Workshop Writers’ Work 2018

 

Florence and Little Wing by Catriona Millar (1)

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 Kindle book entitled  ‘Short and Curly’ featuring short pieces of homework and timed exercises by our writers is also available on amazon.

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.

Tips on writing timed exercises

Chekhov on writing

Six Common Endings in Fiction

Everything you never wanted to know about Grammar 

Tone in Creative Writing

Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules for good writing

Sentence Length

Writing Smells

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July

For this week’s timed exercise I asked our writers to use a line from George Orwell’s 1984 featuring The Ministry of Love. The title for this week’s homework was: ROOM 101

 

Room 101 by Christina Buchanan 

Room 101 by Zoe Carroll

Read Zoe’s piece 

Room 101 by Tina Blower

Room 101 by Sue Thompson

Room 101 by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

Room 101 by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece

Room 101 by Nick Barrett

Room 101 by Caroline Sims

Read Caroline’s piece

Room 101 by Rosalind May

Read Ros’s piece

Room 101 by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece

Room 101 by Alex Harrison

Other Folks’ Lives – a timed exercise by Susan Tracy

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In this week’s timed exercise I asked our writers to write about what interests them, not a passing interest, but a genuine interest. Basically if you write about a subject you are deeply interested in you’re writing will be interesting. Its just common sense when you think about it.

For the homework I read from Hilary Mantel’s brilliant first novel Every Day is Mother’s Day. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/00/04/30/reviews/000430.30harrist.html
I asked our writers to use Every Day is Mother’s Day as the title for their homework.

 

My Story by Zoe Carroll

Read Zoe’s piece 

One Story by Georgina Burrows

Read Georgina’s poem

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Tina Blower

Mother!!! by Sue Hitchcock

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Penny Humphrey

Read Penny’s piece

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Nancy Bertenshaw

Read Nancy’s piece

Every Day is Mother’s Day… by Nick Barrett

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Pauline Walden

Read Gill’s piece

Genetics – a timed exercise by Zoe Carroll 

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June

For this week’s homework I asked our writers to open their piece with this line from Julian Barnes’ latest novel The Only Story. Most of us only have one story to tell. This is mine. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jan/26/the-only-story-julian-barnes-review

 

On the Death of Old Mill by Robert Buchanan 

The Banjo by Tina Blower

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Zoe Carroll

Read Zoe’s piece 

Every Day is Mother’s Day by Georgina Burrows

Read Georgina’s piece

Pain by Sue Hitchcock

A Lifeline by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece 

The Boxer by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

One Story by Penny Humphrey

Read Penny’s piece

Mothers by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece

The Hufty-Tufty… by Nick Barrett

Read Nick’s piece

Midnight Stash by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

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For the timed exercise this week our writers were given a section of the short story Black Box by Jennifer Egan. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/black-box-by-jennifer-egan-8100597.html
I asked our writer to open their homework with the first line from Black Box:
People rarely look the way you expect them to, even when you’ve seen pictures.

 

Pictures Lie by Shevlyn Byroo

A Waste of Time Lie by Stuart Carruthers

People Rarely Look by Nancy Bertenshaw 

Read Nancy’s piece 

I’ve Often Fantasised by  Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece

I’ve Often by Caroline Sims

Read Caroline’s poem

The Welsh Accent by Sue Hitchcock

Alan by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece 

People Rarely Look by Lawrence Howard 

Read Lawrence’s piece 

Captured on Camera by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

People Rarely Look by Tina Blower

Read Tina’s piece

Mothers by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece

People Rarely Look by Miriam Silver

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For this week’s timed exercise our writers were given a beautiful Egyptian lottery ticket from 1936 as your prompt. For the homework I asked our writers to open their piece with part of the first line from one of my recent newspaper columns: Roddy Phillips’ Cash Column
I’ve often fantasised about finding a massive stash of cash    
The prompt for the column was the discovery of a ten pound note in our recycling bin.

