Let’s Write: It’s a Disaster! – 5 April 2017

Let’s Write Night began with a scream.

But don’t worry folks. It was a scream of joy and excitement because oor Pat Young had tremendous news to share with us. Her novel, the psychological thriller “Till the Dust Settles” which she has worked so hard to perfect, has been accepted for publication. Yayyyy ! Well done Pat. We all look forward to reading your book.

Pat’s grin stretches from one side of the cake tin to the other – so we could all share in her success

And with Pat’s success to inspire us, we got down to the business of a writing exercise set for us by our Club Presidents, Janice and Fiona.

This was a group exercise and each table was given a ‘disaster’ scenario and setting. Each group member was to devise a character who was involved in the ‘disaster’ and describe the events from their point of view. What did our character see, feel, hear etc?

We were asked to consider various other questions. Why was our character at the scene?  Was there a character who should have been somewhere else? What impact did the unfolding events have on our characters futures?

Janice Johnston sets the disastrous challenges

After a team discussion, heads were soon down and pens scribbling as we worked together to develop a rough plot and create our catastrophe’s cast.

We broke for a quick tea or coffee and to indulge in Pat’s celebratory cakes – coffee and walnut was a treat, thanks – then regrouped to feedback our stories.

Group one – Scenario- a hotel experiences an unexpected electrical power cut.

There’s a wedding reception in the ballroom. The band’s singer can’t perform. A heavily pregnant uninvited guest volunteers to step up to the mic. The happy couple take to the dancefloor – and the groom gets a shock as he clocks on stage his former gate-crashing lover whom he last dallied with 8 months ago in Africa.  What will he do? What will his new bride say?  Then the guests are plunged into darkness. Some are trapped in the lift. All thanks to a dodgy hotel employee with a gambling addiction and a crooked electrician.

Group 2- Scenario – An explosion in a shopping mall.

Wilma has nipped out work to buy a birthday gift in Pages Bookshop when the bomb explodes. Does she survive?  Big Steve the security guard witnesses the blast on his TV monitors and rushes to help. Amy is trapped in Pages basement storeroom covered in rubble and dust and her co-worker fiancé Tristian struggles to find her. Lucy was admiring a dress, a potential outfit for her sister’s wedding, in the shop window next door when she was thrown through the air. She lies amid the chaos and wonders what’s wrong with her leg. Mel, should’ve been doing Maths in school, but she’s skipped class and is in the mall to get her nails done. She sees a bright flash, her eardrum bursts and she’s in terrible pain…..but crawls across the debris to comfort a badly injured Lucy.

Group 3- Scenario – a road traffic accident.

A bus driver who’s been experiencing black-outs and knows she should never be driving is behind the steering wheel of a coach on a road in the Highlands. She loses momentary consciousness and hits a car. She’s scared, panicked, filled with guilt. Relieved when she sees the driver emerge from the wreckage, horrified when she realises that there is baby strapped in the back seat. The car driver has been having an affair, she should never have been on the road at this time.  A sleepy and hungover passenger of a passing car witnesses the accident, but the driver drives on. It’s only when this passenger hears the radio news concerning the bus hitting the car that he thinks ‘Hold on. I could have sworn there were two cars involved’

Meanwhile a man and woman, driving home from an illicit night away together (a lot of unfaithful drivers on the road that day!) have not returned to their respective families. What could have happened to them? And will their affair be discovered?


Phew, I think we can all agree that our imaginations worked overtime and we have enough material there for a novel…..or an episode of Coronation Street.

Thanks to Janice and Fiona for a worthwhile and fun exercise.

Our evening closed with more good news. Yvonne Hendrie informed us that a piece of work, a flash fiction, she’d submitted at our last Feedback night and which had received positive and encouraging comments had been accepted and already published in the Dawntreader magazine. Well done Yvonne. What a great recommendation for attending Feedback evenings and having your work critiqued.

Linda Brown

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