Thursday, 27 January 2022

Adventures in Spontaneous Fiction by Kelly McKain


At the Folly Farm Winter Warmer retreat, I managed to stay in bed until 12.45pm on the first full day and then sauntered down to the dining room for a delicious and huge lunch. It was absolute heaven, and so was the beautiful blazing fire pit, the cosy chats, the community and friendship and of course the very special memorial which we had for our dear friend Kit in the pavilion in the woods. The adopted Exmoor ponies came out to be with us, cantering about in the field, playfully rearing a little and nuzzling each other. They were just being in life's flow, expressing themselves, moment by moment. 

And in the two flash fiction sessions we had, guided by Claire Fayers and then by me, I felt a strong sense of being in that flow, as words appeared on the page in front of me. I wrote a ghost story using words of only one syllable. I wrote some contemporary romance - a man proposing to his boyfriend in a hung-over hotel room. Daniel and Jamie, to be precise. Within a page I felt like I knew them. I wrote of a witch of many talents, and a tavern owner of ill repute. Of ten dastardly devas looking for a fight in a teacup. Of spiders that weave webs that harden and snap, and taste like latticed caramel but melt lies onto your tongue. Of Betsy Big Boots, a little girl who is so full of spells and enchantments she has to wear chains to hold her to this earth.

I wrote an existential duologue called Frustration in the Police Station Interview Room. And a really dark fairy tale about a girl who does not want to go down into the engine room because Deadlock is there. Who the heck is Deadlock? I have no idea. He didn't exist five minutes before, and now he's down there. Skulking. Growling. In piles of old bones, newspapers, clumped hair. I wrote a poem with the opening line, which I gave everyone, of 'I've been meaning to tell you' that was all sparseness and white and blue, with a deep exhaustion at the centre of it. I wrote about what was in the room around me - the last three lines of that loose-form, sort-of poem were 'Creativity without agenda. Alive in this moment. Surrender.' which about sums it up.

I was like the ponies - just being, just playing, with life happening round me, and in me, and flowing through me and in my case, coming out of my pen. It was a beautiful experience. Just to be and breathe and write. Thank you Claire, and everyone, for the wonderful worlds we made with just a couple of one-hour sessions, pen and paper, and of course, being Folly Farm, the promise of home-made biscuits and fresh coffee afterwards... 

by Kelly McKain

Kelly offers one-to-one Authors' Hour of Power strategic/creative mentorship sessions to aspiring, new and established authors, and (occasionally) year-long mentorships, all to help you ignite your writing/publishing journey.

To read the pieces that came out of her pen (in all their scribbly glory!) visit


Penny Dolan said...

Wonderful to hear of all the creativity inspired by the Scattered Authors Folly Farm Retreat. Such a positive and long-lasting experience, and just right for this low energy time of the year.

Kelly McKain said...

Hi Penny thanks so much for your lovely comment. Yes, it's an incredible, magical place! xx

Rowena House said...

Wonderful, the blog & the experience.

Kelly McKain said...

THanks so much Rowena! It was absolute magic... xxx