by Casey Bottono

Luck lies at the heart of many great stories. The November Young Writers session wasn’t dampened at all by the horrendous weather, so that was our first stroke of luck. Over biscuits and drinks, participants explored luck as a plot device, and how a character’s response to luck can show us more than we might imagine.

Flash fiction seemed as good a starting point as any, so we kicked things off by writing about a character experiencing a lucky or unlucky event in 100 words. Then it was time to up the stakes, and rewrite our stories in 50 words. This provided an opportunity to examine the effect of sentence length and word choice on the pacing of our stories.

Our newest Young Writer, T, commented that: ‘The 50 word version of my story is quite different.’ Although we only got the chance to hear his 100 word piece, it seems the 50 word version was no less effective. T’s piece featured a character finding a fifty-pence piece in the rain, and just as suddenly as he found it, losing it again. This rapid change in fortune made for an incredibly moving piece.

This led into an exercise using quotes from other books to develop characters and scenarios for later use. The exercise provided ample opportunity for members of the group also skilled in drawing to combine their talents. It’s amazing to see what the writers can produce in such a short space of time.

After a break, we moved into thinking about Luck as a character. ‘If Luck were a friend, what would they do for you?’, ‘What would Luck taste like?’ We then combined some of our favourite answers to those questions, and more, into a group poem titled ‘A List of Luck’. In the midst of the horrendous weather, a cosy, creative morning was enjoyed by all.


A List of Luck

Luck, the colour of Autumn

the first glimpse of Spring.

Luck, the taste of chocolate donuts

burnt copper and golden.

Luck smells like vanilla and jasmine,

happiness and sadness at the same time.

Luck is always here but never there.

Luck is a friend calling out of the blue,

the taste of perfectly cooked pasta,

A connection made, a shared smile, a locked gaze.

Everyone has a different opinion on luck –

Luck is the standoff

where you win.


Our last Young Writers Group session of 2019 takes place on Saturday 14th December between 10am and 1pm at The Writers’ Block, Pool, Cornwall College.
Booking information can be found here