Workshop Writers Work 2016 May – December

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Bourne to Write is a writing community that currently numbers over 40 writers from the weekly Eastbourne and Lewes Creative Writing Workshops. Bourne to Write published its first anthology, ‘Strangers in Paradise’ in 2014 and it is now also available as a Kindle book on amazon worldwide. A new Kindle book for Amazon ‘Short and Curly’ featuring short pieces of homework and timed exercises by our writers is also available.

Buy the Strangers in Paradise Kindle book on Amazon.co.uk

Buy the Short & Curly Kindle book on Amazon.co.uk

In this section we share the writers’ weekly homework pieces and timed exercises. Homework is normally 500 words maximum, the timed exercises are completed in the workshop within 20 minutes.

Read our tips on writing timed exercises…

Read Chekhov on writing…

Six Common Endings in Fiction…

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December

I played a short clip of Alan Bennett reading his brilliant novella The Uncommon Reader to set this homework and then gave our writers the title: The Library Book.

Listen to Alan Bennett reading from The Uncommon Reader

The Library Book by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece

The Library Book by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

The Library Book by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

The Library Book by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina performing her piece

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For this week’s homework I played a clip from the Scorsese film Taxi Driver in which Robert De Niro describes the places he goes and the people he picks up in his cab as he trawls the seedier streets of 70’s New York. I the gave the writers the title ‘Nocturnal Animals’.

Nocturnal Animals by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s piece

Pook’s Way Home by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece

Night Animals by Penny Humphrey 

Listen to Fran Duffield reading Penny’s poem

Nocturnal Animals by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

Nocturnal Animals by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her poem

Nocturnal Animals by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Five Poems by Fran Duffield

Listen to Fran reading her poems

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For this week’s homework I read and discussed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I then gave the writers this line from the book: I still couldn’t figure out what it was all about.  I asked them to use that as their last line.

I still couldn’t figure out by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

Ghost House by Penny Humphrey 

Read Penny’s piece

Member of the Board by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

Carthage by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

A Book of Verses part one by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

A Book of Verses part two by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

The Pond by Rosalind May

Read Ros’s piece

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For this week’s homework I read and discussed The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I then gave the writers that title for their homework.

The Little Stranger by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

The Little Stranger by Miriam Silver

Read Miriam’s piece

The Little Stranger by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

The Little Stranger by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

The Little Stranger by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

The Little Stranger by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

The Little Stranger by Debbie Holden

Read Debbie’s piece

The Little Stranger by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

I Know How it Ends – a timed exercise by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

Jim and Bob Remember – a timed exercise by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

Sad Sheep by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

Cecil by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

Freaks Like Us by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

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November

For this homework I read and discussed the poetry of Hugo Williams. I then gave the writers the opening line of his poem The Net – Accidents will happen. Just three words, but together they have immense potential.

Accidents Will Happen by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

In the Hotel Europa by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

Accidents Will Happen by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Accidents Will Happen by Rosalind May

Read Ros’s piece

Of Fishes and Men by Sophie Dumain

Read Sophie’s poem

I Know – a timed exercise by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

Accidents Will Happen by Sophie Groenendal

Read Sophie’s piece

 

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The Day of the Jackal was a big hit for Frederick Forsyth. We discussed the book then I asked our writers to create a Diary of a Fantasist.

Sharks by Meredith S.

Read Meredith’s piece

Diary of a Fantasist by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

The Panther by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

Fantasist by Fiona Dennis

Read Fiona’s piece

The Foreman by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

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For this week’s homework subject I read from Corpse at the Carnival by George Bellairs. I then gave our writers the opening line: Trimble had vanished without trace.

Trimble had Vanished by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Tricky Trimble by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Embarrassing by Richard Wilding

Read Richards’s piece

Trimble by Sophie Dumain

Read Sophie’s piece

Trimble had Vanished by Debbie Holden

Read Debbie’s piece

Trimble by Rosalind May

Read Ros’s piece

Trimble by Sophie Groenendal

Read Sophie’s piece

Trimble had Vanished by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

Trimble had Completely Vanished by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece

Bigger Fish to Fry by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

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For this week’s homework subject I read George Mackay Brown’s poem Beachcomber. I then gave our writers the opening line: Monday I Found a Boot.

