Story Starter: Love Heart

You know we’ve just moved premises. And when one of our business departments moved out of the old place, they left this on their pinboard: pins arranged into a love heart.

We moved in shifts, a few departments at a time rather than en masse. And as each office packed up and moved out of our old building, it was interesting to wander the corridors and take in the changing atmosphere. That’s when I spotted this.

It was in an office on the business floor, as opposed to creative. Usually their board would have been covered with fire evacuation instructions, first aid advice, memos and post-its.  But it looks like someone came over all romantic for a moment and they’d arranged the redundant pins into this sweet heart.

So of course I had to stop and take a picture to share with you. Does it spark a story? I hope so.

Last week, of course, was the first Spring ’17 writing workshop in Newcastle, and I’ve already received two stories from writers energised by the day. One was even prompted by one of the images I passed round in the section on inspiration.

It’s so great to see how these images do what I hoped they would when I started this. In an upcoming issue, May 23, there’s a story by Jenny Worstall titled “The Rusty Wheelbarrow”. There’s no doubting which Story Starter image prompted that! But it’s just one of many that have found their way into our pages.

This coming week I’m off to Southampton for the second one, with guest author Alison Carter. I’m especially pleased that Alison can join me for this one. You see, so far it’s always been the London ones she’s helped me with, at our Fleet Street offices or at IDEA London. And when it’s on our own turf like that, we don’t have hotel staff taking care of all the tea and coffee arrangements or, more crucially, the washing up afterwards. Poor Alison has always had dish-pan hands by the time we’re finished. But this time she can enjoy being served like the rest of you!


Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.