Tag Archives: suffolk writers group

Short Creative Writing Course in Ipswich

Did you love writing stories at school but never find the time these days?

Would you like to be inspired to work more creatively?

Do you dream of having a book published?

This course is a great place to start as it’s suitable for beginners as well as anyone who would like to improve their creative skills.

Venue: Ipswich (IP3 9TS)

Dates/times: Every Tuesday evening in March 2019. (7.30pm to 9.30pm)

What you’ll need: notebook, pen and a folder for A4 handouts.

The focuses  for the sessions will be:

Tuesday March 5th – Close character observation

Tuesday March 12th – How to put your character in a setting

Tuesday March 19th – Writing from different points of view

Tuesday March 26th – Writing a  dramatic scene

The course costs a total of £30, payable in advance.

For further details, email Mai Black at suffolkwritersgroup@gmail.com

Visit the website at www.suffolkwritersgroup.com

Or call/text me on 07943 068033

Homework is optional on the course although it would be great if everyone could bring a 100 word (approx) description of a character to the first session.

Here’s an example of the sort of thing you might bring along. I searched in Google Images for ‘Lady in a Cafe’ and used the picture for inspiration.

Woman Sat at Cafe Table by Andy Lloyd

She has a heart-shaped face, pale and flawless in its complexion, framed by a curtain of long dark hair, loosely gathered to one side. The eyebrows are arched and penciled in, maybe just a shade too heavy for her face. Her eyes are a light grey, and are staring fixedly at nothing, or maybe it’s simply the light she is looking at, the way it gleams on the dark oak counter. The woman is wearing a dress is of pale cream silk or satin and she has thigh-high velvet boots. She is easily the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. – MB


My Own Personal Ghost

Zeke and Jacob

This picture was a big inspiration for my children’s novel: ‘My Own Personal Ghost’. It’s about Ezekiel (third from the left) who died whilst committing a robbery.

One hundred years later, his ghost possesses a modern-day teenager (Ben) and the two battle it out for supremacy.

Ezekiel is hard-working, life-loving, family-minded and God-fearing.

He sees Ben as dull, unappreciative and rude. Ben is also an agnostic which Ezekiel thinks is ridiculous.

Ezekiel believes it is his right to take over Ben’s body and so uses every trick he can to achieve domination.

Ben is forced to question what it means to be alive and begins to understand the potential he has to be generous, popular, happy and successful. With every ounce of strength he fights back. But will it be too little, too late?


I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved with this story so if you happen to be a publisher or literary agent – and I know that hundreds of you cruise this site on a daily basis – please get in touch.


Chapter 1

It all started one evening last March with me and Rick sitting in the graveyard at the back of his house. I was trying to ignore the cold, creeping damp of the stone coffin we were sitting on when suddenly Rick snapped his fingers in front of my face. ‘You listening or what?’

‘Yeah,’ I said, even though I wasn’t. ‘You were talking about your birthday present – the drum kit.’

It was a guess but a good one. He’d spent most of the week moaning about how his birthday present had been rubbish, even though it had cost his dad nearly £600.

‘All I wanted was a proper acoustic drum kit,’ Rick grumbled for the billionth time.

So as he carried blathering on about ‘ tom-tom bounce’ and the ‘zingyness’ of cymbals, I stared at the small marble gravestone just in front of us. It’s much smaller than all the others and, where the rest are a dirty grey colour, this one is pure white. Carved into the top is an angel with two wings feathering out from either side. Their tips stick slightly above the rest of the stone.

Even though there was almost no sun left, the gold lettering gleamed bright: ‘Ezekiel Parthingate 1870 – 1884.’

Rick stopped talking, gave a small grunt and shifted his weight. After a few seconds he said, ‘What sort of name is Ezekiel anyway?’

‘It’s probably from the— ’


I stared straight ahead.

‘Where’s it from?’

He wasn’t going to let it drop. I had to finish. ‘The Bible,’ I said in a small voice.

‘Oh, it’s from the Bible. Aren’t you clever! My Daddy would be so impressed!’ he said clapping his palms together. Then he let his hands drop to his lap.

‘Ezekiel,’ he muttered, drew his knee back and kicked the top part, where the angel was. Then he did it again, this time aiming for a wing.

‘You want to go back inside?’ I said.

He kicked once more and then jumped down to take a look.

‘I think there’s a crack. Go on. Your turn.’

‘Nah,’ I said casually. ‘You’re all right.’

‘What’s the matter? What you scared of?’

I knew he’d keep on at me and I was bored and freezing and wanted to go inside so I did what he told me. I tapped my trainer against the angel’s wing.

‘That’s rubbish. Do it properly.’

A cold wind blew across the back of my neck and I looked longingly towards the lights of Rick’s house. Then I drew my foot back and tapped the stone again, a little harder this time. There was a loud snap and a piece broke off, jolting me forward.

‘Cool!’ He jumped down and crouched in the long grass. When he stood up he was holding a triangle of white stone. The carved feathers were just visible. Pushing his hair away from his face, he gave a wide grin. ‘I’m telling Dad.’


