Here you will find samples of some of our writing resources.


Character Generator

Choose a two numbers from 1-9:  e.g. 3 & 6.
Find where those numbers meet on the chart below by matching them with the Column 3 with Row 6.  In this case they match at “village hero”. Repeat this process twice more and start writing about that character.
Your results might be serious “village hero”, “your mother”, “private detective” or ridiculous “village hero”, “tomato”, “Rasputin”, but that’s part of the fun.  Can you write a moving tale about a tomato called Rasputin who saves the village?  Or is a village saved by Rasputin’s tomato allergy? (Click to enlarge)

characters prompt


Life’s Stenographer

Take a computer or pen and plenty of paper and find a moderately busy café. Place yourself so that you are not too far from the main cluster of people and get to work.

First, write down any abstract words or phrases that you hear that interest you. The aim of the first exercise is to transcribe fragments, for example; “9 tomorrow”, “amazing”, “Knackered”.

Now lock into a conversation. The aim of this exercise is to transcribe. It doesn’t matter how banal the conversation may appear to be, your role is not to judge or to edit, it is simply to listen and write. You will have to work quickly so don’t worry about formatting, just write as you hear.

*A word of warning: This is, to an extent, an invasion of privacy and you may find yourself in a bit of trouble if you are discovered. Be surreptitious and if you do use this material be respectful and change names.

Now fix onto an interesting character in the café. Describe them as would a serious novelist, paying attention to not just their appearance but how they come across: their seating position, the sound of their breath, any mannerisms. What makes them interesting?

*Once again, be careful. Try not to make them uncomfortable.

If you haven’t already done so, give your character a name. Take him or her out of the café, by describing their movements as they walk down the street. Now you are back to fiction, inventing a whole series of actions for them and placing them in hypothetical situations.

Think of a colour. Pay the bill and leave the café. For the next 15 minutes make a mental note of everything you see in that colour. When you get home immediately go to your desk. Pick the most interesting thing you saw and write about it. Your writing should be impressionistic.

Now write up your transcriptions from the café. Choose a format: you could write out your notes in play form, giving names for each new speaker and bracketing the pauses, or write a third person novel extract. Can you shape the conversation? Can you discover hidden dynamics?

Finally, take your list of abstract words or phrases. Underline any that interest you and then place these at the top of a fresh piece of paper. Write, letting the phrase be used as a first word or a title. See where it takes you.

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