Creative Writing Adventures: Writing the countryside

Our reporter and very own creative writing expert Gill James has been keeping herself busy with special exercises.

As we ease ourselves into life after lockdown she wants you to continue, enjoy and join in with our series, Writing Adventures!

Time to go a little further afield? Now that most of us have replaced our week in the sun with a staycation or a few days out we may find ourselves enjoying some of the local countryside.

After all, we are surrounded by some very picturesque and even spectacular landscapes.
You may of course find yourself too busy striding up a challenging hill or enjoying the display at a stately home to have time to make any notes.

However, you might find that you do have a few minutes while you’re waiting for your brew in the café or your pint in the pub. Or you might think of some things when you get back home.

Heaton Park, Greater Manchester

Mindfulness whilst out and about

This is something you can do whilst you are out in the countryside and you don’t need a notebook. Try to stop your mind chattering and just enjoy being there.

Two things are likely to happen:

• You may notice some things you’ve never seen before.
• You may experience some things as if you’re encountering them for the first time

Try to engage all of your senses in this: “I spy” in the countryside

Which of these did you get?

• People chatting and putting the world to rights in the pub or café.
• The pfut and rattle of a passing tractor
• Horse hooves on a country lane
• The smell of recently manured field (oh yes, remember farm land is working land!)
• The taste of a craft beer from the pub
• How delicious your homemade cheese sandwich tastes in the open air
• Flowers in bloom in the hedgerows, some of them with a strong scent
• Sheep baaing in a field
• Splashing water in a brook or waterfall
• Bird song
• The wind in the trees

And many others. What else did you get?

Creative non-fiction

Write a piece of prose where you bring in much of what you have experienced with your senses.

Poetry

How about trying some blank verse for this? Just list your experiences but be very careful with language and line breaks so the poem is as effective as possible.

Dovestone Reservoir, Oldham, Greater Manchester

Tell a story

If you enjoyed the mindfulness exercise you might like to write a story about an alien visiting our planet for the first time. What do they make of it?

OR

What are the stories of some of the people you’ve seen on your visit?
• The lady who acts as a guide in the stately home you visited
• The two young men riding their bikes through the village
• The two women walking along the river
• The two lads and a girl who look as if they might be going fishing
• The man with a van doing something to the ditch

Mini-script

Write out an imaginary conversation between two characters you’ve seen on your travel s. What do they find out about each other? Do they learn something new? Does this encounter change them? You might even use yourself as one of the characters.

Happy writing.

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