Category Archives: About Loony Literature

Using Writer’s Settings To Inspire You

P.G Wodehouse and Hanley Castle Worcestershire

One of the problems with writing for a living or having it as a hobby is that it can make you feel isolated. However, it does not need to. A great way to get ideas for your writing and also to enjoy some good company is to go on a jottings jaunt. These can take you to many different places but today I want to concentrate on a setting that particularly inspired one of our most beloved English writers.

 

The inspiration for Brinkley Court.

If there is one writer that conjures up being British, it has to be P.G. Wodehouse. Even if you have never read any of his books, you are sure to be au fait with the popular television series, Jeeves and Wooster based on the books.  A visit to the village of Hanley Castle can only delight you as you peer up the drive of Severn End (the stately home of the Lechmere family) which was the inspiration behind Brinkley Court where Aunt Dahlia lived. If you stand at the end of the drive and ask yourself these questions, you will have a springboard for a story.

Who might drive up to the hall and why are they going there? Of course, your answer might be different depending on the time that you set your story. For instance, if you set it one hundred years ago, it could be a new servant arriving to work there but if you set it today, it could be someone going up to fix the computer. Once you have decided upon who it is and why they are there you can throw in – they are not allowed to leave. At this point, you immediately have the basis of a story – Why are they not allowed to leave? Who or what is stopping them from leaving? What do they have to do to get away? Do they get away safely, decide to stay or something else?

The inspiration for Market Snodsbury Grammar School.

If you leave the stately home behind and head into the village, you will come across the Hanley Castle Grammar School.  It was this place that was the inspiration for the Market Snodsbury Grammar School in the Jeeves and Wooster stories. Well, if it’s good enough for P.G.’s stories then who are we to turn our noses up?

Stand outside the school and imagine you are eleven years old and it is your first day there and you know no-one. It is the during the Second World War and you have had to leave your home and your parents and go to stay with an aunt that smells like pilchards.  The form master can’t stand the sight of you and no-one will speak to you. How do you get through your first day? Conjure up this child’s world by using all your senses. What can you see, hear, smell, touch and taste? Don’t forget to show how the child feels.

The Three Kings – quick snifter on the hoof, anyone?

If you walk across the road, you will come to the Three Kings pub.  This is a 17th century inn that is at Church End. It has been run by the Roberts family since 1911.  If you like brand new and minimalistic, don’t go. However, if you love old world, atmosphere and character – you cannot afford to give this a miss.   It is utterly delightful especially if you go on a Friday afternoon as a group of local musicians practise there and the atmosphere is glorious. The drinks are very fairly priced too which is always very helpful.  P.G. Wodehouse liked a quick snifter there and I’m not surprised that it got his old creative cogs grinding – the place is enough to get anyone enthusiastic.

Get yourself a drink and perch your bottom. Relax and imagine that you are meeting someone that you used to be in love with but haven’t seen for a long time. After you went your separate ways, you got on with your life but still thought about them. Recently you received a letter asking you to meet them as they had something to tell you. How would you feel as you waited for them to arrive? What would you imagine they were going to tell you? How did you feel when you saw them again? What was the news? How did the meeting end?

Quite often when folks are trying to write they believe that they have to sit in and not speak to anyone. Sometimes it works but it can also be the worse course of action to take. Sometimes you simply need to get out, see new places and be with people and this is what will get the characters coming to life and the stories flowing – go on, give it a try. Hanley Castle inspired P.G Wodehouse to write jolly comedy – what will it do for you?

 

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under About Loony Literature, Creative Writing, Jottings Jaunts

Cheer Yourself Up With The Plague

In these days of Brexit and Trump, I have decided that it is my duty to hand out stirring advice. In fact, I’ve nominated myself as the cheerer upper of the people. It’s a role that I relish and in these coming days, I hope to erase your feelings of discontent once and for all. So without any further waffle let’s get stuck into cheering ourselves up.

plague-1

However bad you may feel, be glad that you were not alive in Tudor England when there were three main illnesses which could easily kill you. In those days, influenza was a serious killer. In fact, it travelled through the army so quickly that the generals had to call off an attempt to recapture Calais in 1557 – 1558. No flu vaccinations there then.