 

Uncle Sid’s Trunk by Christina Buchanan 

Two Minds by Stuart Carruthers

Dawn’s Secret by Zoe Carroll

Stash – after Beowulf by Steve Brown

The Stash by Chris Robinson 

The Stash by Rosalind May

Wrong Number by Holly Raber

I’ve Often Fantasised by Nancy Bertenshaw 

Read Nancy’s piece 

I’ve Often Fantasised by  Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece

I’ve Often by Caroline Sims

Read Caroline’s poem

Stash of Cash by Sue Hitchcock

The End of the Party by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece 

I Often Fantasised by Tilia Guilbaud-Walter

Read Tilia’s piece 

First Class by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece

I’ve Often Fantasised by Penny Humphrey

Read Penny’s piece

A New Beginning by Mary Brannigan

Read Marys piece

A Leprechaun Story by Katy Wise

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In the workshop this week everyone took part in a collaborative writing exercise inspired by The Morecambe & Wise Relative Pronoun eg. ‘The Play what I wrote’ as discussed in Caroline Taggart’s excellent book ‘Her Ladyship’s Guide to the Queen’s English’.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Ladyships-Guide-Queens-English/dp/1905400934

I asked everyone to open their homework with this line from the book:
She was disappointed by both the weather and the fact that Louis wasn’t there.

 

The Picnic by Christina Buchanan 

Imminent by Shevlyn Byroo

Engineering in Outer Space by Steve Brown

She was Disappointed by Pauline Walden  

She was Disappointed by Lawrence Howard

She was Disappointed by Malcolm Walker

She was Disappointed by Nancy Bertenshaw 

Read Nancy’s piece 

The Death of Louis by Sue Hitchcock

Another Turn of the Wheel by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece 

I am the Boy at Mugby by Nancy Bertenshaw 

Read Nancy’s piece 

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In the workshop this week our writers  took part in a collaborative writing exercise inspired by an ancient Japanese practice called Renga. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renga

For the homework I asked our writers to use the theme of Union and write the same story from two opposing points of view.

 

Ahoy there, Jenny Wren! by Christina Buchanan 

Union by Gill Kane

Last Words by Stuart Carruthers

What a Lark by Nick Barrett

The Exam by Zoe Carroll

The World of Work by Mary Brannigan

Union by Nancy Bertenshaw

Read Nancy’s piece 

The Union by Sue Hitchcock

Regret by Garf Collins

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May

For this week’s homework I read from The Death of the Moth by Virginia Woolf. The essay is probably the last piece Woolf wrote.

For the homework I asked our writers to use this line from one of the essays by Viriginia Woolf anywhere in their piece. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.

A Spell Making for Beginners by Christina Buchanan 

The Fish by Holly Barrett

Summer Sun by Stuart Carruthers

The Followers of Khan by Nick Barrett

Phantom Light by Shevlyn Byroo

To Kill a Phantom by Zoe Carroll

Haunting by Mary Brannigan

Jay Mains Sat at her Mother by Nancy Bertenshaw

Read Nancy’s piece 

It is far harder to kill a Phantom by Alex Harrison

Phantoms by Steve Brown

A Phantom Revealed by Garf Collins

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For this week’s timed exercise I asked our writers to open their 20 minute piece with the first line of the short story Main Line: The Boy at Mugby by Dickens – “I am the boy at Mugby”. Mugby Junction is a set of short stories written in 1866 by Charles Dickens and collaborators Charles Collins, Amelia B. Edwards, Andrew Halliday, and Hesba Stretton.  It was first published in a Christmas edition of the magazine All the Year Round. Dickens wrote the majority of the issue while his collaborators each contributed an individual story to the collection. Dickens’ story The Signalman, a brilliant ghost story is probably the most well known. I’ve attached a pdf of the complete Mugby Junction.
I asked our writers to set their homework in a train station waiting room or tea room.

Request Stop by Nick Barrett

I’m sitting in my usual spot by Debbie Holden

The Station by Caroline Sims

Wind Rush by Des Holden

Coffee Shop by Miriam Silver

Read Miriam’s piece 

The Station by Caroline Sims

Railway Station Room by Val Howard

Station Waiting Room by Lawrence Howard

The End of the Affair by Garf Collins

Rome at our Age by Jill Webb

Classic Airliner by Richard Wilding

Portrait of a Lady – a timed exercise by Elaine Weddle

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For this week’s homework I read and discussed Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfume_(novel)

I asked our writers to use smell as an agent for change in their homework piece and to include this line from the novel: He succeeded in being considered totally uninteresting.

