Creative Writing – Archive

March 6th 2021

Click on the link to read this interesting thought provoking piece of fiction


March 2nd 2021

Welcome to the Creative Writing page on our bdu3a website.

We are a happy bunch of amateurs at various stages of our writing odyssey (so much more interesting than a mere ‘journey’!).

Whether you are an amateur or are more experienced, a writer of poetry, short stories, biographies or novels, try one or more of the following five-minute exercises: –

  1.  Self Essentials  –  You’re whisked away to a place where people are paid to look after you but no one knows you.  What do they need to know?
  2. Homing in  –  Write down everything you can remember about the first house you lived in and choose three things that would feature in a story about it.
  3. Tour Guide  –  Plan a staycation (where you stay at home but visit local attractions like a tourist).  Write it up as a holiday brochure advert.
  4. Simply write a letter to a friend.

Thanks to Writers’ Forum for these ‘Daily Kicksters”.  As I always say, kick out the ‘inner critic’ and let the scribbling begin.  Enjoy!


Creative Writing October 2020
There are all sorts of reasons people enjoy creative writing but writers don’t always appreciate that their mental health can benefit from it in many ways.  Writing can be a tool for understanding yourself and the world around you.  It can provide structure, give you a safe space to express yourself and allow you to channel your imagination creatively.  BDU3A understands this and is looking forward to sharing our experiences with you at our currently limited group meetings.
What a delight it was to meet up with the (necessarily limited) group a couple of weeks ago and to share our “What if” stories.  Each one provoked a stimulating conversation and isn’t that what writing is about?  Hillstown Village Hall did us proud by providing a meticulously prepared room with all Covid regulations adhered to.
Future writing groups will take place, for the foreseeable future, on the third Wednesday in the month which is the usual slot for our monthly general meetings, now on hold during this crisis.  Therefore our next meeting will be held on Wed 28th October at 2pm in Hillstown Village Hall.  As you are aware, we can only accommodate six people at the moment and I am asking if you can let me know if you want to be included as it will have to be on a first come, first served basis, taking into account that those attending the last meeting will wait till the rest of you have replied.
In the meantime, I know most of you have enjoyed doing the exercises I have given you during lockdown, so please have a go at the following for ‘homework’ …….
It is International Day of Older Persons on 1st October – an opportunity to celebrate and appreciate older people and the social contributions they make.  Choose one or more of the following options, spending 20 minutes on each: –
  1.  Write a memoir about a parent or grandparent, jotting down some notes of their life and try to write their story.
  2. A piece of fiction about an elderly mentor with wisdom and knowledge such as an elderly grandparent.
  3.  A piece of non-fiction, starting with ‘When I grow old, I shall …..’
  4.  Poetry  –  picture an elderly person in their home, noting colours, styles and details in the environment they have created, together with the objects they have collected during their lifetime.  The poem should give a sense of who they are.
Good luck and, if you are unable to come to the next meeting, please consider sending your work to me so that I can share it with the group.
Finally, I want us to think about entering some competitions in the next year and will bring details to the meeting as well as sending out to other members not present.
Happy scribbling!

Thanks.  It was so good to see everyone after all this time.

The Hall was laid out perfectly to accommodate the “rule of six” with all safety procedures in place.  Thanks also to the caretaker for looking after us so cheerfully.

The group meeting went really well.  It was heartening to see that Covid, rather than dampening our spirits, had in fact inspired some lively and thought-provoking writing.  Hopefully, you will be able to join us when we next meet on Wednesday 28th October.     Rose T

February 20th 2020

Who would have thought that a flat iron could produce such an animated conversation, let alone stimulate the creative writing juices in us, but it did at today’s meeting!
The challenge now is to keep them flowing and produce a short story (between 1 and 2 thousand words) which we will critique, edit and prepare for publication by the end of the year. Care to join us? Our next meeting is Thursday 19th March, 2.00pm at Bolsover library.
From a member of the group:
At the February meeting we were given a real treat when, instead of biscuits, Rose presented the group with a box of Celebration chocolates.  They went down a treat, thanks Rose.
Details of those present and apologies received preceded the sharing of stories given for January’s homework.  The subject in question was ‘Midsummer Murder’ which was intended to be about a murder in Stonehenge.  As ever, the stories were varied in their content but all were considered to be a good attempt.Following this Rose produced a flat iron and we were asked to note down all the memories of such an object which were brought to mind then, a little later to produce a very short story, using the memories experienced.  There was a strong similarity between parts of them  – most of them about grandparents – while still being varied as a whole.  A discussion followed about other household things we remembered from our youth, very stimulating.  The only one out of synch was Trish who shared her surprise at being such a ‘women’s libber’ as she hadn’t been aware of this side of her character.