Carried on a flea

Another option was the plague and to be fair, with the plague there was a choice: Bubonic or pneumonic. This was caused by a type of bacteria which was carried on a flea on a rat. There was no cure for it during the Tudor reign and outbreaks occurred from time to time. In 1603, 38,000 people died in London and the plague doctors were little more than useless. Henry VIII had the best way of dealing with the plague – he got out of London as quickly as he could. It also broke out again in 1665.

plague-3

If the plague or the flu didn’t get you, you still couldn’t relax because the sweating sickness might not be far behind. This broke out in England in 1485, 1517 and 1551. Talk about living for the moment, you really needed to when this illness was about. You could be singing a ditty, having a tumble in the hay and knocking back the mead at lunchtime but be dead before you got your supper; that was how quickly it struck folks down. Although saying that, it did not always kill. It is now believed that it was a type of flu and was named Sudor Anglicus because for some strange reason only the English caught it.

black-death-doctor

If you did get ill, you had a choice of who to turn to. You could go to the apothecary who handled drugs and herbs. Much of what they handed out was experimental so it was a bit of a risk seeing them. However, if you visited a barber-surgeon you would get an amputation. Perhaps, a physician might be a better choice because they would just stick leeches on you to suck your blood.

Well, that concludes my cheering up session for today. I hope it stirred you.

16 Comments

Filed under About Loony Literature, Being Buoyant, The Cheerer Upper, The Peculiar Past

Why we need to develop creative intelligence in education

Ross Mountney's Notebook

I had a surprise visit from friend and artist Bob and Roberta Smith the other day.

The artwork of Bob and Roberta Smith

We were connected in our childhoods but rarely get to meet these days living in different places.

It’s a shame because we have a common quest; our desire to get people to understand the importance of creativity in education.

People often respond to that idea with the question ‘What use is painting pictures in the world of employment?’ as if that were the only interpretation of creativity. It also misses the point; creativity isn’t restricted to painting and drawing, for goodness sake!

Creativity is primarily about thinkingcreative thinking. Intelligent creative thinking.

Intelligent creative thinking is what enables us to lead our lives on a day to day basis.

Intelligent creative thinking enables us to find solutions, solve problems, rise to challenges and develop as people.

View original post 305 more words

1 Comment

Filed under About Loony Literature

Writing For Kids – Three Easy Steps to Help Kids Create Characters.

Follow these three steps to get kids to create their own characters in a fun and easy way. From our sister site willblyton.com

Will Blyton - The Alternative Detective

 

 

I see so many people who remind me of animals and I don’t mean that in a nasty way as I am a great animal lover, what I mean is if people remind us of animals in reality, why not get children to use animals as a way of helping them create characters when they write stories, act sketches or make their own comic books?   Using these three easy steps, we can give children the confidence to realise that they too can create story people.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************

 

 Step One

 

This fun step shows children how people can actually remind us of animals and how  it actually works so that they get a full understanding of what we are trying to achieve.  I have given you  a choice of three different ways of doing this, you only need to pick the way which appeals to you the…

View original post 1,368 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under About Loony Literature, Creative Writing, Education, Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow Chapter 1

Writing – How do you choose a setting?

On our sister site willblyton.com, we’re looking at choosing a setting – any opinions would be appreciated.

Will Blyton - The Alternative Detective

 

 

 

At the moment, I am writing a free in between story for our willblyton.com website.  It is called” Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys” and I’m being either brave or stupid as the work in progress is being posted.  The Will Blyton books are aimed at 9-12 year olds and explore time travel and will be introducing William Shakespeare and his plays in the books and free stories.

 

The setting for Will Blyton and The Maggoty Motleys is a children’s literary festival in 2006.  This probably seems like a strange place to set a children’s story but around that time my family were going to a lot of children’s literary festivals and seeing a very mixed bag of children’s writers. This was one of the reasons I felt the urge to set a children’s story at a fictional festival.  Seeing such a range of different…

View original post 427 more words

7 Comments

Filed under About Loony Literature

Introducing children to Shakespeare by using insults.

Introducing children to Shakespeare by using insults..

Leave a comment

Filed under About Loony Literature

Inspiration and Us – Childhood Books – Shakespeare’s Stories.

Inspiration and Us – Childhood Books – Shakespeare’s Stories..

Leave a comment

Filed under About Loony Literature

6 Great Reasons To Read To Teens.

6 Great Reasons To Read To Teens..

Leave a comment

Filed under About Loony Literature, Education, For children, For Teens, Parenting