Looking for all Articles by Philippa Cochrane?

Your Stories scrievin prompt: Tales tak tent o

A creative writin prompt based on the theme o Scotland's Stories

Language: Scots

Last updated: 05 July 2022

Scottish Book Trust is celebratin Scotland's Year o Stories 2022(this will open in a new window) by speirin the fowk o Scotland tae share their true stories as pairt o oor annual scrievin project, Your Stories. This scrievin prompt is tae help ye wi comin up wi ideas and stairtin writin.

If ye dinnae recoont yer faimily history, it'll be tint. Honour yer ain stories and tell them forby. The tales michtna seem awfie important, but they're whit binds faimilies and maks each o us wha we are.

- Madelaine L'Engle

As we get tae spend time thegither again, as we meet up wi freends and faimily for a cup o tea, or a meal thegither, as we stop for a blether wi neeburs ower the yett or on the high street – thon shared stories we've telt again and again will be a muckle pairt o reconnectin.

It could be the story aboot the time you and yer pals frae college steyed up tae watch the sunrise, or thon stramash o a train journey when ye spent six oors sat next tae the body that turned oot tae be the luve o yer life. It could be aboot yer grandfaither wha saved somebody's life or the time you and yer brithers and sisters set fire tae the scullery on accident. Thon stories frae oor shared histories – o the moments that makkit a freendship, mind o a luved yin, bring back tae us oor bairnheid or that hae jist ayeweys makkit us laugh thegither – tell us wha we are and whit wey we maitter to each ither.

For this year's Your Stories project, how no share a tale to tak tent o: yin o the stories that are pairt of the fabric o yer faimily, yer group o pals or yer community. Whit is it that maks thon story staun oot, how daes it feel tae hear it telt again, how has it chynged ower the years – and whit are the wee details that mak it sae douce tae yer hert?

Auld stories are like auld freends. Ye hae tae visit them frae time tae time.

- George RR Martin

Wairm-up exercise: Story mood board

A mood board is a visual tool tae gaither up aw the important pairts o a story. It's a mixter-maxter o images, wirds and objects that bring tae mind and bring tae life the bits o the story ye want tae tell. Makkin a mood board is a braw wey tae stairt thinkin aboot how ye want tae tell yer story. Forby, it’s a smashin wey tae tak tent o an important story in itsel.

Ye can pit whitever ye like ontae yer mood board. Wance it's feenisht, it should capture the maist important pairts o the story – the narrative and the feel o it. Here's a few tips that micht come in haundy:

  1. Stick tae wan colour palette – pick twa-three colours that fit yer story's emotion/mood/settin and try tae haud the images ye pick tae within thae colours.
  2. Think aboot twa strang emotions yer story evokes – pick images tae capture them.
  3. Think aboot includin text – baith as pairt o the visuals o the mood board and tae explain the bitties ye've included.
  4. Yaise aw sorts o different things on a physical board – likesay auld photies, pictures frae magazines, printit text and haun-scrieved notes and ither objects like bus tickets, maps, programmes, fabrics etc.
  5. Mak it online – ye can mak a digital mood board, forby. There's hunners o free mood board wabsites and apps that let ye add pictures and text and shift them aroond until ye're happy wi them.

Brainstorm: Story mirror map

Ta scrieve aboot yer tale tae tak tent o, ye'll need tae think aboot 'the story o yer story': how has it been telt? Wha by? Whaur? How daes it mak ye feel tae hear it shared?

Doonload and yaise the story mirror map tool at the dowp-end o this page tae map whit happens in yer tale tae tak tent o against how it's telt. Here's an example o how ye might want tae fill it in:

Whit's in a tale tae tak tent o Tellin the tale

When: when your tale tae tak tent o took place

When: when yer tale gets telt

Whaur: whauraboots it happened

Whaur: whaur it gets telt

Wha: wha the story's aboot

Wha: wha tells the story and wha dae they tell it tae/wi

Why: whit wey the events took place

Why: whit wey is it telt

How: how it felt at the time

How: How tellin it or hearin it again maks ye feel

Source: Scottish Book Trust

As ye fill in each bittie, think back tae yer mood board. Think aboot the images and feelins that come tae yer mind. Whit were yer senses tellin ye?

Likesay, yer tale tae tak tent o micht be aboot a lang daunder through the snaw in the dairk. Mebbe it happened at nicht, when ye were a bairn. Mebbe ye were wi yer grandfaither wha wis bringin ye hame frae the fitba – the caur broke doon and ye'd tae walk hame. Sae in the story, it'd be cauld and still, and the lichts wid be reflectin aff the snaw and awthin wid be wheesht. Mebbe yer grandfaither and yersel kidded on yese were the anely fowk in the warld for the hale walk hame.

But for aw that, ye micht tell this story when ye get thegither wi faimily, wi scran and drink and hunners o fowk bletherin and laughing awa – mebbe in the hoose, at Christmas, mebbe aroond the fire. Sae there'd be wairmth, and loads o colour and dirdum and ye'd feel pairt of the muckle boorach o fowk aw roond ye. Mebbe it's telt tae mind on yer grandfaither, mebbe cause it's aboot the place ye grew up, or it's the first time ye mind o seein snaw.

Start writing

As you scrieve, think aboot pittin in thon contrasts and the links atween whit happens in the tale ye tak tent o and whit happens when ye tell it. Describe wee bits o detail frae each. Scrieve aboot whit ye can hear, smell, taste, see and touch. These things can help tae show somebody readin yer scrievin whit wey the tale ye tak tent o is that important tae ye and whit it means tae yer faimily, freends and community.

Ilka faimily has a story that it tells itsel, that it passes on tae the bairns and grandbairns. The story growes ower the years, chynges, some bits are shairpened, ithers drapped and there's aft some stushies aboot whit really happened. But even wi these different sides o the same story, there’s still agreement that this is the faimily story.

- AM Homes

Download story mirror map tool