A familiar stranger, a problem, a clever grandma, and a fire

It was my writing group today, and it was great to see them all after the break and we all wished each other a very Happy New Year indeed. The last suggestion I had given them for writing about was mystery and intrigue, and I guessed I would get a variety of different pieces and I did.

I began the session with a suggestion for next time – I’ve started to do this first in case we run out of time at the end and then it’s all a bit of a dash and a muddle. I told them about the piece I had written for another group, the topic being Janus. I explained that I’d abandoned the story I had in mind when I began to research the Roman god. What i found out was so interesting, I wrote about that instead. I had printed off the piece to share, if we had time (which we didn’t) but I wanted to concentrate on thoughts for next time. I suggested they might like to think about February, and I shared some ideas about the month and various aspects of interest… which I wrote about this morning:


So what did the writers share?

  • imagine you’re a writer, imagine you’re in your favourite café having your favourite breakfast fry-up, imagine a stranger – a stranger who’s somehow familiar sits down opposite you. Then imagine that the stranger turns out to be a character in a book you’ve written… This was the premise of an amusing, but somehow very spooky story!
  • a Monty Hall problem… (The Monty Hall problem is a brain teaser, in the form of a probability puzzle, loosely based on an American TV game show and named after its compere, Monty Hall.) This was the story of a young woman who enters a game show; she is shown three closed boxes, one of which contains £20,000. She will be asked to have one chance to choose the correct box. The woman chooses box 1, but before he opens it, game show host opens box 2 and it is empty. He asks the woman if she wants to change her mind and choose box 3 instead… what should she do?
  • a poem about a true mystery… a grandmother is busy knitting a blanket for her as yet unborn grandchild, a pretty pink blanket. She has just finished the last stitch when the phone rings with wonderful news, the child is born and all is well. She rushes to the hospital having quickly and beautifully wrapped the blanket. The baby is gorgeous! Grandma presents the blanket, and the parents gasp. They hadn’t known they were going to have a little girl… how on earth did she?
  • another true story, the story of the writer attending a writing conference and a famous author greets her enthusiastically her friends are amazed, how does the famous author know their chum?
  • two young girls are racing along on their bicycles through the Norfolk countryside. One has seen some smoke rising from a field where harvesting is going on, a field very near some farm workers cottages. One of them has phoned the fire brigade and now they are peddling as quick as they can to go and see what is happening. They are brought to a stop by a tractor towing a water tank on its way to the fire, even as the sounds of a fire engine can be heard… then there is the sound of an ambulance…

Five great pieces of writing, all very different! I wonder what they will write about February!

The grandma poem… you’ve probably guessed, grandma knitted two blankets, one blue and one pink.

The Monty Hall problem… I confess I didn’t understand it, but here is a link in case you don’t either:




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