Three Seascapes by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

168 Days by Richard Wilding

Read Richards’s piece

Sweet Memory by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Monday I Found a Boot by Fiona Dennis

Read Fiona’s piece

Reboot by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

Boot by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

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October

For this week’s homework subject I read Pablo Neruda’s poem ‘Keeping Quiet’.
I then gave the writers the following opening line for their piece:
Hello Darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.

Hello Darkness by Mia Sundby

Listen to Mia reading her piece

The Undersong by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

Bruno and Adrianna by Richard Wilding

Read Richards’s piece

Consolation by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Six Lives of Fankle the Cat – a timed exercise by Debbie Holden

Read Debbie’s piece

Six Lives of Fankle the Cat – a timed exercise by Sarah Louise Shipp

Read Sarah Louise’s piece

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I read from an old edition of Granta, the superb quarterly for new writing.
The edition theme is ‘Betrayal’ and that was the theme of the homework.
The short story in question was A Brief History of Fire by Jennifer Vanderbes, you can read it here: https://granta.com/a-brief-history-of-fire/

A Brief History of Falling by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

A Brief History of Lemonade by Sarah Louise Shipp

Listen to Sarah reading her piece

A Brief History of Gideon the Sheep by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

A Brief History of Time by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

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For this week’s homework I read from Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
I then asked our writers to use this quote from the book as their opening line:
“We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages.” 

The Loyal Toast by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Relative Morality by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Savages by Sophie Civardi

Read Sophie’s piece

We Are Not Savages by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece

We’ve got to have Rules by Sarah Louise Shipp

Read Sarah Louise’s piece

Memories by Richard Wilding

Listen to Ellis Goodwin reading Richard’s piece

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For this week’s homework I read from the brilliant short story Comma by Hilary Mantel and then gave the writers this opening line from a story by the South African writer Elleke Boehmer.

Childhood dares, everyone entertains some regret about them.

Two Swims by Edna Murdoch

Read Edna’s poem

The Baby Game by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

I’ve Got a Friend in Jesus – a timed exercise by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

A Bit of Old China by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

The Devil’s Dare by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Childhood Dares by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

Dragon’s Tears by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

The Childhood Dares by Sophie Civardi

Read Sophie’s piece

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There’s a lot to be learned from the American writer Kent Haruf. Simplicity and containment are the two pillars between which he hangs his stories. I read from Plainsong and Our Souls at Night and gave the writers this opening line:

“I want something improbable,” she said.

Something Improbable by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece

Im-Probable by Des Holden

Read Des’s piece

Something Improbable by Penny Humphrey

Read Penny’s piece

Something Improbable by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Improbable by Fiona Dennis

Read Fiona’s piece

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September

This week I gave our writers five opening lines from the pulp crime fiction of the American writer Kinky Friedman: I opened the window and reached for the puppet head on top of the fridge. For a horrifying lucid moment I didn’t know who I was or where I was. Uptown Judy’s recording of Carmen was on my stereo. The call that was going to change my life did not come that afternoon. Everybody dies an early death sooner or later.

The Call by Garf Collins

Listen to Ellis Goodwin reading Garf’s piece

Everybody dies an early death, some sooner than later by Debbie Holden

Read Debbie’s piece

Stolen by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading piece

Everybody dies an early death by Penny Humphrey

Read Penny’s piece

Colliding with the Future by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

From the very beginning by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

 

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Wells Tower’s short story collection ‘Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned’ never fails to amaze and amuse me. I read from ‘On the Show’ which is set in a funfair and asked our writers to use the opening words, ‘Now its dark’. Thus their piece would be set in the present tense. This can add tension to a work but it presents problems to the writers and encourages them to think about flashbacks and therefore structure and the use of time.

