Story Starter: Auctioneer

Auctioneer as inspiration

This Auctioneer sign is tucked up a pend in central Dundee. You have to be going there to find it – it’s not a through route. You might wonder about the yellow lines to prevent parking, given it’s a narrow dead-end. But just out of shot at the left is a very small car park with a chain from wall to wall that keeps it private. I guess it serves that new business. In contrast I visualise the staff of the auction house on boneshaker bicycles.

There was something nice about discovering this. That amidst the regeneration of the area for new business, the developers recognised the value of the old and saw fit to retain it as a wee touch of social history.

I wonder what kind of story it suggests? Is it about that history? The auction house and the objects that might have passed under its hammer? Or a new broom bustling in, wanting to sweep all before them, perhaps, either then or now.

Is it about exploring? I’ve lived in Dundee all my life and yet I’d never come across this till a couple of weeks ago. It shows that you don’t have to trek off to the depths of Borneo to discover new and interesting things.

Is it the dead-end contrasting with through-route that hits you as a metaphor?

I like the jarringly modern touches. The blue bin. They’re everywhere, aren’t they? The yellow jacket. That makes me think of oilskins, too, and Dundee’s seafaring, whaling, shipbuilding history. Hard physical graft. And that contrasts strikingly with a modern business like the design studio on the right.

Jings, my thoughts are spilling over themselves, making connections, following threads….

I hope Auctioneer works as well for you, too.

If it were me, I’d aim for 3000 words on this one, I think, to get a good meaty, interesting story.

Over to 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.