top of page
  • Alan Ward

Hastings: try your hand at some creative writing

As writer in residence at Hastings Library, I'm leading creative writing workshops with various organisations between now and the end of March.

You can also try your hand at some creative writing in the comfort of your own home by following the prompts below.

What's more, if you send me what you write, I'll consider your writing alongside the work from the in-person workshop participants when I'm putting together a list of readers for the refurbished library's opening ceremony. Also, your writing will be considered for opportunities to feature elsewhere in the new library. Send the piece you would like to be considered to me with a couple of sentences about yourself by 31 March 2018. Please mention your age if you are under 18.

Writing prompts

Choose one of the three images towards the bottom of this page as your starting point.

You can write a short piece of description, the opening of a story, or a poem.

Some things to think about to get you started:

  • If there are people in the image, what are they doing? Why?

  • If there are objects in the image, what are they used for? Who do they belong to? Where did they come from?

  • What would the place in the image sound like? Smell like? What might you or your character taste?

  • What would the things in the image feel like if you touched them?

  • What's happening just out of shot of the picture?

  • Who is the person taking the photo? Why are they taking it?

  • What if the image were in colour? It's black and white, which might suggest it was taken some time ago. What would the same view look like today? Or 100 years from now?

Some things not to worry about:

  • Getting it 'right' – there's no right and wrong. You don't know the name of the tree in the picture? You're not sure what country or year it's from? Of course not – just make it up!

  • If the image makes you think of something completely unrelated, that's fine too. Perhaps you once had a pet named Palm or spent a summer living on a river – if the image causes you to think of something else, explore that.

Give yourself ten minutes and aim to write at least 100 words. That's just ten words a minute. Start writing and see what happens. Try not to self edit or overthink it as you go along – just get something on the page so you have some text to work with. You can take longer and write more if you like.

Remember, you only need to choose one image, and you don't have to deal with all the bullet points above – try using one or two of them as a starting point to get you writing.

Image 1:

Palm trees in rows into the distance, with workers in foreground.

Image 2:

A temple in front of palm trees.

Image 3:

Black and white image of boats on a river.

These images come from albums in The Brassey Collection, currently housed at Rye Library but soon to be relocated back to Hastings Library.

Thanks for reading this post. I'd love to be able to share more of my stories and blog posts with you, please subscribe if you'd like hear more.

bottom of page