All the Fun by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

Dama de Noche by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading piece

Helter Skelter by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

Now its Dark by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

Crank it by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

What Have You Done – a timed exercise by Fiona Dennis

Read Fiona’s piece

Now its Dark by Charlie Meynell

Read Charlie’s piece

Jim and Bob get a Letter – a timed exercise by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

Enjoying the Magic by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

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The Amercian Elizabeth Strout is one of the greatest living novelists. Her brilliant novel in short stories Olive Kitteridge is an absolute joy. I gave the writers the title of one of the stories ‘Ship in a Bottle’. For me this was a metaphor a trapped life, but as always our writers had their own brilliant ideas.

Ship in a Bottle by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

Ship in a Bottle by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Ship in a Bottle by Lesley Dawson

Read Lesley’s piece

Ship in a Bottle by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

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For this week’s homework I gave the writers the opening line of chapter 18 of Ian McEwan’s novel The Innocent: From the very beginning it went wrong.

The White Lady by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

The Lesson – a timed exercise by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s poem

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August

For this week’s homework I gave the writers the opening line from Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. For a long time I used to go to be early…

The Dream Investigator by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

For a Long Time by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Early by Mia Sundby

Listen to Mia reading her piece

Liberation by Garf Collins 

Read Garf’s piece

Early to Bed by Simon Fielder

Read Simon’s piece

To Bed Early by Meg Ross 

Read Meg’s piece

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For this week’s homework I read a piece by Simon Armitage called An Accommodation. Here’s Simon reading his piece on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcSo2VE4UjM
I asked our writers to start their piece with the first line: …..and I both agreed that something had to change.

Bernard by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

On Leaving the Room by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s piece

The Change by Rosalind May 

Read Rosalind’s piece

An Interesting Change by Catriona Millar 

Read Catriona’s piece

Something had to Change by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece

The Electricity Bill by Christina Buchanan 

Read Christina’s piece

Something had to Change by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece

My Mother and I Agreed by Lawrence Howard

Read Lawrence’s piece

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For this week’s homework I read from Brideshead Revisited and asked the writers to open their piece with one of Lady Marchmaine’s lines, ‘You see, I’ve been through all this before.” Another opening line packed with potential trouble and of course a back story.

Been Through This Before by Simon Fielder

Read Simon’s piece

Afternoon Tea by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

Zylphia Bloodworth by Mia Sundby

Read Mia’s piece

You See by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece

Communication by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

A Couch Potato’s Dream by Christina Buchanan 

Read Christina’s piece

You See by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece

Someone by Catriona Millar

Listen to Ellis Goodwin reading Catriona’s piece

Ditto by Catriona Millar

Listen to Mia Sundby reading Catriona’s piece

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For this week’s homework I read from The Boarding House by William Trevor and gave the writers the title ‘The People Upstairs’.

The People Upstairs by Tracey Hopkins

Read Tracey’s piece

Larkin’s Hill by Catriona Millar

Listen to Ellis Goodwin reading Catriona’s piece

The People Upstairs by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

The People Upstairs by Penny Humphrey

Read Penny’s piece

The People Upstairs by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

The People Upstairs by Chris Kingham

Read Chris’ piece

The Woman Upstairs by Clare Kane

Read Clare’s piece

The Man Upstairs by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

Real Saints are Dead – a timed exercise by Tracey Hopkins

Read Tracey’s piece

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July

EM Forster seems to be one of those classic writers very few people read anymore. His work comes to a contemporary audience through films like A Passage to India and A Room With a View, but there is so much to learn and enjoy in his work. For the homework I gave our writers part of the opening line of Howard’s End, ‘Dearest Meg, it isn’t going to be what we expected’. Instant trouble.

Dearest Sister Phil by Fran Duffield

Listen to Fran reading her piece …

Roses, Roses all the way by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

A Matter of Luck by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Antony loves Cleopatra by Nigel Butler

Read Nigel’s piece

Dear Jane by Sarah Francis

Read Sarah’s piece

Dearest Emma by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece

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For this week’s homework I gave the writers the opening line of A Curtain of Green by Eudora Welty – Everyday one summer in Larkin’s Hill it rained a little. This line has atmosphere, location, a sense of time and a little bit of trouble.

One Summer by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Somme Summer by Fran Duffield

Listen to Fran reading her piece

Larkin’s Hill by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece

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The great American writer John O’ Hara seems to be sadly overlooked today. I used the opening line of his novel The Big Laugh for this week’s homework – People know when you are trying be something you are not.

