Let’s Write – Never Underestimate the Power of a Shoe ** – 26 September 2018


What can they tell you about the person who has chosen to wear them?

This was the first question Gill and I posed on Let’s Write night, to four tables of eager writers – pens poised, notebooks open and raring to get down to business. After all, Let’s Write nights are when we write. Simples.

To kick the evening off, each group was presented with a different image of footwear:

brown Chelsea boots
shiny thigh length stiletto boots
leopard print stiletto shoes
pastel pink trainers

Then each writer was challenged to create their own shoe/ boot wearing character.

What was their character’s name, we asked? Their age? Family background? What did the character look like? What was their lifestyle and occupation? What kind of personality did they have? Did they have ambitions? What was their greatest fear? And very importantly, did they have a guilty secret? (You bet they did!)

After about twenty minutes of writing, each group was given another image – this time a random object:

a swivel office chair (brown boot group)
a large pair of scissors (thigh boot group)
a Victorian bathtub (leopard stiletto group)
a white cat (trainer group)

Now our writers had to devise a link between their character and their object. A testing task, you might think, in the time allowed. But it didn’t take too long before pens scratched across notepads as ideas and plotlines began to take shape.

Soon we were ready to ask for volunteers to feedback their work.

So what type of characters did the shoes and boots inspire?

Well, our writers gave vivid descriptions of three male crossdressers with complicated lives, a street-wise prostitute, a bishop’s daughter turned high class call girl, a busy mum with a guilty secret, a gym shoe thief, a lanky veterinarian student and a dyed-in the-wool crofter. (Apologies, I know I’ve left characters out – I didn’t take notes and I’ve a dodgy memory.)

And how were the objects linked to the characters?

Sheila’s leather booted crofter accidently made the winning bid for a swivel chair when he scratched his head at an auction.
Nigel’s crossdressing man in thigh boots, who enjoyed dressing up in his mother’s clothes, took scissors to her treasured wedding dress.
Graeme’s bishop’s daughter spiced up her married life by working as a high-class escort in her leopard print stilettoes and entertained in her beloved Victorian bath.
Margaret’s streetwalker, fearful for her safety from clients, kept a large pair of scissors pushed down inside her thigh boots.
Caroline’s harassed mum in pink trainers had a dark secret – as a teenager she was responsible for the unsolved murder of the paedophile teacher who impregnated her. She now believes a strange cat following her around is the re-incarnation of the murdered man. Yikes!

What are they putting in the water in South Ayrshire?

After a much-deserved tea and coffee break, the writers re-grouped for the last exercise of the evening. We’d given each group a selection of writing prompt sentences to choose from. The idea was, to continue writing about their characters and objects but also include their selected sentence within their piece. Sounds difficult – but our plucky writers were up for the challenge. Sifting through the paper strips, everyone found something they thought they could work with and the scribbling commenced.

Twenty minutes later more willing volunteers shared their work.

Caroline used the sentence ‘Her sleepwalking had never been a problem until now.’ to start a piece about her paranoid woman and creepy cat.
Maggie’s story about the pink trainer thief who got caught out, finished with the girl seeking solace in the pub ‘Being that drunk was practically taking it to an art form.’
And Nigel used the sentence ‘She dropped the shotgun on the bed and went to get cleaned up’ with chilling effect to conclude his story about the crossdressing son and his mother.

At the risk of sounding like a goody two shoes, it was a pleasure to listen to all the contributions. Our writers excelled themselves by creating well developed and intriguing characters with intricate backgrounds and interesting quirks and flaws. Thanks to all for taking part. Gill and I hope everyone found our writing night helpful.

And to think all of these weird and wonderful works of fiction all started with boots and shoes.

Now…. what about hats?

Linda Brown
**quote – Guiseppe Zanotti – fashion & footwear designer


  1. Great blog Linda. Amazing imaginations this group have.


  2. Susan Turner

    I thoroughly enjoyed the evening which could be a little unsettling, considering the plots unfolding in some of the minds there present! Thank you everybody for a thoroughly entertaining evening

    Suzie Turner

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