The book we would like to produce was discussed briefly and it was decided that all future stories should be printed with double spacing and using TIMES NEW ROMAN, font size 14. Next months topic is a historical story, 1-2000 words.

January 20th 2020

Haiku poems, essays on how to make a cup of tea, how to drill a hole and mindfulness. Our resident poetry expert then gave us an introduction to various kinds of poetry – fascinating! Is there no end to this group’s talents?
We shall see next month as the challenge is to write a flash story or crime report that begins with a body being found at Stonehenge. Think you’re up to it? Have a go and bring it to our next meeting on Thursday 20th February.

January 16th 2020

The minutes for the last meeting were read by Rose and agreed.
Following this we had a discussion about Copyright with a warning that
although Copyright remains with the creator for pieces written by ourselves – and for ourselves – if we agree to our work being published in a journal or book, then Copyright would automatically pass to the publishers. U3A already holds its own Copyright for
writing or other creative materials made public in its own publications or on its web site.

Last month we discussed George Orwell’s ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ and it was decided that we should each write an article on ‘How to …’ , each member to choose
their own topic. We produced a varied number of ideas, and discussed whether
a separate file attached to the website titled ‘How To …..’ may be a practical
activity,  although nothing concrete was decided.

The rest of the meeting was in Barbara’s capable hands as she introduced us to
the art of writing poetry. We learned the difference between poetry and prose
and how to write a sonnet. When writing poetry we were told to write rather
than try to construct a form first, then reshape with as many drafts as required. The title may be used as a trigger or can determine itself as the poem progresses and be added at the end. When writing poetry, there is a  popular and memorable form, with 10 syllables and 5 stresses to each line, (known as iambic pentometer), which apparently fits in well with the English language and ties in with the heartbeat (de dum de dum de dum de dum de dum). However, there are no rules and writing poetry is dependent on
personal choice. The emphasis of a poem may be a narrative or not, abstract
or not, symbolic or not, but thoughts, feelings and empathy can underline a
natural line break and make it more memorable, as does rhyming. Clichés should be avoided.

Our ‘homework’ for next month we will be to write a short story about a ‘Midsummer Murder’, although any poems would also be welcomed.
New members are always very welcome, you might surprise yourself!

December 19th 2019

This month our group shared their thoughts and reflections on the subject of autumn, in the form of short stories, memories and poems, some as colourful as the subject itself.
We were then asked to consider what we wanted to do in the coming year (2020) and it was agreed that we should write and put together a collection of short stories. Several titles/prompts from a recent writing magazine were suggested and eagerly accepted.
At the (16th) January meeting Barbara has offered to share her understanding of poetry with us. I’m not alone in only being able to write poems that rhyme, it seems, so I look forward to being enlightened.
In the meantime, here is a challenge for you: –
George Orwell wrote an essay in 1946, a time of rationing in this country, about “A Nice Cup of Tea”. You will need to google it if you don’t already know of it. He managed to write, very eloquently, two full pages on the subject. As a non-tea drinker myself, I can only wonder why he would bother but do you love your cuppa enough to write at length on how it should be made and served? If so, bring it along on the 16th and we’ll even make a cuppa for you!

Tuesday 22nd October 2019

We revisited the subject of dialogue this month and were tasked with developing a conversation between two characters that starts with this line:
“My dad used to do that.”
Now write 20 lines of dialogue that takes them from this starting point to the final line:
“My mother was right about you.”
Why not give it a go and bring it along to our next meeting on Thursday 21st November? Happy scribbling!

Thursday 26th September 2019

An enthusiastic group met in September and shared what they had written, having previously concentrated on avoiding cliches. Hardly a cliche in sight! So, moving on, we talked about how we prepare our work for presentation to publishers, etc. Yes, some of the writing was that good!
For the next month, and in readiness for our meeting on Thursday 17th October, we are going to read and read, taking note of how fiction is set out in print, with particular reference to dialogue.
Looking forward to seeing you there.

Monday 26th August 2019

We were pleased to welcome two new members to the group this month.
I’m also happy to report that, after being given the remit to write a description of a place which is special to them, we were treated to nine completely different kinds of places and nine completely different styles of writing. To my delight, almost all were devoid of clichés which was this month’s topic for discussion.
In September we are back to our regular time of 1.30pm on the third Thursday (19th) and the group has been tasked with a cliché-themed exercise, full details of which can be obtained from
If you feel like exercising your “little grey cells”, why not join us on the 19th when we’ll be looking at how to present your work for publishing/entering competitions.