Hello Mum by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

Night Fell – a timed exercise by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s poem

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June

After reading Dana Gioia’s beautiful poem ‘Prophecy’ I asked our writers to create their own prophecy.

The White Spaces by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

The Prophecy of Squashedrodamus

Read Sarah’s piece

I Told You So by Lesley Dawson

Read Lesley’s piece

Flaming Torches by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

George’s Prophecy by Sue Moore

Read Sue’s piece

Something Walks into a Bar -a timed exercise by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece

A Man Walks into a Bar – a timed exercise by Fran Duffield

Listen to Fran reading her piece

Jim and Bob have a Conversation by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

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For this week’s homework I read from An Obituary by Simon Armitage and then gave our writers the opening line to start their piece – ‘Stealing from him mother’s house, Edward found a handwritten note…’

The Note by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

The Note by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

The Note by Judith Horth

Listen to Judith reading her piece

Stealing Coppers by Hannah Blount

Read Hannah’s piece

Hemlock and After  – a timed exercise by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

Jim and Bob Wait by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

Stealing from his Mother by Tania Beudel

Read Tania’s piece

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I read and discussed the short story ‘Generations by Rowena Fan for this week’s homework. The subject was ‘The Takeaway’.

The Takeaway by Sarah Francis

Read Sarah’s piece

Crossing the River by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

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After reading and discussing Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Mirror’ I gave our writers the title ‘The Mirror’.

Bob & Charlie by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

The Mirror by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

The Mirror by Catriona Millar

Read Catriona’s piece

The Mirror by Martin Bourne

Read Martin’s piece

The Mirror by Sarah Francis

Read Sarah’s piece

The Mirror by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece

The Tall Order by Nigel Butler

Read Nigel’s piece

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May

For this week’s homework I gave our writers the first line of Paul Auster’s novel ‘City of Glass’ – It was a wrong number that started it, ringing three times in the dead of night.

It was a Wrong Number by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece

Wrong Number by Anne Angel

Read Anne’s piece

Wrong Number by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

What Love Does by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

Wrong Number by Lesley Dawson

Read Lesley’s piece

Wrong Number by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

Four Pieces by Mike Meyers

Read Meyer’s pieces

In the Middle of the Night by Martin Bourne

Read Martin’s piece

Wrong Number by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece

The Dancing Men by Martin Bourne

Read Martin’s piece

Thin White Cupid by Chris Kingham

Read Chris’ piece

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After reading and discussing the character Holly Golightly from Truman Capotes’ classic novella Breakfast at Tiffanys I asked the writers to create a character that was a on the run from reality.

Nice for Nana by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

The Reality & The Night Bus by Rosalind May

Read Rosalind’s piece

M.L. Applebaum by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

Living the Dream by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

A Spot of Recycling by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

Daphne by Martin Bourne

Read Martin’s piece

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I read Clarisa by Isabel Allende from The Stories of Eva Luna and asked the writers to create a saint.

Saint Skin by Catriona Millar

Listen to Catriona reading her piece

The Saint goes to Tea by Sarah Francis

Listen to Ellis Goodwin reading Sarah’s piece

Saints by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

Santa Caterina De las Almas Perdidas by Christina Buchanan

Listen to Christina reading her piece

Saint Chantelle by Sue Moore

Read Sue’s piece

Mrs Miller – a Timed Exercise by Natalie Simmonds

Read Natalie’s piece

An English Lesson by Ludvig Solvang

Toothpick – a Timed Exercise by Elaine Weddle

Read Elaine’s piece

Surprise Appointment by Richard Wilding

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After reading excerpts from The Great Gatsby I asked the writers to write about their mysterious neighbour.

Mysterious Neighbour by Tania Beudel

Read Tania’s piece

My New Neighbour by Nick Lazar

Listen to Nick reading his piece

The Mysterious Neighbour by Mia Sundby

Listen to Joshua Wolff reading Mia’s piece

My Mysterious Neighbour by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Mr and Mrs by Richard Wilding

 

Read Richard’s piece

Anya’s Story by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece

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