Living by the Sea by Debbie Holden

Richard’s Retirement by Zoe Carroll 

Read Zoe’s piece 

Wake up Dead Man by Stuart Carruthers

Just So by Holly Raber

No Hiding Place by Nancy Bertenshaw

No Hiding Place by Nick Barrett

He Succeeded in Making Himself Completely Uninteresting  by Lawrence Howard

Poems by Jane Griffiths 

Strumming by Nick Barrett

A Man of no Account by Garf Collins

 

Its an ill Wind by Pauline Walden

The Note – a timed exercise by Elaine Weddle

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In this week’s workshop we discussed the Ode as a form of poetic expression.  Essentially an Ode is an expression of an enthusiasm. Originally it was a song and most modern popular songs are in the same vein.Traditionally an Ode was dedicated to someone or something that captured the poet’s interest. An obvious example would be Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale.
 
To set the homework I read Pablo Neruda’s poem Ode to My Socks.
For the homework I asked our writers to write an Ode celebrating an everyday object.

 

Ode to a Comfy Bra by Zoe Carroll 

Read Zoe’s piece 

Ode to Wine by Mia Sundby

Ode to a Television by Gill Kane

Written in Stone by Miriam Silver

Ode to the world at your fingertips by Shevlyn Byroo

Sports Report – a timed exercise by Richard Wilding

The Batter Jug by Sue Hitchcock

An Ode by Malcolm Walker

My Teapot by Mary Brannigan

Commitment by Stuart Carruthers

Bathroom Bathos Love by Garf Collins

Ode to the Blank Screen by Rosalind May

Ode to a Stable Bog by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

The Ballad of Fred and Barbie by Christina Buchanan

 

Puttleleaf’s Ode by Katy Wise

On the One by Jamie Moore 

Underground by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

A Spy Called Tiffany by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis reading his piece

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April

For this week’s homework for the homework I read an excerpt from the story of Yusuf and Zulaikha.  https://wahiduddin.net/mv2/V/V_21.htm The homework subject was Unrequited Love.

Unrequited Love by Mia Sundby

Unrequited Love by Zoe Carroll 

Unrequited Love by Gill Kane

Unrequited by Miriam Silver

Time for a Change by Nick Barrett

Definition by Richard Wilding

Unrequited Love by Sue Hitchcock

Unrequited Love by Stuart Carruthers

Unrequited Love by Garf Collins

Unrequited by Des Holden

Puppy Love by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

My Best Friend’s Girl by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece 

Unrequited Love by Caroline Sims

Sentiments of Christmas – a timed exercise by Caroline Sims

Puttleleaf by Katy Wise

A Single Shilling by Shevlyn Byroo 

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For this week’s homework I read from The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. Published in 1907 the novel is considered to be the first ‘spy’ novel. It also features acts of terrorism and espionage which seem very contemporary. I asked our writers to open with this line from the novel and to feature a secret: The shop was small, and so was the house.

The Secret by Garf Collins

Beth’s Takings by Zoe Carroll 

Lesson for Life by Nick Barrett

Lily by Mary Brannigan

The Shop was Small by Stuart Carruthers

The Small Shop by Sue Hitchcock

Read Sue’s piece 

The Shop was Small by Lawrence Howard

Read Lawrence’s piece 

Upon First Meeting Her by Richard Wilding

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For this week’s homework we discussed Joseph Heller’s classic Catch-22.
For the homework I asked our writers to create a Catch-22 situation.
In otherwords an impossible situation where you are prevented from doing one thing until you have done another thing that you cannot do until you have done the first thing.
For instance: you’ve lost your specs, but to find them you need your specs.
I also asked them to use  the first line from the novel:
It was love at first sight.

The Sun and the Moon by Mia Sundby

An offer that can’t be refused by Nick Barrett

Love at First Sight by Richard Wilding

Catch-22 by Zoe Carroll 

Catch-22 by Alex Harrison

Talking by Mary Brannigan

Make up your mind by Stuart Carruthers

 

Catch-22 by Gill Kane

It was love at first sight by Penny Humphrey

Love at first sight by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

Catch-22 by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece 

It was love at first sight by Bryony Parsons

Read Bryony’s piece 

It was love at first sight by Lesley Dawson

Read Lesley’s piece 

The Clocks Stopped by Caroline Sims

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For this week’s homework I read from Caesar’s Conquest of Gaul and discussed the meaning behind the Ides of March. Traditionally the Ides of March, or the 15th of March was a day that debts or scores had to be settled.

