Musings News Project Updates


The Open Hoose project that lets your imagination guide your hand.

Unsure what WRITE! is about? Author and organiser, Karl Drinkwater, responds to ten questions about his practice and the monthly creative writing workshop.

What is WRITE! all about?

Specific time set aside to be creative in a short and inspirational burst, surrounded by friends.

Which authors inspire you and your practice?

Rather than individual authors, it tends to be individual books which have some wonderful element that is worth studying to see how the writer achieved their effects. So I might be inspired by the style of The Road (McCarthy), or the scope of The Descent (Long), or the storytelling of The Shining (King), or the characterisation in Jane Eyre (Brontë).

What motivated you to start the group?

When I went on residential writing courses I learnt a lot, but it was often the sessions when we wrote silently to prompts that stuck with me or led to trying out new styles and ideas. I wanted to come up with a format focussing specifically on that feeling. 

How effective do you think writing can be as a form of expression?

It allows you to explore ideas, to be different people, to create something beautiful that may inspire others. To hold our lives up to the great magnifying glass and see them for what they are.

Can you tell us of a time that you were recently inspired to write creatively?

To be honest, as a full-time author, I tend to have my projects scheduled up to a year in advance. For me, the inspiration comes from setting out a plot full of conflict/drama, which has enough detail to provide guidance, but not too much to take away the fun of discovery as I fall through the page and write. 

What is your advice for overcoming writer’s block?

Planning. Without a structure, writer’s block will come and knock.

Where is your favourite place to visit locally to inspire creativity for writing?

I like writing and editing in a pub. The requirement is that it is warm, friendly, and does not have a distracting TV. So normally that would be The Dougie, Coach & Horses, Riverside Tap, or the snug in The Globe.

What do you see for the future of WRITE!

Well, a lot of that depends on The Stove! How can we reach more people? Can it spread across the whole county? (Some people travel a big distance to attend!) Could we run repeat sessions at a different day and time so more people have a chance to join in? I’d like to look at opportunities for publishing creative work from Dumfries & Galloway, open to all residents, not just those attending WRITE! (though obviously the latter would be a key audience for submissions!) Plus I have been working on ideas for a non-fiction book about the craft of writing, and some of the material I prepare for sessions could be my inspiration to get on with it!

Just for fun – what has been your favourite writing prompt shared during WRITE! And how did attendees respond to it?

Ah, there have been so many! I love seeing how the same prompt leads to totally different interpretations. Also, the Titles session (titles of books, stories, newspaper articles etc) was fun. We drew titles from a hat and used them as prompts. Some had been provided by attendees, and it was revealing to see where people’s imaginations went!

WRITE! is the creative workshop at The Stove that gives you the space to guide your imagination and transform it into writing.

Hosted by multi-genre author and editor Karl Drinkwater, WRITE! is designed to allow you to play with words and construct short or longer pieces of work, whichever you desire, and it is open to all abilities!

If you would like to attend the next WRITE! session, click here.

To learn more about Karl, and to visit his website, click here.

Open Hoose is a project at the heart of the Stove’s community venue. Ideas are given the space, time, resources and support of the Stove Network to launch ambitious projects to galvanise and gather our communities together. From climate cafes to bread clubs, jam nights and creative writing groups, Open Hoose offers an eclectic mix of different activities for everyone to take part in. Find out more about groups like this one on our Open Hoose page, here.

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