He put on a high-pitched, innocent-sounding voice. ‘Well, you did break it.’

I swore under my breath, not expecting him to hear. But he did. He put the piece of stone in his pocket and moved closer.

‘What did you say?’

Rick swears all the time but for some reason he hates it when people do it back to him.


The church clock started to chime as I glared at him, wishing he wasn’t my friend, wishing he wasn’t such an idiot, wishing I wasn’t such a wimp.

‘Nothing,’ I said.

‘Yes, you did.’ He smiled and for a moment I thought he was just going to laugh it off, maybe it’s all going to be OK, I thought, but then he closed a hand round each of my ankles and pulled them towards him.

I kicked out but he held so tight I could only twitch against his grip. I couldn’t reach forward, he was too quick. All I could do was dig my nails into the mossy surface of the stone and try to hold on but just as the clock sounded its last chime, my skull hit granite.





Good Openers for Novels

Head lamp
Head lamp

I just had to publish these story openers from Dan, Gem and Kelly. Fantastic work, you three!

A Little Known Story of Graeme Le Saux

Graeme Le Saux liked to pretend he was a lampshade. After all, he had to find something to fill the time after he couldn’t make football punditry work. He felt much more suited to this. And every Sunday in the quiet of his Surrey home, he’d put a lampshade on his head and sit perfectly still for a few hours or so.

He’d really come along since he’d first started. Having fashioned a proper shade out of one of his wife’s old dresses, and running electrical wires to his head to actually make light. “I’m going to be the best lampshade ever,” he thought to himself.

He remembered back when he’d first started and his old Southampton teammate James Beattie had called him a homo and a complete tit when he told him of his new hobby but he didn’t care, he was beautiful. And that’s all he really wanted to be. He’d tried to show it in his marauding runs and kicking David Batty whenever he played him in his football career. Only now did he really feel he had brought light into the world in a way he never had before.

He was running from room to room one day. Trying different places and generally giggling like a crushing schoolgirl, when there were his friends. Gathered round with sombre looks on their faces. Graeme would never forget this day as the day that he ran and never looked back. Some say that if you look in the mirror and say his name three times he appears, and that he still lights the darkest places. The truth is, no one really knows.

By Dan


Busy Hands

Truly Furlow’s hook wove the wool deftly. She’d first learned to crochet as a young child at her grandmother’s insistence – “The Devil finds work for idle hands” she always said. Trudy, being only small at the time, thought that as her grandmother always found work for her hands, the old woman must be the Devil. Her wide blue eyes would squint away in fear as the hook and wool were handed to her. Being only small, she dare not disobey.
Twenty years of daily crochet had turned her into a pro; she could whip up a wooden extravaganza wherever she was. But her favourite place was here – the graveyard of St Mary’s on the Quay. It was a graveyard love had long since left. The only flowers were thistles and the stones were crumbling like hobnobs dunked in tea for too long. A soupy mist would often sneak in from the nearby river and tug at her ankles as she sat on the bench. It was an atmosphere most would find creepy but Trudy felt safe here. Safe from the Devil.
Purple strands stirred through the black as the hooded cloak she was crocheting grew. Soon she would start on an edging of silver thread – but not yet. She needed to do it under the light of the full moon so it would soak up the moons protection and cast it over her when she wore it. But the moon had not yet risen and she needed that protection. Today was her 27th birthday. Her grandmother would be coming for her.”

By Gem


Claire Morris liked watching black and white movies. At 42 she was past caring about having company. She preferred to go on her own, submersing herself in worlds of handsome heroes. She would imagine herself to be the beauty they fought over, instead of the short, mousy haired woman she really was.

It was Sunday afternoon and she was at the Playhouse Cinema, row ‘h’, centre seat. It was her place of worship. As the glow of the screen shrouded her, she felt truly happy. Far removed from the realities of life, from the disappointment it contained. Occasionally the outside world would try and worm it’s way into her consciousness. Why couldn’t her husband be as chivalrous as Cary Grant? She would feel the familiar knot of anxiety stir in her chest, but she pushed it back down. She refused to think about him. Not here.

By Kelly

Damselfly’s Winner of the Doorway Competition



I hear a creak and look up. She is coming downstairs, singing under her breath. Already rehearsing for choir practice. Cheerful.

Her favourite night of the week.

She hovers.

I wait.

I know there is no point in speaking. When she has remembered she will let me know what she came in for.

As she came into the room something left her eyes. A sense of purpose, vanishing with the crossing of the threshold. It is eerie to witness. As if the strip of wood on the floor holds the power to wipe memory and the as the foot passes over a surge of energy floods upwards and wipes her thoughts.

She looks at me and frowns, as if irritation with me will bring back the memory. She tuts and leaves the room. The sun catches her silver fox hair, slanting redly from the horizon, across the fields and through the hazy window. She lifts her head, sniffing the air, it always seems to me. As if memory is a smell, lingering.

She hesitates in the glow. There is a pause and then, “Where are my shoes?”

By Anna Max


Congratulations Anna and thanks to everyone who entered.

