Parallax: the theme for February was ‘The Moon, the Stars, the Galaxies and all that..’ The story dealt with astronomy, a love triangle, and the fate of the Prussian town of Königsberg.
The Manoir: the theme for March was ‘Things that go Bump in the Night’ and the story is about house-sitters in an old house in Normandy.
Mulcahy and Rivers – April’s theme was ‘Whodunnit?’ and I thought initially of the classic country house with the butler who is the long lost relative of the murdered heir, etc. Then I thought to make it a bit different, I would set the story in Ireland. I then started thinking about the 1970s and the days of internment, armed struggle and cross-border dirty deeds, and about old cars and motorbikes, and started to write the story without any clear idea of what was going to happen…
Peace Walls -‘Time Shift’ was May’s theme, and I went back automatically to Northern Ireland, for a story about a sectarian murder and the long term consequences for the people who knew the victim. The research for this was painful at times, in particular reading ‘Bear in Mind These Dead’ by Susan McKay, which is a factual account of some of the victims of the Troubles. The Historical Enquiries Team video on YouTube was also an inspiration, as was Alan M Wilson’s ‘Policing Ireland’s Twisted History’.
I won the month’s voting, by a single point awarded on the stroke of midnight! For June I chose the theme of ‘Intoxication’.A Weekend in the Garden, which was my June entry, explored how intoxication can compound a catalogue of disasters.
July’s theme was ‘Pastoral’, and having recently returned from Germany, I set the story at Sans Souci. I would probably have preferred to write about the Stasi, but actually found the same conflict between authoritarian and liberal thinking in the early life of Frederick the Great. Strangely, this monarch, of ambivalent sexual orientation, was revered by Hitler (who also persecuted homosexuals). And, although Frederick wished to be buried at Sans Souci, this did not actually take place until after German reunification in 1991, his successor having had grander ideas.
No theme was set for August, so I wrote Optical Illusions, inspired by the Stasi museum in Berlin. A couple brought together by the Stasi: but after the Wende in 1990, she is free to research her history.
Meanwhile, the freedom to invent story ideas, while drinking beer with my husband in our kitchen, suggested some other themes, including ‘My boyfriend ran off with the Nifty-Ware salesman‘ and ‘Cryo convict ships transport chavs to Alpha-Centauri-9’. I decided I was completely unable to write science fiction and submitted the Nifty Ware story for the August competition, which it subsequently won!
September’s theme was ‘Luck’ and I submitted’Lucky Sixpence‘ which is about a child who finds a lucky sixpence on the pavement. I’m looking forward to starting the Open University Creative Writing course A215 at the end of this month, as my study materials have just arrived.
With the first meeting of the Creative Writers in October, I set ‘Blind Date’ as the theme for the month..and wished I hadn’t -ending up with a bunch of characters I didn’t really like..
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained was the result.
November’s theme ‘The future, written in the stars’ suggested a Sci Fi theme, but I found (again) that I couldn’t write Sci fi so I settled on a futuristic story with some satirical digs at the present day: Clone Brothers.
December’s theme was ‘Myth’. ‘The Morgawr’ is a mythical sea monster which haunts the coast of South Cornwall. It might be real as there have been reported sightings, who knows? I had fun illustrating the page with some old diving photographs and the story came a creditable third place.