with writers everywhere and provide a platform for celebrating new writing, and I think that’s what we’ve done. I’m now passing the blog across to Lockerbie Writers’ chair Steph Newham, but I will be keeping an eye on these blog posts every month, and I look forward to seeing what new work it produces. Happy writing everyone!

Inspired? Keep an eye on the blog or our Facebook page for details of our June Writing Challenge, and to find out how you could see your own writing here on our blog.

Missed the original post? Click here for more information.

Challenge: Write a story (in 100 words of less) which is inspired by this photograph.

13-12-13 01 Little fingers holding onto daddy

Two Halves of One Whole by Deborah Redden

I loved you before I saw you. Imagined your face, your eyes, your cheeks. I even thought I heard you once; convinced I heard you whisper whilst resting. I could be wrong, of course, I’m so tired these days. But I am, in effect, a growing machine, so I suppose that’s to be expected.

The day I met you was a strange one; a magical concoction of fear and excitement.

The room was so bright and busy. I never expected such pressure, such endless commotion! Did you, Mummy? I’m amazed by what we achieved…we make an awesome team, don’t we?


The Ultimate Conception by Kath J Rennie

The race has begun and we’re off

Nameless millions try passing me by

Attempting without thought, to succeed:

Many cannot and die.

I swim frantically – for I am strong

I am, the mightiest Sperm of all

Ducking and diving against all the odds

To reach, your enchanting call:

And once reached, my awaiting Ova,

Feel my presence. Accept me in

And we’ll make a beautiful baby or two

Or maybe, we’ll have Quinn’s.


Once Upon a Time by Rosemary Cook

Once upon a time there was an old night-elf named Amethyst, her hair was as purple as a violet, and she sat on a chair by the fire with her granddaughter sitting on her lap. Amethyst took Iona’s hand in her hand and peered over to the window. “One day Iona all this land will be yours.” Iona cooed as she drank out of the bottle.

Years later, Amethyst died and she was buried in the grounds of her castle. Iona grew up to be a lovely night elf with sapphire hair who ruled the kingdom and married a prince.


Spread a Little Magic by Deborah Redden

‘Not another blooper, Pickles!’ Pickles is the name given to me by the other storks, due to my unusually high error rate whilst delivery the babies.

But what my colleagues fail to see is, I don’t make mistakes! I simply deliver the infants to those most in need, those who show love and warmth, those in need of a little magic. Every baby goes exactly where I intend, there are no accidents.

So, next time you’re feeling blue, don’t fret. Simply lift your head skyward or look under the nearest cabbage leaf, because magic is everywhere … you need only look.


Peace and Quiet by Kerrie McKinnel

Liz presses her thumb into the tiny palm; sleeping fingers instinctively wrap around hers. This is peace: snuffly newborn snores and the occasional bubble blown from the baby’s lips.

The front door slams.

“I’m back,” calls Georgia. “How’s the new granny coping?”

Ten minutes later, Georgia and the baby have left. Liz settles back onto her sofa and closes her eyes. The letterbox rattles in the summer breeze. Next door’s dog barks, but only once. The living room clock tick, tick, ticks. Quiet, but no longer peace.


About the Writers

Deborah Redden is the proud mother of two young boys who inspire her everyday. For her, a day without writing/sketching is a rare commodity-ten minutes can always be snatched from somewhere. She has been interested in writing and illustration for as long as she can remember, and attributes a sizeable chunk of her passion in this area to the magical marriage that is, Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

Kath J. Rennie: After a visit to Lockerbie in 1984, Kath decided to move to the town, with her family, finding rural-life more in keeping with her love of nature, which inspired many pieces of published poetry. In 2015, Kath joined Lockerbie Writers’ group, where she was inspired to write short stories and continues to do so … She is a mother of three sons, a step-son and five granddaughters.

Kerrie McKinnel is a writer, and graduate of the University of Glasgow’s MLitt Creative Writing. In 2016, her writing was published in magazines including Gutter and From Glasgow to Saturn. In March 2016, 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