Saturday 25 April 2020

Creative writing advice out of a lockdown project

Helping out with a creative writing competition can mean many things from judging to helping out with the logistics, to donating prizes. 

This #WriteToRide competition aimed to give young riders something to do during the pandemic lockdown, and it involved developing 7 Top Tips for short story writers. They are equine-flavoured and aimed largely at schoolchildren but some are relevant across the board, for example:

and some can easily be adapted to suit most creative writing projects, for example:

and some are clearly tailored to a school or college audience, though I hope still with useful advice:

and some are simply fun ways of showing writing techniques in action, including from the late great James Herriot:

Friday 10 April 2020

Every Breath I Take

Buglight Theatre, a small but innovative troupe, devised a clever way to give people a smile while under house arrest.

Send us your mini-monologues!

As it happened, I had just had new hearing aids fitted and been amazed by the assault of sounds I had not heard properly for years. Birdsong poured from every tree. At the same time every breath I took whooshed in my ears, And so the idea for my monologue was born.

Sting’s song with the chorus Every breath you take has a distinct rhythm of da-da-dah-da-da. I paced the house, hearing the gunfire crack of hundred year-old floorboards creaking, and tried to put words to Sting’s tune. Not easy. Anyone can string five words together, but I needed couplets of five words that made sense and fitted a da-da-dah-da-da pattern.

Buglight paired me with the actor Pam Hilton, who did a splendid job. You can hear the result at

Madeleine McDonald