Today I flicked through a book on writing by Bridget Whelan, called Back to Creative Writing School. Don’t all dash out to by it but yes, writers read about writing, too.
I quite liked a chapter at the end of the book (why do I always start there?) which explained the difference between journalists and creative writers. Journalist need to know:
What is the story about?
When did it happen?
Where did it take place?
Why did it happen?
So, yesterday on the BBC website I read this. The story is about a dog thought to have cancer. She became sick and had a CT scan. It happened in Yorkshire. Miraculously, the dog did not have cancer, she had simply eaten four teddy bears, toys of the owner’s chihuahua dogs, apparently.
A creative writer asks: What if?
Or even what is the worst that could happen?
That is what creates the story. However, is it that different to journalism? If poor old Maisy the St Bernard had cancer, no one would actually bat an eyelid, sad though it would be. Four teddies in her gut sends the imagination into overdrive.
Was she jealous of the chihuahuas? Did she like the taste? What kind of teddies? What’s it like to be eaten by a St Bernard? On it goes. People, you have a story.