Reading Room Writer’s Retreat – day 2 with Donald S Murray – by Della Cheshire

And so it continues…

The most useful thing I learnt today was not to start at the beginning of a story. So here is how it ended: with a full stomach thanks to Raasay House and 11 A4 pages full of useful tips and my own attempts at creative writing thanks to Donald S Murray.

The key to being on a retreat seems to be having the time and mental space to have coherent thoughts and actually put them down on paper.

Donald’s advice has been key to achieving this output.

In the workshops today we covered:

  • ways to present a character – do they wear wellies to breakfast?
  • the form of a story – is someone coming to a community or leaving it?
  • Scottish publishers – the good, the bad and the indifferent
  • suspense techniques – a bit like Cluedo
  • setting – if the foreground is too bland, why not add a Shetland rose (a can of McEwan’s – who knew?)

And I ended up with four characters – a woman escaping to Raasay from a package tour of the Highlands, a disgruntled ferryman and two girls who discover a box in the library at Raasay House containing a note saying “I did it”.

I wonder how this story will end?