A Sweet and Sour Dish by Nick Barrett

Settling a Score by Zoe Carroll 

My Weather Girl Girl by Richard Wilding

Double Trouble by Alex Harrison

La Tricoteuse by Sue Hitchcock

The Long Walk by Stuart Carruthers

Revenge by Gill Kane

A Settled Score by Penny Humphrey

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March

Partners in Crime
For this week’s homework we looked at the secret notebooks of Agatha Christie. You can read more about them here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/sep/26/agatha-christie-secret-notebooks-review
For the homework I gave our writers the title of a Christie short story collection featuring Tommy and Tuppence Beresford – Partners in Crime.

Partners in Crime by Sue Haffenden

Partners in Crime by Nick Barrett

Partners in Crime by Rosalind May

Partners in Crime by Zoe Carroll 

Chimbote by Richard Wilding

Partners in Crime by Sue Hitchcock

Partners in Crime by Stuart Carruthers

Partners in Crime by Pauline Walden

Partners in Crime by Penny Humphrey

Partners by Steve Brown

Read Steve’s poem

Prehistoric Dice by Sue Haffenden

Read Sue’s piece

The Dice by Rosalind May

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This week in the workshop we discussed the importance of naming a character and the effectiveness of using interesting names. Literature is full of strange and interesting names, the works of Dickens being an obvious example. In more recent times Annie Proulx’s work uses character’s names like vital ingredients that season her stories. Here’s an interview with Proulx discussing her character’s names.
 
 
Every name has a history of political and social associations. In Victorian times some thought it wouldn’t do for their servants to have more impressive or interesting names than their own. Both in real life and fiction they gave servants new names, from a fairly small pool that changed with the fashion. 
 
Servants, like slaves, were made to go by names chosen by their masters and mistresses. Often these imposed names were associated with particular duties. A coachman was quite likely to be called James, a lady’s maid Abigail. In literature, choosing names is of course only one aspect: the development of a name is often more significant.
For the homework I asked our writers to create a character with an interesting name:

Jewel of the Palace by Shevlyn Byroo 

The Spratts by Des Holden

Deleting Fernando by Nick Barrett

Sapphire Hart by Zoe Carroll 

What’s in a Name by Garf Collins

Read Garf’s piece 

Marjorie Macardo by Elaine Davies

Beanie by Edna Murdoch

Read Edna’s piece 

Misty Dollars by Rosalind May

Moscow 1990 by Sue Hitchcock

 

The Healer by Mary Brannigan

The Adopted Son by Chris Robinson 

Eduardo Trueno by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece 

The Stranger by Stuart Carruthers

Not my Cup of Tea by Jill Webb

Lady Hypocritus Ironside by Pauline Walden

Tuesday Tonkin by Penny Humphrey

All the Unknown Names by Steve Brown

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This week’s timed exercise was based on this tip:
If you’re having trouble starting a scene, try taking it out of the story and writing it as a screenplay. Made up of only the most essential pieces of expression, action, and dialogue, a screenplay can act as a kind of blueprint for a scene. Once you understand the scene at its core, try plugging it back into the story, adapting it to the style of the prose, and giving it more body, like clay onto an armature. You can also try this on a scene or story you admire, adapting it into a screenplay to get a sense of how the author crafted such a powerfully dramatic moment.
I read from The Van by Roddy Doyle and I gave our writers this line for their homework piece: She’d tried her hand at most things, but drew the line at honesty.

Moonlight by Shevlyn Byroo 

At the Sign of the Purple Pussycat by Nick Barrett

She’d Tried Her Hand by Zoe Carroll 

Don’t Dis Honesty by Garf Collins

She’d Tried Her Hand by Sue Hitchcock

She Tried Her Hand by Bryony Parsons

Surveillance Cameras by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece 

Betrayal by Stuart Carruthers

Dis-Honesty by Penny Humphrey

Tried Honesty by Sue Haffenden

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For this week’s homework I read from Elmore Leonard’s novel Unknown Man Number 89.
The homework had to open with this line of dialogue from Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard: “Anyway, what about your story?”

