Story Starter: Inspiring Words

Inspirational words

This arrangement of plaques was on the back wall of the room where we held our latest writing workshop last week in York. New decor since last time, which was nice. The room looked very fresh, airy and welcoming. And with this visual prompt into the bargain.

And do you remember once before, after our first time there back in…was it 2015? I mentioned all the ambulances and police vehicles that went past the window, sirens nee-nawing good style? It’s never been so bad since, until this time. Goodness. It does make me wonder about York – it sounds like the disaster capital of the western world!

But in spite of that, Kate (Blackadder) and I had a brilliant time as usual. It’s so satisfying to hear the fabulous ideas and story germs that the ladies come up with as we work through the writing exercises. We offered our usual selection of images as a visual prompt for the exercise on finding and developing inspiration, but I was quite taken with these wall plaques, too. So I’ll share them with you as this week’s Story Starter.

I also remembered to take a picture of our ladies. I usually ask them to smile and pose, and they did, beautifully. But this is one I snapped while no one was paying any attention to me, and I like how informal it is. It shows them chatting – collaborating, in fact – over their chosen visual prompt. I’d just handed them round, and you can see how they’re exchanging impressions, bouncing ideas off each other, while others are busy writing, getting their thoughts down on paper before they escape. It’s typical of what is a relaxed if full-on and productive day.

At this one were Sue Cook, currently adding the final polish to the serial that she entered in our competition, and Jacqui Cooper, whose story “Tell It To the Bees” happened to be in that week’s issue, Sept 30. It was really nice to put faces to their names.

That’s the workshops finished for this year, but it won’t be long before I turn my attention to organising next year’s spring season. Any requests as to location?

And back to the Story Starter – still only 2000 or 3000 words in demand at the moment, please.


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.