Writing is no more complicated than someone telling a story. Here are two methods to start a story that are pretty effective.
- Immediately, without thinking where it might lead, write approximately three lines that follow on from the phrase ‘Emma/Peter said that …’
When you’ve finished, cut ‘Emma/Peter said that’. Notice how little has been lost.
Emma said that:
Horse meat tasted just like beef.
The rider was on a student visa.
He wouldn’t be missed either.
Peter said that:
He baked bread especially that day
Now the sale would be completed in three days.
The surveyor hadn’t suspected anything.
- Another starting ploy is to begin with ‘I remember’, write three lines to follow on from that phrase. For example: ‘I remember that last week there were thunderstorms. It rained and was grey right up until Friday evening.’ When you delete the initial phrase, you have the start of a story: ‘Last week there were thunderstorms, right up until Friday evening.’
Ideas for a story:
Writers often worry that they won’t be able to think of ideas for a story, but ideas can come from anywhere. We were challenged to turn on the radio and write a story based on what we heard.
So, I tuned into Sunshine FM to hear the song ‘up all night to be lucky,’ followed by ads for a car salesroom and Euro exchange. The DJ was called Chris.
My story: Working the dawn shift on the radio fitted in with his life perfectly. That morning, his regular commute, unencumbered by the bumper-to-bumper traffic of the manic tourist season, took in the winding, Mediterranean coastline as the sun rose, coating the horizon in a husky amber hue.
Each day after his morning show, DJ Chris would leave the station and head for the beach-bar, serving juiced veggies and fat-free dishes to the bronzed ‘wannabe famous’ brigade. He envied their toned abs and bulging biceps, grateful for the baggy t-shirt the bar company made all staff wear. and which covered a multitude of sins.
Two of his three jobs were over by mid-afternoon, and left him free to indulge his passion.
But not today.
Chris Cofton was preparing to flee.
He threw his tattered cap, steeped in sweat from the midday sun, onto the shiny, burgundy leather back seat of his grandpa’s pride and joy – his 1955 Austin A30 in duck-egg blue – now regarded as a classic motor and Chris’ greatest treasure. Getting rid would break his heart, but it was only temporary. He’d be back to reclaim it when the dust settled.
Kicking the sand from his bare feet he retrieved his greying trainers from a transparent plastic bag in the boot. The musty stench hit him full on, ‘Yes, Mum, I know – should’ve sprayed ’em with Febreze first’ he thought and chuckled as his Mum’s face came to mind. She’d died many years before, but as his sole parent, she’d been a dominant force in his life – along with his Grandpa.
‘They’d understand’ he said, ‘I only did what had to be done.’
Chris’ passion took him to the local casino, one of many that had popped up along the coast in recent years, a consequence of the arrival of reckless tourists with money to burn. He didn’t gamble – that was a fool’s game. It was the opulent decor and grandeur that enticed him through those doors each afternoon. He knew others felt the same way too.
Consequently, his afternoon bingo sessions had been a great success, thanks to those less well-off visitors who longed to set foot inside the infamous den of iniquity, but who came short of the financial requirements to get them into the serious gaming rooms.
It had been Chris’ idea and the company had given him a trial period to prove its worth. Now, his ‘experiment’ was about to be franchised throughout the chain and Chris was on the verge of joining those wealthy clients himself.
But that was before he witnessed the ‘incident’.
Last night his finances had received a major boost of fifty thousand euros. Nowhere near the amount he would have earned had the franchise been finalised, but it was enough for his current needs. ‘Reward for a job well done’ was how detective described it. His evidence had been instrumental in bringing one of the Costa’s most notorious gang leaders to justice.
Now, he had to disappear and Grandpa’s car was too conspicuous for his escape.
Week Three – Editing is your friend! Well,we shall see – I wait to be converted.