Instinct by Des Holden

An Abuse of Power by Garf Collins

Anyway What About Your Story by Pauline Walden

Anyway What’s Your Story by Sue Hitchcock

Anyway That’s My Story by Steve Brown

Anyway What’s Your Story by Bryony Parsons

The Big Silence by Nick Barrett

Sparring Partners by Jill Webb

The Whistler’s Inn by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece 

Anyway What About Your Story by Zoe Carroll 

Read Zoe’s piece 

Anyway What’s Your Story by Lawrence Howard

Nail Varnish by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece 

The Truth by Stuart Carruthers

The Brothers by Mary Brannigan

Anyway What About Your Story by Penny Humphrey

It’s Alive! It’s Alive! by Des Holden

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For this week’s homework I read and discussed Agatha Christie’s debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The novel features the first appearance of Hercule Poirot: ‘Poirot was an extraordinary looking little man. He was hardly more than five feet, four inches, but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. The neatness of his attire was almost incredible. I believe a speck of dust would have caused him more pain than a bullet wound. Yet this quaint dandyfied little man who, I was sorry to see, now limped badly, had been in his time one of the most celebrated members of the Belgian police. As a detective, his flair had been extraordinary, and he had achieved triumphs by unravelling some of the most baffling cases of the day.’
 
I asked our writers to open their homework piece with these two lines from the novel: Instinct is a marvelous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored.
 

Instinct by Garf Collins

Dark Red by Shevlyn Byroo

Ding Dong Bell by Sue Hitchcock

 

From the Land of the Free by Steve Brown

Instinct by Bryony Parsons

A Gut Return by Jamie Moore

Read Jamie’s piece 

Instinct Takes Flight by Nick Barrett

Dates by Richard Wilding

Read Richard’s piece 

Instinct by Martin Bourne

The Shade by Mary Brannigan

Instinct by Alison Fry

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February

For this week’s homework I read from Menno Schilthuizen’s fascinating new book Darwin Comes to Town.
The homework had to open with the first line from the book: It’s perfectly formed.
 

Return to Form by Garf Collins

Perfectly Formed by Debbie Holden

Iris by Sue Hitchcock

Cities and Animals by Steve Brown

It’s Perfectly Formed by Sue Haffenden

Jim and Bob Get Personal by Ellis Goodwin

Listen to Ellis’s piece 

Groovin’ with Mr G by Jamie Moore

Read Jamie’s piece 

Hope Floats Off Park Pond by Nick Barrett

Read Nick’s piece 

It’s Perfectly Formed by Penny Humphrey 

Katya’s Little Book of Mushrooms by Christina Buchanan

Read Christina’s piece 

Perfectly Formed by Martin Bourne

Inheritance by Mary Brannigan

The Daily Nebula by Des Holden

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For this week’s homework I read from Anita Brookner’s novel Fraud. At the heart of this novel lies a double mystery: What has happened to Anna Durrant, a solitary woman of a certain age who has disappeared from her London flat?  And why has it taken four months for anyone to notice? As Brookner reconstructs Anna’s life and character through the eyes of her acquaintances, she gives us a witty yet ultimately devastating study of self-annihilating virtue while exposing the social, fiscal, and moral frauds that are the underpinnings of terrifying rectitude.
The homework title was ‘Fraud’ and the opening line was the first line from the novel: The Facts, as far as they could be ascertained, were as follows.
 

Fraud by Mia Sundby 

 

Fraud by Sue Hitchcock

Fraud by Stuart Carruthers

Fraud by Sue Haffenden

Fraud by Lawrence Howard

Read Lawrence’s piece 

Fraud by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

Fraud by Nick Barrett

Read Nick’s piece 

Fraud by Sue Penny Humphrey 

Fraud by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece 

Fraud by Des Holden

Sand and Ashes by Des Holden

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For this week’s homework I read two poems by the American poet Lynda Hull.

The homework subject was Addiction. However, I’d like you to avoid the obvious addictions of alcohol, drugs, sex & gambling. Dig deeper. I also asked the writers  like you to use the following line somewhere in your piece: I never meant to leave you.