July 22nd 2019

A wonderfully diverse group of writers met this month, from the whimsical to the mystical, from the profound to the profane, to share their work as decided at last month’s meeting.  It was a joy to listen to you all – thank you!
A short exercise in letter writing followed – some funny, some very serious and one which prompted me to think “well, that was better out than in!”.  Again, a talented, very diverse group of individuals.
We then read and discussed Dan Brown’s amazing description of La Sagrada Familia (Barcelona) from his latest best-selling novel and have taken it upon ourselves to attempt to write a similar kind of description, of  a place of our choice, for the next meeting.  Simples!! (I don’t think).
N.B.  For August only, the next meeting will take place on the fourth Thursday, i.e. 22nd August at the slightly later time of 2pm.  This is due to the incompetence of this writer who had arranged a family get-together on the scheduled date of 15th August.  Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

June 20th 2019

The creative writing group spent some time discussing our favourite books and authors before tackling a proof-reading exercise. We then went on to do a fifteen minute “Coffee Break” challenge which involved creating the beginnings of a short story on the theme of a letter received after being posted many years before. Some interesting ideas came out of this so we agreed to follow it through for “homework” by extending our stories to between 300 and 500 words. In addition, just to make it even more interesting, we are going to try and include all our five senses.

Think you are up to it? Why not have a go and bring it with you to our next meeting on Thursday 18th July, 1.30pm in the Bolsover Library. We’d love to see you there.

May 19th 2019

The “new” Creative Writing group got off to a good start with a small but enthusiastic bunch tipping the nod to Gene, our leader of four years, by bringing in our homework which she had last given us.
We had each chosen a poem which evoked emotions in us. Such cerebral choices! Ranging from Robert Frost to Rudyard Kipling to Byron. Then there was …………………………
The Pig by Anonymous
It was an evening in November
As I very well remember,
I was strolling down the street in drunken pride
But my knees were all a-flutter,
And I landed in the gutter
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
Yes, I lay there in the gutter
Thinking thoughts I could not utter,
When a colleen passing by did softly say
“You can tell a man who boozes
By the company he chooses” –
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.
Not sure what emotion this was supposed to evoke? Needless to say, I have been sworn to secrecy as to who brought it in!
Seriously, going forward we will be looking at different types and genres of writing, how to create characters, editing and critiquing, and much more.
For “homework” we are asked to read, read and read and also to observe (people watch).
Fancy joining us? Come along to the library on Thursday 2oth June at 1.30pm. I’ll have a cup of tea and a biscuit waiting for you.
great fun!

April 18th 2019

Hello all Creative Writing group members,

We’re taking a break this month (April) but will be back at Bolsover Library as usual on Thursday 16th May at 1.30pm.

Last month Gene tasked us with thinking about a poem we like, and looking at how it evokes emotions (if any) in us. As Gene is standing down as leader for the time being, I thought that before I take over the mantle, we should still do this before starting a new chapter.

Looking forward to seeing old and new members on the 16th May,


February 21st 2019

The writing group met as usual on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Bolsover library. There were only four of us however we had all done our “Homework” writing a short story and one absent member had sent her story in as well. All the stories were read out, shared by the group and enjoyed. Following this we did some quick exercises to stimulate the brain.

Next month the homework is either

Pretend you are a tree and write your story.


Write the passenger safety instruction card for a time-travel machine.

Or do both!

This group has room for more members to join and we would welcome some new blood, whether you are a budding author or got a writing project on the way or if you just want to come and play around with words you would be welcome. We all have different styles and abilities we do poetry, short fiction stories or factual ones.  Some of us occasionally write  a piece towards an autobiography, will we ever get there?!

November 20th 2018

What would you do if you found you had a morning spare? Fill it by cleaning the windows or tidying the garden? Or, if you’re like me, take yourself off to try a taster session at one of the many BDU3A Interest Groups.
Last week I went to the library to the Creative Writing Group’s monthly get together pretending to be a fly on the wall. Made to feel very welcome I happily sipped the offered cup of coffee whilst the budding authors, each in turn, recited their short literary compositions based on a character study of someone they knew or had met. Some were quite moving and all were interestingly told with a good injection of humour. I was very impressed. There then followed a couple of short “flash story” exercises. I didn’t know what that meant but it is apparently where one writes a short “off the cuff” tale or paragraph based on a subject or single word without having the luxury of time to think about it. Amazing to hear the different reaction and trails of thought that were demonstrated in just a few short minutes. In this group there was great banter and laughter and I thoroughly enjoyed myself – so much so that I might have to have a go at the “homework” for next month.
If you fancy having a bash at “scribing” why not go along to the next group meeting. It was great fun.

