Secrets and confessions

Here we record how we encouraged submissions to The Scottish Book Trust’s 2016 secrets and confessions story gathering.  You can find out more about this initiative by clicking here.

We submitted a story and this can be read online here.

Monday 23 May 2016

At our final session two of our lovely writers agreed to share some of the work they created during the workshop.

Everyone was asked to write a short story that described a secret life that they could have lived.  This was done as a letter which was addressed to their past self telling them what their alternative life could have been like if they had made their dreams a reality…

The first letter is by Jessie:

Stepping out from the space-ship into oblivion. The first ever space-walk, 300 miles above our beautiful earth.  I am exhilarated and mind – blowingly terrified. 

The suit malfunctioned and I was even more scared.  Only one other person was with me. She had to fly the ship. No one could help.  I didn’t alert Houston.  What could they do?

I was hauled over the coals for that one. Insubordination, they said.  Disciplinary-action.  Still the rebel, Jess, always will be.  I was right thank goodness. Determination and bloody mindedness returned me to the space-ship.

Being an astronaut is out of this world.

Jessie Williamson

The next letter is by Debbie:

Dear Debra

You don’t know me, yet. And I’m hoping you get to know a different me. You see, I am you, or rather what you will become. I want you to know that I am unhappy with my life. Sitting in my two-roomed apartment looking out at row upon row of small boxes that they call homes it’s time for me to tell you how you can change all that.

I had so many dreams but spent my life behind a desk. Life is so boring and dull. I live to eat and I eat to live. That’s it! I never had kids. I wish I did now. At least I would have something in my life.

So, when you see that careers officer tomorrow, tell her no, you won’t work at the Gas Board or in a shop or behind a desk. Look into your heart and follow your dreams.

Lots of love from the one I hope you will never be.    

Debbie Nicolson

At the end of the night everyone was talking about their final ideas for submission and all the ideas sounded great.

Thanks to everyone who took part over the last four weeks.  It was really enjoyable and because we all had such a good time we are going to be launching a new Saturday Writers Club – keep following the blog for more info but put the 18th of June in your diary for now.

Monday 16 May 2016

This week our writers were challenged to write a short story seeking forgiveness for something that somebody didn’t find funny.

Well, I was personally shocked when one participant, who was struggling for inspiration, went to the toilet to Google ideas and then came back and shared a story telling us that was what she had done. We all saw the funny side… eventually.

On Monday evening we reach the end of our sessions but our writers will be guest appearing on the 101 blog and will also be working up to writing their final submission.

I can’t wait for Monday 🙂

Monday 9 May 2016

Secrets were bubbling to the surface at our second session.  We started where we left off and all participants had a go at the exercise which had us creating a character who was the complete opposite of who we were.

We then wrote letters seeking advice on a secret from an agony aunt.  Nicola wandered over to see what we were laughing at… who knew secrets could be such fun!

We finished the night with replying to our letters as agony aunts. All participants are declared complete naturals as both agony aunts and comedians.

It’s confessional time next week… can’t wait.

Monday 2 May 2016

As our last group exercise of the night participants were asked to think of five words that would describe someone completely different to Jacqui, the Reading Champion based at Shetland Library.  Their words were:

  • Loud
  • Boring
  • Male
  • Elderly
  • Fashion-conscious
  • Slender

Jacqui was particularly chuffed that participants clearly thought she was quiet!

This new character was then developed into a mini story where the character was taken through a new experience.  The story had to be co-written in the first person and wasn’t allowed to be any longer than 101 words (in the true spirit of this blog).

Here’s their story:

I hate incompetent dentists.

I want the hot streets to be quieter as I leave the hospital with my catheter bag attached. It’s hidden by my branded t-shirt. 

I eventually arrive at my sister’s apartment.

I open the door and my heart sinks.

There waiting for me is a blue-rinse beauty. She flashes a smile at me.

She doesn’t know about my bag.

She staggers towards me to say hello. I grunt and turn my back on her.

I grab a beer and sit down in my chair. I’m a mess.

She’s staring at me.

I wish she would go away.

Our next session is on Monday evening in the Library from 6.30pm till 8pm.