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Need some help as completely brainless!

edited July 2010 in - Writing Problems
As you all know, I enrolled on the Writers Bureau course. Well, there must be no hope for me as I am stuck on the first assignment. I have to visit some place that interests me and might interest my reader and make notes about what I observe. Then write a piece 300-500 words long. The problem is, I cannot think of anywhere to go which isn't going to bankrupt me in travelling costs (I don't drive) and that is remotely interesting! I have been keeping my eyes open for things that are coming up, but have had no luck. There is plenty happening later in the year, but other than that I am stuck. So I either need some patience or need more ideas. Something, anything that will spark an idea or something. Please help!


  • Why does it have to be somewhere you have to pay money to travel to? Do you live in a remote area? If not, think outside the box. Even somewhere like a train station, or a quiet corner of the park or library, or a little cafe off the high street, can become very interesting to read about if you write it well. That assignment seems like it's all about capturing the sense of the place, showing how different places live and breathe, and how you percieve the world around you.

  • edited July 2010
    Thanks SA.

    For future reference, yes I do live in a rather remote place. Aha! Just thought, I could go to the pub! If ever an excuse was needed. Granted, there is rarely more than 4 people in there at a time - The Woolpack on Emmerdale is busier - but it makes for good eavesdropping too!
  • The pub is a great one. Just try to sip your G & T slowly if you want to be able to understand your notes the next day. I've tried the pub before, but forgot to pace myself. Chicken scratchings were more legible than my notes.

  • Or the post office, and write about the things people say to each other, or perhaps, just the expressions people share with each other, silently, while waiting for service...

    Our village has a post office which is also a shop, and there is NO room at all to get round or to look at anything.

    You could write about the way you have to be creative if you only have a village shop, because although they sell a lot of stuff, they can't sell everything. You could even make it up.
  • Are you allowed to cheat and pretend you went somewhere? There are so many places you could visit via Google!
  • It depends if I could make it sound real enough to make the tutor believe I went there. Nothing, at this moment in my life, excites me enough. On the 24th of this month, the nearest town is holding 'Biddulph by the Sea'. It is part of the annual Biddulph Festival, and thought that may be worth it. Especially as it is quirky. How can you be by the sea when there is no sea? But that is where I may have to learn to be patient.

    I just want to get underway with the course!
  • Maybe you could get started by googling Biddulph and seeing if there's anything unusual you could use in advance of the festival.
  • Have googled, and Biddulph is as boring as the people!
  • Have you tried looking to see if there are any old buildings around where you live. It is amazing the age and individual details some buildings have...
  • Febes - I remember this assignment. I chose an incident from my past and used that. No one need know exactly when the event happened.
  • For Assignment 1 I went for a walk by Tintern Abbey (the one in Wexford) and stopped in at the tearooms for a cuppa. I wrote about my afternoon out, included some of the history of the Abbey I found in a local history book, and did the sights, smells, sounds thing. It was something I do a few times a year anyway, but writing about it brought a new dimension to my trip out. I mention that in case it rings any bells with you.
  • Well, maybe I should revisit the museum. Not only do we have the Staffordshire Hoard, but a lot of stuff about pottery, seeing as I live in the city where pottery is famous. Yes, I will do that and have a cuppa in the tearoom after.

    Thanks everyone, especially mct1 for given me the confidence in the museum.
  • Goodluck Febes!
  • febes, you have everything there you need to write a string of articles! You could write about the pottery, reslanting it for different magazines! Think outside the box, I am constantly being told that.
  • My favourite adage is - 'there are no dull subjects, only dull writers'.
    Use your local area - write about it and make it interesting to your reader. Consider the brief: write about a place that interests you. You are a writer - perhaps your local library interest you? Embellish the characters you meet there... Is there a grand library in your nearest town with an interesting building? Look at the pictures in your local art gallery - go on an imaginative journey via an old painting. I've just noticed your earlier comment about Biddulph by the Sea - now there's food for thought - even the title Biddulph by the Sea is quirky and interesting.
  • Betsie, what a fab idea about using the library! There are parts of the library I have yet to explore. I have usually just stuck to the books section, but the city centre proclaims to have an 'Archives Section'. A section I have yet to explore, and have always been scared to. It holds a sort of mystique.

    I knew coming on here would give me food for thought. Now I have three article ideas. Thanks :D
  • I did this years ago and went to a local market - so long as you don't buy anything, it's free!
  • Febes, you are not brainless and if it is of any news to you, I live in a remote area where transport is not short of a sardonic laugh but when you do get out, sit somewhere public and take notes. Just observe. For instance a car park outside a supermarket can be very enlightening way of studying human behaviour and psychology. Get a ringside seat as they say and remember that first line of Shakespeare,'As you like it' 'All the world's a stage and all the people are merely players, if you are sitting having coffee in a cafe or a drink in a pub, get into the habit of people watching, imagining what their lives are like at home. In fact you could write chic lit or a modern family saga. The important thing is do not despair, I am wrestling with assignment three so take heart, the world won't end, I promise you.
  • The Archives section will be a goldmine- be prepared to spend hours in there finding gems.
  • Re the place 'on Sea' that isn't at the seaside, it isn't generally known that the RNLI based in Birmingham is one of the UK's most active boats.

    They do try and keep it quiet though. I wonder why?
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