Letter to a Past Lover by Gill Kane 

Thrill by Alison Fry

Pin Cushion by Shevlyn Byroo 

Left Behind by Sue Haffenden

The Ramblings of an Addict by Katy Wise

Read Katy’s piece 

Letter to a Lover by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

Last Blast on the Bypass by Nick Barrett

Read Nick’s piece 

Addiction by Sue Hitchcock

Forbidden Fruits by Chris Robinson

An Addiction by Miriam Silver

An Addiction by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece 

Momentous Day by Jamie Moore 

Read Jamie’s piece 

Momentous Day by Alison Fry 

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For this week’s homework I read from Counting my Chickens by the Duchess of Devonshire which is a highly entertaining read. Deborah Devonshire was the youngest of the Mitford sisters. Nancy wrote about their childhood in The Pursuit of Passion and Love in a Cold Climate. Diana married Oswald Mosley and Unity was one of Hitler’s girlfriends. You can read more about that in this interview with ‘Debo;.
I asked our writers to open their homework with this line from the book:

My childhood seems to belong to another world.

My Childhood by Mia Sundby

In the Name of the King by Shevlyn Byroo 

A Green Thought by Steve Brown

My Dark Red Velvet Jacket – a timed exercise by Steve Brown

The Good Old Days by Garf Collins

 

My Childhood by Penny Humphrey 

Read Penny’s piece 

My Childhood by Sue Haffenden

My Childhood by Bryony Parsons

Read Bryony’s piece 

My Childhood by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

My Childhood by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece 

My Childhood by Sue Hitchcock

My Childhood by Martin Bourne

My Childhood by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece 

My Childhood by Jamie Moore 

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January

For this week’s homework I read from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I then asked our writers to use one or both of these lines from the novel:  Love is, after all, a selfish thing. Remember my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory

In the Bullrushes by Shevlyn Byroo 

Love Lifts You Up by Jill Webb

Listen to Jill’s piece

From the Night Garden by Steve Brown

The Choice by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece 

Selfish Love by Garf Collins

 

Recipe for Disaster by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece 

Imports Exports by Martin Bourne

Love is by Lawrence Howard

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For this week’s homework I read from Laura Esquivel’s 1989 novel Like Water for Chocolate.The novel follows the story of a young girl named Tita, who longs for her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother’s upholding of the family tradition – the youngest daughter cannot marry, but instead must take care of her mother until she dies. Tita is only able to express herself when she cooks. The phrase “like water for chocolate” comes from the Spanish phrase como agua para chocolate. This is a common expression in some Spanish-speaking countries, and it means that one is very angry. In some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, hot chocolate is made not with milk, but with near-boiling water instead.

I asked our writers to write their piece around a recipe.

First Supper by Shevlyn Byroo 

Recipe for Growing Old by Debbie Holden

Recipe for life by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

Doom and Gloom by Jill Webb

Listen to Jill’s piece

A Party by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece 

Serendipity by Garf Collins

Recipe for Life by Chris Robinson

Recipe for Disaster by Gill Kane

Read Gill’s piece 

Recipes Man by Martin Bourne

Playing Fire with Fire by Bryony Parsons

Read Bryony’s piece 

Marmalade by Sue Hitchcock

Read Sue’s piece 

Cookery for the Disenchanted by Steve Brown

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For the homework I read from John Le Carre’s third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
This was the breakthrough novel that motivated him to become a professional writer.
Watch this interview with Le Carre discussing the novel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx8OkfEmyi8
I asked our writers to open their homework with either of these two lines from the novel.
Sometimes she thought Alec was right – you believed in things because you needed to.

Austerity pleased her—it gave her the comfort of sacrifice.

The Window Cleaner’s Wife by Des Holden

Red or White by Debbie Holden

The Moment of Truth by Pauline Walden

Read Pauline’s piece 

Bexhill by Lisa Guile

Read Lisa’s piece 

Kate by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece 

Austerity by Garf Collins

 

Austerity by Fiona Dennis

Food Yuk – a timed exercise by Fiona Dennis

Read Fiona’s piece 

Sometimes she thought Alex was right by Lawrence Howard

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For this week’s homework I read from the 1984 Booker Prize winning novel Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/18/julian-barnes-remembers-anita-brookner
I asked our writers to open their homework with the first line of the novel:

From the window all that could be seen was…

From the Window by Alison Fry

It’s the thought that counts by Jill Webb 

From the Window by Malcolm Walker

Read Malcolm’s piece 

From the Window by Stuart Carruthers

Read Stuart’s piece 

The House on Tully Hill by Mary Brannigan

Read Mary’s piece 

The Power of Positive Thought by Garf Collins

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