In need of a brilliant idea

The boyfriend’s grandmother recently gave me a cut out from the Mail on Sunday about a writing competition. It looks like a good competiton with the winner getting £400 in book tokens and a place on an Arvon writing course, and runners-up getting book tokens too. I figured I had nothing to lose really, and mentally planned what I was going to do with the book tokens. Me and one of my best friends are going to go to Waterstones to actually buy all of the books we want, as we usually just browse and decide we’re too poor.

Anyway, for the competition you have to write the opening lines of a novel, between 50 and 150 words long, and introduce the word ‘train’. The guidelines state that this could be to train at the gym, or a train at a railway station, maybe a train of thought or the train of a wedding dress, anything that the word train inspires.

My first thought was the train station; maybe one of those really old trains could be about to pull away; maybe my character could miss it; maybe it alters her life somehow. And then I realised that was the pretext to Sliding Doors.

Next idea please…

Then I thought about this “train insane or remain the same” slogan that I heard recently and thought of doing a story about body dismorphia. My character could be repeating it whilst she is at the gym, longing for a better body, becoming obsessed with her weight and how she looks. A good idea, but is it an original one? Will others go for a training at the gym opening? Lets put it on the backburner.

Next idea please…

Then I thought about the band called Train. I don’t think many others would think of using them in their story… they’re not exactly mainstream culture here in Britain. But how can I build up a story around them, and I don’t want it to be about them, more just use them as a jumping off point. My characters at their gig maybe, but where do I go from there?

I’m definately struggling to come up with an idea that is fairly original and more than just a setting. I know that I want my entry to standout from the crowd, I’m just unsure of how I am going to achieve that; and by the end of October as well!!

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2 Responses to In need of a brilliant idea

  1. The idea will come to you when you least expect it – so don’t get too hung up on trying to be original! And even though I’m not in the UK I am now trying to think of my own opening… and having no luck. So you’re 3 ideas further than me haha. Good luck 🙂

    • sophie king says:

      Thanks Jessica. It is a good writing challenge even if you’re not doing it for the competition. Apparently, the newspaper ran the competition last year, using the word row, maybe you could have a go at that too… the winner used it in the sense of rowing of boat, but I thought of row, as in to argue. 🙂

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