A Christmas Carol

Searching for writing inspiration? Look no further than festive classic, “A Christmas Carol”.

When it comes to Christmas stories, one of the most beloved is surely Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Never out of print since its first publication 175 years ago in 1843, here’s how its key features can help you write your best “Friend” fiction.

It Has A Strong Sense of Place. We’re very firmly in Victorian London. We know exactly where and when, because it’s so definitely “set” in that time. But the story can adapt to being set in any time – the test of a good story.

Memorable Characters

It Has Very Memorable Characters. Ebenezer Scrooge is such a strong character that his name is now synonymous with being miserly. He’s what we Scots refer to as “grippit” – extremely mean, and not just in financial terms. During the visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past, some of the reasons why he’s become such an unhappy and embittered man are revealed; his lonely childhood and regret over past actions contributing to his present attitude of “Bah! Humbug!”. So he’s a layered character, and one to whom there’s more than meets the eye.

A Strong Supporting Cast. Bob Cratchet, Scrooge’s overworked, underpaid assistant, and his poorly son, Tiny Tim. Former love, Belle. Much-missed sister, Fan, mother to Scrooge’s nephew, Fred. Jacob Marley, his former partner, now forever wandering the earth in chains. The ghosts. All memorable, all eliciting a mix of emotions from the reader.

A Compelling Storyline

A Strong Storyline. If you read our post on The Seven Basic Storylines recently, you’ll know that Rebirth – a central event forcing the main character to re-evaluate their life and change for the better – is one of the seven. Dickens introduces the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future to develop this theme, forcing Scrooge to confront himself as he truly is, and compelling us to read on – is it too late? Can Scrooge change? Will Tiny Tim live? He then brings us back to the present with a happy ending and hope for the future, as Scrooge becomes the embodiment of the spirit of Christmas.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!