Friday, 7 February 2014

Writing - What's in a word.

Having been born after WWII and therefore firmly entrenched in the baby boomer era I was pleased to read a couple of articles on the 1960s found on Readwave. One was concerning a hippie commune and the other a list of life events dating back to 1944. It was this second item that got me to thinking as there was a similar list from a fifteen year old. The contrast was spectacular.

Peace man

I will create my own list but from a writer's point of view in building a character and writing from where you're at it could help. If you write your own list, or even create a list going back sixty years or so then you can decide on an age for a character in your writing and using the past events list, develop a personality. It could be a new method for you or just a bit of fun.
As I am in my 64th year I will produce my list in two halves the first half stretching from 1950 - 1982.


1. Visions of very young children are inherently unreliable however, flickering flames from a coal fire in a black range.

2. An outside toilet across the back yard.

3. Steam from a boiler when Mum washed the white cottons and linens on Mondays.

4. Moving to a brand new council house with an inside toilet!

5. Having our first TV and my first day at Infant school. John cried all day!

6. A sitting room (lounge) full of men watching the cup final.

7. Junior school. My cousin told me that if you sat at the back of the class Mrs Stoddart was so fat she couldn't get at you if you did something wrong - she had other methods!

8. Grandma died. I now had no grandparents left but then I'd only known the one.

9. Our first car - Austin A30 registration plate - FBR 286

10. The sixties begin and I saw a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover. I remember not really understanding what I was reading about!!!

11. Passed my 11+ exam which meant I'd be attending a grammar school 5 miles away. Received a reel-to-reel tape recorder and taped Cliff Richard singing 'Travelling Light'

12. Started attending real live football matches with my father.

13. A teenager at last! Beatles, Rolling Stones and more great music. JFK assassinated.

14. My first trip abroad with school to Italy.

15. My second trip overseas to Amsterdam and a first girlfriend.

16. The 1966 World Cup which England won beating Germany in the final. 'O' Level exams 5 passes!

17. Entered Lower 6th and felt grown up. 

18. A bad year! Made a mess of my 'A' Levels, lost my girlfriend to Sheffield University. Finally, accepted at a teacher training college in Bradford.

19. A great year at college. Second girlfriend. Good results. Passed my driving test.

20. Goodbye to teenage years. Work was much harder but still did okay. Dad gave me his car.

21. Moved into a house with two others. My first time of not living in the security of college residential halls. Applied and obtained my first job in Halifax.

22.  Telephones becoming more widespread but my parents won't have one. We are still communicating by letter.

23. Sunderland beat Leeds Utd in the FA Cup Final.

24. 3 day working weeks, coal miners strikes, power cuts. A General Election. Lord Lucan disappeared!

25. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was released.

26. Met my first wife. Comedy actor Sid James died on stage at the Sunderland Empire. Heatwave breaking weather records.

27. Got married. Queen' Silver Jubilee. Mum and Dad came to stay at our first house.

28. The Yorkshire Ripper was murdering prostitutes. My dad retires from work.

29. My first son was born and disaster of disasters Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. I started a new job in Cleckheaton.

30. John Lennon shot dead in New York.

31. Mum and dad got a telephone and the first computers arrived in school. As head of science it was put in my room.

32. Second son born. Argentina invades the Falklands triggering war. We won! 

God Bless