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September 12th 2018

Creative writing group
Meets at the library 1.30pm every 3rd. Thurs.
We are a mixed group of mixed abilities and we write about a wide variety of subjects, fiction of all genre, factual, family history, funny stories, and poems – no subject is barred. Each session we do a little exercise which maybe picking an item from a bag and writing about it, this could be a feather a kitchen gadget, a real mixed bag, or we may choose a word or a colour, or a sentence- we then have to do a quick written, off the cuff, half a page or so of writing which we then read out to the group. We then have some homework – this could be continuation of a book that someone is hoping to write, maybe their own life story or a fictional tale or a poem to bring back to read to the group.
We talk (as groups do) and often get sidetracked by the conversation, recently we were discussing the problems of the ageing bladder, there was much hilarity bring us to a sudden end of session – homework? Write a poem or story on this subject! The results were certainly amusing. Occasionally we may enter a competition, none of us has ever won, but you never know.
At the moment we are picking out some of our writings and working slowly towards publishing a small booklet to share with other U3A members, whilst still ticking in the background is each members personal aims they want to achieve in creative writing.
We are a friendly group, anything goes, but we have room for more, if you just want to scribble and join the fun or if you are a budding author, this group is for you, so why not come along and join us. Bring your ideas, get encouragement from each other, but most of all, have fun.

August 18th 2018


the next writing group will be on 20th September at 1012noon,  

not 1.30 -3.30, due to library booking – for one session only.

August 16th 2018

The writing group met as usual at the library today, unfortunately there were only two of us present, other members having other commitments. Having read out to each other, our “homework” we then proceeded to write an impromptu shared story; one person wrote a couple of sentences, passed it to the other who did the same and between us we built the fictional story. it was great fun as there was no plot to this story and neither of us knew where the story was going but had to improvise according to what the other one wrote.
For the next session on 20th September, we have agreed the following.
write a short piece to read to the group entitled, “ memory of a train journey” doesn’t have to be long, about half to one and half pages.
We have room for new members, so why not come and give it a try. We have fun and explore all types of writing and subjects. You don’t have to be an author, just enjoy a story, fact or fiction. We would welcome your input and your ideas.
Look forward to seeing you there with a pen, pad and an open mind

December 19th 2017

The Creative Writing Group are taking a break this month, but will re-convene on Thursday January 18th, Bolsover Library at 1.30pm. More information will follow nearer the time.

September 21st 2017

A very thought-provoking session with fellow creative writers yesterday. Gene gave us a couple of exercises to get us in the writing mode. The first was to describe an object she had in a bag and see if we could describe it in such a way that others would know what we were writing about – without mentioning what it was, of course. Try it at home! Then Gene gave us the start of a story about a bereaved woman who was walking, sadly, in the countryside, without anywhere to stay that night – and we had to finish the story. Bev entertained us greatly in her final sentence, After describing the woman’s loneliness, she concluded ‘… and then she found the u3a!’.

It was nice to welcome a new member, Alan, who brought new ideas to the group, as other people always will. And did you know we are planning to write a book – just for the U3A – may take a while yet!

April 21st, 2017

A very enjoyable afternoon with the Creative Writing Group.  Our topics today were ‘experts’ a topic we wrote about at home and brought in to read to the group.  Secondly a random subject during the session, a selected article found in the room was put on the table we had to write about this random article, today it was a toy duck!  It never ceases to amaze me how a group of people, given the exact same subjects can produce such different interpretations, from the scientific to fantasy.  Each piece of work so well written, so diverse and so interesting.  I’d even go as far as to say we at BDU3A could have more than a few budding authors.  So watch this space, is there a book on the horizon?  Who knows!!!             Bev

March 23rd, 2017

The creative writing group is on the move.
We shall meet at Bainbridge hall on Thurs. 20th April at 1.30.
then we move to Bolsover Library where we will get a room for free!

18th May, 15th June, 20th July, 17th August 19th October and 21st December.

Please note, there will be a class group meeting on 21st September and 16th November but the Library is already booked for those 2 dates, so alternative arrangements will be made nearer to those times. It will commence as usual at 1.30 pm. There is plenty of space for new members so if you are interested in having a try at putting pen to paper, please do come – we are all learners!

