Tag Archives: creative writing

Mmm peachy. Lord AJPGR Murray confesses.

I’m not a little relieved that my impersonator has been reunited with his plimsolls over night.

The accusatory looks I was getting from my so called neighbours was all getting a bit too much.

“The scent of peach around your legs is a bit of a give away” remarked one local wag, as his dogs kept on sniffing sniffing sniffing around my nether regions.

Just cheap aftershave I explained, trying to shoo them away in the process. The dogs weren’ t listening though and it soon became clear that I would have to take drastic action.

Fetch! I threw my trainers over the railway crossing as the gates came down, hoping those infuriating hounds would leap on to the railway track about the same time that the 15.47 Liverpool train was passing.

Jump they did, fetch they did but true to British Rail form, the 15.47 was 2 minutes late and they were able to bring me back the trainers intact, albeit covered in a slime of dog slobber. I held them up, scrutinised them and held them to my nose. Mmm, still peachy.

I put them back on my feet and marvelled at their perfect fit. My impersonator had clearly done his homework. Quite how he had found out about my size 16 feet is anyone guess – and quite how he thinks he can get around a tennis court carrying those barges at the end of his legs is quite beyond me too but I have to admit, they felt comfortable, well worn in and clearly had many tales to tell about their owners trials and tribulations on the world’s tennis courts.

I luxuriated in them for a bit longer before reconciling myself to the fact that they would need to be returned to their rightful owner, even if he was unwilling to return the title of Wimbledon champion and Sports Personality of the Year to me.

Timing is everything I mused as I posted them through the outsize postbox on the front door of his bungalow. I rang the doorbell and scarpered away as fast as I could back home. I wasn’t in the mood to confront my imposter, even if his plimsolls reminded me of the Algarve.

More insights from Lord Andrew John Paul George Ringo Murray here.

Advice from the NOP Werkshop: how to make a daily micro story funny.

Think of an incident in your life and ask the following questions:

1 How old were you and when did it happen?

2 Where were you? Be specific.

3 Who were you with?

4 What can you see and what can you hear?

5 What are you doing?

6 What are you feeling on the inside?

7 What was the outcome?

Meld and compile these separate lines into a short story of no more than 100 words.

Now do something to it that will make you laugh, chuckle, smile or guffaw. Anything that tickles your funny bones which might be anywhere in your anatomy.

Don’t worry about whether it makes anyone else laugh. It has to make you laugh first of all.

You could do all sorts of things: change perspective, modify the language, make fun of yourself, subvert cliches – the list is probably endless. There are loads of websites out there which will ask you to fork out to join a course to hear the words of wisdom from a humour expert: when the truth is, you know what makes you laugh. And you can bet your life it will make it other people laugh too. As we’re only too fond of quoting William Goldman, ‘No-one Knows Anything”. So you’re in good company!

Voila, your short funny story for the day!

Please feel free to share your stories with us here!

Advice from the NOP Werkshop: how to make a daily micro story.

Think of an incident in your life and ask the following questions:

1 How old were you and when did it happen?

2 Where were you? Be specific.

3 Who were you with?

4 What can you see and what can you hear?

5 What are you doing?

6 What are you feeling on the inside?

7 What was the outcome?

Meld and compile these separate lines into a short story of no more than 100 words.

Voila, your short story for the day!

Advice from the NOP Werkshop: what could schools do for writers? 6 Easy Pieces…

Many years ago, the Labour Party had the bright idea of engaging artists, celebrities and other media types to support the campaign efforts of the party. Entitled, Arts for Labour, the programme involved wheeling out celebrities and artists at key moments during the 1987 campaign. In hindsight (always a best friend, Mr. Hindsight), this may not have been a particularly effective use of many people’s time and energy: but one thing it did do was getting artists asking of the Labour Party, how about a Labour for the Arts parallel campaign? Or, what did the Labour Party ever do for the Arts?

This fell on deaf ears at the time but these days, what with schools engaging writers in a kind of Writers for Schools campaign, one might be tempted to ask, what about Schools for Writers? We might ask ourselves what did schools ever do for writers apart from pay them modest remuneration for a role which can be confused, disconnected and intended to provide short term attainment fixes to long term systematic problems?

Here are 6 things schools could do for writers if they had the health of writers at heart:

  1. Commission new plays from new, local playwrights rather than repeating yet another version of Willy Russell’s Our Day Out
  2.  Install a writer in residence for a term with a brief to capture the ‘essence’ of the school which is not just flattering and designed for best possible impact in PR terms, but is critical and capable of shaking up a few well held preconceptions
  3. Role model creative writing by all school staff to students which encourages the development of voice, style and expressivity and goes beyond secretarial niceties
  4. Encourage the whole school community to read any kind of writing – literature, pop culture, graphic novels – for pleasure as opposed to reading for assessment, policy keepie-uppie, and duty.
  5. Appreciate that different authors give you new knowledge of the world – not just different perceptions of existing knowledge – and build that knowledge into the curriculum.
  6. And thanks to Ruth Pringle from Blue Noun... “Encourage blogging, social media posts. Loads of school kids are being massively creative on their own SM platforms. I guess schools don’t even see this, and I know unmanaged SM/kids a minefield but it’s a really valuable modern day skill which kids are developing themselves – often excelling in and being massively creative in without the school ever seeing/grading those skills. A resident writer working on a media project/website/blog could get them engaged and expressing themselves in really workplace relevant ways.

More from the NOP Werkshop here.

You can also download the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) research report on the impact of writers in schools, Class Writing here.

Please feel free to share your tips here too!

Advice from the NOP Werkshop: 21 tips for better writing in a digital age

1. Psyche yourself up to write something that needs writing.

2. Write it out as a word or pages document – or use any other relevant software.

3. Don’t save it at all.

4. Close the doc without saving it.

6. Watch your hard wrought efforts disappear.

7. Try and write it again.

8. Admire it, second time around.

9. Don’t save it again.

10. Close the doc, watch it disappear again.

11. Continue this process for as long as you can bear it OR upgrade your computer to the newest operating system and carry out steps 1-6. The effect is the same.

12. When you feel like abandoning it, print it off.

13. Don’t save the doc. Shut down the app.

14. Scribble all over your hard copy, make amendments, cut it up with scissors. Get closer to what it is telling you.

15. Re-type on your computer – or better still, non-correcting typewriter.

16. Throw away the tippex.

17. Print again, despair again.

18. Discard computer, typewriter and anything with a memory. Apart from yourself. Buy a Parker. And some nice parchment.

19. Write with physicality, with full body attention.

20. Sweat, breathe hard, ache.

21. You are now a better writer.