Our next competition will be for the first chapter of a novel. (2000 words maximum)

A hundred words on the subject of red



Here are the entries into our ‘Write Red’ competition. I was very impressed with the standard. Which is your favourite?



I have a photograph. It was taken of my family on some big occasion that I now forget. Everyone together. It was the 70’s so we are all dressed in brown and beige. Even the photo itself has started to yellow and fade, and we disappear into it. My uncle stands out. He wears that familiar smile, but his eyes glow red. We laughed when we saw it: “Poor Uncle Karl, he won’t like that one.” But now I think the camera saw deeper than all of us. It betrayed the very nature of his soul.



The brush trembled on the approach. But as it touched down, it steadied. One smooth stroke down the centre of the nail, glistening red in its wake.

Two more strokes, sure and steady then the nail was held aloft and admired. That one fingernail now expressed everything Alex felt inside. Sassy, fearless, proud and seductive. One crook of it would have people drop to their knees.

Slowly it dried into the hard protective armour he craved. Then he scraped it off with his thumbnail. Pushing hard to feel the pain. One day every nail would be ruby red.




Scarlet, princess of neon Soho and thigh-high boots.

Prostitute, never afraid of ‘whore’. Wildcats are still cats, after all.

Prowling in skimpy black with overcoat armour.

A predator in the Sleepless City, but not the Apex.


Yuppie redhead dyed black. Tastelessly rich. Meat.

Men like you shouldn’t be alone, sweetie.

Three-sixty. Clientèle’s predictable arrogance.

All food is welcome in Vice’s Jungle.


Her Studio, the Den.

Meat fearfully tenderises.

She bites.



But this isn’t Becky.


Baby wipes, hot shower and strawberry lipstick.

Meat eaten, leaves bare. Forgotten.

Stockings check, modesty check, self-respect…

On the hunt again, this Princess of Soho.


Red Clichés Make Me See Red!   Or   Take It As Read!

The sun seen through my eyelids


A clotted knot of scarlet scab

Or it might be

My cheeks burning with embarrassment


Blind fury, seeing red.


Red is

A goblet of gently swirling merlot,


Vegas volt lipstick on a plump pout;





Red words invite me:

Scarlet, crimson,

Cerise cherry and burgundy

Ruby, claret, garnet,

Maroon and cranberry.

Red flag, red rag,

Red handed, in the red,

Do Red herrings lead you up the creek, on a Red letter day?


Red Cross


Red Brick






Oliver holds his plate painstakingly level as he moves to His seat. The sweet corn is not touching the golden chips. Three pallid fish fingers are precisely parallel. All is correct. He sits.

Cutlery is carefully inspected, wiped, re-inspected. Clean. His yellow mug stands exactly at the centre of his yellow coaster. All is well. He waits now for Grace who never arrives.

‘Are you ready Oliver?’ the new dinner lady innocently enquires.

Oliver’s face turns puce; his mouth vomits a scarlet scream ‘No reddy!’ as his plate skids across the dining room floor and smashes into the wall.



The Crimson Couple

Sitting on opposing sofas the two guests got comfortable while Desmond and Melissa arranged drinks. They both came back with goblets and a bottle of Merlot that Desmond was holding rather oddly.

“Looks good?” said Desmond

“If it gets me merry then it’s good” said the male guest

“Ah the bottle opener’s over here”

Desmond got behind his guest while Melissa stood behind hers. Removing the top of the wine bottle revealed a hidden blade which Desmond plunged into his guest’s skull. On cue Melissa slit her guest’s throat pouring blood into the goblet.

“Well… here’s the menu” said Desmond




“Don’t do nothing stupid,” he warned with his gruff whisky voice, “Like crossing when the red light’s showing.”

He eyed our beer in the car boot with contempt. I put the casserole dish on the car roof.

“Please thank Mrs Griggs for the food.”

“Couple didn’t listen last month, only got halfway across. Had to get Ol’ Bill Weekly’s rowing boat out to them. Jabbering ‘scuses they were, making no sense.”

He gave a guilt-inducing stare and pointed his pipe at the cottage.

“I’ve used generators before, sir.” Nick stood up straight. Mr Griggs hesitated then turned towards his quad bike.

“Best get back then, afore the tide comes up.”

“We should unpack before dark.” Nick said, watching the quad bike bump across the causeway. I agreed and took the beer he was offering. We leaned against the car, drinking, watching and not talking.





Red Rag

‘Have you seen this Major?’

Borodin turned from the window, the frozen figures on Nevsky Prospekt below, the Zenit stadium hazy beyond the projects. Taking the sanitary towel from the child soldier Kerensky, glancing at the English policeman Borodin held it to his nose.

‘The blood is not a woman’s.’

Catching the red rag, Kerensky stared at the KGB legend he had been warned not to trust.

‘I’m joking, Yevgeny. Get it checked. Sergeant..?’

The English policeman who was not a policeman stepped over the corpse, lighting a cigarette joined Borodin at the window.

‘His Excellency, he was a gay?’

Skinner blew smoke into the freezing air between them.

‘Only in his spare time…’