Gene Brothwell

As the group is growing in numbers we have had to seek a new venue to accommodate us all. Starting from Thurs. March 16th (third Thursday every month) the group will now meet at Bainbridge Hall,

Bolsover at 1.30pm.

We are a small, friendly group and would welcome any new members to join us.  We are free style writers, not all talented (though we do have an in-print author in the group) you can do your own thing – write a series of informative letters to a friend, keep a diary log of special events in your life (something to leave behind for the next generation), write short stories or start a book, any genre, be it children’s stories, animal stories or ghost stories, fact or fiction. Some of us are presently engaged in writing about events in our life, whether this will get to book-size, who knows, but at the least it will be memories to pass on to the children.

At the class we try everything – poetry, flash stories of 100 words, or sharing parts of our “book” we exchange stories, share ideas. Sometimes we have an item – a feather, a stone an odd sock, we put all items into a bag, choose one at random then write half a page to read out to the group. Or we may choose one word from a book and write about that.

January 17th 2017

Creative Writing group meets tomorrow at the Clowne Business Centre at 1.30pm, a fun group for everyone, why not give it a try. Everyone is welcome. For more information contact Gene Brothwell by clicking the link on the ‘What’s On’ page BDU3A website

October 26th 2017

The next meeting on November 16th will be held at the Beehive cafe as the library is unavailable.  The December meeting due on December 21st has been cancelled as the group felt it was too close to Christmas. We shall resume at the library in January on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

September 22nd 2017

A very thought-provoking session with fellow creative writers yesterday. Jean gave us a couple of exercises to get us in the writing mode. The first was to describe an object she had in a bag and see if we could describe it in such a way that others would know what we were writing about – without mentioning what it was, of course. Try it at home! Then Jean gave us the start of a story about a bereaved woman who was walking, sadly, in the countryside, without anywhere to stay that night – and we had to finish the story. Bev entertained us greatly in her final sentence – after describing the woman’s loneliness, she concluded ‘… and then she found the u3a!’.

It was nice to welcome a new member, Alan, who brought new ideas to the group, as other people always will. And did you know we are planning to write a book – just for the U3A – may take a while yet!

December 22nd, 2016

We have had an enjoyable year, have tried our skill at writing poems, newspaper reports, and stories, some factual some fiction. We enjoy learning about each other as well as the writing we do. we have thought that in the coming year we may concentrate on putting together a little book of short stories, so if you have a story just waiting to get out – come and join us We meet at the business centre Clowne at 1.30 on the 3rd. Thursday of the month, so next session will Thursday 19th Jan.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas.

October, 2016

Gene kept us busy yesterday with two writing challenges during the meeting as well as reading some of the poems from the previous week’s homework. One of our challenges was to write something – anything – about a word on a piece of paper we ‘pulled out of a hat’. That was a demanding exercise!

Here are some of the homework poems members had created – well worth a read – click on the links below:






February, 2016

Yesterday, Thursday 18 Feb, Creative Writing,  was so much fun, we were tasked with writing a short poem entitled my house/home, well, as per usual, I got that slightly wrong, and wrote a story!  Anyway they were all so good, but one stood out for all of us, this was written by Mary, about her childhood home through WW2, very moving and vivid.  The group have challenged Mary to add a few finishing touches, polish it up a bit and present it at our next general meeting as part of a promotion package for creative writing.  We also presented, to each other, words we had found through the previous month, that we didn’t know the meaning of.  The idea behind this was to improve/ extend our vocabulary, and knowledge of the meaning of words.  One of mine was Gauleiter, any ideas anyone?  Again no prizes, just a bit of fun. Attached our writing group, as you see Gene is tearing her hair out!  Can’t think why lol!

                                                                         Cr Writing 1


February 11th 2016

The creative writing group is going strong with some new interested members.

We do a variety of writing exercises, we have written short stories and had a go at writing a story in exactly 100 words, quite a challenge but some very varied and interesting ideas came out of that.  At the last session we agreed to write a poem entitled, “My Home” and to take a list of words that we came across in daily reading that we did not know the meaning of as at next session we will explorew the use of language.

December 3rd, 2015

Just read what’s possible after attending just one meeting, click here.

November 19th, 2015

My first visit to this group. It’s great, as are all the others! Thoroughly enjoyed it, very impressed with Boggy Marsh, a U3A member and a published author, a very entertaining and knowledgeable member of the group. A very interesting and enjoyable afternoon.

Thanks to Gene for organising, and, setting targets! Better get on with the writing now lol