Covid-19 update London-based courses are back, with safety still our top concern – find out more here.

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02 April 2020

#WriteCBC tip and task from Nikki Smith

Nikki Smith, author
by Anna Davis Events, Writing Tips

Welcome to our first Isolation #WriteCBC. I’m sure that most people who take part every month do so from home – but this will be the first time that ALL of us are at home – the CBC team included. If you haven’t taken part before, we’re very happy to have you join this writing community! #WriteCBC is always friendly but let’s all give each other plenty of positive feedback and likes – maybe even more than ever before, if we can manage that! This is definitely the time to be social at a distance. 

Our special guest for April is the wonderful Nikki Smith. Nikki’s debut novel All In Her Head is published TODAY by Orion. Huge congrats to you, Nikki! It’s of course a very weird time to have your first novel published – we all dream of our publication launch, the first signings and readings and seeing it physically in the shops – none of which are possible right now. Nikki is a hugely generous and supportive writer and reader – very much a part of the Twitter writing community, so we hope you’ll all join us in wishing her a great publication day. And do check out the book! 

We’re very proud of Nikki here at CBC. She began writing All In Her Head on our Starting to Write Your Novel course, and then went on to take Write to the End of Your Novel before gaining a place on one of our selective 3-Month Online courses. When her course ended she was she was taken on by C&W agent Sophie Lambert and her book was snapped up by Orion. You can read more about Nikki and her story here

If you haven’t joined in #WriteCBC before, you can very quickly get up to speed – just read this blog with information about how to play. It’s lots of fun and you might just win a free place on one of our six-week online writing courses.

So here we go. Eyes down …

Nikki’s writing tip:

Right now lots of us have time to write, but it’s tricky to focus at this moment in history. Keep going with your writing even if it feels irrelevant. We all need great stories and we always will. And your writing can help you get through this.

At CBC we completely agree with Nikki that it’s important to believe in your work, and to keep writing. Theoretically it’s a good time to write because many of us (though not all!) have lots more time than usual, but actually it can be really hard to do it. And yet your writing really does have the power to help you enormously at this difficult time.

If you haven’t already joined in with our weekly writing workouts, do think about doing so. They are free so you have nothing to lose in signing up and taking a look … You can find out more here. The aim is to inspire you, give you some new tools and techniques and to help you get those words down on the page.

I’ve also written a further blog which talks more about writing in this period of isolation and about what CBC is offering during this time – check it out here.

Nikki’s writing task:

We all have stories to tell even while our world is in flux. Write me a mini-scene that continues on from this prompt: ‘He’s sitting at his bedroom window, just across the street. He’s looking out at me – and from my window, I’m looking back.’

Nikki has chosen to give you a prompt which could be a scene happening right now, in the isolated circumstances we’re currently living in – though you don’t have to interpret it that way if you’d rather not.

Two people on opposite sides of a street are sitting at their windows looking across at each other. Both are alone, and yet there is a hint of some sort of communication between them … Here are some of the questions you might want to consider here:

  • Who are the two people?
  • Where is this happening? What sort of street is it and what kind of buildings are they looking out from? 
  • Do they already know each other – and if so, how?
  • Or are they noticing each other for the first time?
  • In what way are they looking at each other? Do they like each other? Hate each other? 
  • What is their shared history?
  • What will happen next?

You probably won’t be able to cover all of the above questions in the space of one tweet – but we’re excited to see what worlds and lives you’ll take us into. If there’s one thing that #WriteCBC has always shown us, it’s that you’re all really good at packing a whole story into a tiny number of words.

This month’s #WriteCBC winner is … Becca Yeadon @paperbackwhale

The setting sun glints off his glasses, his silver hair. From our chairs we smile and silent cheers to another day. Always red for him, rosé for me. As dark falls we switch on lamps, a single flash of morse code from house to house. It says: I see you, I am here.

Becca’s response to the prompt is beautifully crafted – from the neighbour’s ‘silver hair’ to the colour of the wine, these subtle details radiate the warmth and comfort of the pair’s routine. This mini-scene exemplifies hope and the support that we all need at this moment in time.

Congratulations Becca, you’ve won a free place on the six-week course of your choice!

Well done to our three runners-up @laura_libs, @RichDean78 and @writerlynds. You each win a copy of Nikki’s gripping debut novel All in Her Head.

For a limited time we’re offering £50 off our six-week online courses with code WRITEFROMHOME50

The discount can be applied to our online Writing Short StoriesWriting a MemoirStarting to Write Your Novel,  Write to the End of Your Novel Edit & Pitch Your Novel and Picture Book courses.

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