Story Starter: Bride & Groom

All we need are the bride and groom.

Aaww, it’s the season for weddings, isn’t it? This pic is taken in the corner of the office where our colleagues who produce the Scottish Wedding Directory hang out. And they’re one of the most interesting publications on the floor because, well, who else has a bridal  gown, a groom’s kilt outfit, and those spectacular balloons for decor? All we need are the bride and groom themselves. The balloon arrangements change, by the way, whenever the magazine brings in new ones for another photo shoot. Aren’t they gorgeously indulgent?

What does it do for you as a story starter? Does it set you thinking about weddings? Scottish weddings? Non-weddings where the bride – or groom – perhaps bails out like the opening scenes in “Runaway Bride”? Is it about nerves, whatever the occasion, big or small? Speeches? Family? Daughters or sons? Harmony – or dischord? Photographs? Dressmaking? Tradition? Nostalgia or heritage? A wedding out of season?

As usual I want you to let your thoughts wander wherever they will. They might take you in a direction that you don’t expect, and result in a story that ultimately has nothing to do with the image, but that’s ok. The important thing is to write.

I talk about that at our workshops. Some aspiring writers come, I think, expecting to learn the magic formula of how to write a story, what to write, what to do when you run out of ideas … and we do try to cover all of those things. But that’s all theory. I also say that writing is like a muscle. It needs exercise. The best way to get better at writing is simply to write. Write letters. Keep a journal. Write up story ideas from the jottings you make each day. Write an imaginary conversation. These are only suggestions, all carrying the same message.  Just write.

Writing isn’t easy. And sorry, but there’s no magic formula that can take the place of hard graft.

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.