Away To Bonny Scotland

I am off to Scotland tomorrow for a few days (yes, there are benches on every mountain and around every loch, so you can whip out your book and have a wee read. Most civilised).

Here’s a little something to keep you going until I’m back.

Louise Doughty, who runs the Short Story Club (and monthly competition) in The Telegraph (sorry to keep going on about it, but I think it’s good!), ran a little exercise recently for the ‘worst opening line for a short story.’

You can read some of them here – and they’re so bad, they’re good. And there is a Scottish link (very tenuous, but still…) as some of the excellent examples given are by ‘BonnieLassie’.

It’s interesting stuff. Writing a first line of a short story or a novel is not easy. You’ve got to intrigue and make the reader want to read on BUT you can’t put too much in, or it’s off-putting.

I am a bit worried though. According to Ms Doughty, ‘characters in bad stories …always rummage in handbags’. Eek. I’m sure I’ve had a handbag-rummager in one of my stories – well, haven’t you?!

If you missed the article in the Telegraph and you feel inspired to have a go at a terrible first line, please feel free to post one or two here, for our delectation and delight!

And now I’m away to practice my Scottish accent! Och aye the nooooo!

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9 Responses to Away To Bonny Scotland

  1. Enjoy yur wee break noo, and dyna ferget the shortbread when ye come back nooo. I’ve probably got a cupboard full of bad openings Helen. Here’s one.

    The gates of the ‘Rum Barrel’ ale house swung open. Oliver Barthorow silhouetted in the fading sunlight, hands covering his holster, took in every single customer that was in the drinking parlour that late July evening.
    It started as a Western romance, but ended up with an old Indian who didn’t know his great bear from his plough. So then he became an Indian who was mixed up with the stars. Thing is, he was the only hope for Oliver to clear his name of murder, so I have to work on that. Happy hols…

  2. Tracy Fells says:

    Hope you have a lovely time in Scotland. Whenever I go hiking with my hubby he always promises there’ll be a tearoom (overflowing with hot buttered teacakes and bubbling hot chocolate) at the summit of any fell we’re climbing. Surprisingly we’ve yet to discover one of these longed for tearooms and usually have to huddle from the wind sucking on Kendal mint cake – hmm. And I actually sent in a story for the May Telegraph short story competition, so I’m keeping fingers crossed for a happy result.

  3. Maggie May says:

    Oh no! I’ve just sent off a story to People’s Friend where my main character rumages in her handbag. And I was feeling so good about it.

  4. Kath says:

    I feel ashamed. I’ve had characters in at least three of my stories rummaging in their handbags. I hang my head low…but wait I’ve just remembered that I sold one of those stories for a good price rummager and all! I’ll let you know if I have success with the other two.

  5. simonwhaley says:

    Handbag rummaging! It’s where i’ve been going wrong all along!

  6. clarke says:

    i want to go scotland next year for 9 days but carnt seem to fined any where as dont no scotland at all so confused on the best place togo with my husband can anyone sergest and lead me on the right track on who to talk to meny thanks

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