From a furry friend in Peru, to more writing workshops in Teesside!

Hello Everyone,

Phew! I’m back, made it!  Survived the Inca Trail: four days, three nights (yes, I had to camp!), 45 km, 4200 m above sea level (oh, the air’s thin up there!) and very little of the hiking was on a nice smooth flat surface (think Roseberry Topping x 1000 and you’ll be somewhere close).  But it was exhilarating to have done it and, as you will see from the photo, I made a new friend too.

So now it’s back to reality and, more importantly, back to writing.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be running the workshops at Saltburn, Darlington, Hartlepool and Norton so if you haven’t already booked on them and are hoping to attend please ring the relevant library to secure a place on the workshop(s) of your choice.  Don’t forget that you can attend any session, you don’t have to go to your local one and you can attend different sessions in different places if that suits your best.  Just a quick reminder that session one is on character and plot, session two covers narrative structure and perspective while session three explores writing descriptions and dialogue plus some tips on editing your writing.

I’m sure that many of you are already well underway with your competition entries so feel free to use them as the basis for the activities we will be doing in the workshops.  However, if you are still looking for inspiration then hopefully the workshops will help you generate some ideas.  And of course you can (and should) make the most of any nice weather to get out and about in the Tees Valley to draw inspiration from the places that might well feature in your stories.

And with that advice in mind here is this blog’s writing activity – slightly different to the usual prompt but I hope it will get those imaginations whirring away!

Step 1 – go somewhere (in the Tees Valley) that either you’ve never been to before or haven’t been to for at least 10 years.

Step 2 – find a spot to station yourself (street corner, park bench etc.)

Step 3 – note down: 2 buildings/natural structures nearby, 5 people who pass you, 1 animal you see, the weather, any smells you detect, 2 forms or transport and 1 other random thing

Step 4 – return home and use your notes to create a narrative.  You can tell the story of one the people you observed, or maybe the animal, or one of the forms of transport (the passenger/driver maybe) or even of the building (e.g. what is happening in there that you couldn’t see?)  Use the other notes to vividly recreate the scene and generate some tension and conflict in the narrative.


More soon,


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9 - 19 June 2021