Creative Writing Adventures: Writing the Seaside

Our reporter and very own creative writing expert Gill James has been keeping herself busy with special exercises. Join in the fun!

The sea is a great pleasure for so many of us. It may be enjoyed from a hot Mediterranean beach. It may signal, the start of an adventure as you board a cross-channel ferry. Or you might enjoy a bracing walk along the promenade on a fine autumn day.

The pandemic has forced many of us to replace our week in the sun with a “staycation” and some unpredictable weather. As they say though, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. The seaside, in all its forms, is full of sights, sounds and smells. Capture those and you can share your experience with your readers.

Spend ten minutes jotting down everything you can think of to do with the seaside. This may work even better if you can do it while you’re at the seaside but don’t worry if you can’t. See my list below. I was safely at home in Bury when I wrote it. Isolated words or whole phrases are equally suitable.

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower, roller coaster, toffee-coloured sands, turbines whirring n the water, salt air, sea weed, star fish, red jellyfish, shells, grit between my toes, an ice-cream a day, summer rain, rock with letters, crab in a Tupperware pot, walking down the beach with an inflatable boat on my back, the wind has blown the sea away, sea weed, cliffs, seagulls, pebbles, heart-rate rising, bracing wind, little creatures in rock pools, tacky shops, sun cream, ball on an elastic band, bat-bat, zizzy coffee machines, fish and chips, the sea under the slats on the pier, shandy and crisps, the bandstand, striped, deckchairs, bored donkeys, sleepy evenings, sea pounding into the rocks, flags and buckets and spades, sand dunes, currents and tides, clanking of chains as the ferry leaves, the light form the lighthouse playing on the waves, white horses, pink ponies, candy floss, carousel

Now use what you’ve collected to write haiku. These have five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third. The third line should be different in tone from the rest e.g…

Toffee coloured sands,

Turbines whirring in the water

Sea now blown away.

It’s fun to get these printed on a mug or a coaster.

Or perhaps you could join a few of your phrases together to form a longer piece. Aim for a hundred words e.g.

Blackpool’s tower and its roller coasters stand out against the blue sky. Today there are jellyfish and I miss the feeling of sand between my toes. The salt air and starfish remind me I am at the seaside. One ice-cream a day, only, said my mother. But we supplement those with candy floss and carrousels. The smell of sun cream mixes with that of fish and ships. We stroll along the pier, looking down and seeing the waves between its slits. The wind is bracing today and our heart rates rise. I envy the other kids who bat a ball on elastic to and fro on the promenade.

Or what about an acrostic poem? You spell out a word, down the page, and write a sentence beginning with each letter. Choose the name of a seaside place. Here is my attempt at Blackpool:

Blackpool has a tower and funfairs.

Letters through rock tell you where you are.

And the salt air reminds you that you are by the sea.

Crabs scuttle across the sand.

Kiss-me-quick hats tempt young lovers.

Piers lead you out across the waves

Over the sands and

Over the pebbles

Light from the Illuminations enliven darker evenings.

Have fun writing the seaside.

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