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The University Centre Grimsby
Professional and Creative Writing

Are you a budding writer?

Week 3

Creative writers! The third and final writer in this series is Ishy Din who is a playwright for stage, TV and film.  His most recent commission is a piece for the Royal Shakespeare Company about the Mughals. His play Approaching Empty toured nationally in 2019 and he also wrote an episode of Shakespeare and Hathaway for the BBC that same year. Ishy’s task involves you writing a piece that sets the scene for your story and then involves a change of direction or plot point to make something happen- be creative and give your characters an adventure. Ishy will read the give feedback on the first 5 submissions sent

Email your story to [email protected]

Week 3

Writing task

Email your story to [email protected]

This piece of writing should be no more than 5 pages long and involves establishing the world of your story and then including a major plot point to set the characters off on a journey.
Your piece should be the start of a story. Set the scene – use the following to help with this. Use detail to give information and hints about the world in which the story is set.

  • What the characters are saying
  • Visual clues – clothes, transport, décor
  • Attitudes
  • How do the characters talk?
  • Vehicles
  • Clues to where the characters come from.

Then – drop a bombshell, make something happen – an incident that means after this moment things are not going to be the same ever again.  Make it a moment that hooks us into the second part of the story.

Set the characters off on a journey.

Week 2

Your piece of writing should be no more than 500 words and start in the third person for as many words as you like and then continue to the end in the first person.

You should choose one character, place and item from the following lists and include all three in your piece.


A lone child

An old dog

A teenager who can hear the thoughts of others

A clown being hunted down

A librarian who discovers something

A scientist hiding from someone

A shy lion tamer


A cemetery

A dockside

The woods

A motorway

A bookshop

A café

A street corner


A rose

A hook

A broken watch

A secretbook

A mixtape

A bracelet

A nailgun

Send your 500 word submission to [email protected]

Week 1

Genre writing: making your characters suffer

Your task is to describe being trapped.

You have a maximum of 500 words.
To plan your writing, you should consider:

  • Perspective? Tense? Dialogue? Pace? How will you ensure suffering?
  • The physical setting – how can you make it difficult, uncomfortable and even painful for your character(s)? Can you include the weather, the temperature, the air itself?
  • The sounds – what can your character(s) hear? Can your character(s) be heard? How do they keep themselves quiet if need be?
  • While it is sensible to have an idea of what world you’re going to create, don’t worry about back story within the 500 words – if the world has ended and the zombies shuffle and stumble and gnash their teeth, your reader will accept it. Same thing with a monster in a maze, a vampire so hungry he will tear this place apart or an abusive partner who’s had too much to drink.
  • While it is sensible to have a clear idea of who your character(s) is, don’t worry too much about giving details about them within the 500 words – you’re describing one event in their lives. Yes, it’s significant and traumatic, but the reader does not need to know their relationship with their parents or their own children or their siblings or their workmates. Their hobbies, their shoe sizes, even the clothes they wear should only be included if they affect this scenario.

Send your 500 word submission to [email protected]

You can find more information about our Professional and Creative Writing degree programme