Time for a cup of tea? The sun is out and lockdown is easing so we are slowly getting back to some normality. But we are still very distanced so I’ve been considering how to shake things up a bit!
I have recorded an exercise for you so you can listen to me instead of reading!! You’ll get this by email from Hazel.
We’ve been doing short stories and poems for a while now so I thought I’d post up a challenge this week. As always, if you are confused ask me on email, if it’s not inspiring maybe try the exercise on the recording or just consider the picture below and let that spark something.
You are going to write a story in three scenes that spans a long period of time – how long is up to you. The scenes are going to be a beginning (we see the scene of a character in an ordinary world but something happens), a middle (the thing that happens causes a problem for the main character that they have to overcome) and an end (the character does overcome the obstacle – or not. It’s up to you.)
Each scene starts in the same PLACE but a different TIME. In between the scenes something has happened that causes the story to move forward.
This picture is of London in 1940 next to London in the 2000s.
eg. Scene 1 Front room in a small house, 1930 . Mary got in the tin bath, shivering as her mother poured water over her. ‘Stop messing,’ she said but the words were covered by coughing. Her mother wasn’t well, Mary knew that, but this time she dropped the bucket and water spilled over the floor. The landlord had no sympathy for the orphan child and Mary determined one day she would own the house.
Scene 2. Front room, the same house, 1964. Mary had her hair in curlers but young Bill from the butchers was knocking at the door. What was he doing here? She had her answer as her daughter came running down the stairs in tiny ankle socks and a skirt half way up her legs. ‘My mother would turn in her grave seeing you like that!’
Scene 3. Front room, the same house, 1984. Christmas wasn’t Christmas without Mary’s turkey dinner. The whole family gathered on the sofa’s toasting her as she worked away in the kitchen, still in charge.
This isn’t perfect by any means, but you can see the idea I hope! Best of luck and let your imaginations run wild – it doesn’t have to be set in a house, in London, or anywhere. Just free write by describing the scene and let your creativity take care of the rest. All the best Rachel x
In a nice coincidence, Adeline has written a story about a telephone box that shows us how changes can be hopeful even if they seem drastic at the time.
RED TELEPHONE BOX
Once upon a time I stood proudly on the corner of a street in Hampstead. I was freshly painted bright red, and my many windows gleamed in the morning light. I even had a crown emblazoned on the fascia at the top front of my box. Inside was the public telephone with a slot to take coins. I had visitors galore from early morning until the wee small hours. Whenever anyone needed to make a telephone call they came to visit me with their pennies to put in the slot. They dialled the number and were able to speak to friends, employers, Doctors, Dentists. They could make appointments, arrange meetings, ring home to family in other parts of the country. Sometimes there would even be a queue outside as so many people wanted to use my phone box to make their calls.
Over the years the number of people coming to visit me started to diminish. New technology meant that phones became mobile and almost everyone had a personal phone and no longer needed to come out to wait their turn to use my services. I was no longer freshly painted with shining windows. I became shabby. People started sticking Escort services and Massage postcards on my walls. Occasionally the odd person who was ‘caught short’ and needed a toilet used my floor to relieve themselves. My windows got broken, the phone was smashed, my paint became peeling and faded. Rumours started to abound that I might be removed from my corner and put on the scrap heap.
Then something unexpected and exciting happened. In 2015 the traditional red phone box was voted as one of the greatest British designs of all time. We have been added to the listed building register. Tourists love to take photos of their friends and families standing beside me. Many councils rent phone boxes out for various uses. I have become a small and popular coffee kiosk. Others are being used as small swap libraries, florist shops, even small art galleries. Many contain defibrillators.
So, once again I stand proud and useful in my street in Hampstead. I will not be going anywhere anytime soon.